Encyclopocalypse Has A Novelization Of The Sci-Fi/Horror Favorite SPLICE Coming This Summer

An exclusive chat with author Claire Donner on the upcoming release.

By Michael Gingold · January 24, 2024, 1:00 PM EST

As part of its ongoing series of paperbacks adapting classic and cult-fave horror films, Encyclopocalypse Publications has Splice: The Novelization set for release August 20. Fango got the first word about the book along with its covers (see 'em below), plus exclusive words from the author.

Released in 2010, Splice was directed by Vincenzo Natali and stars Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley as Clive and Elsa, genetic engineers who breed a female humanoid creature (Delphine Chanéac) who becomes increasingly uncontrollable and violent as she matures. Translating Natali, Antoinette Terry Bryant, and Doug Taylor's script to book form was Claire Donner, New York City and online branch director of the Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies, who has written essays for Severin Films' releases of Michele Soavi's Dellamorte Dellamore, The Sect, and The Church, among other writings. The novelization is currently up for pre-order in trade and mass market print editions, as an e-book and an audiobook at Encyclopocalypse's official website as well as BuyHorrorBooks.com; it will be available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other retailers as well. We also got the scoop that Encyclopocalypse, which previously issued Natali's debut graphic novel Tech, has a novelization of his 1998 sci-fi shocker Cube in the works for later in the year.

In penning the book, Donner tells us, "I did not add anything new to the course of events in Splice, but the film provides so much room to explore psychology and memory that I'd like to think the novelization will feel fresh and provocative for fans. Vincenzo flatters his audience by never saying too much, allowing for some amount of collaboration between the viewer's imagination and the nuanced performances of the cast. My challenge was to engage with the story's tantalizing mysteries without totally violating them; in a lot of ways, Splice is about privacy and the emotional boundaries that its characters cannot or will not cross. Some of what I have fleshed out was derived from unfilmed scenes in a preliminary version of the script, but this was really in the service of creating convincing inner worlds for the characters.

"It would be too easy to say that Clive and Elsa are driven by hubris," she continues, "or a craving for knowledge that undermines their own humanity. All the stock motivations of a Frankenstein story are joined here by something more profoundly personal. For example, the film makes insinuations about Elsa's childhood, which she is apparently unable to discuss even with her beloved partner, that are just as disturbing as any of the proper horror elements. It was really important for me to delve into this, to get to the heart of what kind of person she is, to hopefully complement the complex screen depiction of this individual."


Donner notes that she didn't consult with Natali while working on the novelization, "and as I went along, I was concerned that I was doing something insane! All these psychological tendrils drew me in so deeply, I began to worry that what I was writing might just be a bunch of personal projection. I was seriously relieved to hear that I had done right by the filmmaker.

"With all that said," she adds, "fans shouldn't worry that this book is a stuffy intellectual exercise. The novelization process is a strange thing; you really have to sink into the movie, and for a while you live in it like a house. Splice is a house full of slime, sinew, and sexual emissions. The beauty of this oddball art form is that it can take you inside the bodies of the characters, which can be a wild experience when you're working with horror and science fiction. This film is full of all sorts of fleshy torments, and it was really fun to put all that sensation into words. The Splice novelization will be a book you can smell."

Even as fidelity to the source was important to Donner, she admits that she completely altered one small detail from what appears in the movie. "I've been dying to know if anyone will pick up on it. It was a little perverse of me, but I think it's pretty well justified when you realize what it is. Maybe some intrepid Fango reader will reach out and tell me if they spot it!"

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