• Martyn Wakefield

CLIVE BARKER'S DARK WORLDS (REVIEW)

Author. Phil Stokes, Sarah Stokes

Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield

"We have such sights to show you" those famous words uttered by Clive Barker's most treasured creations, Pinhead, as played by Doug Bradley in the 1984 classic HELLRAISER. A film that is so stapled to Barker not just because it is a fantastic film, but one born of his own creation and given directorial freedom to showcase that vision on screen.


It's hard to think of Clive Barker as an aged man but now just turned 70, the Liverpoodlian writer, director and visual artist has become an eternity reigning icon in horror, and one that will be everlasting.



CLIVE BARKER'S DARK WORLDS explores an extensive catalogue of stories, artworks, plays and films attributed to the creative mind of Barker and in doing so really gives us the most detailed insight into one of the nations greatest talents.


Barker's close friends, Phil and Sarah Stokes have given us snapshots in time of how Barker came to bring his visions to life and at 351 pages with glorious pages dedicated to his artwork and photographs across his life including some of those moments more personal to the artist. There are very few creatives who can boast such a collective of top tier stories that have not only been etched in Barker's books but have translated so well to become screen giants.


HELLRAISER, CANDYMAN, LORD OF ILLUSIONS, NIGHTBREED, THE MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN, BOOKS OF BLOOD and producing James Whale biopic, GODS AND MONSTERS. The latter of those probably Barker's most personal relationship with film and reuniting the writer with Bill Condon (director of CANDYMAN: FAIRWELL TO THE FLESH) who referred Barker and his role in making the film as "our Coppola". On his relationship with Whale, Barker says "he was born within fifty miles of where I was born,. He was an actor for much longer than a director; he didn't start directing until he was forty-two. So he's from a world I understood. And he was a gay man in Hollywood like, me." Two stories so intwined and married to the genre that even works outside of horror were only eclipsed by the horror of how a world treats men of Barker's sexuality. But like Whale, Barker has been able to carve his name with the sharpest blade into cinematic history and is now etched on the headstone of creatives who will be forever remembered through their medium.


DARK WORLD'S meanders like one of Barker's own imagination in a chronological order of events through the works, the process and the thoughts thereafter of that keep his passion for art alive, no matter the process. One thing we can credit to him is that he's never fixed in the past and constantly evolves with his art, whether that be through videogames, graphic novels or special effects in film.



It plays as much as an autobiography as it fills in the gaps in-between Barker's own words with those of his colleagues and co-workers, which all feel so honest especially when discussing the challenges of HELLRAISER IV: BLOODLINES after what screenwriter Peter Atkins recalls "part three was the end creatively." Despite a disastrous shoot and Barker's removal from the franchise for some time, he was still excited to be involved in a remake rumoured to be made about 2006 which fell through and it would not be until 35 years after HELLRAISER first adorned audiences with the world of Cenobites, that Barker would have such close involvement back with the series bringing the book to a steady close of events.


It's difficult to promote this any further without writing the well structured book itself and kudos to the Stokes for articulating such a varied and chaotic life of that of Barker's. Amongst the trials and tribulations, Barker always appears to have the utmost sense of hope. Despite his troubled personal life, he has always explored adventure and release, echoed throughout his art which nicely embodies this beautiful book with a front cover of Barker's image of Pinhead and pages and pages that turn this biography into a must have collection of one of horror's greatest icon symbol.




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