David James Schow was born in Marburg, Germany and was adopted by American parents then living in Middlesex, England.
After publishing non-fiction book and film criticism in newspapers and magazines, his first professionally published fiction was a novelette in Galileo Magazine in 1978. He spent the next decade honing his skills in the short fiction form. He won a Dimension Award from Twilight Zone Magazine (for most popular short story) in 1985 and a World Fantasy Award (best short fiction) in 1987.
He commenced screenwriting in 1989 with an uncredited dialogue polish on A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 5: The Dream Child, after which both his first teleplay and first screenplay were bought and produced (the Freddy’s Nightmares episode “Safe Sex” and the feature Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III respectively).
After inventing the rubric “stalk-and-slash” in 1977 to describe the genre later simplified as “slasher films,” Schow similarly coined the notorious neologism “splatterpunk” in 1986. To reflect the shifting climate of the horror aesthetic during the early 1990s, he logged 41 installments of his popular “Raving & Drooling” column for Fangoria Magazine. This and other non-fiction op-ed material was collected in the book Wild Hairs (2000), which won the International Horror Guild’s award for best nonfiction in 2001.