"Hello?" I said picking up the receiver.
"Stephen?" the voice on the other end asked.
"Yes?" I wonder who the person was. It sounded a little like our website administrator Brett, but I wasn't quite sure.
"It's Robb," the man said. I instantly realized it was Clive's assistant calling.
"Aren't you going to call us tonight?" he asked.
Why, I wondered? The interview we scheduled wasn't until the 21st, and that wasn't until the next day.
"I thought it was tomorrow," I admitted.
"Nooo," he laughs. "Can you still do it tonight?"
"Sure," I said as I set my fork down into the plate of spaghetti that was just hot off the stove.
And here we go.....
|Lost Souls:||How are you Clive?|
|Clive:||I'm good thank you. Actually very good. There's a lot of things going on and it's all happening at once, as usual. There's this pre-Christmas panic that this town has and there's also been sudden and high level changes of personnel at a number of the studios that we are dealing with. By and large, this is to our good because the people who've gone are the people that we hadn't been great fans of and they hadn't been great fans of ours either. But there's all the politics that go along with that as well, so it's an interesting time. So, let's get on with it.|
|LS:||Let's start with the Universal Halloween attraction.|
|Clive:||That was fun. What happened, of course, was that Universal came to me and asked me to create a Halloween attraction for them. I guess every year they turn the studio over for a month or less to Halloween stuff. They turn the lights out on the Jurassic Park ride, though you can still go on the ride, only in the darkness. They get guys with chain saws running around the park screaming. It's great fun. (Laughs) They wanted an attraction that was a little bit wilder or perhaps a little bit more intense than previous things that they had done. I suggested that we do a sort of freak show that resembled a piece of theater essentially. That's what it is. There were thirty five actors, they turned over a studio space, a sound stage, and they built thirteen or fourteen different room, each of which had a different sort of theme to it. And there was nothing startling original here. What was fresh was the gusto with which it was done. We had 'geeks' and we had a 'a surgery scene' and 'cannibal clowns'. It was a lot of scenes which are already part of the Halloween scene already but taken to a more intense level than perhaps you would be able to see if you were walking down Santa Monica Blvd. watching the parade. How immensely claustrophobic it must have been as well. They were putting 1,200 people through an hour. So, you've got all these people, you've got a lot of noise, thirty five actors coming at you and the walls are moving. Everything that could have been done to scare you was being done at this attraction, and it was great fun to do it. It was very satisfying as well. It was the most popular attraction at the park during that period, which was tremendous. There were lines waiting for an hour or more every night. You could step away from the sound stage and all you could here was screaming. It was quite funny. I've often talked about the appetite that everybody has for being scared, and here it was, a line of several thousand people waiting to get in just to have the 'bejesus' scared out of them.|
|L.S:||How about the art show?|
|Clive:||We sold slightly more pictures than we did last time, but we had more on display as well. It was very nice for me to have someone like Don Bertram for example, and I think he's a splendid fellow, to come out from Texas and to be able to buy pictures. I think he bought three pictures. Here's someone that's extremely articulate about his enthusiasm for the work. It was great to be able to share the work with him and talk with him privately about what the picture meant and how the images originated and so on. He's already in possession of other pictures which he'd purchased through Bess Cutler, but now he has some oil paintings, which I'm pleased about. I know painting are in one sense just objects but I do like to think that they have gone to a good home. I know that the people that bought the pictures are the people that are genuinely appreciation of them and having them hanging on their wall. We didn't get any critical coverage, which I regret. I don't quite know why that is, if newspapers just don't cover art shows anymore. There was plenty of people that were talking about the show but there wasn't a review, or I haven't seen one at least. Which is disappointing and interesting at the same time. We had wonderful and really cool coverage on Galilee and we had great coverage on "Gods and Monsters", amazing reviews. Now we just have to go work on the paintings. I think bit by bit, we are educating people. I'm talking about reviewers now. Let's face it, they sometimes need a bit of educating to understand what they are seeing.|
|L.S:||Speaking of Gods and Monsters?|
|Clive:||It's doing very well. We are in thirty eight cinemas right now and more to come next week. It's not one of those blanket release where it shows up on two thousand screens on Friday. This is an 'art house' movie and it's being released like an 'art house' movie, and it's doing very well. The thing we are obviously hoping for, touch wood, is for Ian Mckellan get some kind of nomination. Either a golden globe or, from my lips to God's ears, an Oscar nomination. I know that's very, very hard but it just might happen. Ian gives a wonderful performance and this would be great the movie and for Ian. I think we had two bad reviews out of forty or fifty. The reviews were love letters to Bill Condon, the director, and to Ian and to Brendan Fraiser. I would like to think that the movie has maybe made people look again at who James Whale is and what his contribution to American cinema. Certainly a number of reviews said that you may not know who James Whale is but you all know Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein. So there is a sense of the movie that is hopefully educating people who James Whale was.|
|L.S:||I'm sorry that I haven't really been paying attention to all that has been going on, per say. Fill me in on the status of the short stories and all the other fun things Clive Barker is working on.|
|Clive:||There's a lot going on. The main thing is the collection of short stories, which I still don't have a title for. It's growing exponentially. The Hellraiser / Harry D'Amour story, which is called "The Last Resrequiem" is sort of the structual heart of the collection. It's not exactly a short story, it's a Novella. It's just been fun to write. It also finishes off and answers a lot of questions about D'Amour, the Hellraiser Mythology and about Pinhead. I'm looking at it as a chance , in a curious way, to inform people at the same time I tell the story. We get a lot about Harry's family's background, a lot about the underlying mythology of the Hellraiser stuff, which I think has been occasionally contradictory and I've been trying to clean that up a bit. So this has been great fun to write. I'm also doing a cycle of fantasy stories called "Mercy and the Jackal" which is a little girl (Mercy) and a Wrestler (Jackal). These are very dark adventures in a fantasy world. Plus, there's a whole slew of other stories, some of which you might call horror and some Fantasy. I'm looking at the collection being a continuum of all the things that Clive Barker does; fantasy, horror fiction, the hybrid between these two and stuff which is kind of metaphysical and stuff which is very realistic.|
|L.S:||Are you thinking about throwing some art into the mix?|
|Clive:||I would love to persuade Harper-Collins to let me do some art for the collection, yeah. The question, I think, is how to do some art that will work in the paperback as well. But, yeah, I very much want to do this. There will also be some reprints of stories that have not yet been collected under a Clive Barker cover. "Lost Souls", in fact, will be in the collection. I believe this has only been collected under a Dennis Etchison collection before. There's also a story called "Coming to Grief" which was in Prime Evil. There's about four or five stories that I'm collecting plus a lot of new stuff.|
|L.S:||How about "On Amen's Shore"?|
|Clive:||Yes, it will be in there. "Pigeon and Theresa" will be in there, "Hermione and the Moon" and the stories Revelations, "Chiliad." Those are the pieces that we get a lot of letter about, wondering where they can get a copy. Now they will be under one cover. I'm also doing an introduction to each of the stories, much like I did for the plays, which I try to relate some sense of why the stories was written and where it fits into the mythology. My feeling is that the book, even though it very eclectic, will give old readers and new a sense of how the worlds all connect up, the rhyme and reason and that somehow or another all these worlds belong in the same realm. That's my ambition for the book. Whether I achieved that or not, we'll see. My editor for Harper-Collins Children's department, the people doing the Book of Hours, is coming here on Friday. We will be spending the day laying out our plans for what is turning out to be a massively ambitious book. We have 400 illustrations, all oil paintings. Every now and then I find myself in my studio thinking "fuck, I really got in deep here." But there's also sense in which we are really creating a world. It was interesting to see the new Star Wars picture trailer this weekend when I went to see 'Babe.' I realized that some of what draws me to the Book of Hours project is those things you get in Star Wars; a whole universe of creatures, worlds and landscapes. I hope the Book of Hours will provide the same pleasures, where you will be able to step into this place and have a sense that it is totally realized in paint and poetry. It is an alternative universe, the way Narnia is or Middle Earth. The uniqueness of this project is the same hand that is writing the words is also painting the pictures. I think that will make this fun for people.|
|L.S: Sounds great. I'm sure we are all looking forward to it!|
|Clive:||I really think this book has a chance to be something ground breaking. There has never been anything quite like it before. So that's all the stuff going on. The movies continue on their slow way toward realization. I am going to do a screenplay for Newline cinema, which will be an original screenplay. I am keeping this under wraps right now, but I will direct. It will be a horror movie, no question. Weaveworld, we will get the first teleplays for the first 3 hours of six next week. Hopefully we will proceed upon that next year. After all the many hopes and dashed hopes, we might finally get this thing in front of the camera. Candyman 3; which I had nothing to do with, was show to me a couple of weeks ago. I declined to put my name on it. I really don't think I contributed anything to it's creation and it seems entirely phony to plunk your name on it, take the money and run. I didn't think it was a badly created movie, I just didn't feel that it had anything to do with the mythology I originally created. I would have felt like a big old fake.|
|L.S:||They would have probably liked your name on it.|
|Clive:||They would have fucking loved it! Absolutely. In a lot of ways, this is how Hollywood works. I know that there
are people putting their names on things all the time and not having anything to do with them. I don't feel very
comfortable with that. If I'm going to be involved in something or I am
going to put my name on something it's because I am genuinely connected to the material and feel that I can contribute, like Gods and Monsters. I am very proud to have my name on that picture and feel like I was able to godfather it in some manner and help it through to it's creation. In Candyman 3 they didn't show me the script or anything, they just went and made the movie.
|L.S:||Is there a release date for the Book of short stories you are working on?|
|Clive:||I will turn it in Spring of 1999. They have penciled in, I emphasize penciled in, late fall of next year for release. I would always like more time (laughs). I would like time to play and whatever. I'm always saying give me another month or so. I've done five of the Mercy and the Jackal stories and I have done a draft of a story called Cold Hard Canyon, based in Los Angeles and is a very black, very dark movie star story. I have a draft of The Last Resrequiem and a lot of shorter pieces which are autobiographical, so I have done quite a lot of the stuff. Obviously the longer I have, the bigger the book will be. It's a very different experience writing short stories than writing a novel for obvious reasons. You're writing a novel to have a single narrative arch to it and you're not finished until the narrative has reached it's conclusion. With the book of short stories, I feel as if they were to give me two years to finish, I would just keep writing short stories and we'd end up with a thousand page book. I really enjoy writing short stories and I have a lot of stuff in my head right now. So if they give me another couple of months, I'll just write a couple more short stories.|
|L.S:||You're going to make many people, including myself, happy when this book finally reaches the bookstores.|
|Clive:||It's making me happy to write them. Being able to go between worlds, to go from the medieval fantasy world of Mercy and the Jackal to Miami where The Last Resrequiem is set, to Los Angeles in the 30's for the Cold Hard Canyon. To feel as though I can tell a story and reach the end reasonable fast is great in it's own right. Writing a novel, you are there for a long time, in a sense you are a willing prisoner of the world. In the short story it might take you four or five weeks to write and then you are done. There is something very satisfying about that. This book is going to be much, much bigger than any collection of short stories I have ever done before. We should have about seventeen or eighteen stories, plus the introductions for each, all under one cover. Now all I have to do is find a fucking title (Laughs)|
|L.S:||It will come to you.|
|Clive:||I know, but I always worry about that. I got such a cool letter today from a man in England today. His name is Graham Galilee. I didn't even know that the name was a real name, which is so cool. He said that his family had no great claim to fame, but that one of them had been hanged as a horse thief in the eighteenth century. It was great, such a cool letter.|