The Clive Barker renaissance is now officially in progress. The latest news is that the long-developing TV series based on the horror/dark fantasy author and filmmaker’s 1990 movie Nightbreed has landed a director — and it’s Michael Dougherty, who helmed last year’s underrated kaiju epic, Godzilla King of the Monsters.
Originally announced back in 2018 for Syfy, the series will presumably focus, like the movie, on Midian, an underground world where outcast creatures and human/monster hybrids attempt to live in peace out of sight of the world above. The original movie was a box office and critical disappointment but has gained a cult following over the years.
Nightbreed was based on Barker’s 1988 novella Cabal and was the author’s second directorial effort after he made Hellraiser in 1987. But the film had a troubled production and the studio, 20th Century Fox, asked Barker to remove nearly an hour of footage from his initial cut. Some 40 minutes of that footage was restored in a 2014 “director’s cut” Blu-ray released by Scream Factory, with an even longer “Cabal Cut” issued in 2017 through Barker’s online store.
Barker told Coming Soon that he is currently working on the series bible for Nightbreed with Dougherty, who is also an executive producer on a new series based on the Hellraiser franchise that’s being developed by David Gordon Green for HBO.
New shows based on Nightbreed and Hellraiser, a new Candyman film directed by Nia DeCosta and produced by Jordan Peele, and a movie based on his legendary Books of Blood debuting next week on Hulu…all of a sudden works adapted from Barker’s stories seem to be everywhere.
But that’s not all: five years after the publication of his last novel, The Scarlet Gospels, Barker has a new one coming out called Deep Hill, along with a collection of both out-of-print and new short stories called Fear Eternal, which will include a fresh novella titled Mercy and the Jackal. There’s also a book of 250 poems on the way as well.
Asked about both his own creative resurgence and his new presence in movies and TV, Barker tells Den of Geek, “Things are cyclical. For a while, I was doing a lot of fantasy, and I did obviously (fantasy novel) The Thief of Always, and stuff like that. I’ve got a bunch more stories (like The Thief of Always), which are coming. But I also felt the need to go back to my horror roots, and doing it unapologetically.”
While he enjoys being involved in the movies and TV series that are being developed from his material, Barker added he feels most at home on the page.
“The idea of doing Deep Hill, which is the novel, and then following it with — whichever order they go in — Fear Eternal, which is the collection of short stories…there are a lot of short stories,” he says. “I’ve always been a big fan of (Stephen King’s) The Mist. I wanted to do something at that length. So I’ve done something called Mercy and the Jackal, which is a novella that’s about that length.”
The author that King himself once called the “future of horror” continues:
“To me, the thrill of all of this is reawakening myself …It’s time we got back to our roots. It’s time we got back to genuinely having something to say, something to feel. Something that will genuinely stir us up. I think I’m always going to feel that my chosen form is going to be the written word, because that’s where I started.”
We’re going to look forward to the arrival of Barker’s new books, but in the meantime, it sounds like there will be a lot coming to the screen from the legendary storyteller as well. Keep checking back on Den of Geek for more with Barker and director Brannon Braga about Books of Blood, which premieres on Hulu next Wednesday (October 7).