Clive Barker

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Clive Barker

Clive Barker (born 5 October 1952) is an English writer of fantasy and horror fiction, as well as a filmmaker. His novels include The Great and Secret Show, Weaveworld, and Imajica. His films include Hellraiser, Nightbreed, and Lord of Illusions.


  • Non-fiction contains facts, fiction contains truth.
    • Next Testament (Boom Studios, 2014)
  • By and large, horror fiction is the most difficult to domesticate because part of the point is that it's one step ahead – or behind – everybody else's taste. And I'm not really convinced I'd like it to change. There's something very healthy about horror fiction being always a little bit on the outside. It's the wild-dog genre.
    • The Advocate (Feb. 21, 1995)
  • Every body is a book of blood;
    Wherever we're opened, we're red.
    • Clive Barker's Books of Blood
  • Flesh is our indisputable commonality. Whatever our race, our religion, our politics we are faced every morning with the fact of our bodies. Their frailties, their demands, their desires. And yet the erotic appetites that spring from - and are expressed through - those bodies, are so often a source of bitter dissension and division. Acts that offer a glimpse of transcendence to one group are condemned by another. We are pressured from every side - by peers, by church, by state - to accept the consensual definition of taboo; though so often what excites our imaginations most is the violation of taboo.
    • Introduction to "One Flesh" exibition, April 4-27, 1997
  • If we have nothing to do but service our own pleasure – because society has taught us that's all we're worth and we're exiled from positions of authority from which we could actually shape society – then we just become hedonists. Eventually, despite how great it may look on Saturday night, come Monday morning there's just purposelessness.
    • The Advocate (Feb. 21, 1995)
  • I was a weird little kid. I was very irritable, bored, frustrated. I felt my imagination bubbling inside my head without having any way to express itself. Given a crayon and paper, I would not draw a train or a house. I would draw these monsters, beasts and demons.
    • Gigaplex's interview, 1995
  • I've held a brain in my hands, which is an extraordinary experience.
    • Gigaplex's interview, 1995
  • Memory, prophecy and fantasy
    the past, the future and
    the dreaming moment between
    are all one country,
    living one immortal day.

    To know that is Wisdom.

    To use it is the Art.
    • The Great and Secret Show
  • Movies are much more fascist than books. They tell you what to feel, when to feel it. Popular movies manipulate you. Music tells you when it's a sad part and when it's a happy part. You're obliged to watch them at the speed the filmmaker has created for you. That, I think, is one of the reasons why they're so popular - because you don't have to think very hard. The filmmaker has done all the thinking for you.
    • "Clive Barker: Love, Death, & the Whole Damned Thing", Locus (1995)
  • One of the reasons why I don't get on with most fantasy writing - enchanted sword fantasy writing - is because I think it's emotionally untrue. People behave in very simple ways, unparadoxical ways. What I'm trying to do is bring into fantasy - as I hope I've been able to bring to horror - a certain kind of emotional realism. People have mentioned sex as being a major part of my fiction. An awful lot of horror fiction simply never contained that kind of material. Which seems to me to be extraordinary because most horror fiction is about the body in some way or other, and therefore it should be about sensuality and eroticism every bit as much as it's about corruption.
    • Writer's Digest, March 1991
  • The fact that Pinhead is a character that audiences want to watch, that women find sexy, that people have tattooed on their own bodies, I think, is perfectly extraordinary, and I'm incredibly pleased about it. I don't think an analysis of what he does in the movies ever completely illuminates the charm that the guy has.
    • "A Living 'Hellraiser'", The Daily Bruin, Thursday, May 7, 1992
  • The monsters act out our rage. They act on their worst impulses, which is appealing to a certain part of us. They get punished for it, but we've enjoyed the spectacle of their liberation.
    • The Advocate (Feb. 21, 1995)
  • The paintings of Francis Bacon to my eye are very beautiful. The paintings of Bosch or Goya are to my eye very beautiful. I've also stood in front of those same paintings with people who've said, "let's get on to the Botticellis as soon as possible." I have lingered, of course.
    • American Heroes #174
  • Writing a book is like masturbation, and making a movie is like an orgy.
    • Gigaplex's interview, 1995
  • Your average game show host on TV, for instance, doesn't believe himself to be banal. He actually thinks that he's quite interesting. And if you look at the viewing figures, so do an enormous number of people in this country.
    • American Heroes #174
  • We are all our own graveyards I believe; we squat amongst the tombs of the people we were. If we're healthy, every day is a celebration, a Day of the Dead, in which we give thanks for the lives that we lived; and if we are neurotic we brood and mourn and wish that the past was still present.
    • Foreword: Books of Blood 1-3
  • Here is a list of fearful things:
    The jaws of sharks, a vulture's wings,
    The rabid bite of the dog's of war,
    The voice of one who went before.
    But most of all the mirror's gaze,
    which counts us out our numbered days.
    • Abarat, Book One
  • Life is short,
    and pleasures few,
    and holed the ship,
    and drowned the crew,
    But O! But O!
    How very blue
    the sea is!
    • Abarat, Book One

Weaveworld (1987)[edit]

All page numbers from the hardcover first American edition published by Poseidon Press


  • Nothing ever begins.
    There is no first moment; no single word or place from which this or any other story springs.
    The threads can always be traced back to some earlier tale, and to the tales that preceded that: though as the narrator’s voice recedes the connections will seem to grow more tenuous, for each age will want the tale told as if it were of its own making.
    Thus the pagan will be sanctified, the tragic become laughable; great lovers will stoop to sentiment, and demons dwindle to clockwork toys.
    Nothing is fixed. In and out the shuttle goes, fact and fiction, mind and matter woven into patterns that may have only this in common: that hidden amongst them is a filigree which will with time become a world.
    It must be arbitrary then, the place at which we chose to embark.
    Somewhere between a past half forgotten and a future as yet only glimpsed.
    • Part One “Wild Blue Yonder”, Chapter i “Homing”, Section 1 (p. 19; opening words)
  • Lilia sighed. “Why me?” she said, still shaking. “Why should I have to tell it?”
    “Because you’re the best liar,” Jerichau replied with a tight smile. “You can make it true.”
    • Part Three “The Exiles”, Chapter ii “Walking in the Dark” (p. 123)
  • “Believe nothing,” Apolline advised. “This woman wouldn’t know the truth if it fucked her.”
    • Part Three “The Exiles”, Chapter iii “What She Told” (p. 124)
  • Among their members were some of the wealthiest individuals in the world; between them, fortunes sufficient to trade in nations. None of the seven had a name that would have meant anything to the hoi polloi—they were, like the truly mighty, anonymously great.
    • Part Three “The Exiles”, Chapter ix “On the Might of Princes” (pp. 156-157)


  • True joy is a profound remembering; and true grief the same.
    • Part Five “Revels”, Chapter i “Cal, Among Miracles” (p. 199)
  • “And us?” said the Hag. “What happens to us then? Will we be free?”
    “That’s what we agreed.”
    “We can go into extinction?”
    “If that’s what you want.”
    “More than anything,” said the Hag. “More than anything.”
    “There are worse things than existence,” said Immacolata.
    “Oh?” the Hag replied. “Can you name one?”
    Immacolata thought for a short while.
    “No,” she conceded, with a soft sigh of distress. “You may be right, sister.”
    • Part Five “Revels”, Chapter iv “Allegiances”, Section 1 (p. 210)
  • Of course, there was Hobart. The Inspector was probably insane, but that was all to the good. And he had one particular aspiration which Shadwell knew he might one day need to turn to his own ends. That was, to lead—as Hobart put it—a righteous crusade.
    • Part Six “Back Among the Blind Men”, Chapter v “Our Lady of the Bones”, Section 1 (p. 272)
  • ...Take this all of you and eat it. This is my body which will be given up for you...
    Old words; old rituals. But they still made sound commercial sense.
    Talk of Power and Might would always attract an audience. Lords never went out of fashion.
    • Part Six “Back Among the Blind Men”, Chapter v “Our Lady of the Bones”, Section 2 (p. 273)
  • It was absurd and frustrating, to feel so much and know so little.
    • Part Seven “The Demagogue”, Chapter vi “Hello, Stranger”, Section 2 (p. 306)
  • Perhaps there was a natural process at work here; a means by which the mind dealt with experiences that contradicted a lifetime’s prejudices about the nature of reality. People simple forgot.
    • Part Seven “The Demagogue”, Chapter vi “Hello, Stranger”, Section 2 (p. 307)
  • “Shadwell?” said Suzanna.
    “Their beloved Prophet,” came the reply. “Beneath that show of holiness I lent him there beats a salesman’s heart.”
    So Shadwell was the Prophet. What a perfect irony, that the seller of encyclopedias should end up peddling hope.
    “It was his idea,” said the Incantatrix, “to give them a Messiah. Now they’ve got a righteous crusade, as Hobart calls it. They’re going to claim their promised land. And destroy it in the process.”
    “They won’t fall for this.”
    “They already have, sister. Holy wars are easier to start than rumors among your Kind or mine. They believe every sacred word he tells them, as though their lives depended upon it. Which in a sense they do. They’ve been conspired against and cheated—and they’re ready to tear the Fugue apart to get their hands on those responsible. Isn’t that perfect? The Fugue’ll die at the very hands of those who’ve come to save it.”
    “And that’s what Shadwell wants?”
    “He’s a man: he wants adoration.”She gazed over Suzanna’s shoulder toward the unweaving, and the Salesman, still in its midst. “And that’s what he’s got. So he’s happy.”
    • Part Seven “The Demagogue”, Chapter x “Fatalities”, Section 1 (p. 321)
  • Shadwell threw down his gun, and—though he had no taste for abattoirs—forced himself to survey the carnage before him. It was, he knew, the responsibility of one aspiring to godhood never to look away. Willful ignorance was the last refuge of humanity, and that was a condition he would soon have transcended.
    And, when he studied the scene, it wasn’t so unbearable. He could look at the tumble of corpses and see them for the empty sacks they were.
    • Part Eight “The Return”, Chapter iii “The Horse Unharnessed”, Section 2 (p. 344)
  • What the enemy believed of you was probably true, or else why were you enemies in the first place?
    • Part Eight “The Return”, Chapter v “Nonesuch”, Section 2 (p. 353)
  • Life and wisdom. What more could anybody ask?
    • Part Eight “The Return”, Chapter viii “The Essential Dragon” (p. 373)
  • Godhood called, and he went, fleet-footed, to worship at his own altar.
    • Part Eight “The Return”, Chapter xiii “A Fleeting Glimpse”, Section 1 (p. 402)
  • What can be imagined—
    —need never be lost.
    • Part Nine “Into the Gyre”, Chapter iii “The Miracle of the Loom” (p. 429; catchphrase frequently repeated)
  • He would be vigilant, but he would anticipate nothing, neither disaster nor revelation.
    That was not to say he would give up looking to the future. True, he was just a Cuckoo: scared and weary and alone. But so, in the end were most of his tribe: it didn’t mean all was lost. As long as they could still be moved by a minor chord, or brought to a crisis of tears by scenes of lovers reunited; as long as there was room in their cautious hearts for games of chance, and laughter in the face of God, that must surely be enough to save them, at the last.
    If not, there was no hope for any living thing.
    • Part Nine “Into the Gyre”, Chapter v “A Fragile Peace”, Section 3 (p. 440)


  • She told him she made a rule of never marrying bankers. The next day he sent flowers, and a note saying that he’d relinquished his profession.
    • Part Eleven “The Dream Season”, Chapter ii “Representations”, Section 2 (p. 479)
  • As to the remnants of his army—those Seerkind who’d embraced the Prophet’s visions—they’d been the authors of their own punishment, waking from their evangelical nightmare to find it had destroyed all they held dear.
    • Part Eleven “The Dream Season”, Chapter ii “Representations”, Section 2 (p. 479)
  • Suzanna didn’t wait for confirmation. There was no use disbelieving the worst now.
    • Part Eleven “The Dream Season”, Chapter iv “The Shrine of the Mortalities”, Section 3 (p. 494)
  • So he believes. The truth may be more...complex.
    • Part Eleven “The Dream Season”, Chapter iv “The Shrine of the Mortalities”, Section 3 (p. 494)
  • Always the sightseers: open-mouthed, disbelieving. There was a force for desolation loose in their midst which could consume their lives at a glance, surely they could see that? But they’d watch anyway, willing to embrace the void if it came with sufficient razzmatazz.
    • Part Eleven “The Dream Season”, Chapter v “The Naked Flame”, Section 4 (p. 502)
  • There was such sanity in his voice; a politician’s sanity, as he sold his flock the wisdom of the bomb. This soulless certainty was more chilling than hysteria or malice.
    • Part Eleven “The Dream Season”, Chapter vi “Death Comes Home”, Section (p. 507)
  • “Don’t be sentimental,” he chided. “Memories aren’t enough.”
    It was fruitless to argue the niceties of that: he was telling her that he was in pain; he didn’t want platitudes or metaphysics.
    • Part Twelve “Stalking Paradise”, Chapter i “A Chapter of Accidents”, Section 4 (p. 517)
  • “Don’t worry,” he told her.
    “Me?” she said. “I never worry. It’s all going to end badly whether I worry or not.”
    • Part Thirteen “Magic Night”, Chapter ii “Shelter from the Storm”, Section 2 (p. 553)
  • “Are you coming?” he said.
    “In a moment.”
    “It’s now or never.”
    Maybe it would be never, then. She was so transfixed by the formidable power being unleashed in front of her, she couldn’t avert her astonished gaze. It fascinated her that strength of this magnitude should be turned to the sordid business of atrocity; something was wrong with a reality that made that possible, and offered no cure for it, nor hope of cure.
    • Part Thirteen “Magic Night”, Chapter iv “Symmetry”, Section 2 (p. 569)

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