Clive Barker (born 5 October 1952) is an English author, film director and visual artist best known for his works of metaphysical fantasy and horror fiction.
Barker came to prominence in the mid-1980s with The Books of Blood, a 6-volume series of short stories which established him as a leading young horror writer. He has since written many novels and other works, and his fiction has been adapted into motion pictures, notably the Hellraiser and Candyman series.
When The Books of Blood were first published in the United States in paperback, Stephen King was quoted on the book covers: ‘I have seen the future of horror, his name is Clive Barker.’
Barker is one of the leading authors of contemporary horror/fantasy, writing in the horror genre early in his career.
Barker’s distinctive style is characterized by the notion of hidden fantastical worlds coexisting with our own, the role of sexuality in the supernatural and the construction of coherent, complex and detailed universes. Barker has referred to this style as ‘dark fantasy’ or the ‘fantastique’. His stories are notable for a deliberate blurring of the distinction between binary opposites such as hell and heaven, love and hate, pleasure and pain.
Clive Barker has said, ‘I want to be remembered as an imaginer, someone who used his imagination as a way to journey beyond the limits of self, beyond the limits of flesh and blood, beyond the limits of even perhaps life itself, in order to discover some sense of order in what appears to be a disordered universe. I’m using my imagination to find meaning, both for myself and, I hope, for my readers.’
Barker is also involved in movie production, although his films have received mixed receptions. He wrote the screenplays for Underworld (1985) and Rawhead Rex (1986), both directed by George Pavlou. They garnered little critical success. Displeased with the way his material was handled, Barker moved to directing with Hellraiser (1987), based on his novella The Hellbound Heart. After his film Nightbreed (based on his novel, Cabal), was widely considered to be a flop (although it is now a much-valued cult classic), Barker wrote and directed Lord of Illusions. Barker was also an executive producer of the film Gods and Monsters, which received major critical acclaim. A short story titled ‘The Forbidden’, from Barker’s Books of Blood, provided the basis for the film Candyman and its two sequels.
Japanese director Ryuhei Kitamura directed Midnight Meat Train from Jeff Buhler’s screenplay, which was based on Barker’s short story of the same name. Barker will write and produce the upcoming films Born, and The Thief of Always.
The Books of Blood – Volumes 1-6 (1984-5)
The Damnation Game (1985)
The Hellbound Heart (1986)
The Great and Secret Show (1989)
The Thief of Always (1992)
Coldheart Canyon: A Hollywood Ghost Story (2001)
Tortured Souls (2001)
Abarat: Days of Magic, Nights of War (2004)
Mister B. Gone (2007)
Absolute Midnight (2009)
The Scarlet Gospel (forthcoming)
Clive Barker is a writer, film-maker and artist of prodigious talent – he has a vast imagination and is able to impart some very important messages and interesting ideas in his fiction, be it in book, film or visual art form. He is worth listening to and worth reading. Have a look at his paintings, or watch one of his films, in particular Hellraiser and/or Nightbreed, or read one of his books, in particular Cabal, Weaveworld or Imajica.
Here’s a link to Clive Barker’s website:
I hope you enjoy Clive Barker’s work as much as I do.