Skipp, John (Mason) 1957–
Skipp, John (Mason) 1957–
PERSONAL: Born 1957, in Milwaukee, WI; married; children: Melanie.
CAREER: Worked as a musician in New York c. 1980; director of music videos; freelance writer, beginning c. 1980.
AWARDS, HONORS: Best Sex Comedy award, and Most Outrageous Sex Scene award, AVN Awards, 2005, both for Misty Beethoven: The Musical.
(With Craig Spector) Fright Night (film novelization), Tor (New York, NY), 1985.
(With Craig Spector) The Light at the End (novel), Bantam (New York, NY), 1986.
(With Craig Spector) The Cleanup (novel), Bantam (New York, NY), 1987.
(With Craig Spector) The Scream (novel), Bantam (New York, NY), 1988.
(Uncredited, with others) Class of 1999 (screenplay), 1988.
(Author of story, with Craig Spector and Leslie Bohem) Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (screenplay), Universal, 1989.
(Editor, with Craig Spector, and contributor) Book of the Dead (horror stories), Bantam (New York, NY), 1989.
(With Craig Spector) Dead Lines (novel), Bantam (New York, NY), 1989.
(With Craig Spector) The Bridge (novel), Bantam (New York, NY), 1991.
(Editor, with Craig Spector, and contributor) Still Dead: Book of the Dead II (horror stories), Bantam (New York, NY), 1992.
(With Craig Spector) Animals (novel), Bantam (New York, NY), 1993.
(With Marc Levinthal) The Emerald Burrito of Oz (novel), Babbage (Northridge, CA), 2000.
Conscience (novella, short stories, and screenplay), Friendly Firewalk Press, 2004.
Stupography (essays), Friendly Firewalk Press, 2004.
(As Maxwell Hart) Misty Beethoven: The Musical (screenplay and songs), VCA Pictures, 2004.
Also writer and director of music videos; contributor of stories to horror and fantasy anthologies and magazines; author of column for his Web site, "The Hard Way."
ADAPTATIONS: Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child was novelized by Bob Italia, Abdo & Daughters (Minneapolis, MN), 1992.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Publishing unproduced screenplays Lost, Honey Love, and Rose, for Friendly Firewalk Press; Dear Senator Frankenstein, an anthology in collaboration with Marc Levinthal, including a novella and stories; editing a short-story anthology, Mondo Zombie, for Cemetery Dance.
SIDELIGHTS: Both on his own and with frequent collaborator Craig Spector, John Skipp is a popular novelist and author of horror and fantasy tales. His books have sold millions of copies over the years, and he and Spector are regarded as trendsetters: In fact, they are considered by many to be the most prominent and explicit of the "splatterpunks," writers who present extreme violence and graphically explicit gory details beyond what is usually considered acceptable even within the horror genre.
After publishing some stories of his own, Skipp collaborated with Spector on a successful novelization of the vampire movie Fright Night, which appeared in 1985. This led to their first original novel, The Light at the End, which was picked up by Bantam and sold a million copies. The tunnel of the title is the New York City subway system, where a series of hideous murders take place. While the book follows a traditional vampire plot, the pace of the writing and its emotional impact made it stand out.
Skipp and Spector took advantage of their increasing audience to explore various social issues in subsequent novels while still supplying fans with the gory details, harsh language, and sex they had come to expect. The hero of The Cleanup, for example, uses his unnatural powers to carry out a vigilante campaign against criminals, only to get enticed and corrupted by the possession of power. The authors' experience as rock musicians informed their next effort, The Scream, in which a demon uses a successful band to carry out its nefarious plans.
The stream of jointly authored novels was interrupted by Skipp's first successful foray into the film world, with both an uncredited screenplay collaboration on the independent horror movie Class of 1999 and a story credit for the mainstream Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child that he shared with Spector. The partners also edited and contributed to two anthologies of stories inspired by the cult classic film The Night of the Living Dead: Book of the Dead and Still Dead: Book of the Dead II. After three more novels with Spector in the early 1990s, including a science-fiction/environmental novel titled The Bridge, in which illegally dumped toxic wastes mutate into a threatening new life form, and an erotic werewolf novel, Animals, the partners separated.
Skipp's next effort was another fantasy novel with a new collaborator, Marc Levinthal, titled The Emerald Burrito of Oz. Inspired by the alternate universe evoked in the film The Wizard of Oz, the book's graphic sex and violence are aimed at an adult audience. Skipp has also combined his writing and musical talents in music videos and has written several as-yet-unproduced screenplays. In 2005, he wrote the screenplay and songs for the adult film Misty Beethoven: The Musical.
Among Skipp's more recent solo efforts is Conscience, an anthology including a novella of the same title, along with a screenplay and several stories and essays. The novella's hero is a professional killer, but "there's still a spark of humanity to be redeemed," according to a reviewer on Dark Echo.com. Michael A. Arnzen reviewed the book for Goreletter Review online, saying that the novella "succeeds at delivering its nightmare with the immediacy of a bullet to the brain," even though it is "loaded with interior monologue and moments of psychological soul-searching that would threaten to bog down any other book." Skipp followed up this fictional offering with a collection of topical and satirical columns originally posted on his Web site under the title Stupography.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
St. James Guide to Horror, Ghost, and Gothic Writers, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1998.
English Journal, December, 1986, John W. Conner and Kathleen M. Tessmer, review of Fright Night, p. 60.
Library Journal, June 1, 2001, Michael Rogers, review of The Light at the End, p. 226.
New Statesman, September 18, 1987, Kim Newman, review of The Cleanup, p. 30.
Publishers Weekly, December 20, 1985, John Mutter, review of The Light at the End, p. 63; January 30, 1987, John Mutter, review of The Cleanup, p. 379; December 9, 1988, Penny Kaganoff, review of Dead Lines, p. 58.
Voice of Youth Advocates, February, 1986, review of Fright Night, p. 386; June, 1992, review of The Bridge, p. 115.
DarkEcho.com, http://www.darkecho.com/ (May 20, 2005), review of Conscience.
Goreletter Review Online, http://gorelets.com/ (May 22, 2004), Michael A. Arnzen, review of Conscience.
John Skipp Home Page, http://www.johnskipp.com (May 20, 2005).