Hello, Horror Lovers. Welcome, fans of Clive Barker.
I've been a fan of Clive Barker since his first Book of Blood came out in 1984. The year I read that book, I wrote to both Stephen King and Clive Barker. Never heard from King. Barker, however, personally answered my letters. I spoke to him on several occasions at book signings at Tower Books in Seattle. We talked at length several times and once I was able to have him shake hands with my son, who was at the time, about 2 and in his stroller.
When I told him in person, that I had written, he rather animatedly said, "And I wrote you back too didn't I?" And I said, "Yes you did and it was appreciated." To which he replied, "See, I try to answer all my mail. But its been getting harder to keep up anymore." And I said, I understood. I still have his response letters. Once he moved to Los Angeles, I'm sad to say, I completely lost track of him; and at which point, he became very famous. I was all too happy that he was getting the acclaim I had long known, that he well deserved. I have all his Books of Blood, and signed by him, as well as some of his other, later books like Weaveworld (one of my favorites), Imagica, etc.
One of them he took his time and drew some art in. I was first in line when he arrived at Tower Books. I had been waiting for a while and there was a long line behind me, of mostly Stephen King fans. I chatted with them before he got there. When he arrived, he was asked, "Would you like some tea or coffee?" To which he replied, "Coffee would be nice." Then he was asked how he would like it and he said, "White." This confused the person pretty badly, but another handler said, "That's OK, I know what he means, I'll get it." What he meant, obviously, was with cream.
Once he sat down he said hi and we talked for like fifteen minutes. I tried to beg off not wanting to be a "star hog" but he said don't worry about it. I explained that he was about to meet a long line of King fans, which he laughed about. He said he was always happy to pick up new readers. I bantered with him about what I thought of King, giving the appropriate respect, but also the honest and accurate opinion, also explaining why I so much more appreciated Clive's prose and stories. I found him to be one of the nicest guys and funny.
Lately, I've been watching some online videos of him and I noticed a few things. Like he had been into working out since I last saw him. And, that his voice was sounding too strained. I just watched my new DVD of Midnight Meat Train, from one of his first short stories in the Books of Blood. The video of him in the extras, again had his voice sounding very strained and it concerned me this time to the point I looked it up on line. Below is what I found.
In listening to the second audio track of the Midnight Meat Train DVD, with Clive and Director, Ryûhei Kitamura ("Sky High" and "Aragami"), his voice sounds very much better. I would like to say, this is one of the best Clive movies ever made. Both he and Kitamura laughed at the movies made from Clive stories and how many of them are horrible and Clive has pretty much had it and fully agrees about that. I could never understand why, such a great horror writer and just writer in general and a great artist, could have such bad movies keep coming out. But he had little to do with most of those.
Clive admits to several things on this DVD. There is a short about his paintings, very worth checking out. How he is, Irish, Italian and Gay. Brooke Shields, did a great job in this film as did, Bradley Cooper and every one really. Vinnie Jones, was excellent, love his many films. Roger Bart of Desperate Housewives fame, was also excellent. Peter Jacobson, from House, M.D., as the cafe cook, was a pleasant surprise, too.
Love that they mention Tom Savini, as well as some of the homage shots from, The Exorcist. Clive also mentions that he loves Andrei Tarkovsky (as do I), the famous Russian (Soviet?) director of such films as 1972s, Solaris (a far better book than anyone has been able to capture on film; do check out other novels also by, Stanislaw Lem, the brilliant Polish Science Fiction and speculative fiction writer). He said some of it was also an homage to David Cronenberg, another favored director of mine since Scanners (1981) Videodrome (1983) and more recently, eXistenZ (1999), A History of Violence (2005) and Eastern Promises (2007).
They said the DVD has much more blood and guts than the MPAA released theatrical version. Some very fresh shots in this movie. Like the eyeball gag, reminds me of a scene in a short story and script of mine, "Sarah", where a pigeon, is the catalyst of the next shot, to dramatic results.
Overall, if you like horror and especially, Clive, check this movie out.
Anyway, in the thought that someone else may too be wondering about Clive's voice, here is a reprint of admittedly old, but happy information. I've been wondering what's up with his voice and I'm happy to hear its been now taken care of.
"Great News About Clive Barker's Voice and Health Condition!"
from by Roger - Thursday, 27 March 2008
From the Fifth Dominion web site.
"For a couple years now many Clive Barker fans have had great concern over Clive's raspy voice and shortness of breath... basically a radical change in voice from what it was previously.
"This was speculated to be everything from too many cigars, a mysterious health problem, and Cenobite attacks. Always worried but hoping for the best the fans can now relax.
"Clive spoke to Revelations on March 26, 2008 and asked them to make this public announcement:
"Over the past couple of years at signings, people have often come up to me saying, 'Your voice doesn't sound too good, are you OK?' So, to all those people who have shown me kindness and concern, I would like to say 'Thank You'. There was an issue - I have had polyps on my throat which has constricted my breathing and affected my voice - and this has just recently been addressed, with great success."
"I am feeling far healthier and more energetic! I may be a little less talkative for a short while, but it's all good news and I want to make a point of thanking all of you who have shown concern - it has been much appreciated..." - Clive Barker"
[Thanks to Doug for bringing this to our attention, Revelations, and especially to Clive for sharing such personal news with his fans.]
Keep on hanging in there Clive....