Monday, September 26, 2011

Clive Barker's Books of Blood, Volume Three, by Clive Barker

(hb; 1984: story anthology)

Overall review:

Stunning, classic anthology, this -- wow-worthy as Clive Barker's Books of Blood, Volumes One and Two. Worth owning, and re-reading a few years after your initial perusal of it.

Review, story by story:

1.) "Son of Celluloid" - Restless, collective ghosts in an old movie theater literally turn cancerous when the theater is reopened after a few decades.

Imaginative, focused and truly horrific, in a sick, film iconic way.

In 1991, Eclipse Books published a graphic novel version of this story. Steve Niles adapted Barker's story to comic book form, while Les Edwards illustrated it (the front cover is below).

2.) "Rawhead Rex" - An ancient earthbound monster, accidentally freed from its centuries-long prison, vents its divine, slaughteramic outrage on the modern day villagers of Zeal.

Grisly, nobody-is-spared, gripping piece.

The film version debuted in Italy in October 1986. It was released in the United States on April 17, 1987.

Donal McCann played Tom Garron. Kelly Piper played Elaine Hallenbeck. David Dukes played Howard Hallenbeck. Niall Toibin played Reverend Coot. Ronan Wilmot played Declan O'Brien. Niall O'Brien played Det. Insp. Isaac Gissing. Hugh O'Conor played Robbie Hallenbeck. Eleanor Feely played Jenny Nicholson. A costumed Heinrich von Schellendorf played Rawhead Rex.

George Pavlou directed the film, from a screenplay by story author Clive Barker. (Barker was reportedly unhappy with how the film turned out.)

3.) "Confessions of a (Pornographer's) Shroud" - A murdered man, now a vengeful spirit, hunts and kills those who wronged him.

Clever, quirky, imaginative, entertaining tale.

4.) "Scape-goats" - Two couples on an island-crashed sailboat quickly cognize that there's something wrong about the rocky mass their boat is abutting.

Atmospheric, solid read with an interesting island backstory.

5.) "Human Remains" - An apathetic gigolo (Gavin) rediscovers his humanity, via violence and physical detachment, when a trick goes weird.

One of the most original, genre-transcendant and unpredictable stories I've read in a long while, and perhaps the best story in this collection.

In 1989, Eclipse Books published a comic book mini-series, Tapping The Vein, that is based on Barker's writings.

P. Craig Russell adapted and illustrated "Human Remains" in issue #1 (its front cover is seen below). This issue also contains an adaptation of one of Barker's other stories, "Pig Blood Blues" (published in Clive Barker's Books of Blood, Volume One).

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