September 21, 1995 |
AMERICAN GOTHIC. Channel 3, 10 p.m. tomorrow. Someone's at the door - and in "American Gothic," it sure as hell ain't the Avon lady. With the most memorable tag line of the new fall season, "American Gothic" has already whipped up a tempest of interest with its provocative promos on CBS. Yet the biggest public flurry that has arisen about "American Gothic" is about its violence. In the first few minutes of tomorrow's pilot, a father whacks his daughter on the head with a shovel.
August 25, 1995 |
Fans of TV's "Quantum Leap" know the show isn't over until Scott Bakula takes off his shirt. It's in his contract. Must appear without shirt. Must be photographed with bare torso. This practice has won Bakula his share of admirers, among them director Clive Barker, who casts a virtually topless Bakula as the lead in the new horror movie "Lord of Illusions. " At least I think "Lord of Illusions" is a horror movie. There is nothing scary about this story of a private investigator (Bakula)
August 25, 1995 |
Nix, the supreme baddie of Clive Barker's Lord of Illusions, is, according to one keenly observant bystander, into "some kind of Charlie Manson deal. " Godhead to a pack of satanic cultists, Nix (Daniel Von Bargen) is a master of the black arts. His apocalyptic warnings are scrawled on walls in human blood. He can levitate, he can juggle fire and he can "get into people's heads and make them see terrible things. " Barker, the British horror scribe turned moviemaker, gets into our heads and makes us see terrible things, too. In Lord of Illusions, a murky and gruesome pastiche of Raymond Chandler and H.P. Lovecraft, we are witness to back-from-the-dead demons with the bubbling, burnt skin of overcooked pizza.
August 24, 1995 |
The master of terror takes his tea with cream, very sweet, three lumps not two, served in china cups translucent as dragonfly wings. He is dapper, like Vincent Price in House of Wax - milky-white tab shirt, tuxedo slacks with razor creases and a designer-print vest of swarming hues. He quotes Carl Jung, but it is James Whale, long-dead director of Frankenstein, with whom he most identifies: "He was a horror filmmaker, British, and gay, so it feels like there's a synchronicity.
October 29, 1992 |
On Saturday night, the streets will be filled with enough Freddy Kruegers to open a Nightmare on Elm Street talon agency, swarms of hockey-masked junior Jasons from Friday the 13th and a miniature Michael Myers or two from Halloween. This peewee salute to the three dominant maniac killers of '80s horror movies may bring joy to Halloween costume manufacturers, but it can only give pause to a director just starting out in the business. When so many have played the slice-and-dice game, how can you create a movie that's a cut above?
October 17, 1992 |
When John Carpenter released his hugely influential Halloween in 1978, he opened the bloodgates to films about murderers who were serial killers in two senses. They killed one victim after another and their deeds were gleefully celebrated in seemingly interminable movie series. So as we approach Halloween, give a big hello to the new kid on the block: Candyman, a treat for starved horror fans that offers more than the usual slick tricks. There's no innovative way of killing young girls who stray into basements that hasn't been tried on Elm Street or somewhere else, so writer-director Bernard Rose has devised a promising twist.
September 13, 1992 |
English horror scribe Clive Barker turned to filmmaking when, to his horror, he saw what happened with two of his early screenplays: Underworld and Rawhead Rex. These low-budget, British blood-and-gorefests, both directed by George Pavlou, have their fans, but Barker isn't among them. "It was self-defense," Barker says of his decision to direct, in 1987, Hellraiser, a trippy, claustrophobic movie teeming with oozing hags, cadaverous bloodsuckers and Pinhead - a guy dressed in bondage gear with pins stuck into his face.
October 5, 1990 |
The paperback editions of his books used to appear in August, usually along with the latest hardback. Then an editor must have said, "Yo, Stevie! We should be coming out in October, the time of the pumpkin, Halloween!" Yes, faithful fans, give a big welcome to Stephen King, who could be held personally responsible for the fact that horror prose is threatening the shelf space of almost everything else, including knitting and potpourri manuals. In King's latest paperback, The Dark Half (Signet, $5.95)
February 19, 1990 |
Written and directed by horror-meister Clive Barker (who adapted it from his novel Cabal), Night Breed aspires to slasher status but is too refined for it. No one, least of all Barker, knows whether the film's vaguely creepy creatures from a netherworld called Midian are murderous lepers or mild leprechauns. Night Breed's Midian, a sort of Druid theme park outside Toronto, is populated by inhabitants who caper like Kabuki monsters equipped with Steadicams. Then again, Midian just might be a recurring nightmare of Boone (Craig Sheffer)
January 22, 1990 |
Randolph Jaffe sorting mail in the dead letter section of the Omaha Central Post Office discovers the secret of life. Not a bad opening salvo for "The Great and Secret Show" (Harper & Row), Clive Barker's intended tour de fear. Jaffe, a man with no past, is transformed by the odd bits of knowledge and a medallion pilfered from the mail he is charged with opening. He leaves Omaha with evil intent fueled by an immutable desire to possess "the Art. " In league with a research scientist, Fletcher, he develops Nuncio, a chemical life force that imbues superhuman powers, making their battle, when it inevitably occurs, a real humdinger.