Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Barker, Clive

(1952-    ) UK writer, producer, director and artist who made a ground-breaking literary debut in the Horror field with the simultaneous publication of the first three volumes of Clive Barker's Books of Blood (coll 1984 3 vols). Born and raised in Liverpool, he started writing plays and stories in his teens. At age 16 he was inspired when local author Ramsey Campbell was invited to his school to talk to the pupils about writing horror. At age 21, after several years' toiling in Liverpool's fringe theatre, CB moved to London and spent the next eight years on welfare. He wrote and painted every day for his own enjoyment, being dismissed by one DHSS official as "unemployable" when he listed his occupation as "writer". He began to gain a measure of success writing plays with members of his theatre group, The Dog Company, and enjoyed two very successful seasons at the Edinburgh Festival with his production The History of the Devil (1981) and a short West End run in 1986 with The Secret Life of Cartoons (1983). He wrote the first three Books of Blood over a period of eight months, during the evenings and at weekends. He followed this auspicious debut with an ambitious Faustian novel (see Faust), The Damnation Game (1985), and a further Books of Blood trio (coll 1985 3 vols). During this period he also wrote the screenplays for two low-budget UK movies, Underworld (1985 US; vt Transmutations) and Rawhead Rex (1986), the latter based on his own published story. Publicly dissatisfied with the results, he approached New World Pictures asking to write and direct Hellraiser (1987), an audacious blend of sexual subtext and explicit gore with a sadomasochistic slant, loosely based on his novella The Hellbound Heart (in Night Visions 3 anth 1986 ed George R R Martin; 1991). The movie was a surprise hit, especially on video, creating a genuine horror Icon in the character of the demonic Pinhead and spawning three sequels to date, each scripted by long-time schoolfriend and associate Peter Atkins. Barker went on to write and direct Nightbreed (1990), based on Cabal (1988), and Lord of Illusions (1995), inspired by his story "The Last Illusion" (1985), both with higher budgets but less success, and executive-produce the two Candyman films, based on his short story "The Forbidden" (1985). His subsequent novels, such as Weaveworld (1987), Cabal, The Great and Secret Show: The First Book of The Art (1989), Imajica (1991), Everville: The Second Book of the Art (1994) and Sacrament (1996), have been Epic Fantasies, usually with pronounced horror elements, of Alternate Worlds or Otherworlds, resolutely moving away from trappings of horror towards what the author likes to term the "fantastique". CB also wrote and illustrated the YA fantasy The Thief of Always: A Fable (1992). Much of his later work reflects his fascination with such recurring themes as hidden dimensions and physical Transformation, and as a writer and moviemaker he continues to redefine the boundaries of the genre. Since 1991 he has lived and worked in Beverly Hills. [SJ]

Other work: Incarnations: Three Plays (coll 1995).

as writer/director/producer/actor: Salome (made 1973; 1995), 8mm experimental short film; The Forbidden (made 1975-1978; 1995), 16mm experimental short film; Tales from the Darkside: The Yattering and Jack (1987), scripted for tv from own story; Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988), exec pr; Candyman (1992), exec pr; Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth (1992), exec pr; Sleepwalkers (1992), actor; Candyman 2: Farewell to the Flesh (1995), exec pr; Hellraiser: Bloodline (1995), exec pr; «Clive Barker's A-Z of Horror» (1996), as tv host; «The Thief of Always» (1996), musical Animated Movie, exec pr.

further reading: Clive Barker's The Nightbreed Chronicles * (coll 1990) ed Stephen Jones; Clive Barker's Nightbreed: The Making of the Film * (1990) by Mark Salisbury and John Gilbert; Clive Barker Illustrator (graph coll 1990) ed Steve Niles; Clive Barker's Shadows in Eden (anth 1991) ed Jones; Pandemonium (anth 1991) ed Michael Brown; The Hellraiser Chronicles * (coll 1992) ed Jones; Illustrator II: The Art of Clive Barker (graph coll 1993) by Fred Burke; Clive Barker: Mythmaker for the Millennium (1994 chap) by Suzanne J Barbieri; Clive Barker's Short Stories: Imagination as Metaphor in the Books of Blood and Other Works (1994) by Gary Hoppenstand; Clive Barker's A-Z of Horror (coll 1996) ed Jones; Clive Barker A-Z (1996) by Burke.

Clive Barker


This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.