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.
This work provides examples of:
- 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.
- Also Jason's dad, who, believing fear to be a weakness, used techniques such as locking him in a cellar for a weekend to help him overcome a fear of the dark. Taken to the extreme when, their thirteen-year-old self Jason was forced to have homosexual relations after expressing a homophobic opinion.
- Alpha Bitch: Des and Crystal, the richest, prettiest, snobbiest, most popular girls at school.
- And I Must Scream: The "surviving" characters at the end of the novel; character injuries include genital-impalement, being shot, being stabbed, having their skull blown off and losing some brains, disemboweling, being sodomized with a knife, multiple dismemberment, and having a fetus torn from the abdomen to name a few. And they're still alive, meaning they're going to be like that forever save for massive surgery or leaving the forest to die.
- Ax-Crazy: The mutants, Crystal, and Jason.
- 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.
- Cell Phones Are Useless: 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.
- 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 pistol in the first half, blowing off the back of her head and getting brains everywhere, but is still alive.
- He Who Fights Monsters: Jason and Crystal, who eventually snap and graphically rape and mutilate the monsters.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: Steph, who has vagina dentata, and Kevin, who is hiding he is HIV+ to avoid being ostracized.
- Immortality Field: By the end, it is revealed that the reason why none of the characters in the book end up dying despite the massive physical trauma their bodies endure is because of a supernatural force in the woods that prevents anybody there from dying.
- 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: Kind of a given when it has a curse-word.
- Kick the Dog: Or, in the case of the young Crystal, stab the neighbor's dog with a screwdriver and clumsily decapitate it with a saw for no reason.
- 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.
- Major Injury Underreaction: Despite the disemboweling, gunshots, stabbing, etc, the character's reactions are really just "meh"
- 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.
- Never Trust a Title: There are no apes in this book, nor is there any shits thereof. 0 stars.
- Rape as Drama: Stephanie, who is bearing her brother's rape baby, and Jason, who's father forced him to have sex with a man after he made homophobic remarks.
- Refuge in Audacity: Jason corners the male monster, repeatedly smashes its head with a bowling ball on a chain, then starts anally raping it while pummeling it and ripping limbs off of it's conjoined fetus. Believe it or not, that isn't even the worst of it.
- Sexual Karma: Every single one of the protagonists has some sort of weird sexual hangup, kink, fetish, deformity, or issue.
- 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?
- Slasher Film: Apeshit is basically one of these in literary form.
- Splatter Horror: As a love letter to the slasher genre turned up until the knob breaks, this novel contains loving descriptions of the most brutal violence and dismemberment.
- Stepford Smiler: Everyone but Desdemonia hides their true self for fear of rejection; Jason was abused by his father; Crystal has an abortion fetish and used to kill animals for fun; Steph is carrying her brother's rape baby and has vagina dentata; Kevin is HIV Positive; and Rick is gay and now has a vagina.
- Sure, Let's Go with That: 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.
- 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.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: The disappearance of Jason's brother is never explained, though it's implied he was accidentally killed and became a monster.