Caesarean born Hellraiser

Clive Barker’s fascination with blood and terror all began at his childbirth.
He was a Caesarean birth and became stuck, upside down, nearly killing
his mother and self.  On October 5, 1952, Mrs. Joan Barker gave birth to a healthy baby boy, not far from Penny Lane in Liverpool, England.

Young Barker began his story-telling abilities at the age of two.  His father, Len Barker, and mother doted on their son and at the age of eight, encouraged him to perform
marionette puppet shows in their backyard. (Winter, p.10-13)

Early to recognize Barker’s exceptional talent was Norman Russell.  Russell was the assistant master of the English Department and Barker’s instructor and mentor in Quarry
Bank English.  Russell recalled saying “I can’t mark this paper” to Barker, who was fourteen at that time.  “You’ve moved into a realm where your writing
is a personal statement.” (Winter, p. 43-44)

Barker was an outgoing, student with an amazing following on campus.  His
art and theater productions pushed him into the spotlight, where he thrived.  By the time of his graduation, Barker had come “out of the closet” with his close friends.  In 1977, he and his boyfriend, John Gregson moved to London and Barker told his parents he was gay.  His parents were disappointed, but his mother said, “As long as Clive is all right, that’s all that matters.” (J. Barker, Winter, p.91)

Clive Barker, as a writer and a director, has the important key elements that lead to
success.  His sense of composition and pacing are not influenced by any one writer or director.  He describes his success with these words, “I enjoy the company of creative people (during filming).  It’s a different buzz from when you get to the end of the day and you’ve got 15 good pages (written).  That’s a private victory.  In films, the victory should be shared.” (Wooley, p. 41)  Clive’s success has been achieved slowly, gaining the respect of novelists and film producers.

Barker gained instant notoriety when Stephen King said, “I have seen the future of horror and its name is Clive Barker.”  This quote is published on the cover of Barker’s books and makes a connection to King fans.   (Winters, p. 153)  “The Hellbound Heart was not conceived as a template for a film.  It was an exorcism of his failed relationship
with Gregson.”  Their relationship ended in 1986.  In 1987, New World Pictures
committed 4.2 million dollars for the filming budget and The Hellbound Heart novella transforms into the film Clive Barker’s Hellraiser. (Winter, p.255-56)

Pattie Crider

Literature of Terror

Go ahead...take a swing. I'll duck and listen.

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