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Horror-cyberpunk, or works that mix these two genres. In mid-1997 I read cyberpunk fiction and reference materials for the first time. My introduction to the genre was with Neuromancer. Soon after that, I read Mona Lisa Overdrive.
I missed Count Zero, the book that should be read between those two, for they form a triptych, called “the sprawl trilogy”.
My cyberpunk fiction reading was just a tear in the rain. I didn’t have a real interest in it. I guess that for me, it was easy to read those books because the gloss was designed in a way as to be a trip of constant, instant gratification.
Around half a decade after that, without having read anything else other than those two books by Gibson, I read a few more.
Globalhead and Mirroshades, both by Sterling, come to mind. I think I never finished Globalhead, by two or three tales. What I remember is that I definitely didn’t get much into the tales contained in Mirrorshades.
What I also read, a book that I don’t consider belonging to the genre, was Cyberpunk by Haffner and Markoff. That book shouldn’t have been called Cyberpunk. If there is something that the stories in it are not, it’s cyberpunk.
Cyberpunk by Markoff and Haffner was two outsiders’s peek into the world of hackers, and while I enjoyed it, it was kind of a letdown. Lying about the exploits of pitiable scapegoats like Kevin Mitnick and the others was an air-headed thing to do.
If Cyberpunk was something lacking in ass-kicking as it was for me, I don’t want to even imagine the other books that this genre might have spawned. The regional versions of it written by non-Americans of other countries.
My last contact with books of the genre must have been late 2004 or early to mid-2005 when I read Do Androids Dream of Electronic Sheep.
That was something. By the time I read it, I had watched Blade Runner two or three times already, but this book blew my mind. The Phillip K. Dick story in which Blade Runner is based was way much cooler than the movie, for me.
Why Cyberpunk and Not Horror?
Why in my late teens and early twenties I didn’t read horror, even if I had not wholly-read horror books to do it? I guess I wanted to read cyberpunk as a way to relate to two of my friends in a literary way.
One of them was a Slackware-powered hacker, the other a skater/goth. They were the only two of my friends with whom I shared the interest in cyberpunk lit.
It was strange to be referred (and loaned a book) to cyberpunk, eight years later. By a friend that, one could say, had no real reason to read cyberpunk, other than just to enjoy it.
He loaned me DADoES by Phillip K. Dick, but he wasn’t the kind of person I think could be considered being the target market for cyberpunk literature. He was a photographer, anti-punk, acoustic guitar-playing, Steam shop money-wasting, video gamer guy.
Maybe that’s why what he brought to the table is just one of the most popular novels of the genre.
By then, even if I had written three cyberpunk screenplays, and was writing a fourth, my interest in it was dwindling.
Around the time I finished my fourth cyberpunk script, I felt I was pretty much tired of it. I had watched like fifty cyberpunk movies in two years, and I was getting bored with the genre.
It’s obvious that there’s a market for cyberpunk movies. It’s undeniable that there is a significant corpus already made of the same. Yet, it annoys me to no end when I don’t see it referred to with the exclusivity it deserves.
To think of it, or to behave towards it as just a branch of science fiction is, to me, to miss the point entirely.
I think many ignorant persons got caught up in the humans-vs-monopolies-vs-technology side of it. With an emphasis on technology. Neglecting to acknowledge that to have only some elements and tropes of the science fiction genre doesn’t make it science fiction per se.
This may sound slow-witted, but it’s the truth: cyberpunk isn’t science fiction. If we call something, the same name as something else that came before, just because the new thing is informed by it, then genres stop meaning anything.
In that sense, we could say of cyberpunk movies that they’re film noir, because they steal plot structures from noir cinema, but you and me know that they plainly aren’t noir movies, even if they use the same story structures.
Even if there are movies that are crossovers between cyberpunk and horror, is not a common combination.
I’d say, the combination of cyberpunk with horror exists and I deeply enjoyed the movies that can be considered crossovers, that I watched, like:
“Tetsuo The Iron Man” is an outraging movie exploring the horrors of cybernetic body-modification.
Too abstract for me, “Rubber’s Lover” is kind of understated. Still, it has great, on-point visuals.
Similar to Rubber’s Lover, I think “964 Pinocchio” is a very cruel movie, still it has the potential to make you laugh.
Ghosts of Mars
Hollywood Sci-fic fare with a horror twist. Why “Ghosts of Mars”, and not, say, Alien, must be considered cyberpunk horror instead of sci-fi horror? Because it’s about miners and not astronauts. Would that make it industrial horror, too? No, of course not, that genre hasn’t been invented yet.
If you haven’t watched “Daybreakers” you might not believe what it is about. It’s a vampires take on The Matrix.
Do You know More Horror-Cyberpunk Crossover Movies
There are many things to consider when deciding of a movie can be called cyberpunk. Just a few visuals don’t make any movie belong to the genre automatically. The plot elements, the type of characters and the structure have all to be considered.
Generally, all movies happening in the future and in a post-apocalyptic scenario, if they are horror they can be loosely considered horror-cyberpunk, depending on not just visuals but, say, the use of two or more cyberpunk elements.
If you know the horror-cyberpunk movies in this list, you will notice that the cyberpunk-first movies are more credible as cyberpunk-horror than the ones that are mainly horror. This is a pattern that should be taken on account: a cyberpunk movie has more possibilities of being considered horror, than a futuristic horror movie of being seen as cyberpunk.
© Bholenath Valsan 2021 — Crossovers of Horror-Cyberpunk