August, 1998

This is from Kerith Martin. I was excited to see your letter to newspapers on behalf of PETA. I applaud your efforts to raise awareness toward critical problems in our country and the world today, ones which are critically overlooked by blood hungry butchers in search of a trophy. That said, I couldn't help wondering if you're a vegetarian?
The answer is almost. I will still on occasions weaken and eat some chicken. I'm really working hard towards being a vegetarian totally. I'm almost there. I'm disgusted by the meat industry. Does that answer the question? (Laughs)
LS Yeah. Kerith had one more question. We've seen a huge increase in communication among people today with the advent of the Internet. In looking at the word "communication", though, I see the word "community" embedded inside. I can't help feeling that this community is slowly vanishing. People in offices will send e-mails rather than asking their co-workers a question directly. As someone who doesn't own a computer, how do you feel the Internet is effecting communication in the world and do you feel that people look down on you because of your choice not to own one?
CB I think I get looked down on for not using one, yeah sure. I think people are surprised by it. There's an element of disbelief that I would hand-write this big book. Do I not have mentally what it takes to operate a computer? I can't really comment, comprehensively at least, on whether it's doing damage world wide. I do know that I really value the opportunity to be able to do what I have been able to recently, which is get on the Internet in Chat Rooms and talk with people from around the world. I think that's great. People have been able to ask direct questions and I've been able to give direct answers. That's been pleasurable. I think I've been able to reasonably directly communicate people that I would have never been able to communicate with. I've done two or three online appearances and I think they have been very successful. I've been able to answer only a tiny fraction of the number of questions I get asked but never-the-less we were able to do some of them. I guess on interpersonal level, people are probably sending e-mails when they could pick up the telephone or walk next door and talk to someone. It isn't happening in our company. I don't have any antidotal evidence about that, because I don't see it, but I'm sure it's happening. I do prefer people to be communicating anyway, then not communicating. But if it's a choice between a face to face conversation or a telephone conversation, rather than a conversation that is something more detached. I tell you what I have observed now that I realize it. I think people feel the freedom, and I don't think it particularly useful thing, to say things on the Internet that they would not be willing to say face to face or on the telephone. I think it's particularly negative things. I believe there's a lack of responsibility that is available when you are typing an answer and you don't have to look at somebody else's face.
LS Not unlike a 'Dear John' letter.
CB Exactly. I think that's sort of regrettable. I certainly have seen this, in my casual glimpses, particularly in the more people more obsessed with the Internet. Like the X-Files sort of stuff. Where you have people passionately caring about what Mulder is wearing each week for example. They feel a freedom, which I don't think is healthy. So they rag on each other in the worst way, in a way they absolutely wouldn't in a personal situation. I think it makes people less polite and less courteous and less responsive to other peoples feeling and is bad.
LS In the August issue of Fangoria, there is said to be a stage version of Hellraiser. Any comments?
CB This is the rumor. The notion was originally floated by Oliver Parker. You know him as the director of Lawrence Fishburn's 'Othello' and a member of the Dog Company from way back and Peloquin from 'Nightbreed'. Ollie, with a producer friend of his, had floated the idea of doing a stage production in England. To my best knowledge, that is still the plan for some time next year. Doug (Bradley) might know more. I haven't spoken to Ollie or Doug
about it in quite awhile.
LS This is from Barnabas (our wonderful website designer). It's a question that has been on his mind for two years and it comes from "The History of the Devil":

Verrier reaches into his throat and pulls out a knotted rope.
Verrier: wise, not to resist.
Nancy Kyle: The rope-
Verrier: You recognize it?
Nancy Kyle: Something like it - in dreams. Are you what I think you are?
Verrier: Less than an angel, more than a man.
Nancy Kyle: (fatalistic) Be Kind. He's used to being treated well. I pamper him.

What does Nancy Kyle mean by "something like it - in dreams. Are you what I think you are?"
CB Well, there's lots of references. Knotted ropes were a very powerful way of selling spells in medieval times. You could actually buy spells as knots and as you undid the knot you released the spell. I used that idea in "The Inhuman Condition". You could do deals with the Devil where you bought knotted rope. Something sailors used to do was buy knotted rope, that according to the witch of devil's agent or whoever they bought it from, you were buying wind. So if the seas where to be calm, you unknotted one of these ropes and the winds would come and blow you to your safe haven. I using an idea which is central to a lot of mythology that knots are a symbol of confusion. When you think of knotted things, you think of things that are not clear and clean. So Nancy, I think, is seeing things that she associates as something nightmarish and demoniacal. So in a sense what she is doing is recognizing the demon for what it is.
LS So it's not some sort of bondage fantasy?
CB No, no, no. No bondage going on here. But, if Barnabas wants it to be bondage then it can be bondage. (Laughs)
LS Have you seen a tape of "The History of the Devil" production in Chicago?
CB Sure, absolutely.
LS What did you think of a woman playing the Devil? And Barnabas said he'd pictured it being less of a comedy.
CB I loved the Devil being played by a woman. I thought she was amazing in the role. And the interesting thing about the play it that it's lots of things. It's a comedy in places but it veers sporadically from the comedic to the horrific and back again. This play certainly contains a lot of jokes. The thing with Jesus Christ is one extended joke for instance. But then you also have, toward the end, where the Devil persuades a German soldier to hand over a baby so he can take it to add to the pile of dead in the holocaust. So it's a play which really moves through a number of tones. The Next Theatre choose, I thought, to emphasis the comedic. I thought it was a very successful production.
  Clive and his assistant arrive at their destination.

Oh, did I mention our interview was over a cellular phone? Lost Souls is put on hold for a half hour. And then the phone rings...
LS Fun meeting?
CB We are getting the pictures for the exhibition framed.
LS We need to talk about that.
CB Sure.
LS Do we have a theme?
CB It's called 'The Weird and the Wicked'. It's a mixture of oil paintings, painted photographs and ink on paperwork. Some of them are fantastical, some erotic. It's a really thorough range. It's going to be fun. I think the weird and the wicked really does describe the contents of the exhibition. We need to get some of these images up on your website so we can start to get bids in from people who can't come to California.
LS Let's get personal, if we might. Obviously when people read this, they will understand that you've given us permission to let the club know that you've recently married.
CB Sure. Why not. On tour I was taking around David very happily.
LS Any comments or political statements?
CB (Laughs) There you go. It's wonderful having David in my life. He's an extraordinary fellow as you know. His irrepressibly nature has certainly brought a lot of fun into my life the last year and a half. We had a lot of fun on the tour and it was great to introduce to everybody. Everyone was so kind to him, it was great.
LS Where do quotes come from with you name on it, such as the movie "Mimic".
CB It depends on what medium it is. If it's a book, a publisher will tend to write to me and say, 'we have this book and we would like you to quote on it.' I try to limit my quotes to two or three a year. I get sent dozens and dozens of books every month. I can't read them all by any manner of means. I need to be very selective. I also think it's very important not to be too free with the quote. I think at a certain point you can be too free and then what you say doesn't count for anything anymore. We see that with a few authors actually, authors quoting on other authors. You stop and say, wait I've seen that name one too many times. With movies, it tends to be a more personal thing. The gentleman who made Mimic also made Crooners, which I admired a great deal. I was very public about that admiration for the picture. When Mimic came along, Dimension Pictures called me up and said you liked Crooners can we show you Mimic? They set up a screening for David and myself. I liked the movie and quoted on it because I was a fan of his and liked the picture. It was a better picture than it actually got credit for.

Sometimes a friend will call me up and tell me that they've written something and ask me to quote on it. More often than not it comes from an editor or somebody in charge of a movie. It's a very difficult area to be in, to be perfectly honest. You want to be supportive to you friends, associates and fellow workers. At the same time, you don't want say too many things too often because I believe it eventually starts to dilute the effects of what you are saying.
LS You've recently signed a deal with Universal for a haunted house maze?
CB Yes. Freaks, as it's called.
LS More Freaks!
CB More Freaks. (Laughs) More Freaks. Yeah, I think it's going to be fun. All that we know about it right now, you guys know. We are going to have graphics for it fairly soon and a press release. All that stuff will come to you. It's the first time I've ever done anything like that and it has been tremendous fun.
LS What about Crazyface in Chicago?
CB Somebody is setting it up. Also, Frankenstein in Love will be coming to New York, sometime soon. Don't forget the two productions of Crazyface at the Edinburgh festival in Scotland. I can't, unfortunately, elaborate on any of those productions because I don't know that much about them off hand. We just got a request to do a production of Crazyface in Singapore from somebody who had seen another production in Perth, Australia and had liked it. It's great to have this happening. It's tremendous and it's happening everywhere.
LS What else is going on?
CB The collection of short stories is coming on extremely well right now. I don't have title for it yet but it's going to be a tremendously eclectic collection I think. We've got Harry D'Amour and Pinhead, probably a Nightbreed story and a bunch of other stuff all in this collection. So that's real fun.
LS How many stories are you anticipating?
CB I think maybe twenty. So it will be a big collection. Many of them with little introductions that I'm writing about the circumstances in which the story was written or the characters or something. So it won't be just a cold collection, there will be a lot of Barker in it as well, if you will. The Book of Hours proceeds at pace, which is tremendous. And. . .the exhibition is taking up a lot of time but it's actually shaping up really well. I hope that we are going to get a lot of people to the exhibition because there's such a large range of kinds of images on the walls and again, we are pricing the picture to be sure that people can afford them. We did that last time and it was very successful. We had a sell out last time and we want to do the same this time.
LS Have the European signing dates come out yet?
CB We don't actually have precious dates yet. I don't leave for England until the 1st of November. I don't start signing, I think, until the 4th or 5th of November. I will be there for about two weeks. It will be England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. I won't be crossing over the channel. I won't be doing Germany or France. There's just too many things to be doing in the British isle. It will be fun. I haven't been back for a long time and David's never been there. I'm taking David home to Liverpool and that should be a culture shock.