Using nothing but words, horror novels have the potential to transport readers into their worst nightmares. A skilled horror novelist can create an eerie and frightening atmosphere that leaves readers sleeping with one eye open. One such writer capable of instilling fear in even the bravest of readers is Clive Barker.
Barker was born on October 5, 1952 in Liverpool, Merseyside and went on to study English and Philosophy at the University of Liverpool. When he was only three years old, Barker tragically witnessed French skydiver Léo Valentin plummet to his death during a performance. This experience shaped the writer, who would later allude to Valentin in many of his future stories. His initial foray into horror/fantasy began with writing the short stories, Books of Blood. These unrelentingly bleak tales became an overnight sensation and led to Barker being hailed by horror luminary Stephen King as being “the future of horror.” He followed these short stories with the the Faustian novel The Damnation Game in 1985, before branching more into urban fantasy with the novels Weaveworld, The Great and Secret Show, Imajica and Sacrament.
Around this time, Barker also began to work on comics, beginning with his Razorline imprint for Marvel Comics. This imprint consisted of four interrelated titles: the dark fantasy comic Ectokid, the horror comedy Hokum & Hex, the superhero comic Hyperkind, and the demonic thriller Saint Sinner. Additional comic credits for Barker includes Nightbreed, Pinhead, The Harrowers, Book of the Damned, and Jihad for the Marvel/Epic Comics series. Along with Tapping The Vein, Dread, Son of Celluloid, Revelations The Life of Death, Rawhead Rex, and The Yattering and Jack for Eclipse Books.
Outside of comics, Barker wrote the screenplays for the feature films Underworld and Rawhead Rex. He went on to make his directorial debut on Hellraiser, based on his novella The Hellbound Heart. This cult classic film went on to spawn a total of nine sequels and remains a favorite among horror fans. Barker later adapted his short story The Last Illusion into the film Lord of Illusions, while also using his story The Forbidden as the basis for Candyman and its two sequels. Barker later served as an executive producer on the Academy Award-winning film Gods and Monsters.
While his novels, films and comics showcased his remarkable ability for storytelling, his best selling young adult fantasy series, The Books of Abarat, highlighted his unique style as a visual artist. For this series, Barker created over 100 full-color paintings. His work has since been exhibited at Bert Green Fine Art in Los Angeles and Chicago, at the Bess Cutler Gallery in New York and La Luz De Jesus in Los Angeles. In more recent years, Barker has adapted his novels The Thief of Always and The Great and Secret Show for IDW, as well as a Hellraiser comic for BOOM! Studios.
The author, film director, screenwriter, producer, painter, illustrator and visual artist has terrified and fascinated readers and movie goers alike for over a decade. His heart-pounding pieces have won him not only the acclaim of critics, but the admiration of millions of horror fans around the world.