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Barker, Clive (Midnight Meat Train)

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Clive Barker talks upcoming projects!Simply calling Clive Barker a master of horror almost seems inadequate. A more fitting description might be to describe him as a visionary genius who has had a profound effect on the horror industry by not only setting the bar with visceral and sexual imagery but by also leaving his mark in the literary world for almost 30 years now.

While Barker himself hasn’t directed a film in almost 15 years, he certainly keeps himself more than busy these days. In fact, Barker is celebrating the bittersweet fact that “>The Midnight Meat Train (DVD review) is finally getting a Blu-Ray and DVD release from Lionsgate as well as the release of his book The Adventures of Mr. Maximillian Bacchus in the very same week.

For anyone who’s been keeping score on Lionsgate’s muddling of The Midnight Meat Train’s handling in 2008, it won’t be much of a surprise to you that Barker himself is still not a fan of Lionsgate’s president, Joe Drake. Actually that might be one of the biggest understatements made in a long while.

During a recent interview Barker confirmed that sentiment: “I don’t know what Joe’s (Drake) deal is. I’ve never met the man. I’ve only had one very unpleasant conversation with him, in which he claimed that his real problem was that they couldn’t cut a trailer for Midnight Meat Train that worked, and so that’s why they weren’t releasing the movie. I don’t think that really bears any [realism]. I mean, that’s just preposterous to me. But that’s all he was going to give to me.”

“I am here waving the flag for the picture because I believe in it,” Barker added. “And I believe that Drake left his company exposed, financially, for reasons of ego. The movie that he put into the slot that we were supposed to have was a movie that he produced. That’s a little bit obvious, I think. It’s a damn foolish way to run a railroad. We need horror movies to be seen on big screens because I think they have a lot of effect that way.”

For Barker, nothing pleases him more than when people want to adapt his written work for the big screen. While he always likes to stay involved with a project, especially since it has his name on it, he’s conscientious that it’s ultimately the director who needs to take the reigns for a film. So when it came time to work on Midnight Meat Train, Barker fully trusted the vision of its director Ryuhei Kitamura.

“I have an opinion when I disagree more than when I agree,” he said. “For example, the guy that I first turned in Hellraiser to told me that [the character] couldn’t talk. I asked him why and he said because movie monsters don’t talk. I have dealt with a lot of producers who are pricks. So I can’t be that kind of producer.”

Barker further explained, “(Ryuhei) Kitamura had a strong vision of what this movie was to be. It was my job to help him with that vision. So I tried to be useful in helping when Kitamura had a question. He was very nice about it. He would come to me and we would have a civilized conversation and I would work with him.”

Clive Barker talks upcoming projects!Even though the movie has finally gotten its street release, that doesn’t mean the pressure is off for Barker and those who worked on Midnight Meat Train. For those involved, how the film performs will either be vindication against Drake or it will prove the point that, sadly, original horror movies are a dying breed.

Barker explains, “There is definitely pressure on the picture, but I believe in the movie so it is good pressure. It was great when people were standing up for their rights with the release campaign. Although the movie isn’t perfect, [it] is damn better than six movies that I can think of right now that got a wide release.”

Obviously, one of the biggest things brewing right now in the realm of all things Barker is the upcoming remake of his 1987 masterpiece “>Hellraiser by Pascal Laugier (who brought horror fans to the brink himself with his grisly film “>Martyrs). However, Barker isn’t turned off in the least bit by someone else taking another crack at a film that put him on the map.

“There’s a part of me that feels that with the new technologies and since we had such a modest budget on my Hellraiser movie, if we can have 5-6 times that on the new Hellraiser remake, I think we’ll get an awesome picture out of that,” he said.

“Mine was a small picture so the only thing that I would hate is if they opened it up. That would be really detrimental to the picture. The picture is essentially a family saga, Chekhov with blood, and that is this very small thing. And into this small enclosed world comes this god-awful force.”

Although the original Hellraiser was released over 20 years ago, it doesn’t mean that the man is even remotely close to being done dissecting one of his most fascinating and iconic characters ever, Pinhead.

”I just had the great good fortune being given the image of a guy with nails in his head. Then I had the greater good fortune to have my good buddy Doug (Bradley) play this character, who has this Shakespearean gravitas about him.”

“That character is a priest of Hell,” Barker continues. “In number 3, he’s actually called on screen the Pope of Hell, which I guess came about later in the scripts. In my original script that Cenobite didn’t even have a name. Pinhead was the name that the special effects guy used actually. I was like ‘Wait a second, you just named my villain Pinhead?’ because I didn’t think that sounded very dignified. But it ended up on the call sheet, and it just stuck.”

While it’s certain that it is Barker’s darkly genius imagination that brought Pinhead to the big screen, he was actually surprised to learn a few year back that the idea of people with nails driven into them is considered normal in some African cultures.

Clive Barker talks upcoming projects!“About 6 or 7 years ago, it was pointed out to me that there are African fetish statues that are used as focuses for feelings, particularly negative feelings. So the fetish statues are used as a place to put ‘bad’ feelings—like human beings with nails driven into them,” he said “When I went to look this up, I found that there’s a lot of 19th Century stuff which is amazing – crude but very, very powerful.”

Barker went on to discuss the imagery of the nails, “When you think about the nails they use, it conjures up images of rage. Now I don’t know how that exactly ties in with Pinhead because he’s not necessarily a very angry character. But it does mean that I seemed to have plugged into the collective unconscious when I had that image. The fact that it has been picked off a number of times with make-up jobs and magazines, fashion stuff that uses that image in some way since, but I use it too. But I must have somehow unconsciously seen images of these fetishes at some point. So I am not claiming that I was by any means the originator of this. The only thing that might have added to the imagery of this was its geometrics severity.”

Barker is also very tuned into the current controversy about some unauthorized reimagining images of Pinhead by Gary Tunnicliffe, the special effects guy who created Pinhead for the last four movies. While Barker is quick to praise Tunnicliffe’s past work, he’s also quick to point out just how he missed the mark on what Pinhead represents.

“I think Gary’s a very smart and creative guy, but I think he missed something in the redesign because it is a very bloody redesign,” he commented. “I don’t think that’s right. I think the whole point about Pinhead is that he isn’t bloody – that his victims are bloody but he isn’t. The other thing is that there are these lacerations that are diagonal and very random. The original had the feel of geometry paper in school where it was broken up into segments and lines, which to me had a severity to it. Having the pins of the intersections of the crossroads made it have a surgical severity to it almost. I think this new version has sacrificed that feeling.”

Barker’s original vision of Pinhead actually had more to it than he was allowed to create, “I had always wanted back when we were filming in 1986 to do a “reveal” that Pinhead had a piercing below the navel but somehow wanted to be discreet about it. Just something that indicated he had genital piercings.”

For now, though, Barker is looking towards the future, although ironically it’s through the work from his past. This week Bad Moon Books is issuing a limited released of Barker’s The Adventures of Mr. Maxmillian Bacchus and His Travelling Circus, which he penned in the winter of 1974.

One of the reasons it took so long to bring this world of fantasy and horror to bookshelves was that Barker needed to find the perfect person to illustrate his work that could possibly be the creative counter-balance to Barker’s imagination. Barker finally found that balance through illustrator Richard T. Kirk.

Clive Barker talks upcoming projects!“Originally Kirk did the illustration work on the appendices for the special edition of Imajica, and he just has a completely off-the-wall imagination, especially with what he can make happen on a page – it is just extraordinary to me. What he’s done for this book shows that he truly is an extraordinary artist, and it’s so wonderful to have that much love to put alongside my work.”

“These are stories I started writing when I was 17 so there are some insights to back then,” Barker added. “I deliberately didn’t do any do any real edits and I didn’t polish anything either. I just didn’t do anything to ‘improve’ it either. Doing that would have completely been against the spirit of the project of ‘this is what Barker did when he began.’ I think they’re very entertaining stories, and I hope people have fun with them.”

One dream project for Barker is finally bringing Book Four of The Books of Blood, “The Inhuman Condition”, to the big screen. “I know Guillermo del Toro has said that he wants to do (Book Four), and I’d love for him to do it. That would be a dream combination for me. I’m trying to explore both the stuff for the wider audience but then, unapologetically, go for the very hardcore horror stuff. If anyone can pull that off, it’s him.”

For now, though, Barker is looking forward to getting another unpublished work from his youth into the hands of fans. Barker is also waiting to see what happens with the long-rumored film adaptation of Tortured Souls, which is currently on hold, and just continues to focus on his writing and art.

“I know that I want to continue to bring sex and horror together as I have been able to in my books,” he said. “I’ve always thought that sex and horror belonged together, and I want to bring the lessons I hope we’ve learned from the film Shortbus into the world of Hellraiser.”

Heather Wixson

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DVD and Blu-ray Releases: November 21, 2017

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We have kind of a slow week for you, folks. Aside from 1957’s Daughter Of Dr. Jekyll, all seven of our other releases are from the past five years, and I hate to admit this but I don’t know much about them.

I can say that American Mary, is always a fun title to watch. Fans of Katharine Isabelle, take notice. You can grab this on both Blu-ray and DVD.

For more information on some of this week’s other titles, from other Dread Central contributors, check out the following links:

Dark Signal

The Night Watchmen

Scarecrowd

And

Under The Bed

Keep checking back each week, folks. Next week is another smaller list but they will begin picking up again for the Christmas season. As always, pleasant viewing.



MOVIES:

American Mary (2012)

Starring:

Katharine Isabelle, Antonio Cupo, Tristan Risk

Synopsis:

Strapped for cash while putting herself through medical school, medical student Mary Mason takes a job as a waitress at a strip bar, run by Billy Barker. As she becomes increasingly disillusioned with her studies, Billy introduces Mary to a new and extremely lucrative sideline, performing extreme body modifications to an odd collection of flesh-obsessed characters. Subsequently forced to drop out of medical school, she soon takes refuge in her new career. But as her demeanor steadily darkens, and her actions take on an altogether more vengeful twist, she begins to be known and feared as ‘Bloody Mary’.

BUY IT NOW!


Dark Signal (2016)

Starring:

Siwan Morris, Gareth David-Lloyd, Joanna Ignaczewska, Duncan Pow

Synopsis:

The spirit of a murdered girl returns with a message. Now a stranded woman must team up with the staff of a local radio station to solve the mystery of her death.

BUY IT NOW!


Daughter Of Dr. Jekyll (1957)

Starring:

John Agar, Gloria Talbott, Arthur Shields

Synopsis:

Janet, a young woman discovers she is the daughter of the infamous Dr. Jekyll. She begins to believe that she may also have a split personality, one of whom is a ruthless killer after the bodies start to pile up around her. However, all is not what it seems…..

BUY IT NOW!


Housebound (2014)

Starring:

Morgana O’Reilly, Rima Te Wiati, Glen-Paul Waru

Synopsis:

Kylie Bucknell is forced to return to the house she grew up in when the court places her on home detention. Her punishment is all the more unbearable because she has to live with her mother, a blabbermouth who’s convinced that the house is haunted. But soon Kylie has reason to believe that her mother may be right.

BUY IT NOW!


The Night Watchmen (2016)

Starring:

James Remar, Matt Servitto

Synopsis:

Three inept night watchmen, aided by a young rookie and a fearless tabloid journalist, fight an epic battle to save their lives. A mistaken warehouse delivery unleashes a horde of hungry vampires, and these unlikely heroes must not only save themselves but also stop the scourge that threatens to take over the city of Baltimore.

BUY IT NOW!


Scarecrowd (2016)

Starring:

Fabrizio Occhipinti, Gabrielle Bergère, Antony Ferry

Synopsis:

Radiation from a nearby meteor strike turns farmer Tony Maio in a crazed mutant. He hides his appearance in the guise of a scarecrow, hunting down and killing nearby town folk to satisfy his newfound blood lust. The town will dread sundown and screams will be echo in the dark night when this Scarecrow hunts them down.

BUY IT NOW!


Teenage Slumber Party Nightmare (2014) (Limited Edition, Just 100 Sold)

Starring:

Kaitlyn Yurkiw, Lauren Richardson, Hillary Kaplan, Martha Staus, Kirk Munaweera, Payton John Bonn, Kevin Paynter

Synopsis:

Four teens on Spring Break plan the ultimate slumber party… Beer! Porn! Dancing! Girl Talk! There’s a first time for everything – including the deranged stalker who’s followed them home. He leaves them love notes, but the girls laugh it off. He spies through the windows, but they don’t know it. Soon he sneaks in, masked and carrying his rusty power drill. A young man’s obsession becomes a nightmare in this driller killer slasher.

BUY IT NOW!


Under the Bed (2012)

Starring:

Jonny Weston, Peter Holden, Musetta Vander

Synopsis:

Two brothers team up to battle a creature under the bed, in what is being described as a “suburban nightmare” tale.

BUY IT NOW!

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Three 1970’s Horrors That Remind Us Why We Enjoy Getting Mental at the Movies

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Crazy is always creepy in horror movies, and it usually comes in two forms: insane escapees or the sane among the crazies.

It’s one storytelling technique when a mental patient escapes and enters our own ordered, peaceful world. It’s quite another when a film drops us in the middle of an asylum to cope with crazy people who, in those movies, always seem to want to stab us.

First off, let me say the mentally ill are one of the most misunderstood and scapegoated minorities in movie history. Other stereotypes have disappeared from the silver screen over the years, but it’s still convenient to blame a killing rampage on an escaped mental patient. We’ll just chalk this up to lazy writing and move on.

Yes, “mentally ill” has become shorthand for “bloodthirsty and lacking in social etiquette.” Kudos to “American Horror Story’s” second season, subtitled “Asylum,” for adding some subtlety to that convention. Seventies horror movies, though, were riddled with stereotypes, enough so that when we travel back to that groovy and dangerous time, we can merrily ignore them and enjoy the scare.

Silent Night, Bloody Night (1972) is a fairly standard who-is-the-killer flick that turns terrifying in the last 20 minutes, when all hell breaks loose and the inmates, quite literally, take over the asylum. There is a nice, icy buildup throughout.

The populace of a small town are suspiciously nervous when a local mansion that had once been a mental institution goes up for sale. Mary Woronov (Eating Raoul) plays it numbingly cool throughout, until the climax, adding punch to the big reveals.

Also known by Night of the Dark Full Moon and Death House, this film is directed by Theodore Gershuny and written by Gershuny, Jeffrey Konvitz and Ira Teller. It’s always a good sign for consistency of vision when the director is also a writer.

I don’t know a lot of people raving about this film. It’s certainly not perfect, but a solid effort in that ’70s B-movie category, seriously creepy, and worth watching. Recommended.

Asylum (1972) has everything I enjoy about well-done, early ’70s horror: a fairly simple premise, creepy sets, and solid acting. The anthology setup works well here, stringing four Robert Bloch stories together. Peter Cushing and Herbert Lom show up along with Britt Ekland and Barbara Parkins.

The effects are not at all bad. Hope you view a cut of this movie that shows a stagehand rather obviously moving a prop in the “Frozen Fear” segment because those kinds of mistakes are fun to see.

Directed by Roy Ward Baker, Asylum delivers like any of the Amicus horror movies: similar to Hammer in that you know you will be entertained. Recommended for classic pre-slasher horror movie fans.

Then there’s Don’t Look in the Basement (1973). I was smart enough to see this in a theater when it came out… but dumb enough to bring a date. What a terrible first date movie!

On the other hand, Don’t Look in the Basement is a very creepy horror film due to several elements that come together beautifully:

– First, it has that grainy, cheap look to it like many early ’70s B-movies that, for me, adds to the mood. That look tells me positively this is not a big studio production. “Oh, this is one of THOSE movies,” says my head. “Anything can happen!” Tension builds.

– Second, it has an obviousness to it that can be unnerving when filmed correctly. Hitchcock used to do this well: We in the audience know the danger, but the hero on screen is completely clueless. We know from the minute the blonde nurse accepts her new job she shouldn’t be there — heck, we knew she shouldn’t even have come into the house!

– Third, most all of the characters may be insane, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have their own distinct stories, personalities and phobias. Crazy is not random. As Grant Morrison wrote in Batman: Arkham Asylum, the thoughts of the insane are not unpatterned. Each person has his or her own complex view of reality, no matter how wrong that perception might be.

There’s also a good deal of blood. And a surprise reveal. Don’t Look in the Basement has been recognized as a B-movie classic, and I enthusiastically recommend it here.

Three 1972 to 1973 horror movies and all three recommended! You may or may not disagree, and if so, I want to hear why! What are your favorite asylum flicks? Comment below or on social media.

Gary Scott Beatty’s graphic novel Wounds is available on Amazon and Comixology. Is madness a way to survive the zombie apocalypse? The strangest zombie story ever written, Wounds throws us into a world where nothing is beyond doubt, except a father’s concern for his wife and daughter. If you enjoy that “What th-?” factor in graphic novels, you’ll enjoy Wounds.

For more from Gary Scott Beatty, visit him on Twitter and Facebook.

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Samuel L. Jackson Wraps on M. Night Shyamalan’s Glass

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That was fast. It was just two weeks ago that we shared your first on-set look at Samuel L. Jackson as Mr. Glass in M. Night Shyamalan’s upcoming Unbreakable/Split sequel, and today we have news that Jackson has wrapped his role.

The update comes to us directly from Shyamalan himself who took to Twitter to let us all know that not only has Sam Jackson wrapped his role in Glass, but there is only one week left of filming overall.

Here is his tweet:

Does this mean the crew has gathered up enough footage to give us all a teaser trailer in the near future? I would think so, so let’s not be too surprised if that’s just what we get before the end of the year.

Fingers crossed.

The film is written & directed by M. Night Shyamalan and stars Bruce Willis, James McAvoy, Anya-Taylor Joy, Sarah Paulson, Spencer Treat Clark, Charlayne Woodard, and Samuel L. Jackson as Mr. Glass.

Glass hits theaters January 18, 2019.

Synopsis:

Following the conclusion of Split, Glass finds Dunn pursuing Crumb’s superhuman figure of The Beast in a series of escalating encounters, while the shadowy presence of Price emerges as an orchestrator who holds secrets critical to both men.

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