Clive Barker

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For the English pop artist, see Clive Barker (artist). For the South African coach, see Clive Barker (soccer).
Clive Barker
Barker at the Science Fiction Museum in 2007
Born (1952-10-05) 5 October 1952 (age 63)
Liverpool, England
Occupation Author, film director, screenwriter, producer, actor, playwright, painter, illustrator and visual artist
Nationality British
Genre Horror, fantasy

Clive Barker (born 5 October 1952) is an English writer, film director, and visual artist best known for his work in both fantasy and horror fiction. Barker came to prominence in the mid-1980s with a series of short stories known as the Books of Blood which established him as a leading young horror writer. He has since written many novels and other works, and his fiction has been adapted into films, notably the Hellraiser and Candyman series. He was the Executive Producer of the film Gods and Monsters, which won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Barker's paintings and illustrations have been featured in galleries in the United States, as well as within his own books. He has also created original characters and series for comic books, and some of his more popular horror stories have been adapted to the medium.

His archives have been a source of material for biographies and non-fiction books containing his personal essays, discussions of his fringe theater work, interviews, and other content.

Early life[edit]

Clive Barker was born in Liverpool, Merseyside, the son of Joan Ruby (née Revill), a painter and school welfare officer, and Leonard Barker, a personnel director for an industrial relations firm.[1][2] He was educated at Dovedale Primary School, Quarry Bank High School and the University of Liverpool, where he studied English and Philosophy.[3]

When he was four years old, Barker witnessed the French skydiver Léo Valentin plummet to his death during a performance at an air show in Liverpool. Barker would later allude to Valentin in many of his stories.[4]

Writing career[edit]

Barker is an author of contemporary horror/fantasy. He began writing in the horror genre early in his career, mostly in the form of short stories (collected in Books of Blood 1 – 6) and the Faustian novel The Damnation Game (1985). Later he moved towards modern-day fantasy and urban fantasy with horror elements in Weaveworld (1987), The Great and Secret Show (1989), the world-spanning Imajica (1991), and Sacrament (1996), bringing in the deeper, richer concepts of reality, the nature of the mind and dreams, and the power of words and memories.

Barker's distinctive style is characterised by the notion of hidden fantastical worlds coexisting with our own, the role of sexuality in the supernatural, and the construction of coherent, complex and detailed universes. Barker has referred to this style as "dark fantasy" or the "fantastique". His stories are notable for a deliberate blurring of the distinction between binary opposites such as Hell and Heaven, or pleasure and pain (the latter particularly so in The Hellbound Heart).

When the Books of Blood were first published in the United States in paperback, Stephen King was quoted on the book covers: "I have seen the future of horror and his name is Clive Barker."[5] As influences on his writing, Barker lists Herman Melville, Edgar Allan Poe, Ray Bradbury, William S. Burroughs, William Blake and Jean Cocteau, among others.[6]

He is also the writer of the best-selling Abarat series, and plans on producing two more novels in the series.[7]

Barker's basic philosophy and approach are revealed in his foreword to H.R. Giger's illustrated work, Necronomicon (1993 edition).

Film work[edit]

Barker has a keen interest in film production, although his films have received mixed receptions. He wrote the screenplays for Underworld (a.k.a. Transmutations – 1985) and Rawhead Rex (1986), both directed by George Pavlou.[8] Displeased by how his material was handled, he moved to directing with Hellraiser (1987), based on his novella The Hellbound Heart. His early films, the shorts The Forbidden and Salome, are experimental art films with surrealist elements, which have been re-released together to moderate critical acclaim. After his film Nightbreed (1990), which was widely considered to be a flop, Barker returned to write and direct Lord of Illusions (1995). A short story titled "The Forbidden", from Barker's Books of Blood, provided the basis for the 1992 film Candyman and its two sequels (whereof he was also producer of the two first). Barker was an executive producer of the film Gods and Monsters (1998), which received major critical acclaim. He had been working on a series of film adaptations of his The Abarat Quintet books under Disney's management, but has admitted that because of creative differences, this project will not go ahead. In 2005, Barker created the film production company Midnight Picture Show together with horror film producer Jorge Saralegui, with the intent of producing two horror films per year.[9] Since then, the company has produced four films: The Plague (2006), The Midnight Meat Train (2008), Book of Blood (2009) and Dread (2009).[10]

In October 2006, Barker announced through his official website that he will be writing the script to a forthcoming remake of the original Hellraiser film.[11][12] He is also developing a film based on his Tortured Souls line of toys from McFarlane Toys.

Visual art[edit]

Barker is a prolific visual artist working in a variety of media, often illustrating his own books. His paintings have been seen first on the covers of his official fan club magazine, Dread, published by Fantaco in the early '90s; on the covers of the collections of his plays, Incarnations (1995) and Forms of Heaven (1996); and on the second printing of the original British publications of his Books of Blood series. Barker also provided the artwork for his young adult novel The Thief of Always and for the Abarat series. His artwork has been exhibited at Bert Green Fine Art in Los Angeles and Chicago, at the Bess Cutler Gallery in New York and La Luz De Jesus in Los Angeles. Many of his sketches and paintings can be found in the collection Clive Barker, Illustrator, published in 1990 by Arcane/Eclipse Books, and in Visions of Heaven and Hell, published in 2005 by Rizzoli Books. The most complete selection of Clive Barker's paintings and drawings are available to view in a gallery setting on the website.

He worked on the creative side of a horror video game, Clive Barker's Undying, providing the voice for the character Ambrose. Undying was developed by DreamWorks Interactive and released in 2001. He also worked on Clive Barker's Jericho for Codemasters, which was released in late 2007.

Barker created Halloween costume designs for Disguise Costumes.[13][14]

Comic books[edit]

A long-term comics fan, Barker achieved his dream of publishing his own superhero books when Marvel Comics launched the Razorline imprint in 1993. Based on detailed premises, titles and lead characters he created specifically for this, the four interrelated titles — set outside the Marvel universe — were Ectokid (written first by James Robinson, then by future Matrix co-creator Lana Wachowski, with art by Steve Skroce), Hokum & Hex (written by Frank Lovece, art by Anthony Williams), Hyperkind (written by Fred Burke, art by Paris Cullins and Bob Petrecca) and Saint Sinner (written by Elaine Lee, art by Max Douglas). A 2002 Barker telefilm titled Saint Sinner bore no relation to the comic.

Barker horror adaptations and spinoffs in comics include the Marvel/Epic Comics series Hellraiser, Nightbreed, Pinhead, The Harrowers, Book of the Damned, and Jihad; Eclipse Books' series and graphic novels Tapping The Vein, Dread, Son of Celluloid, Revelations The Life of Death, Rawhead Rex and The Yattering and Jack, and Dark Horse Comics' Primal, among others. Barker served as a consultant and wrote issues of the Hellraiser anthology comic book.

In 2005, IDW published a three-issue adaptation of Barker's children's fantasy novel The Thief of Always, written and painted by Kris Oprisko and Gabriel Hernandez. IDW is publishing a 12 issue adaptation of Barker's novel The Great and Secret Show.

In December 2007, Chris Ryall and Clive Barker announced an upcoming collaboration of an original comic book series, Torakator, to be published by IDW.[15]

In October 2009, IDW published Seduth (Written by Clive Barker and Chris Monfette; art by Gabriel Rodriguez; colours by Jay Fotos; letters by Neil Uyetake; edits by Chris Ryall; and 3-D conversion by Ray Zone), the first time Barker has created a world specifically for the comic book medium in two decades. The work was released with three variant covers; cover a featuring art by Gabriel Rodriguez and cover b with art by Clive Barker and the third is a "retailer incentive signed edition cover" with art by Clive Barker.[16]

In 2011, Boom! Studios began publishing an original Hellraiser comic book series. The comic book picks up 2 decades after the events of Hellbound: Hellraiser II, and from there, builds its own mythology. The book has several credited writers: Chris Monfette, Anthony Diblasi, Mark Miller and most recently Witch Doctor creator Brandon Seifert. The series is ongoing and has just celebrated its second anniversary in print.

In 2013, Boom! Studios announced the first original story by Barker to be published in comic book format: Next Testament. The story concerns a man named Julian Demond who unearths the God of the Old Testament and discovers that he has bitten off more than he can chew. The series is co-written by Seraphim Films Vice President Mark Miller.




  • (1984–1985) Books of Blood
  • (1985) The Inhuman Condition
  • (1986) In The Flesh
  • (2000) The Essential Clive Barker: Selected Fiction

(2015) Tonight, Again: Tales of Love, Lust and Everything In Between.



Year Title Director Producer Writer
1973 Salome
1978 The Forbidden
1985 Underworld
1986 Rawhead Rex
1987 Hellraiser
1988 Hellbound: Hellraiser II
1990 Nightbreed
1992 Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth
1995 Lord of Illusions
1996 Hellraiser: Bloodline
1998 Gods and Monsters
2002 Saint Sinner
2006 The Plague
2008 The Midnight Meat Train
2009 Book of Blood
TBA Hellraiser
TBA Tortured Souls: Animae Damnatae
TBA Born

Video games[edit]

Personal life[edit]

In 2003, Barker received the Davidson/Valentini Award at the 15th GLAAD Media Awards.[17] Barker has been critical of organised religion throughout his career, but he has stated that the Bible influences his work and spirituality.[18] In 2003, Barker remarked "I am, [a Christian]" during an episode of Real Time With Bill Maher when Ann Coulter implied he was not a Christian.[19]

Barker said in a December 2008 online interview (published in March 2009) that he had polyps in his throat which were so severe that a doctor told him he was taking in ten percent of the air he was supposed to have been getting. He has had two surgeries to remove them and believes his resultant voice is an improvement over how it was prior to the surgeries. He said he did not have cancer and has given up cigars.[20]

As of 2015, he is a member of the board of advisers for the Hollywood Horror Museum.


In a 20 August 1996 appearance on the radio call-in show Loveline, Barker stated that during his teens he had several relationships with older women, and came to identify himself as homosexual by 18 or 19 years old.[21] Barker has been openly gay since the early 1990s.[22] His relationship with John Gregson lasted from 1975 until 1986. It was during this period, with the support that Gregson provided, that Barker was able to write the Books of Blood series and The Damnation Game.

He later spent thirteen years with photographer (Emilian) David Armstrong, described as his husband in the introduction to Coldheart Canyon; they separated in 2009.[23]

Barker currently lives in Beverly Hills with his partner of six years, Johnny Ray Raymond Jr.[citation needed]

Critical studies of Clive Barker's work[edit]

  • Suzanne J. Barbieri, Clive Barker : Mythmaker for the Millennium. Stockport:British Fantasy Society, 1994, ISBN 0952415305.
  • Gary Hoppenstand, Clive Barker's short stories : imagination as metaphor in the Books of blood and other works. (With a foreword by Clive Barker). Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland, 1994, ISBN 0899509843.
  • Linda Bradley, Writing Horror and The Body : the fiction of Stephen King, Clive Barker, and Anne Rice. London : Greenwood Press, 1996, ISBN 0313297169.
  • Chris Morgan, "Barker, Clive", in David Pringle, ed., St. James Guide to Horror, Ghost and Gothic Writers. London: St. James Press, 1998, ISBN 1558622063
  • S. T. Joshi The Modern Weird Tale Jefferson, N.C. ; London : McFarland, 2001, ISBN 078640986X.
  • K. A. Laity, "Clive Barker" in: Richard Bleiler, ed. Supernatural Fiction Writers: Contemporary Fantasy and Horror. New York: Thomson/Gale, 2003, ISBN 0684312506.
  • Edwin F. Casebeer, "Clive Barker (1952- )" in: Darren Harris-Fain (ed.) British Fantasy and Science Fiction Writers Since 1960. Farmington Hills, MI: Thomson/Gale, 2002, ISBN 0787660051.
  • Smith, Andrew. "Worlds that Creep upon You: Postmodern Illusions in the Work of Clive Barker." In Clive Bloom, ed, Creepers: British Horror and Fantasy in the Twentieth Century. London and Boulder CO: Pluto Press, 1993, pp. 176–86.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Clive Barker Biography". Retrieved 30 October 2014. 
  2. ^ [1] Archived October 31, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ Jamie Bowman (19 May 2015). "As Clive Barker returns here's eight other Merseyside sci fi, fantasy and horror writers who have thrilled readers worldwide". liverpoolecho. 
  4. ^ Abrams, Michael (2006). Birdmen, Batmen, and Skyflyers: Wingsuits and the Pioneers Who Flew in Them, Fell in Them, and Perfected Them. New York: Harmony Books. pp. 131–132. ISBN 978-1-4000-5491-6. 
  5. ^ "The Official Clive Barker Resource : Revelations - News Stephen King Award - Speech". Retrieved 30 October 2014. 
  6. ^ "Influences". Clive Barker Revelations. Retrieved 27 November 2011. 
  7. ^ "Official Clive Barker Website : The Beautiful Moment - Abarat Books Four, Five". 
  8. ^ Underworld at the Internet Movie Database
  9. ^ "Clive Barker to form Midnight Picture Show". Retrieved 30 October 2014. 
  10. ^ "Midnight Picture Show [us]". IMDb. Retrieved 30 October 2014. 
  11. ^ "The Official Clive Barker Website - Revelations Interview 15". Retrieved 30 October 2014. 
  12. ^ [2] Archived September 8, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ^ "Dress Up Like Clive Barker's Nightmares". Retrieved 30 October 2014. 
  14. ^ "Clive Barkers Enters the 'Dark Bazaar' with JAKKS Pacific". Retrieved 30 October 2014. 
  15. ^ [3] Archived February 29, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  16. ^ [4] Archived August 15, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.
  17. ^ "Publications". GLAAD. Retrieved 30 October 2014. 
  18. ^ "The Official Clive Barker Website - Spirituality". Retrieved 30 October 2014. 
  19. ^ Presenter: Bill Maher (25 April 2003). "Season 1, Episode 10". Real Time with Bill Maher. 60 minutes minutes in. HBO. CBS Television City. 
  20. ^ "Art and the Artist: An Interview with Clive Barker". Strange Horizons. March 2009. 
  21. ^ "Clive Barker". Classic Loveline. Episode 233. 20 August 1996. KROQ-FM. Retrieved 23 August 2014. 
  22. ^ Night, Bell (1 March 2013). "Clive Barker – Not Just an Author!". Retrieved 11 January 2015. 
  23. ^ "Famous horror writer Clive Barker sued by an ex-boyfriend who says author gave him HIV". Daily Mail. 6 June 2012. Retrieved 11 January 2015. 

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