In his 20 years as a horror writer and film director, Clive Barker has covered every aspect of the genre, from painting and design to young adult fiction. Here's what he had to say Nov. 21 during his appearance at Borders on the Northside, signing copies of his latest young adult book, Abarat 2. Clive Barker signs a copy of the poster for his first movie, 'Hellraiser,' during an appearance at Borders Books.
ON NOVICE FILMMAKING: They paid me $21,000 to write and direct Hellraiser, and that was it. I signed away every other right except the literary right. Now I know this sounds like daylight robbery now, but back then I was very happy to be allowed to do it ... It came out pretty much untouched, which of course would never be the case today. I met Bill Friedkin, who made The Exorcist, and he said if he made that movie today the way he made it, it would never be allowed to come out, with all the testing and things they have to go through.
SPEAKING OF DAYLIGHT ROBBERY: We shot Candyman 2 in Cabrini-Green, which is a very bad neighborhood. In order to shoot the movie we had to do a deal with the gangs! We had to pay them to make sure they didn't shoot at us. They took away one of our trucks with the costumes in it and we had to pay to get it back. It was a very difficult way to shoot a movie!
ON HEAVY GORE IN HIS WORK: I don't believe in PG-13 horror movies. I think it's a contradiction in terms. I think a horror movie needs to show you something you don't want to see. That's what the blood and gore is about.
MAYBE THE LAWYERS KNOW SOMETHING WE DON'T: It says in the contract that they control anything that has not been specifically named in the contract, "in this or any other universe." It actually says that! So Hellraiser, in this or any other universe, belongs to some lawyer somewhere.
ON WRITING YOUNG ADULT FICTION: Ever since college I had wanted to write a book like the Narnia books, that took place in a world I could continue to explore. There's something about writing the fable story, which is immensely liberating to me. It seems to set free my soul in a way. There's things I was able to do in Abarat I can't do anywhere else.
ON ENTERING THE POPULAR CONSCIOUSNESS: I have this dentist, and his assistant is a big fan. She told me that when it's time for her kids to go to bed, she goes to the mirror and says, "Candyman, Candyman ... " and before she reaches the fourth one her kids have raced to the bedroom!
In a way what's happened is a lie has replaced the truth. And for me that's the best possible thing. An author can be invisible, but I want to be a part of people's lives. And what can be more fun than people using my stories to make their kids go to bed!