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Apeshit is Carlton Mellick III’s love letter to the great and terrible B-horror movie genre. Six trendy teenagers (three cheerleaders and three football players) go to an isolated cabin in the mountains for a weekend of drinking, partying, and crazy sex, only to find themselves in the middle of a life and death struggle against a horribly mutated psychotic freak that just won’t stay dead.
Mellick parodies this horror cliché and twists it into something deeper and stranger. It is the literary equivalent of a grindhouse film. It is a splatterpunk’s wet dream. It is perhaps one of the most fucked up books ever written.
Be warned: Disturbing material lurks behind many of the spoiler tags. Reader discretion is advised.
- Abusive Parents: Stephanie's mom is an insane religious freak who believed that Steph's Vagina Dentata is a sign of the devil and probably caused every single psychological problem the girl had that wasn't caused by her brother. When Steph tells her that her brother Dan got her pregnant, mom won't let her get an abortion because, regardless of the circumstances, it was a child of God, and aborting it would be killing God's child.
- Affectionate Parody
- Alpha Bitch: Des and Crystal, the richest, prettiest, snobbiest, most popular girls at school.
- Awesome McCoolname: Desdemona.
- Ax Crazy: The mutants, Crystal, and Jason.
- Bi the Way: Des, Kevin, and Rick are just one big happy three-way.
- Bizarro Fiction
- Black Humor
- Bloodier and Gorier: ...than the already bloody and gory genre it homages.
- Brick Joke: The mangled hunter and piles of roadkill near the beginning are actually explained in the denouement, after so much horrifying stuff has happened that you probably forgot all about them.
- Brother-Sister Incest: Stephanie and Dan.
- Can You Hear Me Now: Of course there's no cell reception. They're in the middle of the goddamn woods.
- Closed Circle: It's a secluded cabin miles from civilization, only accessible by an unpaved road, barely big enough for their car, that winds up the side of a cliff, with no cell phone reception and no way to get help - the perfect setting for
a mindless, drunken orgy depraved violence and the wanton slaughter of a bunch of stupid teenagersa weekend trip.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: The climax. That is all.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Averted in the most horrible way possible.
- Death by Sex: Required but weirdly averted for most of them.
- Developing Doomed Characters: You will want to beat three of the characters to death yourself by the time they even get to the cabin.
- Don't Go in The Woods: Of course they do anyway.
- Driven to Suicide: Horribly averted. Stephanie eats a shotgun in the first half, blowing off the back of her head and getting brains everywhere, but is still alive.
- Extreme Melee Revenge: Good Lord, the climax.
- Good People Have Good Sex: Every single one of the protagonists has some sort of weird sexual hangup, kink, fetish, deformity, or issue.
- Gorn: All over the place.
- Immortality Hurts: Apparently, things in the forest don't die. Ever. No matter how horrifically damaged they are.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Happens to two characters, both by accident.
- Intentionally Awkward Title
- It Got Worse
- Lampshade Hanging: "We're out in the middle of nowhere. Some crazy killer could come in here and slaughter us all in our sleep and nobody would be able to stop them."
- Made of Iron Everyone in the woods. There is a reason for it.
- Misplaced Wildlife: One of the dead animals seen on the side of the road leading to the cabin is a peacock.
- Mix-and-Match Man: All the human inhabitants of the forest. See Immortality Hurts, above.
- Monster Is a Mommy: One of the killer mutants they encounter is a female, who looks to be about eight months pregnant.
- Not So Different: The mutants' unborn fetus is completely human.
- When discussing the possibilities of psychos in the woods, Jason warns his friends not to piss off the wrong rednecks, or "they might go Deliverance on your ass."
- Kevin compares the cabin where they are staying to the one in Evil Dead.
- Rick's lengthwise impalement through his vagina conjures up a similar impalement in Cannibal Holocaust.
- During the climax, one of the mutants is sodomized with a butcher knife. Remember the Lust killing in Se7en?
- Sure Why Not: The ending provides a fairly brilliant explanation for the archetypal unkillable psycho.
- Too Dumb to Live: Yes, this camping trip is so important that piles of dead animals, the inaccessibility of the site, and an apparently undead hunter that none of the locals really care about are rendered irrelevant.
- Up to Eleven: This is an even gorier take on an already gory genre.
- Vagina Dentata: Stephanie has a set.
- Watch the Paint Job: Averted. Jason's van gets scratched to hell by tree branches alongside the really narrow road. Jason doesn't care.
- X Meets Y: Friday the 13 th meets Visitor Q.
- And I Must Scream: Consider the condition of the "surviving" characters at the end of the novel. They've been variously impaled, shot, stabbed, their skull blown off and brain matter scattered across a room, disemboweled, sodomized with a kitchen knife, dismembered, and a fetus torn from their abdomen. And they're still alive. And barring massive repairs, they're going to be like that forever. Or until they leave the woods. Either way. Not too pleasant.