Interviews 2003

...2003 - The Quiet Year... After the frenzied promotion of the first Abarat volume, Barker settled down to the business of polishing the second volume, completed in November 2002. But an early read-through left Barker dissatisfied and the decision was made for a complete re-write. Faced with the daunting task of reconfiguring the plot and a wholesale re-write, whilst incorporating much of the existing artwork, Barker left the phone firmly off the hook, remaining incommunicado to concentrate wholly on Abarat: Days of Magic, Nights of War until its delivery in early July... In the meantime, Seraphim held the fort with film and TV projects including Dread, Pig Blood Blues, The Evil One for Sci-Fi and Demonologist for NBC - all this ahead of December's announcement that Barker would take over the Tortured Souls movie project... In Sequel-land, Hellraiser lived on through two movies (in post-production), more models than can be countenanced and the horrific threat of crossover movies to come... In a final flourish, December saw the delayed release of Rare Flesh, with Barker's verse accompanying David Armstrong's photographic oeuvre ...

D-Side, No. 14, January / February 2003

Clive Barker

By Yannick Blay, D-Side, No. 14, January / February 2003 (note - translated from the French)

"I'm not just an inventer of the imaginary. I think that all that I fashion as an author comes because I have an instinct which one could call shamanistic. I travel between different worlds, some are parallel, and it is this journey which inspires my work.
"The Thief Of Always was, on the whole, for children. It was a success and I am touched by letters I receive from children who tell me that they love the book. I think that [with Abarat] I would like to repeat that experience."

Hellraiser No More?

By Gina McIntyre, Dreamwatch, Issue 101, February 2003 (note - interview undertaken at the same time as for 'Clive Barker, Author', The Hollywood Reporter, 4 October 2002)

"I think in a weird way the worlds of fantasy are purer worlds than the worlds of what we'll loosely call realistic fiction. You can see distinctly where good and Dreamwatch, Issue 101, February 2003 evil lie. You can see how the moral landscape is shaped. We live in ambiguous times, times when it's not always easy to see the enemy, whether it be 9/11 or watching these large companies discover that their leaders are terribly corrupt...
"The great thing about fantasy is you are absolutely given a way for evil to be confronted and dealt with. We need stories that give us the satisfaction of feeling as though we can still make clear moral choices and deal with them. We don't have to live constantly in a world of ambiguity in which you can never figure out who the bad guy is. I think fantasy is very satisfying from that point of view. I think this is true of Spider-Man as much as it is of The Lord Of The Rings. I would include in the definition of fantasy anything that frees up the imagination and [allows] you to play in a different kind of world, where you can see evil for evil and deal with it. I think fantasy doesn't despair, it doesn't induce despair. Fantasy at its best makes us feel as though we can be empowered, we can deal with the world in some positive way."

The Dark Side, Issue 101, February/March 2003 Black October Magazine, Vol 1 No 4, 2003 DVD World, No 6, December 2003

Clive And Kicking

By Mike Watt, (i) The Dark Side, Issue 101, February/March 2003 (ii) Black October Magazine, Vol 1 No 4, 2003 (iii) slightly edited as 'Raising Hell!' in DVD World, No 6, December 2003

"I don't think of myself as being that stymied with Hollywood. It's just that when you fail to get the vision on screen it hurts. Particularly when as a painter and as a writer I get to do exactly as I want and nobody fucks around with me. That's a big difference! When I turn in a book, sure my editor is there with notes and naturally a lot of the time I will put those notes through, but nobody's ever saying to me, 'You have to do this'. The same with the paintings. I have great creative freedoms there. So it feels more frustrating when you get to a medium that has so many possibilities and yet has so many cooks in the kitchen. Which is the curse, I think, of a lot of movies. If any other art form was created the same way movies were created people would shake their heads and say that it doesn't deserve the term 'art form'. If I was painting and there were twelve people filling little cards behind me telling me which colours I should be using we would question the validity of the resulting work. But nobody thinks twice about the fact that a movie has to be tested until every preview card says that it's the best thing since Citizen Kane and, 'by the way, I don't like this bit so take it out.'"

Cinefantastique, Vol 35 No 1, February/March 2003

Child's Play

By Gina McIntyre, Cinefantastique, Vol 35 No 1, February/March 2003

"For years I've been building the world [Abarat] piece by piece, but building it in a way that I've never built before - building it from the image out. Conventionally, what I've done when I've done pictures that go with books, I've written the words and added the pictures. Here, I've just allowed the pictures to appear on the canvas, and I began to name the characters as I was painting them. It's a curious thing. They speak very quickly. I'm not being New Age about this - we're not straying into Shirley MacLaine territory. I just feel as though the process of painting something and becoming involved in giving life to something is a natural one for me."

Real Time With Bill Maher, 25 April 2003

Real Time with Bill Maher

Appearance on Real Time with Bill Maher, 25 April 2003

"Putting aside the right to privacy, we're all grown up here, we all know that we do lots of things which, hey, the constitution isn't saying, 'Good on you' for doing it... I'm just talking about me as a gay man having a relationship with a man I've been married to for eight years and having a daughter who we love and take care of. I'm very proud of that fact. I don't want Rick here telling me what I should be able to do behind my closed doors."

Abarat: 2B (Or Not 2A)...

By Phil and Sarah Stokes, 22 July 2003 (note - full text here)

"I wrote the book, finished the book in November, read the book and didn't like it and threw it all away, the whole thing, and began again - which I've never done before. So there's nothing in the second volume of Abarat as it now stands which faintly resembles that first version...
"There was a very melancholy week when I sat a lot and stared through the window and thought, 'Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck,' and then I thought you know, if I don't do this I'm always going to regret it and I owe it not just to the readers and to myself but also to this narrative that I've begun to get moving. I owe it to that narrative to get this right and to not compromise with the process and I got it down, so it's done."


By Craig Fohr, Lost Souls, 1 August 2003 (note - full text online at

"I'm sitting in my drawing room right now, my illustration room. Originally, when I began painting, when I began to make the Abarat images, I painted all these pictures and then I started to write about the world as a way of talking about these paintings I had made. What's happened as I began to write the books this stuff started igniting... I'm looking at a room with maybe 200 pictures drawn, some of them on the wall, some of them are incredibly done in the middle of the night from dreams. It's almost like a different part of my imagination caught fire when I started the Abarat book. The thing is, I have a way of painting I have never painted before, a way of imagining that I have never imagined before. That is to paint the pictures, and then write about them. Now it's reversed in a sense that I'm waking up in the middle of the night, and I'm having to do these sketches, because I'm thinking of a way something might happen. It's almost like the two processes image making and writing are informing one another. When I say it's an overwhelming experience, it's like being in very choppy waters in a very small boat, and the waters all around you are your imagination, and the waves keep threatening to overwhelm the boat. I find myself, on some days, very often at the end of the day wishing I could dial my imagination down just a little bit so it would let me go watch some television. There are drawing pads and there are writing pads throughout the house in dozens of rooms."

Director Clive Barker To Host AMC's 2nd Annual Edition Of 'Short Screamers'

By [ ], (i) Press Release, Rainbow Media Holdings, Inc., AMC, 26 August 2003, (ii) edited quote in 'Shorter is Better: Horror Minipictures Grow Scarier than Features', PRWeb Press Release, 2 August 2005

"In filming these shorts, every frame counts, it's great to see these guys getting to the heart of what really matters - scaring people. Perhaps one of these shorts is the work of a new horror master? 'Short Screamers' invites viewers to tune in Halloween night and see for themselves."

Oh, The Horror: Little Shop On Burbank Boulevard Has Become A Mecca Of The Macabre For Fans Of All Stripes

By Brent Hopkins, Los Angeles Daily News, 31 October 2003

[Re: Dark Delicacies] "I go there looking for really obscure titles... They'll call me up, and they know my tastes. They'll say, 'I've got a book about the Black Plague, and we'll only have two copies.' It won't be something poppy, but they know I'll want a $75 book about the Black Plague."

The Female Fear Factor

By Lorenza Munoz, (i) Los Angeles Times, 8 November 2003, (ii) as 'Females Go For Fright Factor In Films',, 13 November 2003 (note - full text online at, (iii) Minneapolis Star Tribune, 11 December, 2003

"Female support has revolutionised the [horror] genre. Women have changed the genre just by the way they have viewed it, by the pictures they have supported and pictures they have not supported...
"Today's female audience wouldn't fall for the helpless, dim-witted, curvaceous female who 'tripped in the forest' or 'went into a dark basement with a faulty flaslight'. Cinema never leads, it always follows sociologically. It is a reflection of what we think. Women were fed up watching themselves as empty-headed bimbos. They wanted equal-opportunity murder. If you were going to murder some cute girl at Camp Crystal, you were going to have to murder some cute boys too."

Barker Finds Wizard's Hat A Fantastic Fit

By Nancy Pate, Orlando Sentinel, 9 November 2003

"Imagination is a wonderful thing. As a boy, I was a target for bullies - they always go for the guy with the glasses. So what you do is look around for some place of strength, and the only thing I could do well was use my imagination. I could imagine stories, I could tell stories...
"Narnia, Oz, Neverland - these were the wondrous places of my childhood. As a writer introduced as a child to other people's Wonderlands, I wanted to return the favor."

Ageless Adventure

By Nancy Pate, Orlando Sentinel, 21 December 2003

"I wouldn't let my mother shut [the window], even when it was cold. And it was her fault, really, for having read me Peter Pan. I just knew that Peter would show up one night, and we would fly off to Neverland. I wanted to be ready."

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