Taken from What's On, October 1, 1999

Just call him Mr Hell Raiser

Clive Barker is the genius behind films such as Hellraiser and Candyman and a string of best-selling novels. Ardent fan Sue Potter caught up with him before his recent date at Christ - Church College, Cantebury.

Clive Barker hasn't scared the pants off anyone for more than a decade. But the best-selling author of The Books of Blood and the genius behind the Hellraiser and Candyman films still finds himself trapped in a genre pigeonhole which he has long since left behind.

It's not that he's ashamed of these earlier and more gory works, he explains, it's simply that he's moved on since then.

On a flying visit to England to promote his latest book, The Essential Clive Barker, he spoke about his latest offering.

"In a way I'm a victim of my own success," he sighed.

"People like those early books and those movies, and I like them too, but I don't do them any more and it's almost as though everyone is just catching up five years on.

"The fact is, I don't have anything interesting to say about scaring the pants off people. I've said it all and moved on."

For anyone who still doesn't believe him The Essential Clive Barker is a must-read.

Here, in one enormous volume, are more than 70 excerpts from novels, plays and four full-length stories, all personally selected by the author, representing a vigorous and flourishing career that spans more than 20 years.

With a forward by Armistead Maupin, who describes the author as a "free range fabulist", and a revealing introduction by Olive himself this is a book for both die hard fans an(1 th6se who arc still coming to terms with the diversity of his writing.

Clive Barker was born in Liverpool in 1952. He studied English and Philosophy at Liverpool University before moving to London.

A struggling artist and playwright he mounted his own fringe plays such as Frankenstein in Love and The History of the Devil while writing in his spare time the stories which an amazed world would come to know as The Books of Blood.

Bestsellers such as Weaveworld, The Great and Secret Show, Imajica, Everville, Sacrament and Galilee, which is published in paperback this week, followed, selling millions of copies around the world and topping best seller lists in both Britain and America.
He is also a successful filmmaker with films including Hellraiser, Nightbreed, Candyman and Lord of Illusions to his name.

Ho moved to Los Angeles in 1991
where he lives with his partner, the photographer David Armstrong, and is working on a collection of erotic short stories, poems, paintings and photographs and a series of children's books.

The death of his father last month has affected him deeply and he confesses it's hard going on the road and "playing the author" with the grief of that loss so fresh in his mind. But at the same time it brings with it a certain completeness, a closing of the circle which began all those years ago when, as a child, he discovered his ability to create stories powerful enough to affect adults.

He recalls: "I had always been able to tell stories to my contemporaries which worked but it wasn't until I was 13 years old and wrote a story which touched an adult that I knew this was something I desperately wanted to do:"

The man in question was his English teacher and. idol, Norman Russell, who, since his retirement, has become a novelist himself.

The rest, as they say, is history Millions have followed where he has led, revelling in his visions of other worlds inhabited by strange creatures of questionable sexuality demons and angels, sinners and saints and just plain old ordinary folk caught up in the middle of something unimaginable.

There wasn't enough room in the new book to include one of his favourite pieces exploring his relationship with Christ, but otherwise he feels it's a good mid-career assessment of what he has achieved so far. Fans can rest assured that there's plenty more where that came from.