Clive Barker (born 5 October 1952) is an English writer, film director, and visual artist best known for his work in both fantasy and horror fiction . Barker came to prominence in the mid-1980s with a series of short stories known as the Books of Blood 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 films, notably the Hellraiser and Candyman series. He was the Executive Producer of the film Gods and Monsters , which won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay .

Barker's paintings and illustrations have been featured in galleries in the United States, as well as within his own books. He has also created original characters and series for comic books, and some of his more popular horror stories have been adapted to the medium.

His archives have been a source of material for biographies and non-fiction books containing his personal essays, discussions of his fringe theater work, interviews, and other content.

Early life

Clive Barker was born in Liverpool , Merseyside , the son of Joan Ruby (née Revill), a painter and school welfare officer, and Leonard Barker, a personnel director for an industrial relations firm. [2] [4] He was educated at Dovedale Primary School , Quarry Bank High School and the University of Liverpool , where he studied English and Philosophy. [5]

When he was four years old, Barker witnessed the French skydiver Léo Valentin plummet to his death during a performance at an air show in Liverpool. Barker would later allude to Valentin in many of his stories.

Writing career

Barker is an author of contemporary horror / fantasy . He began writing in the horror genre early in his career, mostly in the form of short stories (collected in Books of Blood 1 – 6) and the Faustian novel The Damnation Game (1985). Later he moved towards modern-day fantasy and urban fantasy with horror elements in Weaveworld (1987), The Great and Secret Show (1989), the world-spanning Imajica (1991), and Sacrament (1996), bringing in the deeper, richer concepts of reality, the nature of the mind and dreams, and the power of words and memories.

Barker's distinctive style is characterised 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, or pleasure and pain (the latter particularly so in The Hellbound Heart ).

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 and his name is Clive Barker." [6] As influences on his writing, Barker lists Herman Melville , Edgar Allan Poe , Ray Bradbury , William S. Burroughs , William Blake and Jean Cocteau , among others. [7]

He is also the writer of the best-selling Abarat series, and plans on producing two more novels in the series. [8]

Barker's basic philosophy and approach are revealed in his foreword to H.R. Giger's illustrated work, Necronomicon (1993 edition).

Film work

Barker has a keen interest in film production, although his films have received mixed receptions. He wrote the screenplays for Underworld (a.k.a. Transmutations – 1985) and Rawhead Rex (1986), both directed by George Pavlou . [9] Displeased by how his material was handled, he moved to directing with Hellraiser (1987), based on his novella The Hellbound Heart . His early films, the shorts The Forbidden and Salome , are experimental art films with surrealist elements, which have been re-released together to moderate critical acclaim. After his film Nightbreed (1990), which was widely considered to be a flop, Barker returned to write and direct Lord of Illusions (1995). A short story titled "The Forbidden", from Barker's Books of Blood , provided the basis for the 1992 film Candyman and its two sequels (whereof he was also producer of the two first). Barker was an executive producer of the film Gods and Monsters (1998), which received major critical acclaim. He had been working on a series of film adaptations of his The Abarat Quintet books under Disney's management, but has admitted that because of creative differences, this project will not go ahead. In 2005, Barker created the film production company Midnight Picture Show together with horror film producer Jorge Saralegui, with the intent of producing two horror films per year. [10] Since then, the company has produced four films: The Plague (2006), The Midnight Meat Train (2008), Book of Blood (2009) and Dread (2009). [2]

In October 2006, Barker announced through his official website that he will be writing the script to a forthcoming remake of the original Hellraiser film. [2] [2] He is also developing a film based on his Tortured Souls line of toys from McFarlane Toys .

Visual art

Barker is a prolific visual artist working in a variety of media, often illustrating his own books. His paintings have been seen first on the covers of his official fan club magazine, Dread , published by Fantaco in the early '90s; on the covers of the collections of his plays, Incarnations (1995) and Forms of Heaven (1996); and on the second printing of the original British publications of his Books of Blood series. Barker also provided the artwork for his young adult novel The Thief of Always and for the Abarat series. His artwork has been exhibited at Bert Green Fine Art in Los Angeles and Chicago, at the Bess Cutler Gallery in New York and La Luz De Jesus in Los Angeles. Many of his sketches and paintings can be found in the collection Clive Barker, Illustrator , published in 1990 by Arcane/Eclipse Books, and in Visions of Heaven and Hell , published in 2005 by Rizzoli Books. The most complete selection of Clive Barker's paintings and drawings are available to view in a gallery setting on the website.

He worked on the creative side of a horror video game, Clive Barker's Undying , providing the voice for the character Ambrose. Undying was developed by DreamWorks Interactive and released in 2001. He also worked on Clive Barker's Jericho for Codemasters , which was released in late 2007.

Barker created Halloween costume designs for Disguise Costumes. [2] [2]

Comic books

A long-term comics fan, Barker achieved his dream of publishing his own superhero books when Marvel Comics launched the Razorline imprint in 1993. Based on detailed premises, titles and lead characters he created specifically for this, the four interrelated titles — set outside the Marvel universe — were Ectokid (written first by James Robinson , then by future Matrix co-creator Lana Wachowski , with art by Steve Skroce ), Hokum & Hex (written by Frank Lovece , art by Anthony Williams ), Hyperkind (written by Fred Burke, art by Paris Cullins and Bob Petrecca) and Saint Sinner (written by Elaine Lee , art by Max Douglas ). A 2002 Barker telefilm titled Saint Sinner bore no relation to the comic.

Barker horror adaptations and spinoffs in comics include the Marvel/ Epic Comics series Hellraiser , Nightbreed , Pinhead , The Harrowers , Book of the Damned , and Jihad ; Eclipse Books ' series and graphic novels Tapping The Vein , Dread , Son of Celluloid , Revelations The Life of Death , Rawhead Rex and The Yattering and Jack , and Dark Horse Comics ' Primal , among others. Barker served as a consultant and wrote issues of the Hellraiser anthology comic book.

In 2005, IDW published a three-issue adaptation of Barker's children's fantasy novel The Thief of Always , written and painted by Kris Oprisko and Gabriel Hernandez. IDW is publishing a 12 issue adaptation of Barker's novel The Great and Secret Show .

In December 2007, Chris Ryall and Clive Barker announced an upcoming collaboration of an original comic book series, Torakator , to be published by IDW. [2]

In October 2009, IDW published Seduth (Written by Clive Barker and Chris Monfette; art by Gabriel Rodriguez ; colours by Jay Fotos; letters by Neil Uyetake; edits by Chris Ryall ; and 3-D conversion by Ray Zone ), the first time Barker has created a world specifically for the comic book medium in two decades. The work was released with three variant covers; cover a featuring art by Gabriel Rodriguez and cover b with art by Clive Barker and the third is a "retailer incentive signed edition cover" with art by Clive Barker. [2]

In 2011, Boom! Studios began publishing an original Hellraiser comic book series. The comic book picks up 2 decades after the events of Hellbound: Hellraiser II , and from there, builds its own mythology. The book has several credited writers: Chris Monfette, Anthony Diblasi, Mark Miller and most recently Witch Doctor creator Brandon Seifert. The series is ongoing and has just celebrated its second anniversary in print.

In 2013, Boom! Studios announced the first original story by Barker to be published in comic book format: Next Testament . The story concerns a man named Julian Demond who unearths the God of the Old Testament and discovers that he has bitten off more than he can chew. The series is co-written by Seraphim Films Vice President Mark Miller.