Clive Barker, one of the world’s most successful horror writers, is a cult favorite among his readers. Movies based on his stories also have cult following.
Several of his concepts have gone on to be fan favorites that have spawned fan fiction, movies, and websites.
Hellraiser – Based on the short story, ‘The Hellbound Heart’, this is by far the most popular of Clive Barker’s creations. It has spawned an astonishing 9 movies between 1987 and 2011. Ironically, Clive Barker was only truly involved in the first movie. Before the first film was made in 1987, Barker signed away his rights to the story and the characters. The story and the movies have also been the basis of a series of comic books, graphic novels, and even action toys. The mythology of the story, involving Hell’s escorts, the Cenobites, is one of the most complex and complete horror mythologies of all time.
Candyman – In 1992, the first of three films, was made from Clive Barker’s short story, The Forbidden. The story of a forbidden love was originally set in England, Barker’s birthplace, but was moved to Chicago’s Cabrini Green housing project in the film. The film tells the tale of the son of a slave who fell in love with and had a child with a white woman. A mob cut off his hand and replaced it with a hook before killing him. Over 100 years later, a student begins research the urban legend of Candyman. Suddenly he appears in the Cabrini Green complex and in the student’s life. He only appears after someone says “Candyman” in a mirror. Anyone who has read the story or seen the movies is unwilling to do it.
The Midnight Meat Train – Released in 2008, this film stars Bradley Cooper and is based on a short story of the same name. The story is about a photographer who visits the underbelly of society to take photos. The film did very poorly. It cost $15 million to make, but only made $3.5 million at the box office. Nonetheless, it has sparked a cult following that seems to be growing.
Rawhead Rex – This film is a low budget classic that the story of a very angry pagan god that goes tearing around the Irish countryside. The film is neither well acted, nor well directed, but again the mythology is what makes it intense. The history that is expounded makes it a fascinating study of the roles of the old gods in the world of the new ones.
Nightbreed – Barker wrote and directed this film based on his novel, Cabal. The story of a place in Canada called Midian, where the nightbreed live away from humanity. The nightbreed are magical creatures that can take strange forms and have special powers. An unstable mental patient finds himself drawn to Midian, followed his doctor, played by legendary director David Cronenberg. Cronenberg’s performance is bizarre and the film was pretty universally panned by critics and fans. Today, however the film and the book have a huge fan following.
All of Clive Barker’s works have extensive imagination and deep mythos that bring things to life. In many cases, his stories don’t translate well to the screen, but each is worth viewing simply because the stories inspire imagination and terror.