If titles like Mangled Meat and Super Fetus and Depraved don't clue you in to the fact that Deadite Press (deaditepress.com) is all about hardcore horror, then the covers will remove all doubt. There's a flayed corpse fronting Bryan Smith's Highways to Hell, and a helmeted, faceless nightmare on the cover of Dave Brockie's Wharghoul, and I refuse to even speculate about what exactly the screaming….thing is on the cover of Wrath James White's His Pain. I can barely stand to look at it.
The point is, Deadite Press wears its intentions right on its torn and bloody sleeves, and that's a mighty refreshing change of pace in a world where most mainstream publishers decline to even put the word "horror" on the spines of their horror novels, and where most bookstores (those that are left, anyway) have eliminated the horror section and blend those books in with all of the other fiction.
Deadite Press is an imprint of Eraserhead Press (eraserheadpress.com), which began in 1999 as a small publisher focusing on Bizarro Fiction. Bizarro has been called the ultimate in "outsider literature," the page-turning equivalent of a David Lynch film. It's cult work, the kind that isn't afraid to gleefully mix genres into an unrecognizable but strangely enticing brew all its own. While Deadite Press confines itself to more straight-up horror, it's no less fearless in presenting its product and in encouraging its authors to explore the furthermost boundaries of their imaginations.
Recently, Deadite scored one of the biggest coups in horror publishing by securing the digital and print rights to the majority of Brian Keene's (www.brianeene.com) back catalog. Keene, like many authors, was looking for a new home last year after Dorchester Press gutted its Leisure imprint, and he found the perfect fit in Deadite. Their uncompromising packaging and solid print-and-digital release plan have enabled him to bring works both familiar and obscure to his ever-growing audience, giving fans new access to favorites like The Rising while also making hard-to-find limited edition releases like Tequila's Sunrise easier to find.
Deadite Press also gives established authors a playground to try stuff that their more mainstream publishers would likely balk at. Edward Lee, not exactly known for his restraint but still a strong presence on the paperback shelves of most bookstores, can really cut loose at a house like Deadite, showing off his most extreme side with stuff like Brain Cheese Buffet and Bullet Through Your Face. And, like any good small press, Deadite is more than willing to give a host of talented newcomers their shot at a breakthrough.
However, let it be known that Deadite Press isn't just about the gross-out. These are not cookie-cutter gorefests ground out by a group of untalented hacks. Lee, Keene, J.F. Gonzalez, Nate Southard and many others on the Deadite roster are talented writers, and while their work may be soaked in blood, it's also gripping, thought-provoking and frightening. Deadite's mission goes beyond shock value – they are looking to push the boundaries of horror fiction to new highs, not new lows. It's an important distinction, something that the no-holds-barred covers may not always communicate. A peek between those covers, though, will remove all doubt.
Blu Gilliand is a freelance writer of fiction and nonfiction. He covers horror fiction at his blog, October Country (http://theoctobercountry.wordpress.com), and contributes interviews to the Horror World website (www.horrorworld.org). Follow him on Twitter at @BluGilliand.