"I have seen the future of horror, his name is Clive Barker."Clive Barker
(born October 5, 1952) is a British horror and dark fantasy author responsible for over a dozen novels, several movies, a few graphic novels, some artwork, and a couple of video games as well. His works almost always feature sexual overtones that are graphic, disturbing, and disgusting in nature. His stories are usually set in a contemporary urban setting, but with Another Dimension
or many dimensions. On the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism
, his stories lie pretty far on the cynical side, with heavily flawed but sympathetic protagonists and an overall dark and gritty tone, although some of his novels have had happy and magically enchanting endings
, and have featured themes such as love and redemption
Some of Clive Barker's works include: Film Literature Theatre Toys Video Games
Tropes featured in Clive Barker's body of work include:
- Anyone Can Die: Indeed, in the second novel of Abarat, it seems that Barker can only keep a certain number of characters alive at any given point, so for every new character introduced, another is cleanly hacked away.
- Author Appeal: A few of his stories feature men getting raped by other men, and then realizing that they like it.
- Author Tract: Some of Clive Barker's works serve as this for his feminist and environmentalist views, respectively. Imajica and Sacrament are this in particular.
- Bedsheet Ghost: The protagonist of the short story "Confessions of a (Pornographer's) Shroud" is a straight-laced Catholic man who is murdered and framed as a porn kingpin, and possesses the shroud covering him in the morgue to take his revenge. The story is a Black Comedy based on the ridiculous visual gag of a bedsheet ghost murdering people in increasingly graphic fashion.
- Big Screwed-Up Family: The Barbarossas and The Gearys in Galilee
- The Blank: The Engineer in The Hellbound Heart.
- Blood Bath: Mister B. Gone, the demonic Villain Protagonist from the story of the same name, bathes in a tub full of blood from dead babies. He complains of how difficult it is to keep them alive long enough so the bath would be warm when he empties their blood into the tub.
- Body Horror: So, so much Body Horror.
- Cosmic Horror Story
- Demonic Invaders
- Doorstopper: Weaveworld, Imajica, The Great and Secret Show, and Everville.
- Freud Was Right: All over the place. The monster in "Rawhead Rex," for example, is described as a nine-foot carnivorous penis with sharp teeth, and he's defeated by a female fertility statue. The change in appearance to a more generic monster is the major reason Barker has disowned the film of the story.
- Gender Bender: The Madonna.
- Genre Deconstruction: The Midnight Meat Train, at least in its film incarnation, is a huge deconstruction of slasher movies. Every single slasher movie trope used or referenced in it is either subverted or justified; the protagonists are responsible adults instead of rowdy teens, the authorities are useless because they're working with the killer, and the supernatural slasher turns out to be upholding an Ancient Conspiracy to keep an Eldritch Abomination out of our world.
- Good Is Boring: Jack Polo in The Yattering And Jack. So much so that the Yattering is nearly driven insane trying to corrupt him. It's one of his funnier stories.
- Hell Seeker: In the short story "Down Satan!", a wealthy businessman becomes convinced God doesn't exist, and decides to find out whether the devil does by building a literal Hell on Earth.
- Horny Devils
- Humans Are the Real Monsters: Stories combine fantastic and supernatural evil with the evil and cruelties that humans perpetrate against each other. Consider, for example, that the true villains of the novella The Hellbound Heart (basis for the Hellraiser movies) are Frank and Julia, wretched excuses for human beings (Frank even moreso than Julia), not the Cenobites.
- In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It: (Clive Barker's Clive Barker's Jericho, by Clive Barker, Clive Barker's Razorline (a short-lived imprint of Marvel Comics))
- Magical Land: Most of his novels deal with an alternate reality or more than one realm, which maybe be accessible through paintings, rugs, complex toy boxes or the like.
- Mean Character, Nice Actor: He may write horrifying stories of cruelty and despair but Barker is known to be extremely nice and friendly in real life, especially to his fans.
- No Accounting for Taste: A lot of marriages have long since gone sour after the couple has been together for many years, whereas romantic relationships where the man and woman have just met will be full of love and the two will struggle against all odds to come together. This isn't always the case, but it's common enough in his stories to be worth mentioning.
- Also worth mentioning is that an old couple doesn't even need to be officially married to fall apart. In Mister B Gone, the two demons who are described as having a relationship similar to an old married couple end up separating.
- Nothing Exciting Ever Happens Here: Both The Thief of Always and Abarat open with the child or pre-teen protagonists in towns like these. Abarat begins in a town called Chickentown, for Christ's Sake, where the place's entire purpose seems to be to make Candy Quakenbush miserable.
- Old Friend
- Older Than They Look: He's sixty years old and looks about ten years younger. Of course, if you go back and look at photos when he was younger, he always looked older than he was, so it's starting to even out.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: In the Hellraiser movies, as well as the novella that they are based upon, The Hellbound Heart the only way the Cenobites will come after you is if you open the puzzle box known as Lemarchand's Box.
- So much so, in fact, that, at least in the novella, the Cenobites make and honor a deal with the protagonist (who has accidentally opened the box, and has no idea what it is or does) to spare her if she can lead them to the novella's REAL villain, who has escaped their clutches.
- Also, "Rawhead Rex".
- Something Blues: Short story Pig Blood Blues.
- Straight Gay
- Summoning Artifact: The Lemarchand's Boxes, and especially the Lament Configuration.
- Too Dumb to Live: Frank in The Hellbound Heart. He tracks down the Lemarchand Box because he thinks the Cenobites will teach him new methods of attaining pleasure. However, he's disgusted to see that they're all heavily pierced and mutilated, and even at this point it doesn't occur to him that their offering of "sensual experiences" may not fit the classic English definition of the word. But he learns. Quickly.
- Torture Cellar
- Urban Fantasy