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This book explores the diverse literary, film and visionary creations of the polymathic and influential British artist Clive Barker. It presents groundbreaking essays that critically reevaluate Barker's oeuvre. These include in-depth analyses of his celebrated and lesser known novels, short stories, theme park designs, screen and comic book adaptations, film direction and production, sketches and book illustrations, as well as responses to his material from critics and fan communities. The book examines Barker's earlier fiction and its place within British horror fiction and socio-cultural contexts. Selected tales from the Books of Blood are exemplary in their response to the frustrations and political radicalism of the 1980s British cultural anxieties. Aiming to rally those who stand defiant of Thatcher's polarising vision of neoliberal British conservatism, Weaveworld is revealed to be a savage indictment of 1980s British politics. The book explores Barker's transition from author to filmmaker, and how his vision was translated, captured, and occasionally compromised in its adaptation from page to the screen. Barker's work contains features which can be potentially read as feminine and queer, positioning them within traditions of the Gothic, the melodrama and the fantastic. The book examines Barker's works, especially Hellraiser, Nightbreed, and Lord of Illusions, through the critical lenses of queer culture, desire, and brand recognition. It considers Barker's complex and multi-layered marks in the field, exploring and re-evaluating his works, focusing on Tortured Souls and Mister B. Gone's new myths of the flesh'.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book examines Clive Barker's earlier fiction and its place within British horror fiction and socio-cultural contexts. It explores Barker's particular manifestations of 1980s British cultural anxieties, examining how selected tales from the Books of Blood are exemplary in their response to the frustrations and political radicalism of the period. The book also explores Barker's transition from author to filmmaker, and how his vision has been translated, captured, and occasionally compromised in its adaptation from page to the screen. It also examines Barker's works through the critical lenses of queer culture, desire, and brand recognition. The book presents Barker's contributions to positive queer representations in the horror film and the evident symbolic coding for monsters and otherness in Barker's films.
Clive Barker's works frequently invoke fundamental elements in the gothic tradition. To reveal Barker's invocation of fundamentally gothic conventions, this chapter uncovers the gothic excesses in his early and seminal novel(la)s. They are The Damnation Game , The Hellbound Heart, The Thief of Always, and more recent novels Coldheart Canyon and The Scarlet Gospels, each of which are indebted to the Faustian pact. The Faustian pact is a key strategy for Barker to explore the corrupting nature of desire and the twisted path towards the sublime. Barker frequently entwines the invocation of the infernal with the desire for immortality, a pact with the damned that confers humanity's deepest wishes, all the while revelling in its nightmarish and often visceral consequences. Barker's novels, The Scarlet Gospels, continues in the vein of voyeurism and witnessing miracles beyond the call of human understanding.