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.
October 28, 1988 |
In my dictionary, horror is described as "1. An intense and painful feeling of repugnance and fear; terror. 2. Intense dislike. " The former would certainly apply to the hottest kid on the chiller block but certainly not the latter, judging by the sales of Weaveworld by Clive Barker (Bantam, $4.95). And those fans won't mind the frequent klutzy aspect of the novel because it is also wildly inventive and delivers high on the horror meter. The kid sure cranks it out, doesn't he? Plays, stories, screenplays, all programmed by their crafty master to freeze your very soul, never mind your extremities.
September 3, 1986 |
Journalists always remark with surprise at how normal writers of horror fiction seem to them. Just as Stephen King catches them off guard with his boyish, guileless enthusiasm, Peter Straub impresses with his intellectual self-possession. What this usually means is that they're not wild-eyed and don't gibber, as their interviewers seem to expect. So let's get that out of the way right now: Clive Barker seems normal - is about as normal as any writer can claim to be. A youngish 34, smiling and happy, he has a quality of diffident eagerness that so many of the nicer English seem to display.
September 22, 1987 |
Ah, September. What a bloody good month for Clive Barker. Just a few days ago, the foul maw of hell opened, disgorging a band of doughy-faced demons with meat hooks, one skinned fiend and a river of innards. In another week or two, still more creatures will arrive, trailing protoplasm and giblets across America. Clive Barker is tickled a very deep shade of pink. So off come the sneakers and up go the feet, in screaming red socks. As the legion of innocents trundles along the Manhattan streets far below, Barker strikes a match.
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.
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)
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)
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.
August 7, 1987 |
Stephen King, who usually can be found atop the paperback mountain during August, is quoted no fewer than four times on the cover, back and inside back cover of The Inhuman Condition by Clive Barker (Pocket, $3.95). Among the quartet of hymns by King about Barker is this paean: "He's better than I am now. " Wow! But this collection of five stories promptly makes King's case with the title tale, a gem of a creepy-crawly about four young punks who rob and beat an old rummy. One of the punks finds a string with three curious knots among the derelict's possessions, swipes it and later works obsessively at untying them.
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)