Clive Barker is back. After a period of relative silence, the acclaimed horror and fantasy author and filmmaker seems to be everywhere: a new movie based on his seminal Books of Blood arrives next week, a reboot of Candyman (based on his story “The Forbidden”) is due out in 2021, and TV shows based on Hellraiser and Nightbreed are in development as well. He’s also got three new books on the way, which he signals are a return to his horror roots.
For Barker, his own return to horror — and the invigorated state of the genre itself these days — is due to one thing:
“We’re living through a time of horror, which makes what we’re doing more pertinent.”
We spoke with Barker one day after the first debate of the 2020 presidential election between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, and Barker didn’t hold back, saying he was as appalled as pretty much the rest of us with one participant in particular.
“Watching the horror show last night on television, watching two grown men in their 70s brawling — I should say one man brawling, the other man doing his best to bring sanity to the situation — was worrying,” he says. “Very worrying. That’s horror. The idea that that man with the orange hair and the orange face should be in charge of the nuclear button is horrifying. I don’t care who knows it. It’s just a distressing. We’re in the middle of a pandemic, people are being lost nearly hourly…this is grim stuff.”
“I think sometimes horror fiction has a significance which we forget, which is if you fear something in fiction, you have the chance of a resolution. You have a chance that the story will finish itself. In our present situation, we won’t well know until November 4th or 5th or 6th which man is going to be in charge of our destinies. That’s worrying. At least I find it worrying.”
So should all decent people, especially after watching 90 torturous minutes of the feces-flinging idiot disguised as a president that slouched onstage Tuesday night. For many of us, it may feel like we’re living through a dark, dystopian horror movie in real time. That’s where people like Clive Barker come in: they take the terrors of today and turn them into fiction, giving us an outlet to deal with what often feels overwhelming in real life.
The only thing is, Clive Barker’s stories don’t often have a happy ending. You can help change that by making sure you’re ready to vote on or before November 3rd.
Books of Blood premieres on Hulu next Wednesday (October 7).