Classic Horror, Famous Horror Writers

Famous Writers: Clive Barker

I first talked about famous horror writers back in January, when I wrote about Bram Stoker, today I want to talk about another horror writer, although calling him just a writer is selling him short. I am of course referring to Clive Barker. Clive Barker is one of my favourite writers.

He is well known for his horror short stories, collected into anthologies, namely Books of Blood volumes 1 through 6. His Hellraiser books & films, and my personal favourite book The Thief of Always.

One of my other favourite writers Stephen King has been quoted as saying “I have seen the future of horror and his name is Clive Barker.” This quote appeared on the Books of Blood.

Barker has been a key influencer in the horror genre and has widened its scope immensely. Not just in the sense of the genre itself but by being an openly homosexual creator and promoting inclusivity throughout his work. In 2003 he won the Davidson/Valentini Award at the GLAAD awards for his work promoting diversity in the media.

Barker has not limited himself to writing novels but is prolific in all areas of media and creative work. He’s a true renaissance man of the genre, writing books such as the well-known Damnation Game, screenplays such as Rawhead Rex. Many of his non-screenplays became films, such as his short story The Forbidden becoming the film Candyman.

He has worked as a director, notably directing Hellraiser; as a producer on the film Gods and Monsters. He even did a stint under the management of Disney, but this didn’t work out and was cancelled. He and Jorge Saralegui own and run the production company Midnight Picture Show and make horror films.

He is also an artist in the traditional sense of drawing, illustrating many of his own books himself. His art in Thief of Always is amazing, especially the images of the creatures in the pond (no spoilers lol) and the night Harvey becomes a vampire for Halloween. His art has been part of exhibits in Los Angeles, New York and Chicago.

It’s worth mentioning that he also designs horror costumes and has a line of toys.

Lastly, he’s also worked on videogames, providing the voice for Ambrose in Clive Barker’s Undying and also working on Clive Barker’s Jericho.

So, as you can see Clive Barker has been a true influence on the horror genre from many different perspectives and mediums. He’s had a hand in shaping how we experience the genre and has brought it forward by leaps and bounds in many respects. He is a capable craftsman in all senses, shown to be skilled at multiple subgenres such as gore, psychological, creepy and haunting.

I strongly recommend experiencing his work, whether its written, film, visual, or games.

cliches, Horror Writing

Clichés: Werewolves

We’ve been talking a lot about various clichés recently, horror clichés, fantasy clichés, and cliché male and female characters. Today I wanted to branch out more into the horror genre and talk about a creature that turns up in a lot of horror stories, werewolves.

But before we start, I want to stress that I will be talking about the werewolves that tend to turn up in books. The reason I am making this definition is that there is something I have noticed. In books werewolves tend to appear as actual wolves with a human consciousness inside, the pack dynamic is regularly explored and the mannerisms of actual wolves make up a large part of the characters behaviours and traits. Whereas when they show up in films and video games, they appear more like a cross between man and wolf, they tend to be huge, walk on two legs and are pretty mindless save for a need to kill. There’s rarely a pack dynamic and they are often portrayed as stupid beasts completely separate from their “human side”. There is the odd exception to this, the movie Wolf with Jack Nicholson being the one that comes to mind for me.

Anyway, now that that point is out of the way, let’s roll.

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