To Hell and Back

Clive Barker has a new book out and it is great!

I need to thank an old friend and co-worker, Brian K, for introducing me to the world of Clive Barker twenty years ago. He absolutely insisted that I read Weaveworld and after hearing him describe the story, I decided to look for it even though I didn’t necessarily think of myself as a horror reader. When I found a used copy of the book, I bought and quickly devoured the story. I then went on to seek and discover more of Barker’s work to read. Over the years, I’ve read Barker’s huge epic novels which span worlds within worlds, his short bloody stories – some of which I still remember after close to 20 years, his plays, and of course, I’ve watched his movies.

It was actually another friend in Oregon who introduced me to Clive Barker’s movies. While Nightbreed (1990) is probably my all-time favorite Clive Barker movie, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed both Hellraiser (1987) & Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988).  Remember Pinhead*? The Cenobite demon from Hell first appears in the novel The Hellbound Heart.

The Hellbound Heart

And while Pinhead has many film appearances, he does not show up in a printed story again until now in The Scarlet Gospels.

The Scarlet Gospels

Also appearing in this story is the infamous, Harry D’Amour. Harry is one of the first private investigators of the paranormal/occult, I ever encountered in a story. He appears in “The Last Illusion” – a short story found in Cabal (upon which the movie Nightbreed is based and originally published in 1985). Harry’s story was also later made into a movie – The Lord of Illusions (1995).

And while I don’t necessarily recommend curling up with this book before bed, I do recommend reading it. Yes, it has its share of scary parts, but like most of Barker’s works, it is also filled with wonder, beauty, and humor. Barker will bring you to Hell, but he will also bring you back to Earth.  And when you return, you will likely have a new perspective on life.

*Find more about Pinhead's evolution as a characteropens a new window on Clive Barker's websiteopens a new window.