A polymath of considerable artistic importance in the horror genre, Clive Barker has been a mainstay in horror culture since the mid-1980s, and has won critical and fan appreciation for his various strange and often beautiful creations, which have been curiously overlooked outside of horror circles. This class will examine his uniquely abject and original artistry, beginning with the splatterpunk delights of Books of Blood (1984-5), The Damnation Game (1985), and The Hellbound Heart (1986) through to his fusions with the dark fantastic and YA fiction in Weaveworld (1987), The Great and Secret Show (1989), and Abarat series (2002 -), among other popular titles.
Barker’s own films, as a writer and director, in the 1980s and 1990s will also be examined to analyse their familiar Barkerian elements (sex, death, religion, belonging, selling one’s soul) alongside themes and motifs on monstrosity, cultural rejection, secret desires and appetites, torment and the limits of excess and power. With the aid of clips, sketches, posters, and archive material, in this lecture we will trace and present core themes and ideas that run riot throughout his fiction and film, and invite you to (re)discover Barker’s enduring legacy and unique contribution to horror culture.
Sorcha Ni Fhlainn is Senior Lecturer in Film Studies and American Studies, and a founding member of the Manchester centre for Gothic Studies at Manchester Metropolitan University. She has published widely on gothic and horror studies, including Clive Barker: Dark Imaginer (Manchester, 2017) and Postmodern Vampires: Film, Fiction, and Popular Culture (Palgrave, 2019). She is currently working on the long 1980s onscreen.
The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies – London – HELLBOUND HEARTS: THE DARK ART OF CLIVE BARKER will take place on Thursday, May 9, 2019, from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm at The Horse Hospital (Colonnade, Bloomsbury, London). Tickets are £10 in advance and £11 at the door. Tickets and additional information can be found at https://www.miskatonicinstitute.com/events/hellbound-hearts-the-dark-art-of-clive-barker-london/.