LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS Interview With Clive Barker
By James Whittington, Sunday 8th March 2009
Clive Barker is a legend in the world of horror entertainment. But did you know that one of his earliest works has been adapted and recently arrived on DVD? In The Midnight Meat Train, a photographer (Bradley Cooper), pursues the subject of a lifetime – the subway slasher and serial killer, Mahogany (Vinnie Jones) – straight to the end of the line. Based on Barker's acclaimed short story, The Midnight Meat Train, packed with unnerving, blood-soaked plot twists, could well prove the horror hit of the season… Or as Barker, who also serves as one of the film’s producers sees it, for generations to come.
ZH: The Midnight Meat Train is one of your first, if not your very first, short story. Could you take us back to that time in your life when you wrote it?
CB: I was great friends with the two-time Pulitzer winner, William A. Henry III, who passed away at the age of 40. At the time he passed, he was the theater critic for Time Magazine. He was one of my best friends. When I was penniless - which was right through my 30’s until I published some books - he brought me over to America, on his own dime, which was incredibly sweet of him. I don’t think I would have become a resident or a citizen of America, had it not been for the fact that he did that.
He lived in Boston. And he worked at that time for The Boston Globe. Boston was amazing… But I wanted to see New York. And I wanted to go - don’t ask me where this comes from - but I wanted to go there on a bus. I was 19, 20-years-old. It was a long time ago. But I knew I wanted to get off an old Greyhound bus at Port Authority, which is what we did… Bill had lots of business in New York and I was on my own, which was wonderful. And a little scary. I got on the subway late one night and it took me to a place called Far Rockaway, the end of the line. I was asleep on the train. And when it ground to a halt, one of the guards shoved me awake and said, “This is as far as we go kid; get off” It was midnight. A completely empty station. I was the only person on the train…
ZH: Hence the germ of the story.
CB: I hadn’t begun to write the short stories at that point… But it made a huge impression on me. At the same time, this would be, 1971, something like that, there was some kind of slasher guy going around the trains. He wasn’t doing anything like the things that were happening in The Midnight Meat Train. But he was getting a little bit of press. And the two things, being delivered to Far Rockaway and getting out and not knowing where the f*** I was, and the story that was going around about this train killer… It was enough for my imagination to sort of start to play around. I made notes when I got back to Boston. It stayed in notes for the next 8-years. I started, towards the end of my 20’s, to put together some stories. And that was actually the first one I wrote… Those early stories were just me mapping out my own primal instincts about what the writing of horror fiction was really about. So that’s where it all began.
ZH: I imagine the passage of time made it easier to make changes when it came time to making the film?
CB: No question…But you know, I don’t cling to the stories and say, ‘You can’t change a word; it’s all sacred’. Partly because I’ve really run rampant through my own narratives for my own purposes…I’m not worried about other people doing reconstructions of the narratives. It’s a different medium.
ZH: You chose not to direct this new The Midnight Meat Train. Why?
CB: I chose not to direct at all for a while. Until I finish all five Abarat books. I do four drafts. And I’m about 20-pages from the end of Abarat 3. I’m on page 2,079… You know there’s a lot of people around the world who want to know how this mega-story is going to reach a conclusion (laughs). I mean, you know, I’ve got two more books to write. And I certainly won’t think seriously about movies, as a director, until I feel I’ve finished the Abarat books.
ZH: As a producer, what was the biggest challenge in making The Midnight Meat Train?
CB: The train…To get the train to be a believable thing. That you are on that train and it’s moving and racing along the tracks. I think that comes off. I think we sell quite well the idea that this is a real train.
ZH: When in fact it was…
CB: Three carriages, you know. A build. A beautiful, beautiful, build.
ZH: How did the casting of Vinnie Jones come about?
CB: It was just one of those glorious, glorious, ideas that somebody had which was just completely right. You know, he is the stone heart of this movie. That grim, joyless face. And also the pain in him, which is even more acute…The written story shows even more, you know, the failing of his system, in literary terms. But Vinnie’s acting is so smart and clean and full of subtlety that the he… I think the movie completely communicates what you need to know about his character, Mahogany.
ZH: Was there anything that surprised you about the experience?
CB: Yes. Our director’s vision…His take on it made me love the process again. Because it’s been a while since we’ve had a movie that I was, you know, really a part of from the beginning. I’d been involved with some of the Hellraiser sequels over at Miramax, but they weren’t very satisfactory experiences because very often I was just called in at the last minute. Here is a picture that my team, the Seraphim guys (Barker’s production company, Seraphim Films), were there from the beginning and carrying it through to the end…
ZH: What are your expectations for the film… your hopes?
CB: I hope that in ten years time, people are still watching it. I mean, Hellraiser is still a picture that people will rent out on a weekend, which astonishes me. But there it is. It’s good. It cost 900,000-bucks, but people still watch it and are scared by it. I think in 10- years time, 20-years time, people will still love The Midnight Meat Train and say, ‘that’s a damn good movie’.
ZH: What’s next for you?
CB: Dread. Which another story from The Books of Blood, which is being directed by Anthony DiBlasi, who joined the company as an assistant, six, seven, years ago. He’s done a magnificent adaptation of the story and he’s directing it. It’s just gone into preproduction. So I’m heading off to London this weekend, to be as supportive and useful as I can. I’m very proud of this guy. This man has just gone for it!
MORE ARTICLES Interview with Marcel Sarmiento co-writer and director of Faceless
Posted in Features, Interviews, Friday 15th October 2021
Showing at Grimmfest Online Edition is the incredibly inventive horror/sci-fi hybrid Faceless. Here, co-writer and director Marcel Sarmiento speaks about this superb movie.
HC: Have you always been a big horror movie fan?
MS: Definitely as a kid. My first movies made with my Betamax were all about scaring one other and how gross we could push makeup effects. We mostly strangled, stabbed, and threw each other off buildings. I think as I got older, I appreciated what you could do with horror more than horror for horror's sake. I love that you can make characters do things that in any other genre you couldn't make them do and still come out the other end liking them and routing for them.
HC: Where did the idea for the movie come from and what was your writing process between the three of you like?
MS: It originated with my friend Ed and I wanting t...SHARE: READ MORE Universal Monsters are back on Horror Channel and Kim Newman is here to tell you all about them
Posted in Features, Thursday 14th October 2021
Respected journalist, film critic, and fiction writer Kim Newman takes us through the Universal monsters joining Horror for our Classic Horror Halloween event running from 30th-31st of October.
With Dracula (1931), Frankenstein (1931), The Mummy (1932), The Wolf Man (1941) and The Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954), Universal Pictures introduced the lasting icons of horror... combining the presence of stars Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff and Lon Chaney Jr with the make-up artistry of Jack P. Pierce (except for the Creature who came later in the day and was designed by the extraordinary Millicent Patrick ). These are the genre's cornerstone fiends, and - despite the way they have been domesticated an...SHARE: READ MORE Horror Channel goes out of this world to bring Channel premiere of Brit sci-fi thriller series UFO from October 20
Posted in Features, Wednesday 13th October 2021
Horror Channel will be continuing its commitment to bringing great cult and classic sci-fi to its audience with Season 1 of the 1970 British science fiction TV series UFO, created by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson and produced by the Andersons and TV mogul Lew Grade.
One of the best of its genre, the 26-part series combines the remarkable talents of the Andersons with those of special effects director Derek Meddings. And with a stellar cast including Ed Bishop, Michael Billington and George Sewell, it proved a popular hit at the time.
Following syndication in the US and favourable ratings, a possible second series was plann...SHARE: READ MORE Horror Channel - Now on Instagram!
Posted in Features, Saturday 9th October 2021
You can never have too much Horror Channel in your life, so follow us on Instagram too!
Find us at instagram.com/horrorchannel_uk/SHARE: READ MORE Classic monsters will rise this Halloween on Horror
Posted in Features, Thursday 7th October 2021
Famous monsters rise again!
To celebrate the Halloween weekend on Saturday 30th October and Sunday 31st October, Horror Channel presents Classic Horror Halloween, two diabolical daytime marathons highlighted by five channel premieres, including Bride Of Frankenstein, the celebrated sequel to the 1931 classic with Boris Karloff reprising his role as the Creature, Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman, featuring the original Wolfman, Lon Chaney, Jr. and Bela Lugosi as Frankenstein's monster, The Invisible Man, in which Claude Rains delivers a remarkable performance in his screen debut, Christy Cabanne's frightening chiller masterpiece The Mummy's Hand and Revenge ...SHARE: READ MORE Horror Channel sponsoring Grimmfest Online 2021
Posted in News, Thursday 30th September 2021
Horror Channel is proudly sponsoring Grimmfest Online 2021 which runs 14th-17th October and will offer audiences the chance to experience the live festival programme in the comfort of their own homes, as well as enabling them to catch up on anything they might have missed at the live event.
The virtual festival will complement and sit alongside the live festival, with much of the content crossing both events. Many of the feature films and shorts that play the live festival will also be featured within the online event but there will also be some online exclusives.
Grimmfest are excited to announce two exclusive feature film presentations only available on our virtual event an...SHARE: READ MORE Would you dare enter? Escape Room 2: Tournament of Champions coming home soon
Posted in News, Sunday 26th September 2021
Sequel to the box-office hit psychological thriller that terrified audiences around the world Escape Room 2: Tournament of Champions is available to Download and Keep on October 4 and to Rent on Digital, Blu-ray and DVD on October 18 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.Directed by Adam Robitel (Escape Room, Insidious: The Last Key) the movie stars Taylor Russell (Escape Room, Waves), Logan Miller (Escape Room, Love Simon), Indya Moore (Queen & Slim), Holland Roden (Follow Me), Thomas Cocquerel (In Like Flynn) and Carlito Olivero (Bad Samaritan).
In this installment, six people unwittingly find themselves locked in another series of escape rooms, slowly un...SHARE: READ MORE Creature-Feature mockumentary Bigfoot Hunters to be unleashed soon
Posted in News, Sunday 26th September 2021
Join the hunt for the legendary sasquatch in hilarious creature feature-comedy mockumentary Bigfoot Hunter.
Meet Brian Emond, a millennial clickbait reporter longing to work on serious news stories. Unfortunately for him and his producer Zach, their network has zero faith in them and sends them into the Appalachian Mountains in search of Bigfoot. Along for the ride is their guide, Jefferey, the only cryptozoologist to have encountered the legendary sasquatch in recent times. The three set-out into the wilderness with one goal: find Bigfoot. What could possibly go wrong?
Directed by and starring Zach Lampugh, a former Adult Swim editor, and Brian Emond, a comedi...SHARE: READ MORE Horror Channel unleashes primetime premieres for October
Posted in Features, Tuesday 21st September 2021
Horror Channel has seven weekend primetime premieres line up for October, including, at 9pm on Sunday nights, the UK TV premiere of Brad Paxton's supernatural thriller Incarnate, starring Aaron Eckhart, and the channel premieres of David Cronenberg's erotic psychological chiller Dead Ringers and Juan Carlo Fresnadillo's atmospheric fantasy Intruders (2011), starring Clive Owen.
Plus, there are four premieres at 9pm on Saturday nights: Darren Lynn Bousman's nightmarish mystery Abattoir, Iain Softley's Southern Gothic-style frightener The Skeleton Key, starring Kate Hudson, dark horror comedy Mom And Dad, starring Nicholas Cage and Selma Blair and Mama, the Guillermo Del Toro exec...SHARE: READ MORE Tom Paton, director of G-LOC chats about his passion for survival stories and being compared to Roger Corman
Posted in Features, Interviews, Tuesday 14th September 2021
Ahead of the Horror Channel premiere of his sci-fi action thriller G-LOC, director Tom Paton reflects on why making movies is like solving a puzzle, his passion for survival stories and being compared to Roger Corman.
Horror Channel will be broadcasting the UK TV premiere of your Sci-fi adventure G-LOC. Excited or what?
It's honesty so strange to me every time Horror Channel debuts one of my movies. The channel has been such a big part of my life growing up and informing my taste in films, that it's always a "pinch myself moment" when I see something that I've made appear on their TV listing. G-LOC is much more of a SCI-FI adventure than any ...SHARE: READ MORE Escape From New York score to be released on blue vinyl
Posted in News, Wednesday 8th September 2021
Originally released on the 31st of July 2015, the vinyl edition of John Carpenter's classic 1981 thriller, Escape From New York mirrored the expanded CD release from 2000, with over 20 minutes of previously unreleased music plus music from scenes deleted from the final print and original dialogue highlights.
The masters for that CD were re-mixed from the original multi-track session tapes by long-time Carpenter associate Alan Howarth.
This is the first time on coloured vinyl for this LP, all previous pressings having been on black vinyl and will be released January 21st, 2022 thanks to Silva Screen Records.... SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Sean Nichols Lynch writer and director of Red Snow
Posted in Frightfest, Sunday 5th September 2021
Final film of Arrow Films FrightFest Online Edition 2021 is a fangtastic (sorry) twist on the vampire movie, Sean Nichols Lynch's Red Snow. We had a quick chat about this blood-splattered shocker which has a deep vein of humour running through it.
HC: Where did the idea for Red Snow come from?
SL: I was trying to get a different horror feature financed and was struggling to get it off the ground. It was a frustrating period for me, and I honestly felt like I'd never get to make another film. I happened to run into Dennice, who I knew from my film school days at San Francisco State. We got to talking and I started to think about how great it would be to just drop everything and ...SHARE: READ MORE Articles Archive: 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 PICK OF THE WEEK
Sunday 24th October
Sunday 17th October
Monday 18th October