Clive Barker

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Clive Barker (b. 1952-10-05) is an English writer of fantasy and horror fiction, as well as a filmmaker. His novels include The Great and Secret Show, Weaveworld, and Imajica. His films include Hellraiser, Nightbreed, and Lord of Illusions.


  • By and large, horror fiction is the most difficult to domesticate because part of the point is that it's one step ahead – or behind – everybody else's taste. And I'm not really convinced I'd like it to change. There's something very healthy about horror fiction being always a little bit on the outside. It's the wild-dog genre.
    • The Advocate (Feb. 21, 1995)
  • Every body is a book of blood;
    Wherever we're opened, we're red.
    • Clive Barker's Books of Blood
  • Flesh is our indisputable commonality. Whatever our race, our religion, our politics we are faced every morning with the fact of our bodies. Their frailties, their demands, their desires. And yet the erotic appetites that spring from - and are expressed through - those bodies, are so often a source of bitter dissension and division. Acts that offer a glimpse of transcendence to one group are condemned by another. We are pressured from every side - by peers, by church, by state - to accept the consensual definition of taboo; though so often what excites our imaginations most is the violation of taboo.
    • Introduction to "One Flesh" exibition, April 4-27, 1997
  • If we have nothing to do but service our own pleasure – because society has taught us that's all we're worth and we're exiled from positions of authority from which we could actually shape society – then we just become hedonists. Eventually, despite how great it may look on Saturday night, come Monday morning there's just purposelessness.
    • The Advocate (Feb. 21, 1995)
  • I was a weird little kid. I was very irritable, bored, frustrated. I felt my imagination bubbling inside my head without having any way to express itself. Given a crayon and paper, I would not draw a train or a house. I would draw these monsters, beasts and demons.
    • Gigaplex's interview, 1995
  • I've held a brain in my hands, which is an extraordinary experience.
    • Gigaplex's interview, 1995
  • Memory, prophecy and fantasy
    the past, the future and
    the dreaming moment between
    are all one country,
    living one immortal day.

    To know that is Wisdom.

    To use it is the Art.
    • The Great and Secret Show
  • Movies are much more fascist than books. They tell you what to feel, when to feel it. Popular movies manipulate you. Music tells you when it's a sad part and when it's a happy part. You're obliged to watch them at the speed the filmmaker has created for you. That, I think, is one of the reasons why they're so popular - because you don't have to think very hard. The filmmaker has done all the thinking for you.
    • "Clive Barker: Love, Death, & the Whole Damned Thing", Locus (1995)
  • One of the reasons why I don't get on with most fantasy writing - enchanted sword fantasy writing - is because I think it's emotionally untrue. People behave in very simple ways, unparadoxical ways. What I'm trying to do is bring into fantasy - as I hope I've been able to bring to horror - a certain kind of emotional realism. People have mentioned sex as being a major part of my fiction. An awful lot of horror fiction simply never contained that kind of material. Which seems to me to be extraordinary because most horror fiction is about the body in some way or other, and therefore it should be about sensuality and eroticism every bit as much as it's about corruption.
    • Writer's Digest, March 1991
  • "The fact that Pinhead is a character that audiences want to watch, that women find sexy, that people have tattooed on their own bodies, I think, is perfectly extraordinary, and I'm incredibly pleased about it. I don't think an analysis of what he does in the movies ever completely illuminates the charm that the guy has.
    • "A Living 'Hellraiser'", The Daily Bruin, Thursday, May 7, 1992
  • The monsters act out our rage. They act on their worst impulses, which is appealing to a certain part of us. They get punished for it, but we've enjoyed the spectacle of their liberation.
    • The Advocate (Feb. 21, 1995)
  • The paintings of Francis Bacon to my eye are very beautiful. The paintings of Bosch or Goya are to my eye very beautiful. I've also stood in front of those same paintings with people who've said, "let's get on to the Botticellis as soon as possible." I have lingered, of course.
    • American Heroes #174
  • Writing a book is like masturbation, and making a movie is like an orgy.
    • Gigaplex's interview, 1995
  • Your average game show host on TV, for instance, doesn't believe himself to be banal. He actually thinks that he's quite interesting. And if you look at the viewing figures, so do an enormous number of people in this country.
    • American Heroes #174
  • We are all our own graveyards I believe; we squat amongst the tombs of the people we were. If we're healthy, every day is a celebration, a Day of the Dead, in which we give thanks for the lives that we lived; and if we are neurotic we brood and mourn and wish that the past was still present.
    • Foreword: Books of Blood 1-3


  • At best you can hold death at bay, you can pretend it isn't there; but to deny it totally is a sickness. And I think that horror fiction is one of the ways to approach these problems, and, perversely perhaps, to enjoy a vicarious confrontation with them.
  • Be regular and orderly in your life, that you may be violent and original in your work.
  • Being gay is a spectacular irrelevance to getting on with your life.
  • Here is a list of fearful things:
    The jaws of sharks, a vulture's wings,
    The rabid bite of the dog's of war,
    The voice of one who went before.
    But most of all the mirror's gaze,
    which counts us out our numbered days.
  • Life is short,
    and pleasures few,
    and holed the ship,
    and drowned the crew,
    But O! But O!
    How very blue
    the sea is!
  • I wake up on Monday, and I have to write about people fucking each other. It's a tough life.

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