Horror Rewind #4 – “Prime Evil” (ed. Douglas E. Winter) (1988)

Or should that be "Anti-Horror Rewind"? American lawyer Douglas E. Winter made his literary name with one of the first book-length studies of Stephen King's work (The Art of Darkness), and in 2001 wrote the authorised biography of Clive Barker (The Dark Fantastic). In between, he edited (although curated may be a more appropriate term) … Continue reading Horror Rewind #4 – “Prime Evil” (ed. Douglas E. Winter) (1988)

The Folk Horror Chain in Clive Barker’s “Books of Blood”

The Folk Horror Chain is a framework devised by writer and film-maker Adam Scovell in his essential study of the genre, Folk Horror: Hours Dreadful and Things Strange. For Scovell, Folk Horror can - among other things - be categorised as "a work that uses folklore…to imbue itself with a sense of the arcane for … Continue reading The Folk Horror Chain in Clive Barker’s “Books of Blood”

Horror Rewind #1 – Mark Morris’s “Toady” (1989)

Welcome to the first in an occasional series of retrospective looks at 80s & early 90s horror. There are, I know, loads of excellent websites covering this area. Will Errickson's Too Much Horror Fiction is the Daddy, and of course Grady Hendrix's essential Paperbacks from Hell is your print companion. Elsewhere in the Gyre I've … Continue reading Horror Rewind #1 – Mark Morris’s “Toady” (1989)

At last…Clive Barker’s ‘Nightbreed’ (1990/2014)

"At last, the night has a hero" - Cabal strapline. I've written elsewhere about the anticipation my friends and I felt in the months before the release of Clive Barker's second feature film Nightbreed in the autumn of 1990. Not that we got to see it: an unimpressive box-office in America meant it only got … Continue reading At last…Clive Barker’s ‘Nightbreed’ (1990/2014)

Clive Barker: “Candyman”, “The Forbidden”, Place, Race & Time

Bernard Rose's 1992 film horror Candyman was adapted by him from Clive Barker's 1985 short story "The Forbidden", published in volume 5 of the groundbreaking Books of Blood. Candyman transports the action from Barker's Liverpool to Chicago, specifically to the "projects" (US term for "housing scheme") of Cabrini-Green. In addition to the source material's look … Continue reading Clive Barker: “Candyman”, “The Forbidden”, Place, Race & Time

1990: summer of cinema

This piece was an unsuccessful competition entry. The brief was "memories of cinema-going". Not for us the spurious joys of cider by the fountain, or Tennent’s behind the hut in the top park. The summer my friends and I turned sixteen we marked this coming-of-age by getting into the cinema to watch 18-rated films. With … Continue reading 1990: summer of cinema

In praise of brevity: Clive Barker’s “Cabal” and the anti-epic

Clive Barker’s 1988 novel Cabal is short: at 253 pages, padded out by chapter breaks and illustrations, it’s practically a novella. After the effort of writing the 700-odd pages of Weaveworld, this was a refreshing length for the author: "One of the interesting things about going to Cabal after [Weaveworld] was that I found a … Continue reading In praise of brevity: Clive Barker’s “Cabal” and the anti-epic

Killing the parents: Clive Barker’s “Hellraiser”

"There are no new tales, only new ways to tell." Clive Barker, in introducing Christopher Marlowe's renaissance drama Doctor Faustus, acknowledges that the challenge for the modern writer lies in the "shaping of a fresh and original interpretation of a story cast and re-cast several hundred times." The artist must drive "his imagination to new … Continue reading Killing the parents: Clive Barker’s “Hellraiser”

Flitting

Hello. Flitting. The word suggests transience: quick, uncertain movements. Not lingering. And maybe that’s what posts should be: snapshots of where your head is, nothing over-thought. But ‘flitting’ is also the word – in Scotland anyway – for moving house. That suggests a stay of a much longer duration, of certainty and purpose. The things … Continue reading Flitting