Transcript of Clive Barker's AOL Appearance 9/1/95

OnlineHost: Copyright 1995 Oldsmobile; licensed to America Online, Inc.

Clive Barker was born near Penny Lane, Liverpool, in 1952. After attending junior schools in that city, he entered Liverpool University to study English Literature and Philosophy. At twenty-one, Clive moved to London. There he formed a theatre company to perform the plays that he was writing, and worked in that medium throughout his twenties as a writer, director and actor. Many of these early plays contained the fantastical, erotic and horrific elements that would later become part of his literary work. They include: The History of the Devil, Frankenstein in Love, Subtle Bodies, The Secret Life of Cartoons, and a play about his favorite painter, Goya, entitled Colossus. These works are now seeing publication in Pandemonium magazine. The imaginative qualities that were such a fundamental part of Clive's theatrical work found their first literary outlet in the short fiction to which he turned in his late twenties. The first published examples of these tales are The Books of Blood, Volumes 1-3. They saw only modest success in the UK, but with the publication of the books in the United States and the appearance of his first novel, The Damnation Game, he began to find favor with readers and critics alike. Three more volumes followed, published in the UK as The Books of Blood, Volumes 4-6, and retitled in America as The Inhuman Condition, In the Flesh, and Cabal. By this point many of his books were finding their way into translation, and now appear in over a dozen languages. In 1987, following the adaptation of two of his stories for the movies (Rawhead Rex and Transmutations, both of which he disliked), he decided to direct something himself. The result was "Hellraiser," based on a novella called "The Hellbound Heart." The film developed a cult following, and has since spawned several lines of comic books as well as three movie sequels: "Hellraiser 2: Hellbound" (directed by Tony Randall), "Hellraiser 3: Hell on Earth" (directed by Tony Hickox), and "Hellraiser 4: Bloodline" (currently in production under the direction of Kevin Yagher). Subsequently, Clive adapted his short story Cabal into the film "Nightbreed," which he also directed. After the publication of the novels Weaveworld and The Great and Secret Show, several Barker-related publications appeared: graphic art adaptations of his short stories called "Tapping the Vein," and two large format books covering his art work called Clive Barker: Illustrator, volumes I and II. The epic fantasy novel Imajica followed, then an illustrated children's fable called The Thief of Always (which is being developed into an animated feature for Paramount), a line of superhero comics for Marvel called "Razorline," and a one-man art show at the Bess Cutler Gallery in New York. Clive also served as Executive Producer on the film "Candyman" (directed by Bernard Rose) which was based on his short story, "The Forbidden," and on "Candyman 2: Farewell to the Flesh," which is currently in production under the direction of Bill Condon. Most recently, Clive published Everville, the sequel novel to The Great and Secret Show. He is currently in post-production on the film Lord of Illusions, which he wrote and directed. Though Clive has moved from London to Los Angeles and is now involved with several projects for both the large screen and small, his first love remains books. He numbers amongst his literary influences the works of Edgar Allen Poe, Ray Bradbury, Herman Melville, William Blake, William Burroughs, Arthur Machen, and both the old and new Testaments of the Bible.

Please welcome Clive Barker to Center Stage!

CelebCircl: Mr. Barker, welcome to Oldsmobile's Celebrity Circle!
CliveBrkr: Thank you all for waiting. As you probably already heard, we had a phantom presence in our "very" select circle! So, to the questions...
CLINT N L CB: Is there one story out there now written by another author that you would love to direct?
CliveBrkr: I would really like to make a movie based on the life of Christ, but a suppose that's four authors, isn't it? Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
Road Crew Mr. Barker, when is Hellraiser 4: Bloodlines coming out? What is it about?
CliveBrkr: I don't know when it's coming out, it's not my movie. It only stars a character I brought into the world! But I do know what it's about: It concerns the cenobites pursuit of the man who made the first puzzle box through several generations.
Breadbox Sometimes when I read your books, I'm embarrassed that you think things which are so horrifying that I can't believe you think them. But you pull me out of the mundane into a place where the worst is happening and it's disturbing. Do you read what you write and wonder where the ideas came from?
CliveBrkr: Of course. There is a sense in which any author is surprised by what finds its way onto the page, I suspect. But I think this is particularly true of authors who, like myself, travel into our unconscious, into our dream lives, for our inspiration. I am constantly astonished by what my mind discovers. inside itself.
StockM16. When did you begin creating terror stories?
CliveBrkr: When I first gathered around a campfire with a bunch of other Boy Scouts--about the age of ten. And realized that even though I was a lousy scout, I could scare the f--- out of my peers. What a lovely sense of power.
Barnabas01 Mr. Barker, in LOI I noticed that after Nix's resurrection, his forehead was pulsing. Was this a reference to the 3rd eye or just something to add gore?
CliveBrkr: You are exactly right. It is a reference to the third eye, the place that mystics have traditionally located in the middle of our forehead from which psychic power emanates. Well spotted!
Bratwrst1 What inspired you to do the very revealing movie "The Forbidden," Mr. Barker?
CliveBrkr: I made "The Forbidden" when I was twenty or so and didn't feel any constraints upon its content. Eroticism and sexual frankness have always been a part of my work. "The Forbidden" was perhaps the earliest manifestation of that aspect on film.
MastrFlyn. Is there going to be a film adaptation of The Yattering and The Jack from the Books of Blood?
CliveBrkr: We've talked about a film adaptation of that story several times. I don't discount the possibility of a film version at some point in the future.
Barnabas01 Mr. Barker, you've stated you believe that through dreams we are able to see into other worlds. Do you believe that beings from these other realms can interact with us? And if so, what do you feel that they are benevolent or malevolent toward us.
CliveBrkr: I don't have evidence of influences by other beings through dreams, but I certainly don't discount the possibility. If they exist it seems likely to me they will be both good and bad, as that certainly seems to be true of our species.
RSVR DGS Is it harder to make a movie or write a book?
CliveBrkr: It's much harder to write a book, at least for me. When making the movie, you are surrounded by other creators, other imaginations all of whom are there to collaborate with you in the process. When I write a novel I am essentially on my own with a pen, a lot of paper, and my ideas--for anything up to 18 months. There is no recourse to other contributors. I am on my own.
Macky G1're good looking yourself...have you ever considered acting too?
CliveBrkr: Thank you Macky. I wouldn't dare. Though I have been tempted on one or two occasions to make a 'guest appearance' in one of my movies like Hitchcock. Maybe in the future...
Sakmak Clive...finally...what was your favorite book to do and why?
CliveBrkr: "Imajica" was my favorite writing experience. A totally obsessive immersion in an invented world. I got the highest highs and the lowest lows out of that experience.
Bogart123 I loved "The Damnation Game" is their anything planned to happen with it?
CliveBrkr: Here in Hollywood, just about any book gets debated as a possible movie at some point. And, there have certainly been people interested in "The Damnation Game" but there is nothing concrete planned as we speak.
ATeam69 Candyman 1 and 2 were great movies. Any chance of a number three?
CliveBrkr: I don't think so. I am very proud of both the Candyman pictures, but I haven't been approached by Polygram for a third picture. Of course, it took almost ten years for Hollywood to make a sequel to "Alien", so anything is possible.
MNevi5674 What is your next project?
CliveBrkr: I am writing a book called "Sacrament" at the moment, a fantasy book with a very dark vein running through it. It is about animals and extinction. I am also publishing a book of my plays, called "Incarnations", which will come from HarperPrism in December. Also in the works, new paintings and drawings for exhibition here in the States and in Europe. And--if I can fit it in--a science fiction movie.
OnlineHost: Due to our late start, our interview with Clive Barker will extend past 11:00pm EST.
GregsGhos Granted, it's all in the interpretation, but I felt 'Lord of Illusions' played with a great deal of homoerotic imagery. Do you find it difficult to push the boundaries of what you can and cannot show?
CliveBrkr: You would be right to find some gay elements at work in LOI. As a gay writer/filmmaker, I think it's inevitable that some of my characters and situations echo my orientation. It is, however, a problem to push these elements as far as I would like. By and large, the horror audience is curiously conservative when it comes to erotic matters. Present company excepted, of course!
Barnabas01 Mr. Barker, when is your birthday? I have been trying for weeks to find this out, but to no avail.
CliveBrkr: You are also very polite! As we are getting to know each other here, please feel free to call me Clive! My birthday is October 5. I was born by Cesarean section at 1:00 am in Liverpool, England. Now you know it all!
Alien Poe Clive, what was your relationship with Francis Bacon? I love his work, along with Giger!
CliveBrkr: I never met Bacon, unfortunately. He died before I entered the London scene. I, like you, am simply a fan of his work who admires it intensely. The same with Giger though, of course, H.R. is alive and well and living in Zurich. We talk on the phone every few months. As you can well imagine, the Giger-Barker exchanges are damn strange!
Jen76543. Clive, what's with the dream-sea theme in all your books lately? I feel like I'm reading the same book over and over. (It IS a good book...)
CliveBrkr: The dream-sea appears only in two books--"The Great and Secret Show" and "Everville"--but it is very much a theme I want to explore and develop. It goes back to something we were discussing earlier the idea that our dreams are in some way doorways to our inner and most secret lives. There is one more book about the Dream-sea in me. Then I'm going to shut up about it.
Cenobite Is there a personal E-mail address to write to you?
CliveBrkr: No there is not, but I have a P.O. Box # where you can contact me. Hold on just a second I'll see if I can't dig it up.
LindaW212. I would like some advice on how to get through a bad spell of writer's block. I'm new at horror writing. My monster is a wimp. Any words of wisdom?
CliveBrkr: Sometimes wimpy monsters can turn into heroes! I would suggest if the writing is really problematical that you skip over the difficult portion and deal with something later in your book. It's a trick I use when I come up against a difficult passage. I hope it's useful to you. And, the best of luck with your book. Now, bear with me one second, I'm running down to get that P.O. Box address for you to contact me. For everybody's information, I can be contacted by mail at P.O. Box 691885, Los Angeles, CA 90069
LCFILM Clive, Candyman is my favorite horror movie, the plot is a masterwork. However, I found it to be very different than your short story. My question is, how did the changes come about? Was that your decision, or Hollywood's?
CliveBrkr: I still prefer the short story to the movie, though I am still a great fan of Candyman. As I was saying earlier, film is the collaborative art. In that case, it was a story created by Bernard Rose and myself based upon the short story. In other words, a marriage of minds.
Barnabas01 Mr. Barker, I heard you may be working with a company to create some computer games...any chance of a synopsis of these?
CliveBrkr: We are a little early in the process to give you synopses, but yes, I am VERY keen and excited to be taking a journey into these new realms. Any opportunity to introduce you out there to what's going on between my ears is fun!
AFCJane Please...Hello, what type of books do you read/who is your favorite author and why?
CliveBrkr: I don't have a single favorite author. I love, in no particular order, the works of Edgar Allan Poe, Ray Bradbury, Herman Melville, Oscar Wilde, Shakespeare, Jean Genet...oh, the list is endless! When I am writing a novel--as I am right now---I tend not to read fiction but to immerse myself in books that help me with my researches.
Miami Mx2 Do you feel flattered that some of your books are course material in certain literature classes in universities?
CliveBrkr: I love the fact that my books are being read and analyzed now. It's extraordinarily flattering to think that professors and the like are finding interesting aspects of my work to discuss.
Ohmegaman If someone has a idea for a film, where would be a good place to start?
CliveBrkr: If you're a screenwriter, then write it! If not, then find somebody who shares your enthusiasm for the idea and who WILL write it for you.
Quiksette Will there be any continuation to the "Damnation Game" plot line?
CliveBrkr: I haven't got any plans in that direction. At the moment. Though I can never predict which way my imagination will take me.
PFisOmni Are there any plans for film adaptations of any of the stories in your "Books of Blood" masterpiece?
CliveBrkr: We are talking at the moment, my agents and I, about several potential adaptations for film but I'm a little superstitious about such things, so I prefer to keep them to myself until the contracts are signed.
CelebCircl: We have time for only a few more questions.
Pinhead66 Mr. Barker, I am a devoted fan and have been for quite some time. I have a few questions. First I would like to know how you came up with the idea for Hellraiser and the Pinhead character.
CliveBrkr: Pinhead appeared in a dream. I drew him, gave the drawing to the special effects man, and they transformed Doug Bradley, who plays the part, into the very image of what I had seen in my dream.
VJC4ST. Clive, I wrote you a poem about Weaveworld when I first read it. I have two letters from you...I also saw your program on SciFi about your new do I get an autographed photo?
CliveBrkr: The best thing to do is write to the P.O. Box number which we put on screen a while ago and ask. Behold, it will be yours! By the way, we will repeat the P.O. Box number at the end of our conversations (and it will be available if you download this transcript tomorrow).
Bnwboomer. Stephen King mentioned your Books of Blood in the cover of a paperback. Do you know King and did he inspire you or help you in any way?
CliveBrkr: I have known Steve, not closely, but well for seven or eight years. He wasn't a direct influence on my work, but clearly his extraordinary popularity has drawn millions of readers to horror literature for which I am eternally grateful.
GraxSpoo Imajica was my favorite of your books. Any chance of a sequel?
CliveBrkr: Boy, a sequel to Imajica doesn't seem possible to me. It is also my favorite amongst my books. But it ends with the hero beginning on a journey of salvation that I'm not sure I would ever want to set in words. Sometimes it's best just to allow readers like yourself to dream the rest.
MarcThorn. Hey Clive, I was wondering , did you have final edit over "Lords of Illusion"? And where there any scenes that you filmed that were not in the final version? Also, were you happy with the final result?
CliveBrkr: I'm very proud of "Lord of Illusions." I think it's a stylish and intelligent movie which seems to be scaring the hell out of America! The MPAA who classify movies had me remove a few seconds from the picture in order to get my R rating. These missing seconds along with some more material that did not make it into the theatrical cut will be available in the definitive director's cut on video.
CelebCircl: Clive, thanks for joining us tonight. Is there anything you'd like to say to our audience before you go?
CliveBrkr: Ladies and Gentlemen, I always welcome an opportunity to talk with readers and spectators like yourselves. It seems to me that I am blessed with an extraordinarily eloquent and informed circle of fans. Thank you so much for your passion and your enthusiasm. If there are questions which you need answering which we haven't addressed tonight, please feel free to write to me at P.O. Box 691885, Los Angeles, CA 90069. And what else should I wish you except Sweet Dreams? Goodnight, friends.
OnlineHost: Our thanks to Clive Barker for opening September in the Celebrity Circle. For a transcript of this event, be sure to return tomorrow about the same time. Thank you and good night!

OnlineHost: Copyright 1995 Oldsmobile; licensed to America Online, Inc.

Disclaimer: This page was created for the purpose of enjoyment and education. It is not my intent to infringe upon copyrights or trademarks. Alterations will be made upon request.

Updated 2/15/98