Clive Barker Retains RightsBy RodneyHatfieldJr for Movies
Rumor has it that Clive Barker is getting the rights back for his The Hellbound Heart. For those who don’t care to read, that would be Hellraiser. He sold the movie rights back in the day, and now he is wanting those rights back. This is a new trend in Hollywood. Creators getting their creations back. Which is a good thing? Naturally, I am in the creator's corner.
So I thought it would be nice to go over Clive Barker’s greatest stories. He’s perhaps one of the most influential horror writers since the 1980s(yea I said it), blending fantasy, horror, and speculative fiction elements into something that manages to be both terrifying and profound. You would know you’re reading a Clive Barker story even if it were presented to you without name or title. Barker did not push the limits of horror. He simply did not recognize the limitations and unleashed one horror after another on an increasingly rabid fan-base who wanted more.
So, here are five of my favorite books by Clive Barker in no particular order. I write them as they come to my little bent brain.
Clive Barker Books of Blood
Yea I know, Books of Blood total six books containing 30 stories. They were published between 1984 and 1985 and had horror master Stephen King hailing Barker as the future of horror.
The stories covered a lot of ground. There was the undeniably comical “The Yattering and Jack” which was eventually adapted as an episode for Tales from the Darkside.
Then there was “Rawhead Rex” which concerned a hellish ancient creature accidentally unleashed upon a rural community that slices and dices its way through the countryside.
And let's not forget “The Forbidden". That is the source story for Candyman.
This is why I included it in the list. And I’m a huge short story fan. But at my last count, there are 9 different stories that have been made into either movies or TV shows. So it definitely deserves to be on the list.
This one is hard to explain in a few sentences. Its sprawling narrative is by far the most complex that Barker ever wrote and the author has called it his favorite.
In Imajica, Earth is just one of the five connected worlds called Dominions ruled by a God named Hapexamendios. Long ago, Earth was separated from the other four dominions but every 200 years Maestros, the greatest magicians of the other Dominions, attempt to reconnect the planet back to the other four. Every single attempt fails, and death and destruction almost always follow in the wake of that failure. The story follows a man named Gentle and a shape-shifting assassin by the name of Pie, who travel across the five dimensions experiencing one terrifying scenario after another.
How this has not been made into a movie is beyond me. The only reason is Barker himself. Being his favorite, he does not want to see it butchered.
Cabal serves as the basis for the film Nightbreed which Barker wrote and directed.
It concerns a young man named Boone who is convinced by a psychiatrist named Decker that he has committed a series of horrible serial murders. In a series of dreams, a city called Midian is revealed to Boone. It’s a city that accepts monsters and miscreants into its fold. After another patient reveals the way for Boone to find the city, he sets out, only to discover Decker has followed him. Boone is shot and left for dead and is taken into the city of Midian and that’s where the real trouble begins.
If you’ve seen the movie(and who hasn’t), there is merit in reading the source material.
The Hellbound Heart
Naturally this one would be here. Hellraiser and the dreaded Cenoibites began their life in the pages of yet another novella from Barker titled The Hellbound Heart which appeared in Night Vision Volume 3. But it was re-released as a stand-alone. When hedonist Frank Cotton hears of the mysterious Lemarchand Configuration and immediately sets out to find the puzzle box for himself. Upon securing it, he returns to his grandmother’s abandoned home and sets out offerings for the mysterious Cenobite, members of a “religious order” dedicated to extreme sensual delights. Poor Frank had no idea what he was actually releasing. The Cenobites have blurred the lines between pain and pleasure for so long that they can no longer tell the difference, and he is soon pulled against his will into a dimension of torment he could never have imagined. When his brother and family move into the home later, they accidentally set off a chain of events that will change all of their lives forever.
If you love this novella and the Hellraiser films, I also recommend The Scarlet Gospels, a sequel that digs into the goings-on in Hell with Pinhead and the Cenobites as well as the return of Barker’s world-weary supernatural detective Harry D’Amour.
The Great and Secret Show
The Great and Secret Show centers on the conflict between Randall Jaffe and Richard Fletcher over the dream sea called Quiddity. This is a prime example of Barker’s ability to blend horror and fantasy.
Every human visits Quiddity three times in their lives: the first time we ever sleep outside our mother’s womb, the first time we sleep beside the one we truly love, and the last time we ever sleep before we die. That’s not enough for Jaffe, however. He wants control of Quiddity to tap into its powers and Fletcher is dedicated to keeping this power source pure.
The story is wild and wonderful and terrifying with creatures that could only spring from the imagination of Clive Barker.Share this article on:
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