Book of Blood

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Book of Blood
Teaser Poster
Directed by John Harrison
Produced by
Screenplay by
Based on Books of Blood
by Clive Barker
Music by Guy Farley
Cinematography Philip Robertson
Edited by Harry B. Miller III
Distributed by Essential Entertainment
Release date
  • 7 March 2009 (2009-03-07) (premiered)
  • 28 September 2009 (2009-09-28) (UK)
Running time
100 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

Book of Blood is a 2009 British mystery-drama-horror film directed by John Harrison and starring Jonas Armstrong, Sophie Ward, and Doug Bradley. It is based on the framing stories "The Book of Blood" and "On Jerusalem Street (A Postcript)" from Clive Barker's Books of Blood.


A hooded, disfigured young man is eating at a diner, being watched by a stranger. The stranger is Wyburd (Clive Russell), who has been stalking the young man, Simon (Jonas Armstrong). Wyburd convinces Simon to join him in his truck, where Simon passes out and awakens strapped to a table. Wyburd offers him a choice: a slow death, or a quick and clean death by telling the story of the Book of Blood, a series of scars and inscriptions carved on Simon from head to toe. Opting for a clean death, Simon reveals his story.

A young girl is violently raped and beaten in her bed while her parents stand outside screaming her name. An unseen force rips her face off, killing her. Several months later, paranormal professor Mary Florescu (Sophie Ward) and her partner Reg Fuller (Paul Blair) investigate the house to unlock its mysteriously murderous past. Mary encounters Simon McNeal, a seemingly clairvoyant young man to whom she develops an attraction. Simon reluctantly signs on to assist, and the three of them move in. Reg spots a terrifying ghost and dies from a fall. Mary sees Simon is attacked twice by ghosts; the second time, the ghosts carve into Simon's flesh with nails and glass shards, and Mary understands: she is the key to opening the way for the ghosts; her powers were what awakened them. She swears to the ghosts that she will tell all of their stories. The ghosts heed her words and depart, allowing Simon to survive the ordeal.

Simon reveals to Wyburd that he was from then on cursed to be the book on which the dead write while Mary wrote books and made millions off of the stories portrayed on him. As she aged, he remained the same youthful appearance, only more scarred with new stories for her to write. He admitted he couldn't take it anymore, so he fled, hence the reason Wyburd was hired to remove his skin. Wyburd, unmoved, lives up to his end of the bargain and kills Simon quickly. After placing his skin neatly into a suitcase, he waits for his payment. Blood suddenly starts pouring from the case, slowly filling the building that Wyburd is trapped in, and he drowns. Mary arrives, and is unfazed by Wyburd's body. She opens the suitcase, pulling out Simon's intact skin and smiling, as she begins to read the stories still being written upon the flesh.


  • Jonas Armstrong as Simon McNeal
  • Sophie Ward as Mary Florescu
  • Clive Russell as Wyburd
  • Paul Blair as Reg Fuller
  • Romana Abercromby as Janie
  • Simon Bamford as Derek
  • James Watson as Jimmy
  • Doug Bradley as Tollington
  • Gowan Calder as Janie's Mother
  • Graham Colquhoun as Simon's Father
  • Marcus McLeod as Janie's Father
  • James McAnerney as Doctor Nigel Blake
  • Joy McBrinn as Waitress
  • Charlie McFadden as Joanne
  • Jack North as Simon (age 11)
  • Andrew Scott-Ramsay as Male Student
  • Siobhan Reilly as Cashier
  • Jill Riddiford as Woman
  • Isla Stewart as Simon's Mother
  • Greig Taylor as Stevie McNeal
  • Emma Trevorrow as Child #1
  • Hannah Bottone as Child #2
  • Kirsty McEachran as Child #3
  • Louise McCourt as Child #4
  • Hannah O'Malley as Child #5
  • Adele Swordy as Child #6
  • Sophie Franklin as Child #7
  • Martin Brettle as Ghost
  • Javed Khan as World War I and 80s Ghost
  • Rhys Maitland-Jones as Contemporary Dead Guy
  • Roman Green as Ghostly Apparition


Adapted and directed by John Harrison from one of Clive Barker's Books of Blood, the film shoot occurred in Scotland, including Dundas Castle and Edinburgh[1] through December 2007 and into early 2008.[2] Following exposure at the 2008 European Film Market, and the completion of the FX shoot in London [3] Book of Blood premiered in North America premiere during the Montreal Fantasia film festival on 13 July 2009.[4] Book of Blood is the seventh story to be adapted from Barker's collection, following Rawhead Rex (filmed in 1986), The Forbidden (filmed in 1992 as Candyman), The Last Illusion (filmed in 1995 as Lord of Illusions), The Body Politic (filmed in 1997 within Quicksilver Highway), and The Midnight Meat Train. During his appearance at Fangoria's Weekend of Horrors, he noted this film will be followed by Dread, Pig Blood Blues, and then Madonna.[5]


The film premiered on 7 March 2009 as part of the Hamburg Fantasy Filmfest Nights. It was released the week of 28 September 2009 in the UK.

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