Books of Blood

The Books of Blood on Hulu

Alongside director / writer Brannon Braga (Star Trek, Cosmos, The Orville) Clive has been writing new material to create a wealth of new and original Books of Blood stories for adaptation and The Books of Blood began shooting in Novia Scotia in mid October 2019. Together with Braga's creative partner Adam Simon, a trilogy of tales 'tangled in space and time' have been woven together for this feature for Hulu, released in October 2020 - see trailer here.

A few of Clive's 2019 notes for The Books of Blood
A few of Clive's 2019 notes for The Books of Blood

The Books of Blood will feature characters including:

Anna Friel as Mary - "A brilliant, beautiful psychologist who has gained fame as a skeptic that debunks all theories or beliefs that are not solely scientifically based. She loses her 7-year-old son to leukemia and then meets Simon who becomes her lover and convinces her that he speaks for her dead child."
Britt Robertson as Jenna - "A hypersensitive girl who suffers from 'misphonia' - an abhorrence of sound. As she learns her mother is about to send her back to the 'Farm,' she steals her mother's cash and sets out for Los Angeles."
Rafi Gavron as Simon - "A handsome, charismatic young man who convinces Mary that he is a 'ghost whisperer' who speaks for her dead child."
and Yul Vazquez as Bennett - "A professional killer whose latest 'hit' clues him in on a priceless book that may allow him and his wife to permanently retire. On his search for the tome, his quest leads him straight into supernatural terror."

Additional cast and characters have been reported by Deadline Hollywood (see below)."


Clive on Books of Blood

"The television adaptation of The Books of Blood, a series I'm working on with Brannon Braga, is going forth, speedily, and working with Brannon is an absolute joy.
"I should add I think, because this is tasty, the series has been expanded from the stories in the Books of Blood with stories that have been developed by me along the style of the Books of Blood stories - because it's thirty years since I wrote the Books of Blood and my mind has certainly not remained empty of those kind of ideas. So there are, I think, about thirty narratives which I have developed which you could call 'Books of Blood stories', as narrative outlines, but I haven't yet turned them into stories. We will probably turn at least some of those into episodes for the television series.
"What I'm trying to do is at very least match, and in some cases surpass, the intensity of the original Books of Blood. Some of those stories have a nod and a wink to another kind of narrative - I mean New Murders in the Rue Morgue, is an example, obviously a nod to Poe, but then there's Rawhead Rex which is a straight-off monster story, and I want to revisit those kinds of stories. I want to do a new monster story for instance, something that is fresh and for a modern audience.
"I am hoping that in the Books of Blood series we will not only go to the most chilling and intense of the books but I will add to that sum of stories new tales that perhaps wouldn't even have occurred to me thirty years ago. The world has changed. The world has become a darker, scarier place since then, unbelievably but it's true."

Out Of The Depths

By Phil & Sarah Stokes, 4 January 2019 (note - full text here)

"There's also a story called, 'The Life of Death,' which is a story I'm very close to because it's about the nursing of a medieval plague pit and, sorry to be... if this is in bad taste, but the fact is that plagues are in our head and our minds right now, plagues on our minds, big time. We've seen films taken from the sky of fields filled with graves, new graves. This is something that the medieval mind would have understood completely. And I had a friend whose job it was to get in those hazmat suits and go into newly opened plague pits, where there would be hundreds of hundreds of people who had just been thrown into pits because they had to get buried as quickly as possible.
"And I thought, 'Wow, there's a story there.' And this lady who I was teaching playwriting to, she was an amazing lady and I quizzed her about it. She gave me all the inside skinny, and I told her, I told 'em, I told Brannon at some point we got to do this. We got to go to England and tell this story. So that would be one that I'd love to see Brannon do."

Books of Blood Filmmakers Talk Sequel Possibilities and Clive Barker Adaptations

By Patrick Cavanaugh, ComicBook.com, 7 October 2020

"There have been, over the years, these stories accruing in my head and I really had no-one to tell them to. And along comes Brannon and I say, 'Hey Brannon, I've got some other stories: maybe we should be thinking about these too?' and he said, 'Bring 'em on!'
"[re the 'structural elegance' of Books of Blood] Even I, seeing it for the first time, I had the pleasure of being surprised. Not just by the bloood and the gore and the intense stuff, but also by the subtle things you just said. And that's pretty rare. It's pretty rare because it's very difficult to do. It's wonderful to see - I've seen the picture three times now and each time I see it I find some other Easter egg which I hadn't noticed."

Hulu’s Books Of Blood Cast On Interweaving Dark Storylines & Brutal Horror Make-Up

By Kristen Maldonado, The Fan Club, 7 October 2020

"You're doing a jigsaw in a way, and all the pieces have been spread before you. Now they're going to be put together in front of you, but not in the order in which you think they're going to be put together. This is an anthology, which is, in fact, an anti-anthology. It pulls what should be separate narratives into a single energy. Narratives have their own energy, their own force. And this has the force of a single narrative, not three separate narratives. You don't have to begin again three times in the movie. It runs, it flows, and the beginning is at the end, and the end is at the beginning. There are hints everywhere that this is all one reality."

Why Clive Barker Calls Hulu's Books of Blood an 'Anti-anthology'

By Matthew Jackson, Looper.com, 7 October 2020

"I feel as though I, as a creator, owe my readers surprises. Part of the fun of all of this, I think, is the stuff in there that you’ve read before, I should say. But there’s also a lot which comes out of nowhere. It’s really only the story of the physical Book of Blood, which is something which had already existed. The rest of it’s new."

How Hulu’s Books of Blood Movie Taps The Mind Of Clive Barker

By Don Kaye, Den of Geek.com, 7 October 2020

[re. Trilogy of Terror] "Six or seven years ago, somebody came to me with one of the actual dolls in a beaten-up, old box, with this beaten-up doll inside it. It was a very simple mechanism and I don't think it even had wheels. I think somebody was just holding it. It was very simple, but there it was, in the box, under the tissue paper. You part the tissue paper, and there is the nightmare that you had when you were a kid. It was quite a moment, and I got no warning. I think I shrieked. You're so right, Brannon. It shouldn't work, but it does.
"Remember what the punchline is? She burns the thing in the stove, and then she inhales the smoke. Then she turns into this sort of Japanese monster... And what's interesting is it has been twenty-five years since I saw that movie. And yet we remember beat by beat the scenes, right?
"And that shows how impaled in our consciousness these images are. It says something very potent about why we like horror. Horror is something which we don't forget if it's good. Here we are, the three of us, talking about something which we haven't seen for years and comparing notes about it, and our memories are crystal clear. It's almost like a drug. It's like something that wakes you to a new consciousness, which in fact, you've had there all along, pristine."

Clive Barker & Brannon Braga Talk Anthology Horror Films And Books Of Blood

By Jonathan James, Daily Dead.com, 7 October 2020

...other comments

"Andy McQueen (Fahrenheit 451), Freda Foh Shen (Ad Astra) and Nicholas Campbell (Da Vinci's Inquest) have joined the cast of Hulu's Books of Blood, an original film based on Clive Barker's horror anthology.
"McQueen plays Steve, a dim hit man who's partnered with Vazquez's Bennett. Shen plays Ellie, a retired RN who "radiates warmth and efficiency." An avid gardener who lives with her husband Sam (Campbell) in a cozy home where all are welcome, she greets Jenna (Robertson) as if she's her own daughter. Campbell's Sam is a builder and contractor, a sturdy, outgoing man whose good humor and seemingly good heart perfectly balance his wife's warmth."

Books Of Blood: Andy McQueen, Freda Foh Shen & Nicholas Campbell Join Hulu Movie

By Denise Petski, Deadline Hollywood, 13 November 2019

Brannon Braga : "When I was 21, I read Books of Blood by Clive Barker — all six volumes. And I was just completely blown away. These were just radical.
"The best horror is radical and Clive Barker did something like HP Lovecraft; he wrote things that you just have to read, you can’t describe them. They’re just so original, and I was a fan.
"And over the years I always thought, 'Gosh! What a good anthology show that would be.' And in developing the project with Fox and Hulu we realized it might be better as an anthological horror film. So, the movie, which was written by Adam Simon and me — and based on one original story from Books of Blood and two new stories that Clive and I came up with along with Adam — make up the movie. And the three stories are kind of independent, but they cross pollinate each other.
"We kind of call it the Pulp Fiction of horror. Terrible comparison because it’s not going to be nearly that movie, but it has that kind of structural vibe. We’re cutting it now and it will be out in October."

Interview: Brannon Braga

By Matt Tuthill, Robert Irvine Magazine, February / March 2020

Brannon Braga : "Clive isn't about sawing [bodies]. His stories are literary and psychological. One of the reasons I'm so sensitive to to how Barker's work is presented in this movie is because I did work for so long on Star Trek, so I'm used to a lot of fan interaction, both positive and negative. I'm very attuned to that. So I really wanted to do the best job that I could in bringing his work back to the screen.
"I wanted to make sure this stuff was grounded, because some of the stuff that is happening is just nutty. You have to make sure that you approach the material like Hitchcock would, or Polanski did in Rosemary's Baby - where the filmmaking style has a classic, clean, grounded feel, with a good emphasis on performances."

Doing Things By The Book

By Tara Bennett, SFX, No. 232, November 2020

Brannon Braga : "I want[ed] to do this as an anthology show. And it was eight years of meeting Clive, and Clive wanting to lend his namesake to the Books of Blood, which he didn’t think he would ever do. So yeah, this anthology was developed initially as a TV show that Hulu went for. Clive and I started developing stories, original stories from the books, and new stories he had been thinking about.
"Then I brought in my very dear friend, Adam Simon, a brilliant writer to start developing scripts. But I realized these stories are like little sucker punches to the amygdala. They’re not movies, they’re short stories. And they have to be the right length. And Hulu really sagely suggested, “What if this was an anthological film and a possible series of films?” And I just knew in that instance, that was the best version of Books of Blood. And I knew what three stories we should do and it really came together fast at that point.
"It was a dream come true. We would meet like Tuesdays with Morrie, every Tuesday at three, I would go to Clive’s house and sit with Clive Barker for three hours. And we recorded these sessions. And I have hours and hours of recordings with Clive talking about horror, and the philosophy of horror and all this stuff. It’s just was just fascinating.
"You’re sitting with Clive Barker; his artwork is all around you. And he’s brilliant. And he’s just fascinating to talk to. And you just know, I spent a lot of time just kind of listening. And we just became really good friends and we’re still developing stuff. We’d love to do another volume of this movie franchise. Hopefully, people check it out."

Interview: Brannon Braga On ‘Books Of Blood’ And Bringing Horror To ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’

By Anthony Pascale, TrekMovie.com, 5 October 2020

Brannon Braga : "There are many stories in the 'Books of Blood' that I'm eager to do. There are two, in particular, one that I think can be done beautifully and, to me, is the scariest of the stories, which is, 'Pig Blood Blues,' and the other, which is almost impossible to film, which is a compliment to Clive Barker's uncanny writing, meaning you have to read it to understand how amazing it is, is 'In the Hills, the Cities.' I think a lot of filmmakers would love to take a crack, but I don't know how it could be done properly, and we haven't discussed it yet, but those are two."

Books of Blood Filmmakers Talk Sequel Possibilities and Clive Barker Adaptations

By Patrick Cavanaugh, ComicBook.com, 7 October 2020

Brannon Braga : "It did start, very initially and very briefly, as a TV anthology concept. But we realized that these stories would work better in slightly shorter form as an anthological film. Then it was about choosing the three stories that we wanted to do, and picking an anthological structure. We kind of looked to Pulp Fiction, which is not a horror movie, but an anthology movie, in terms of how the stories could standalone, cross-pollinate, and make it cohesive as a film."

How Hulu’s Books of Blood Movie Taps The Mind Of Clive Barker

By Don Kaye, Den of Geek.com, 7 October 2020

Brannon Braga : "It was an interesting directing experience, in that on any given day, I could be in one of the different storylines and had to keep everything straight. I was very lucky, in that I had a really good script to work with. I had Clive that I could talk to whenever I needed inspiration or guidance. There were certain things that I just didn't know till the last minute how to do, like what should the dead people look like?
"We ended up with kind of a mannequin-like look, because initially they looked like zombies that crawled out of the grave. And it just had to be something we'd never quite seen to capture Clive's description of these faces leering from the darkness."

Clive Barker & Brannon Braga Talk Anthology Horror Films And Books Of Blood

By Jonathan James, Daily Dead.com, 7 October 2020

Brannon Braga : "First and foremost, I'm a fan of Clive Barker's and a fan of Books of Blood. I read them when they first came out. And I'm a fan of anthological pieces. I love anthological shows and movies, and I dreamed of one day taking this body of work and working with Clive, to do something with it. And that dream came true. As Clive and I sat down to initially design a series, we realized with Hulu that it would work better as an anthological film — very challenging thing to do. They don't always work, or there's always the one story that's the best one. So we just got together about three years ago and just started talking, sitting and talking."

Why Clive Barker Calls Hulu's Books of Blood an 'Anti-anthology'

By Matthew Jackson, Looper.com, 7 October 2020

Britt Robertson : "We obviously knew what we were building to and how we needed to justify where this character goes and the points in which she gets to and what is ultimately revealed about her later, but I think the idea was having a lot of different reasons for why it may appear to be that Jenna's losing her mind. You may think that it's because her mom is so crazy and she doesn't have a stable home-life, or because she wasn't able to have a good experience in school and that she's running from everything in her life. But, ultimately, I would often try to bring this idea that the thing that she was really trying to escape was her own mind and she was just trying to escape herself.
"Our director Brannon Braga also suffers from a similar issue, maybe not to the point of it being diagnosed with misophonia or a true hatred of sound, but he was very hypersensitive to those things as well, which I think helped guide me throughout the process."

Books of Blood Star Britt Robertson Details the Process of Portraying a Conflicted Character

By Patrick Cavanaugh, ComicBook.com, 2 October 2020

Britt Robertson : "The ending of Jenna’s story was the thing that attracted me most about her. I’ve read articles about psychological warfare and what it does to someone’s mind, when you manipulate a situation and things get very dark. I was very intrigued by that. But also, there was this idea that Jenna was incapable of existing in her own spaces. You hear about her fleeing college and she flees her family, but really the thing that she was trying to escape was herself and her own mind."

Britt Robertson on the Hulu Horror Film ‘Books of Blood’, the Twists and Turns, and That Ending

By Christina Radish, Collider.com, 7 October 2020

Anna Friel : "Brannon is very, very focused and concentrated on the monitor. He'd know exactly what he wanted and would say, 'There's your character; go with it.' It was very, very collaborative and supportive, so it made it quite a joy.
"[re. reading the original Books of Blood stories] Not until after reading the script, because sometimes you can get distracted or you can get frustrated thinking, 'Oh, why is that little bit of the book not in it? Why can't I do that scene?' I think you've got to be careful when something gets translated to a book, but I want to read more Clive Barker now... Well, I was hoping today on this virtual junket that we'd actually get to [speak to Clive]."

Books of Blood Press Day - Anna Friel and Rafi Gavron

By [ ], SciFiVision.com, 7 October 2020

Rafi Gavron : "So that was a couple hundred thousand dollars worth of makeup. It was one of the best prosthetic teams in the world. They are amazing and the kindest people and very patient with me, because it was seven hours of makeup in the morning. I had to wake up at four, and then we only got to shoot for about six or seven hours, which was very kind of them, because it was so uncomfortable. It was a latex suit that covered my whole body; I couldn't really go to the bathroom properly. It suffocated my body, because my skin couldn't breathe, really, and then it got really cold and really hot. So, Anna fed me Snickers bars the whole time, and I was grumpy the whole time, but it was so worth it because of the way it looks...
"I've never read the book, nor this [story]. I like to stay away from the originals whenever I do anything and just do my take on it. But I have a lot of respect for Barker. I do understand the Hellraiser thing, and I've seen bits of it. One of the reasons I did the movie is really because of the way he wrote the stories and how he does things. So, big respect to him."

Books of Blood Press Day - Anna Friel and Rafi Gavron

By [ ], SciFiVision.com, 7 October 2020

Yul Vazquez : "I was just telling somebody earlier, I like seeing human beings on screen. Sometimes there's no need to add anything extra. It's all already there. This [movie] wasn't about any of that [archetypal] stuff. This was about a guy who really doesn't wanna do this anymore. He wants to go with his wife and live in Cabo or some place like that and just drink margaritas. He's not in a horror movie, he's a guy going through his life, man. Just doing his job. That's his job."

Books of Blood Star Yul Vazquez Explains Grounding Cartoonish Characters in Reality

By Patrick Cavanaugh, ComicBook.com, 7 October 2020

Brannon Braga : "Imagine, as a fan, sitting one-on-one with Clive Barker and he says, 'There's some stories that you haven't heard of that I have'..."

Hulu’s Books Of Blood Cast On Interweaving Dark Storylines & Brutal Horror Make-Up

By Kristen Maldonado, The Fan Club, 7 October 2020

Books of Blood news page
Brannon Braga on set for Books of Blood
Brannon Braga on set for Books of Blood

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