The bane of those pushing the envelope. Censorship has its place but the motives often seem so political... The debate goes on forever.

"I've always had a good relationship with Jim [Ferman] of the BBFC. Hellraiser got through uncut. So did Candyman. Jim has always said that if the horror comes in a fantasy context and cannot be copied or emulated then he has less of a problem with it."

Lord Of Illusion

By [ ], Home Cinema Choice, September 1996

"I certainly believe there's a kind of movie that you make for 16-year-olds and older; Hellraiser is one of them. Hellraiser is not meant to be viewed by a six-year-old or an eight-year-old or even by a 12-year-old. There is a legitimate concern about getting certain kinds of images into impressionable minds where they cannot be put into context. And the question is, does the responsibility for that lie in the household or does it lie in society in general? I'm not convinced that society can ever take account of behaviour that's internal to a domestic situation. The responsibility has got to lie in the home. It cannot lie with artists. The artist has to have the freedom to go and make the stories or go and make the images that he or she wants to make."


By [ ], Empire, No 60, June 1994

[re. 'Hellraiser II] "We've lost more than I'd have liked, but less than I feared. We have to accept that circumstances are changing and we're getting less through. In 'Friday the 13th Part 7' all the murders happen off-screen, and that certainly didn't happen earlier in the series. They came down on us really hard on 'Hellbound', we cut it four times and each time we got an 'X'. So there's obviously major concern. I don't want the freedom to abuse it, I do want the freedom. I don't want to be thinking, hall we shoot that, will it get through, all the time. The thing is that special effects are expensive, and it's not worth shooting stuff that's not gonna get in. It certainly alters your attitude. You've only got a certain amount of money, where are you going to put it? Not on material that's going to end up on the editorial floor. It's not worth it."

Clive Barker in the Flesh

By Dave Hughes, Skeleton Crew, III/IV, 1988

"There is a very strong lobby which says you can show too much. Wrong. Not for me. You can never show too much... .There is also a school that says that suggestion is best, that understatement is best. And there are occasions, certainly, where that is true. But for me, as a viewer, a reader, I like it there - I mean, it's show me, show me. Paradoxically, I thank God for them [censors]. I think it's important that there should always be somebody around who says that this is forbidden territory. We are, after all, trading on taboo. I don't support censorship for adults, but I do think children should be protected. It's surely commonsense that there are a bunch of things that you don't want to be showing to the average six-year-old. But as far as adults are concerned, there's no way I'm ever going to be convinced that two dozen moral, upright citizens should tell me what I shall not see, though they have seen it themselves and claim they are so uncorrupted by the experience that they can continue in their work.You're not dealing with rational thought processes; you're dealing with a deep-seated Christian preoccupation with the dirtiness of sex - hundreds of years of deeply ingrained tradition... .until we're free of Christianity I don't think we'll ever be free of censorship."

Give me B-Movies or Give me Death!

By Douglas E. Winter, Faces of Fear, 1985

"When I came out [of university] I went down to London and started a theatre company afresh. I also illustrated a couple of centrefolds for some S&M magazines that later got arrested by Scotland Yard for their content - I'm very proud of that. This was in the mid-70's and they were really something - Scotland Yard thought so too! What was interesting was they arrested my originals as well: they took them away and burnt them, which I always thought was the ultimate compliment. It was real confirmation that the stuff worked and they needed to burn it."

Transcript of talk at UCLA 25 February 1987

[re. ideas of the combination of love and death, love and evil] "I think they're carried to a greater extreme in my fiction than I can ever get on the screen. Not that I could ever put on the screen but that I could ever get distributed on the screen. There are certainly stories of mine, the story called 'The Age of Desire' for instance, which is about an aphrodisiac which gets out of control and ends up kind of fucking everything. I mean he starts with his landlady, then he goes through some cops. Then he ends up screwing walls in subways, sidewalks and shit. There are things you can do on page that you absolutely can't do on screen, or if you can do it on screen you just can't get distributed. So I mean, I think they can push that stuff further on the page. But clearly, in the movies, I really do intend to push it as far as I possibly can, and I think in 'Hellraiser', we get away with a lot of stuff which I was kind of surprised by frankly. I was surprised that the MPAA was as accepting of some of that imagery, which is very seriously taken necrophiliac imagery, as it was. Maybe they didn't get it, I don't know."

Clive Barker : What Makes Him Tick

By Tim Caldwell, Film Threat, No 19, 1989

"There have to be moments when you think, 'Well, you know, here was something which was genuinely dangerous.' ... I think there are more ambiguities in there than maybe we sometimes allow... .I think the censorship lobby has legitimate fears. I could certainly think ofpictures that I would not want six-year olds to see... My problem is not that there aren't legitimate concerns but that because the argument is so fractionalized, the real issues are not addressed. The real issues are what values are put across in these pictures. If you start to talk about values I think something very interesting happens; there is quite clearly an argument that can be put against pornography - that it de-humanizes women - which I think is a legitimate argument. But what about 'Rambo' de-humanizing life?"

A Little Bit of Hamlet

Barker at UCLA 25 February 1987, by Dennis Etchison, Clive Barker's Shadows in Eden

"There are some things I won't do. I don't like to exploit the woman in jeopardy thing, this horribly chauvinist thing which is so much a part of splatter movies - girls wearing t-shirts being chased by people with machetes. Besides being boring cinema, I find it profoundly sexist and vile. I won't deal with subject matter which touches on real life issues. I'm writing a kind of imaginative entertainment and there's no way I'm going to exploit, and I would see that as being the appropriate word, legitimate anxieties for shock value. The fiction, if there is to be such, about Aids, certainly isn't to be sold for cheap thrills. I'm not going to make a roller coaster ride out of Aids any more than I would out of concentration camps. It's just not done."

Eroticising the World

By G. Dair, Cut, Vol 2, No 10, October 1987

"I never know what's going to be a problem with the MPAA. I don't understand these people. They seem to me to be irrational. I think what they worry about is overall intensity. They don't want movies to be distressing, but if you put down your seven bucks to be distressed, then why shouldn't you have that form of entertainment? I personally find Macaulay Culkin too intense for a whole bunch of other reasons. Does that mean I can have my own little classification board? The MPAA is essentially protecting people who are not asking to be protected, and that seems to me to be ludicrous. This movie ['Lord of Illusions'] will not incite racial violence; it is not harmful and does not suggest it would be a good thing to harm women and children. It will be intense. It is intended to be intense. It's intended to have people sitting on the edge of their seats pouring cold sweat."

The Conjuring of Lord of Illusions part 1 - Preproduction

By Anthony C Ferrante, (i) Fangoria No 138, November 1994(ii) Fangoria : Masters of the Dark

"[The MPAA] can see me coming a mile away, so they have their ears pricked up and are going to be sniffing the air for something to censor. I've always said I make movies for adults and adults should be able to see whatever they want. There's a lot going on here and I'm going to fight to get as much of it on screen as I can. I also really believe it's part of the story we've chosen to tell. Of course, the MPAA can say you're sick because you shouldn't want to tell this story in the first place, but the fact is that this is the story we've chosen and I'm not going to make any apology for that."

The Conjuring of Lord of Illusions part 3 - Principal photography (2)

By Anthony C. Ferrante, (i) Fangoria, No 140, March 1995(ii) Fangoria : Masters of the Dark

"I sent the letter [to the MPAA when submitting Lord of Illusions explaining the thought behind scenes that were initially difficult to them] because I wanted them to understand that I was trying to be rational with them and, if they would be reasonable with me, we could sort this out quickly. There's no use trying to battle these guys. They have their agenda and I have mine. They happen to be contradictory agenda, that's a fact, but I see absolutely no purposein going nose to nose with them and, by and large, the MPAA have been really responsive to the movie. There have been scenes where we had to pull back a second or two but I think they respect that we've made a movie with intelligence, style and some emotion. We haven't got our R yet, but we're well on our way to having a hard R without having our tongues firmly in our cheeks or the film being a fantasy. And the two things that will allow you to get away with a lot of blood are fantasy and comedy.
[after the eighth submission] "Our trailer can now play before The Lion King!"

The Conjuring of Lord of Illusions part 4 - Postproduction

By Anthony C. Ferrante, (i) Fangoria, No 141, April 1995(ii) Fangoria : Masters of the Dark

"The 'Hellraiser' movies are about doing the things which nobody else would want to do. I like the elements of perversity in those movies. The MPAA always gives us a hard time about them, but one of the functions of horror movies is to push things a little further. This is not family values stuff. They [the MPAA] were refusing to allow us to put Pinhead on the poster [for Hellraiser III]. We could do it if we took the needles out - I guess if he looks like Mr Clean, it's fine. They said they got a lot of flak for the first two pictures, so they're certainly more sensitive. They decided it was too upsetting to children - but if you go into any comic-book store, you can pick up a comic with his mug on it. Miramax ultimately decided to rock the boat and do it anyway, because it was an illegal act, I suppose, by the MPAA."

Barker Looks Back

By Anthony C Ferrante, (i) Bloody Best of Fangoria, No 12, September 1993(ii) Fangoria : Masters of the Dark (slightly updated as " Clive Barker's Horror Hat Trick")

"I've had problems with my movies. I've had problems with the Hellraiser movies in particular. So I've had to censor specific bits of my work, yes. Clearly, I make movies for adult sensibilities. I view film as a metaphor for a state of mind. It is never my intent to upset people in a negative way. If they were upset by the film, I would hope that it would be in a positive way, so that they could think about the issues in the film and draw their own conclusions about them. That just doesn't interest me. I don't think it's fair to compare Hellraiser with Friday the 13th, either. I don't find 'Slasher Movies' very interesting at all. Pictures like Hellraiser are fantastic, like dark fairy tales."

The Clive Barker Interview

By Mike Lackey, Marvel Age, No 107, December 1991

"I'm very suspicious when you're not supposed to look at something. It's usually terribly important. When something is behind closed doors, I'm doubly fascinated. Why is the mystery of sex behind closed doors? Why is the mystery of death behind closed doors? Why is Washington DC behind closed doors?
[Having taken on a quasi-parental role to the 10-year-old daughter of his boyfriend of two years, photographer David Armstrong.] "Things that had never crossed my mind before now do. It's an interesting lesson for me, because I've always been an advocate of freedom for artists to express themselves without being accountable to the Jesse Helmses of the world. But I've also always said I didn't make Hellraiser for six-year-olds."

People Online

By Laura Kay Smith, [27] July 1998

"I am a very sexual person. Many of the things which drive me in my life have to do with sex and physical pleasure and the sense that we are sensual beings. In a form of fiction which is very often about the physical vulnerability of the physical body, as horror fiction very often is, and also about sexual motives, it seems to me that as an author I have to be as honest as I can about this important element in my nature. If I want to talk about what happened in a mortuary honestly and freely, then I want to talk about what happened on a bed honestly and freely. And I don't want to feel as if there is anybody coming between me and my reader, because that's a sacred relationship as far as I am concerned. I refuse to be censored. It has [been attempted] a couple of times: someone said, 'You know, I don't think you should say that. It's too graphic, it's too strong.' [My reaction] wasn't very polite - 'Fuck off!' They never won that argument... There was a story in the Books of Blood called 'In The Hills, The Cities', and my agent and my editors all said, 'Don't publish this story; it has a gay context, it has a graphic gay lovemaking scene. Just don't do it.' And all I said was, 'I'm doing it, so if you don't want to publish the book, I'm taking it away.' And in the end they published it and it won prizes everywhere and I still get a lot of mail about that story. So I don't trust the voices that tell me 'Don't do that!' I think it's very important to go with your instincts, to trust your instincts, even if they send you treading in a territory where other people don't want you to tread."

Addicted To Creativity (Part 1)

By Bill Babouris, Samhain, No 70, November 1998

"Taboo and perversity are not enough in themselves. If we merely celebrate the urge to appall we may find ourselves defending mere sensationalism simply because it makes us nauseous. No, we must also have structure to our horrors, and - given that any narrative worth its sweat has some underlying metaphysic - meaning too."

Introduction - Night Visions 4

Essay by Clive Barker, Night Visions 4

"Oh God, in Pakistan they just run the front titles and the end titles [of Hellraiser]. Nothing else left. We lost thirty seconds in this country [U.K.]. It's irritating, because I would like to make movies that were as unrelenting and as explicit in their metaphysical, sexual and violent imagery as the stories. But with the way censorship is at present, there's no way you can do that."

Beneath the Blanket of Banality

By Lionel Gracy-Whitman & Don Melia, Heartbreak Hotel, No 4, July/August 1988

"I used to think adults of 18 had the right to see what they liked, but the situation has changed now because of video.
"Video can be seen by children. Images which are difficult to contextualise or comprehend by innocent minds can be disturbing. Can we trust internal policing, the BBFC or the police?
"I prefer the BBFC to be there as an arbiter rather than the police. Hellraiser lost 30 seconds to the censor; Nightbreed a little less.
"The police response to video nasties was ludicrous and illogical. They misunderstood the difference between artistic communities and those who were just looking to make money. I've been on censorship panels and these conversations just go round and round."

Raising Hell In Hollywood

By Janet Morris, Film Review, November 1991

"I have always said that movies I make are not for kids. I don't feel comfortable with the idea that an audience of, let's say, viewers under 12 are watching these movies. The imagery is sometimes visceral, sometimes erotic, sometimes disturbing. Certainly I am more aware than ever, having a child in the house on a regular basis, of how important it is to control the images and ideas which are flowing into a vulnerable and impressionable mind. I think this is true of images on the news and on the Learning Channel, just as much as it is images in Hellraiser. I believe strongly in the principle of parental guidance. Now, let's not use our anxieties regarding children to empower those forces in our culture who would wish to prevent adults from seeing images or being told stories which are sometimes powerfully transgressive. I believe that there is an extraordinary importance in images which a Pat Robertson or a Jesse Helms would not approve of. Indeed I believe that some of these more conservative minds (and I use the words 'minds' loosely) are exercising a highly politicized power over our imaginations when they seek to prevent us seeing, for instance, an exhibition of Robert Mapplethorpe photographs. Their hunger to control what we see and experience through art must be powerfully resisted by all of us who care for the health of our culture, or else we will find ourselves one day waking up in a Disneyfied, Christian Coalition nightmare.
"In the realm of the imagination, all things are possible, and, though I might choose not to explore certain forms of material as an artist, I will absolutely defend somebody else's right to do so. That said, you and I as consumers of other people's imaginings, also have the right -- indeed perhaps the duty -- to question the validity of somebody else's statements. Therefore, while I will defend the right in a democracy, and in a country which believes in free speech, for people to say in books and films things with which I may passionately disagree, it is also important that I voice my disagreement. Hateful things can be said in fiction. Hateful things can painted in art. Hateful films are being made all the time. Films which demonise sexual and racial minorities, films which are designed to make us afraid of the natural world. I could never support a government which withheld the right for creators to make those hateful things, but it doesn't mean I need to support those creators with my hard earned dollars.
"I have on occasion had to fight with editors to keep material. There was one fellow at HarperCollins -- he's since left -- who objected strongly to the fact that Sacrament had a gay hero. Six weeks before I delivered the book he told me that it was unacceptable and that I should change all the pronouns and make the character straight. I very politely declined. The book became a huge success. And it was very satisfying for me to discover that my readers were just as I had told him they would be: open-minded and far too intelligent to be troubled by the issue of a character's sexuality. That's about the only time I've had a problem with a book. Movies are another matter. If you check out the director's cut of Lord of Illusions on laser, you'll see a number of scenes have been reinstated that the MPAA forced me to remove. "

People Online Appearance

Transcript of on-line appearance, 30 July 1998

"I love to fix everything. There are always 'could-haves' and 'would-haves'. I can say that I have never put out anything willingly that was not my absolute best effort. There are some works that I have had no control over. Nightbreed, for example, the screen adaptation of my short story, Cabal, was heavily recut after filming. I also had no say about the sequels to Hellraiser. And, even though I wrote and directed Lord of Illusions, the powers-that-be at United Artists wanted to cut twelve minutes of conversation from the picture. I said, 'No!' They responded, 'Then we'll do it!' I agreed, as long as they would agree to pay for the scoring of the missing twelve minutes and put out my director's cuts for laser and video distribution. Those mediums have a larger audience. Now I always have that written into my contract. I find it interesting that the people who make the decisions about these final cuts aren't even the creative artists responsible for the product. They represent the business side of Hollywood."

Pinhead And The Human Condition

By Dan Clarke,Inklings, Vol 3 No 4, Winter 1997-98

"Lord of Illusions you can't show. You can show it on HBO, Showtime. It's been on Showtime lots of times now, they've shown the director's cut. On regular tv there's no way you can go anywhere near that stuff, which is irksome to say the least, because I think a lot of the power of the kinds of things that I do like Cronenberg's, it really doesn't have a life, I don't think, unless you do with it with real gusto.
"I think I need to step up to the plate in the cleanest, clearest way I can and without apology, and with as little interference from the MPAA as possible. That's why I've always tried to put out uncensoredversions of things. We're still hoping that we eventually get an edition of Nightbreed on DVD and laser which will replace the 25 minutes that are missing. Its irritating as hell to have these pompous sons-of-bitches who think they know what will corrupt America, youknow (laughs), always the most self righteous 'Oh no-no! you can't possibly do that!'"

Explorer From The Far Reaches Of Experience

By Kim August, Pharr Out! 1998

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