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Literature / Coldheart Canyon

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A novel written by Clive Barker, Coldheart Canyon centers around a failing action star who goes in for plastic surgery in an attempt to revitalize his career. The surgery goes wrong, and he winds up badly disfigured, and needs to take time off to recuperate. He buys the former home of Katya Lupi, a Hollywood actress from The Roaring '20s to stay in while he recovers, but soon finds much more than he bargained for.

Definitely one of Barker's more sexual works, but also contains a great deal of supernatural and horror elements.

This book provides examples of:

  • Ambiguously Bi: Jerry suggests Maxine might have a thing for Tammy. She basically just shrugs and says maybe.
  • Anyone Can Die: The book starts out with Todd as the protagonist. He dies toward the end, comes back, and dies again.
  • Artistic License – Medicine: Todd's veterinarian and the vet's staff nurse both insist that his dog simply picked up a virus and will be OK after a course of antibiotics. Antibiotics are useless against viruses, and a virus isn't the problem in the first place.
  • A Threesome Is Hot: Todd and two of the ghosts.
  • Being Tortured Makes You Evil: Katya's backstory involves her being repeatedly raped as a child.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Katya seems perfectly sweet and innocent to the world.
  • Body Horror: The half-animal, half-ghost hybrids that wander the grounds at night.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Eppstadt, the jackass head of Paramount, who covers up his go-to plastic surgeon's tendency to slip up and ruin people's careers.
  • Don't Make Me Take My Belt Off!: Tammy disciplines the Devil's child of all people
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Lilith and her son do seem to care about each other in their own twisted way.
  • Experimented in College: Todd's been with guys before once or twice... okay, three times, but he won't do it again. Probably.
  • Femme Fatale: Katya, the seductive sadist who thinks nothing of killing
  • Garden of Evil: The Devil's Country, a staggeringly beautiful universe where everything is freakish and tries to kill you
  • God and Satan Are Both Jerks: Though most of the story deals with fighting Lilith, the last part involves a somewhat nasty angel. Lilith also says she's not in conflict with God, who is responsible for nature being red in tooth and claw.
  • Half-Human Hybrids: A bunch of sex-crazed ghosts have sex with animals and produce freakish hybrid offspring.
  • Haunted House: Averted. The house itself is the only part of the Canyon not teaming with ghosts.
  • If It's You, It's Okay: Jerry Brahms is gay, except for Katya. He's even joked that the reason he was gay was that after her, no woman would ever do. Also another homosexual by the name of Rudolph Valentino
  • I'm Your Biggest Fan: Tammy, president of Todd's fan club and borderline stalker
  • Immortality Bisexuality: Katya, though it is indicated she was probably bi before the immortality kicked in.
  • Mystical Hollywood: Katya is a silent movie star who became immortal and is still around in The '90s. A cursed tiled room within her house's depths has rendered her unaging, and on top of that her perverse, hard-partying ways in her prime have resulted in the grounds being haunted by many celebrities from The Silent Age of Hollywood and The Golden Age of Hollywood, while Half-Human Hybrid creatures prowl the overgrown gardens.
  • Name Drop: The sheer number of Hollywood actors that get mentioned offhand is almost staggering.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: They're almost completely solid and capable of having sex with the living.
  • Porn with Plot: Katya's sexiness, Todd having sex with her, and the orgy scenes are described in some detail, but it's mostly a sex-charged adventure story.
  • Psychic Static: In probably the strangest example in the history of thinking, Tammy blocks out psychic influence by thinking about Todd's penis. In graphic detail.
  • Raging Stiffie:
    • The goat-boy has a constant, massive erection at basically all times. It's a little disconcerting.
    • When Todd comes back as a ghost, he has an erection he can't get rid of.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Katya isn’t nearly as famous or well beloved as she would like to think, both in the past and present.
  • The Vamp: Katya is mentioned to have played this role in many of her movies. It seems to have rubbed off on her.
  • The Wild Hunt: After inadvertently killing a child of the devil (he got better), the Duke and his men are stuck chasing the child around the Devil's Country (a magical world that exists in a single room in the basement of the mansion) until they can catch him.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Katya and her friends think nothing of child molestation.