Clive on Valerie On The Stairs

Following the success of the first Masters of Horror series, Clive wrote an original 45 page treatment for the second series entitled Valerie On The Stairs which Mick Garris adapted and then shot in August 2006.

The New York City Horror Film Festival hosted the World Premiere of Valerie On The Stairs on 21 October ahead of its first airing on Showtime on 29 December 2006. Mick Garris was in attendance at the Festival both to present Valerie On The Stairs and to accept a Lifetime Achievement Award...
Look out for Anchor Bay's US DVD release (Fangoria have first look at cover art here) from 14 August 2007, which includes Garris' audio commentary along with two featurettes: 'Spine Tingler: The Making of Valerie On The Stairs' and 'Jump Scare: Editing Valerie'. Added extras include a stills gallery, trailers and the screenplay on DVD-ROM.

Valerie On The Stairs

Clive's complete treatment is included in full below, split over five instalments, exclusive to Revelations...
Click here to download:

~ Part One of Valerie On The Stairs - Original Treatment ~
~ Part Two of Valerie On The Stairs - Original Treatment ~
~ Part Three of Valerie On The Stairs - Original Treatment ~
~ Part Four of Valerie On The Stairs - Original Treatment ~
~ Part Five of Valerie On The Stairs - Original Treatment ~

Please be aware that this document remains Copyright © Clive Barker.

"Valerie on The Stairs, which is the one I originated for the second [Masters of Horror] series, is about to be shot... It was Mick Garris, God bless him, who said it was the first time he'd received a 45-page treatment for a 60-minute teleplay! But it was a story that I liked and that I wanted to do as a story for a long time and never found the time to do it and I thought, well it's got lots of visual potential and it's something the guys might like over at Masters of Horror so I took a chance on it, told Mick, 'Please trust me - I think you're going to like it.' Bless him, he did - I didn't pitch anything to him, I didn't tell him anything about it, he just held the space open for me...
"I think it probably would have been a long short story, even maybe shading into a novella... with a large erotic element - and it was really the fact that the erotic elements of Haeckel's Tale had worked, I thought, so very well; the casting of the girl was amazing, and the scenes involving her in the cemetery were, I thought, very intense and certainly a benchmark really - you hadn't seen that on television for sure! I liked this mingling of the erotic and the horrific and I had this other idea and when I say I'd been dawdling around with it, I mean I'd been dawdling around with it for probably five or six years - very clearly it needed to get used up and what better place for it? You know, I love Mick - he's been an absolutely loyal and loving friend since before I moved here and all the time that I've been here, through thick and thin, through bad times for him and bad times for me and I thought, if there's one person I would like to just go the distance for and really write this out and make this a real thing of love that I would then pass along to him to turn into something that could be put on television, it's Mick. And I just could not be happier that it's turned out that way... There are things that get you up in the morning and one of these things is the prospect of... one day I'm gonna get up in the morning and there'll be a DVD here and it's going to be marked 'Valerie on The Stairs'. And the interesting thing is - I can tease you with this - Valerie on The Stairs is about a house which has been given by a now-dead writer, a failed writer, over as a kind of hospice for failed writers. They take rooms and they can stay there and the moment they get a piece of work published, they're out, OK? I think in the story there are nine rooms; it's a big house and nine fervent and fevered and desperate imaginations working each in solitude can do strange things to houses...The thing that's fun about it is it's about writers and it's about the agony of it, really, it's about the pleasure of it and it's about the things that haunt you."

Abarat. Abarat. Abarat. Abarat... Abarat!

By Phil & Sarah Stokes, 13th & 20th March, 2006 (note: full text here)

"This is a joke - Mick finds this incredibly funny - I wrote a 45-page closely-typed treatment for a 60-page script, so Mick said it was the easiest job he ever had in his life! It's a story I've wanted to write for a very long time and suddenly I realised, 'Ah, this is the place to put it.' It's a very, very heterosexual story, centred around an obscure object's desire for this exquisite woman, Valerie...
"Mick is still writing so we talk to and fro once in a while but I trust Mick, I've known Mick many, many years and... also, if Mick wants to manoeuvre, then it's always a pleasure. On [the prospect of directing for] a Season 3, I think it would be a bad use of time to step away from the desk and the studio."

You Called, He Came...

By Phil and Sarah Stokes, 2 and 3 June 2006 (note: full text here)

...other comments

Mick Garris : "Clive Barker is writing an original screen treatment, which I will adapt and possibly direct... I also wrote another script called The V Word, which is an original... All we really want to do is give voice to the best people in the horror genre and make the best fright films possible. We truly want to continue to stretch the envelope and do the kinds of things that go beyond the commonplace mall-cinema fare."

Masters of Horror: Season Two Update

By Tony Timpone, Fangoria, 18 January 2006 (note - full text online at

Mick Garris : "I love Clive, and in fact, my next Masters that I'm directing is going to be from an original story by Clive. We're very good friends, and have worked together several times in the past."

Garris On Upcoming Horror Projects

By Clint Morris, Moviehole, 29 March 2006 (note - full text online at

Mick Garris : "You know with Clive it's going to have some very kinky sexual twist in it; that's what he's good at writing, and that's the one I'm going to direct...
"I'm not afraid of the rubber monsters or that kind of thing, that's not what scares me. ... I'm more afraid for the health and safety of the people in the story. This is a good ghost story and extremely sexual in nature."

Horror's Garris Helms Barker

By Mike Szymanski, Sci Fi Wire, 10 April 2006 (note - full text online at

Mick Garris : "It's not a short story, but an original treatment he wrote for us... It's about an unpublished writer who gets an opportunity to move into an apartment building that is peopled only with unpublished writers, and his experiences when he finds a beautiful young woman named Valerie crying on the stairs. It's sort of a ghost story that takes a very, very different twist. We haven't done a ghost story in the series yet, and this - as you might imagine, being concocted by Clive - is a very twisted, sexual one."

Masters of Horror Update - Casting And More

By Dayna Van Buskirk, Fangoria, 31 July 2006 (note - full text online at

Robert Greenblatt (Showtime) : "We are delighted to once again be working with some of the most talented directors and writers in the horror genre. This unique series offers viewers a one-of-a kind experience and demonstrates the immense popularity of the horror genre."

Showtime Orders Second Season of IDT Entertainment's 'Masters of Horror'

By [ ], Showtime Press Release / PRNewswire, 24 January 2006

Tony Todd : "Well, the term for [my character] in the script is The Beast but, there might be another name for him that I can't pronounce... you might want to check with Mick on the exact pronunciation, it's all Clive Barker, he came up with the whole thing. I feel like I look like a Clive Barker painting!"

Set: Masters of Horror

By Rees Savidis, Arrow In The Head, 11 October 2006 (note - full text online at

Michael Gingold : "KNB EFX's makeup for this sexual monster is just enough to establish his underworldliness while still allowing Todd to bring him to life with his own face and body language. Just as in Damned Thing, though, there's no restraint in the gore department, as Garris showcases a handful of showy splatter setpieces that pack a strong, visceral punch. These moments, along with the creepy atmosphere the director elicits in the dilapidated house as well as in the netherworld below it, help Valerie past the occasional overly expository or on-the-nose dialogue passage, paying off with an odd, graceful and remarkable final scene. And as in The Damned Thing, the story content feels right for the hour length that the Masters of Horror format demands. If these two entries are any indication, the series doesn't seem to be in any danger of falling into a sophomore slump."

Masters of Horror: The Damned Thing And Valerie On The Stairs

By Michael Gingold, Fangoria, 25 October 2006 (note - full text online at

Mick Garris : "There have been original scripts done for Masters of Horror, but this one, Clive wrote the treatment specifically for us. I think he was really happy with how "Haeckel's Tale" turned out and was really interested in me directing this, which was great. Otherwise, I would have directed "The 'V' Word." Clive and I have worked together other than just on Quicksilver Highway. This really was a great opportunity to do something special. I know a lot of the real Internet horror fans hated "Chocolate" and they didn't think it was really a horror movie. This is not a traditional horror movie, but certainly more traditional in the sense that it's mythological, there's a monster, and there's fear. They'll definitely get some splatter. Maybe not as much as the others, but it gets wet.
"The last one was based on a short story of my own, so I can do what I want with my own material. Clive's treatment is so much more complex and impossible that he offered me total freedom with whatever I wanted to do with it. Yeah, there was a lot of flexibility, yet it's set up in such a way that the mythology of the piece is such that you don't want to take too many of the parts out. But the treatment would have been a $40 million movie."

Mick Garris Director Of Valerie On The Stairs

By Kyle Braun,, 2006 (note - full text online at

Mike Fields, KNB EFX : "Originally, in the script, [Othakeye] was described as being scaly and everything - like something out of a Japanese horror film. But Howard [Berger] and Mick went through numerous design changes. Each time it seemed to be too extreme and Mick wanted everything to be subtle, until we got where we are today."

Valerie On The Stairs - Writer's Shock

By Dayna Van Buskirk, Fangoria, No 259, January 2007

Mick Garris : "Clive and I have been friends for years and worked together and written several projects together, only a couple of which have been produced. This was one of those things where he kept saying, 'I've got a treatment for you' and he finally gave me this 45 page, single-spaced treatment for Valerie on the Stairs. Had we shot that it would have been $70 million and we'd be shooting for weeks and weeks to come but he gave me carte blanche to do with it whatever I wanted to do."

Sleepwalking To Success

By Calum Waddell, The Dark Side, No 128, August/September 2007

Mick Garris : "What Clive had written would have been difficult to do even in a feature film. There was a lot of stuff... imaginative effects scenes that wove a bigger story, but when they were removed it didn't really affect the [main] story. All of the really important beats and character moments are still there and have just been condensed down a little bit - mostly for bugetary reasons, but also for telling the tale in one hour; it just went too many places and was too vague. So it's much more focussed now."

Valerie On The Stairs - Writer's Shock

By Dayna Van Buskirk, Fangoria, No 259, January 2007

Christopher Lloyd : "Having this kind of role is something you don't get on network. To me, this show has much more of a feel of shooting an independent film in the way it's being directed and shot and the time that is being taken. Independent films call on actors to play roles they wouldn't normally get from a major studio or major network. You become pigeonholed in the type of work you've done before, which establishes the kind of role they'll offer you in the future. This kind of gives me a chance to break out and do something different. This is not a comedy. I'm not playing a funny role or some funny kook. He's a little weird, but he's serious. It gives me that opportunity. As far as if anything will come of it in terms of more work in that line, it remains to be seen...
"Horror stuff or not, I like to work. I really like what they're doing here. It's very ambitious. I like that each episode is not connected to the one before. They're all separate stories with a separate cast and a different director. I think that's great."

Christopher Lloyd Of Valerie On The Stairs

By Kyle Braun,, 2006 (note - full text online at

Tyron Leitso : "I had no idea who Clive Barker was. No idea at all. I actually thought, when Mick told me about Clive, that this was a writer who had passed away and this was one of his works that they were finally allowed to use because he'd been dead for so many years."

Valerie On The Stairs - Writer's Shock

By Dayna Van Buskirk, Fangoria, No 259, January 2007

Tony Todd : "It's difficult. As I'm reading, I'm going 'Where's the hook? Where's the life of this guy?' Valerie and I were created from the consciousness of the writers. If you think of it like the dark side, the midnight madness thing, then I have to ground that in some sort of reality. What I have going for me is that I love this other fictitious character. The only way that we can bring ourselves into existence is fighting back. So, I have two things to play: I need to convince (Valerie) we need to be on our own, and I need to continually re-affirm my love for her, albeit done in demonic ways by killing people, breaking their necks, but it's all about her. You still get the maniacal stuff, but hopefully you get the subtle irony. If you've ever seen any of Clive Barker's paintings, I feel like I'm a living embodiment of those paintings."

Tony Todd Of Valerie On The Stairs

By Kyle Braun,, 2006 (note - full text online at

Tony Todd : "[Othakeye]'s not abusive, first of all. He's in love with this woman. He's a romantic tortured soul and that could apply to anybody. You may not get it until the end, but because I'm playing a through-line, every moment I have with Valerie is totally about love and obsession - maybe an overwhelming obsession, too much love; I don't know how to do it right."

Valerie On The Stairs - Writer's Shock

By Dayna Van Buskirk, Fangoria, No 259, January 2007

Clare Grant : "I'm glad to be working on this. I knew all of [Garris'] Stephen King work, certainly. That was actually what kind of sealed the deal for me in terms of wanting this role."

Valerie On The Stairs - Writer's Shock

By Dayna Van Buskirk, Fangoria, No 259, January 2007

Christopher Lloyd : "I feel there's a seriousness about it. Because the only way this particular script can work is if all the characters and the actors playing them take everything very seriously. These are people who create a reality that gets out of control. You have to play the honesty of that. It would be easy to do a send-up, but they're truly scared; this is a serious situation."

Valerie On The Stairs - Writer's Shock

By Dayna Van Buskirk, Fangoria, No 259, January 2007

Review : "Without question, this is the best Mick Garris movie I've ever seen, but I didn't start this review with a preamble about Mick's filmic history for nothing. I'm fully aware of how low a compliment like "Best ever" can apply to Mick. But if you've seen Mick's 'Desperation' (and if not, you should), then you know that he might be finally hitting his stride. For too long Mick has been known to writers as "the Nice Guy" in Hollywood. It's even an inside joke with Mick to the point where he gave that name to his company... in Valerie on The Stairs... Mick runs the horror full force, letting it build, frighten, and disgust. At the same time he achieves the dreamlike state of a Clive Barker story that we can usually only read about. Valerie on The Stairs isn't just Mick's best, it's one of the best of the series."

Valerie On The Stairs

By E.C.McMullen Jr.,, 28 December 2006 (note - full text online at

Review : "Valerie on the Stairs marks the second episode directed by Mick Garris, and it improves on Chocolate. While the latter was an entertaining thriller, it had more in common with The Twilight Zone than Tales from the Darkside. Valerie is a darker, gorier, more confident trip, full of familiar horror elements. The shadowy stairs. The hidden room. The buried secret. Garris assembles the story lovingly, working off a story from Clive Barker, whose tales always have a vicious carnal touch.
"This episode mixes sexuality and brutality into a queasy mixture, as interdimensional sex is just as likely as demonic evisceration... As Rob discovers more about the relationship between Valerie and the beast, he realizes that the source of the two entities may lie in the house itself. Considering how many writers have traveled through, and how much imagination has become pent-up in the walls, is it conceivable that these two characters are just that? Characters? Stuck, waiting for an ending?
"Horror metafiction isn't exactly new. Elegant movies like New Nightmare and In the Mouth of Madness played with the idea of fictional boogeymen becoming real. As in those films, Valerie suggests that the horrible situation on display is the result of desperate writers and their hackneyed stories. Rob wants to save Valerie, but if she's just a pulsing representation of someone's story, what is he saving her from? And what for? There's no telling where the boundaries of reality and illusion hit...
"By revealing the characters as "characters" acting out certain parts, the situation feels arbitrary. The paradox is that while I grew interested by the question of reality, I became less involved emotionally, because the people felt like puppets on strings. The twist here is that the demon wants to break free of those strings and assert himself. That element saves the story from falling apart, and keeps it moving toward a seriously weird ending."

Masters Of Horror Season 2 - Valerie on the Stairs

By James VanFleet, House Of, 30 December 2006 (note - full text online at

Review : "In a brief moment within the confines of the tale, a fellow writer, Bruce Sweetland (Jonathan Watton) paraphrases Rod Serling's famous introduction to The Twilight Zone. In some sense this is foreshadowing, as the ultimate conclusion would have made the episode feel right at home aside that classic series. The problem with Valerie on the Stairs is getting to that conclusion - a conclusion that I might add is offered as speculation from yet another of the tenants (this time portrayed by Christopher Lloyd). In a lot of ways Lloyd's deduction is as necessary to clarify the climax as it is frustrating, in that it gives away a fairly innovative turn of events. But by the time the viewer gets to the final moments - train running full steam - the dénouement is inevitable anyway - we know it can't end well, and it doesn't.
"Lloyd hits all his wild-eyed marks as the decrepit has been who - along with an assorted cast of peculiar characters - populate this "house of failure". Plenty of the denizens are annoying - as they are meant to be - but Leitso seems to be the most ineffectual one of them all. Something that turns out to be a real problem as the arc of the story rests on his determinations. Clare Grant as the title character and her nemesis/lover (played by Candyman - Tony Todd) are slightly more interesting - if only for her fleeting resemblance to Sissy Spacek and his make-up - which too closely resembled something from the Buffy The Vampire Slayer universe."

Valerie On The Stairs (MoH 2.8)

By Tex Massacre, Bloody, 30 December 2006 (note - full text online at

Review : "This week's episode of Masters of Horror is titled "Valerie on the Stairs", which I just love. It's based on a story, or a story idea at least, by the eminent Clive Barker. Clive wrote a 45-page treatment for the 60-minute episode, and Garris wrote the teleplay based on that. Knowing this makes me really, really want to read the treatment, to see what Clive came up with and what Garris added...
"When it all comes down to it, I think "Valerie on the Stairs" would have worked much better as a short story or a novella with Clive's particular brand of darkness. Mick manages to make this episode look good, which I feel I should mention because normally I don't like the look of his films. They always feel a little off, like how something might look in a fever dream. But this one has a very cool look to it that I enjoyed. But there's something about the writing aspect of horror that Mick just... misses. I can't exactly put my finger on it, but it's just not quite there. And in this case, it's REALLY not there. To put it succinctly (and please pardon the cheese), watching "Valerie on the Stairs" is as about as enjoyable as falling down a flight."

Masters Of Horror: Valerie On The Stairs

By Morgan Elektra, Dread, 30 December 2006 (note - full text online at

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