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31 Days of Horror: ‘Hellraiser’ at 30


Author, artist, and playwright Clive Barker made his directorial debut on September 18, 1987. He was adapting his own novel The Hellbound Heart, which would become the seminal work of horror cinematic art known as Hellraiser. Barker had no experience as a film director, but after two disappointing adaptations of his work (Transmutations and Rawhead Rex) he was determined to direct his own work and get it right.

In 1987 there was still room for innovation in horror cinema and though the slashers that ruled the day were already beginning to be a bit repetitious, there were still high points. 1987 alone had plenty of iconic films: Kathryn Bigelow’s Near Dark, Michele Soavi’s Stage Fright, John Carpenter’s Prince Of Darkness, and Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead 2, just to name a few. No film, though, came out of left field and blew them all off the road like Hellraiser.
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31 Days of Horror: Heroes and Villains – Reviewing Recent Comics 10-4-2017

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On this special 31 Days of Horror edition of Heroes and Villains, we’ll be looking at a variety of comics out this week and last, from a variety of genres and companies. Meet me after the jump for my thoughts on Clive Barker’s Hellraiser Omnibus, Volume One, Predator vs. Judge Dredd vs. Aliens: Splice and Dice, Eugenic #1, Slots #1, Cannibal #8, and more… be warned, there may be spoilers…

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‘Rawhead Rex’ Tears Back Into Theaters With a Loving 4K Restoration

Are you curious about the film that made Clive Barker throw up his hands and start directing his own story adaptations? Rawhead Rex is that film.


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Heroes and Villains – Reviewing Recent Comics 6-21-2017

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This time on Heroes and Villains, we’ll be looking at a variety of comics out this week and last, from a variety of genres. Meet me after the jump for my thoughts on Legion of Super-Heroes/Bugs Bunny #1, Dark Days: The Forge #1, Bill & Ted Save the Universe #1, Black Hammer #10, Victor LaValle’s Destroyer #2, Red Agent: The Human Order #8, Plastic #3, Kong of Skull Island #12, Empowered #10, Spencer & Locke #1-3, and Bug! The Adventures of Forager #1-2 from the Allreds… This is another loaded week, so who needs Secret Empires when we have so many other cool things to check out, be warned, there may be spoilers…

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Doctor Who S09 E01: The Magician’s Apprentice

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It’s been ten months since The Doctor and The Master/Missy/Mistress crossed swords last, and other than a few minutes last night, and a holiday adventure with Santa Claus, we “Doctor Who” fans have been waiting for the new season, series nine, to begin. Finally here, meet me after the time and space jump for my thoughts on “The Magician’s Apprentice.”

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Guardians of the Galaxy S01 E01: Road to Knowhere

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We’ve talked about this before, and finally it’s happened, the “Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy” animated series is finally here. With the success of the movie, Marvel has done what is only natural and produced this animated series. So meet me after the jump and we’ll talk about the first episode about Marvel’s favorite renegade space heroes. Spoilers ahead!

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David Sandford Ward travels to Hell in Clive Barker’s The Scarlet Gospels

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The Cenobite bites it. The Order of the Gash lays smashed and shattered upon a mound of bones and blood, confined forever to a sea of dust and ash. This is the worst-kept secret about this novel, which has been under discussion and hinted about for decades: Pinhead dies. I can understand Barker’s choice to do this; he’s quite literally killing his darlings.

Touted as Barker’s “much-anticipated return to horror” (a comment, by the way, that also found its way on to the jacket of his last novel for adults, Mister B. Gone – perhaps it was due to a change in publisher?), The Scarlet Gospels is the closing chapter in the lives of two of Barker’s longest-lasting creations: Pinhead and Harry D’Amour. Admittedly, Harry doesn’t have quite the same cultural resonance as the BDSM angel of death from Hellraiser, but he’s a contemporary of, if not older than, Pinhead. D’Amour first made an appearance in Barker’s novella The Last Illusion (found at the end of The Books of Blood VI and later adapted by Barker for the screen as The Lord of Illusions, starring Scott Bakula as D’Amour), and then he crops up again in Everville, the Second Book of the Art. Pinhead, on the other hand, and despite the innumerable excrescences that comprise the Hellraiser sequels, only appears in one Barker story: The Hellbound Heart and its film, Hellraiser. Read the rest of this entry

Biff Bam Pop Interview: Ron McKenzie talks to SPRING’s Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead

Horror Cinema has been experiencing a rennaisance as of late, with indies such as THE BABADOOK and IT FOLLOWS being prime examples of this “new blood” transfusion. Now, we can add SPRING to the list of genre trailblazers.

The sophomore effort by writer/director duo, Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead (and the follow-up to their critically acclaimed 2012 debut, RESOLUTION ), SPRING details the whirlwind romance between Evan (Lou Taylor Pucci) and Louise (Nadia Hilker). Evan is an American ex-pat, dealing with grief and a personal emotional tailspin. Louise is a genetics student dealing with … well, secrets of her own. Deep, dark monstrous secrets. With brilliant practical special FX by Masters FX, bolstered by the solid performances and red-hot chemistry between Pucci and Hilker as well as the sumptuous and eerie beauty of Italy, SPRING is a rare beast  in every sense of the word. Weaving horror, sci-fi and romance into a cohesive and fascinating whole that’s been described as “Before Sunrise, as re-imagined by Clive Barker.” A good-enough description for a film that defies comparisons. There’s been a lot of hype for SPRING. I’m happy to report that it’s completely warranted.

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I had the chance to sit down with Benson and Moorhead in advance of last Friday’s premiere screening, to talk about SPRING’s genesis, the search for their film’s young lovers, mythology and monsters. Read the rest of this entry

Livin’ In The 80s : The Nerdy Wonder Years

Our genre interests are shaped in those formative teen years. For better or worse, they influence our movie viewing for the rest of our lives, and we always come back to these cinematic touchstones for comfort, for reassurance.

Go take a look at your movie library. Take stock of the titles on your shelf. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Done? Good. Now, I’ll wager easy money that at least 80 percent of the titles in your collection are films that you watched between the ages of 14 and 19. This isn’t an exact science, I’m making a best-range guesstimate here, but chances are…I’m right. Because that’s the lay of the land when it comes to MY library. The things we collect and keep often act as a time capsule for our wonder years.

And for me, that time period was The 80s.

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31 Days of Horror 2014 – Clive Barker’s Nightbreed: The Director’s Cut (2014)

In March of 1990, I had just recently turned 13 years old. I was on a family trip to Houston to visit some friends of my father, but for me, the most important thing to accomplish this trip, aside from studying for my imminent Bar Mitzvah, was finding a movie theatre that was showing Clive Barker’s Nightbreed. The film had been rated R in Canada, which meant nobody under 18 was allowed to see it (screw you, Big Brother!). On one of our final nights, Dad (ill at the time), his friend and me schlepped to some out of the way movie theatre, where the film was still playing. Walt, my Dad’s friend, hates horror movies, so he opted to see Look Who’s Talking, while we went and sat through Clive’s monster movie equivalent of Star Wars. Having read both the original novel, Cabal, and the Epic Comics adaptation, I was psyched to see the creatures of Midian come to life. And when they did, I thoroughly enjoyed. Admittedly, I was also thrilled to be seeing a film some watchdogs seemed to think I wasn’t ready for (up yours, Big Brother!). However, my enjoyment was slightly curtailed as the film’s conclusion, when I asked Dad if he liked it.

“No,” he scoffed. “It wasn’t even scary.”

Not scary! Not scary! What do you mean, not scary. It was…it was….

Look, Dad had a point, ok. Even if I loved it.


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