ARTICLES

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
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
Tom Paton on the set of G-Loc-3-1

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
SILLP1493-EFNY-visual-blue-transparent

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
RedSnow-poster

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
Interview with Alex Kahuam writer and director of Forgiveness
Posted in Frightfest, Sunday 5th September 2021
Alex Kahuam 1 Forgiveness

Director Alex Kahuam has brought to Arrow Films FrightFest Online Edition a brutal and intelligent film, Forgiveness. Almost devoid of dialogue, it's an excursion into the raw side of reality. Here he chats about this movie and his plans for the future.

HC: Was there one movie you saw when growing up which made you want to go into filmmaking?

AK: When we were kids my brother and I my parents took us a lot to the theaters and this is where everything began for me. I just loved the experience so much and till this day I thank them because they triggered this on me and for many years filmmaking has been my life. While growing up Hollywood films have always be...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Sarah Appleton co-writer and co-director of The Found Footage Phenomenon
Posted in Frightfest, Sunday 5th September 2021
Sarah Appleton

The final documentary of FrightFest Online Edition looks to one of the most misunderstood genres out there. The Found Footage Phenomenon dissects this often over-looked type of movie with interviews from many key players. We chatted to co-writer and co-director Sarah Appleton about this very informative piece.

HC: Have you always been a fan of horror movies?

SA: Yes, I grew up watching Hammer horror movies and Japanese horror because my dad was a film critic, so I used to look through all his VHS tapes he'd taped off the late night tv and pick something to watch. Evil Dead II was one of the first horror movies I ever saw, aged about 8.

HC: Can you recall the first fo...

SHARE: READ MORE
Taxi rides and crumbling hotels - Day 5 of Arrow Video FrightFest Online Edition: Part 2
Posted in Frightfest, Sunday 5th September 2021
NightDrive-poster

As we enter the final evening of Arrow Films FrightFest Online Edition 2021 there's still plenty to look forward to starting with a belter from directors Brad Baruh and Meghan Leon, Night Drive. Ride-share app driver Russell picks up his Hollywood fare Charlotte... and his whole life turns upside down. Slipping him a wad of cash, she hires him for the rest of the evening. Their first stop at her ex's place sees Charlotte running out the door clutching a tiny suitcase being chased. They make their escape, but accidentally run over a pedestrian, setting in motion a chain of gruesome events that will go to places Russell could never have imagined in his wildest dreams. What starts off as a simpl...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Josh Stifter director of Greywood's Plot
Posted in Frightfest, Sunday 5th September 2021
GreywoodsPlot-1

There are a number of monochrome movies at FrightFest this year and one of the stand out ones is Josh Stifter's Greywood's Plot so we had a quick chat with him about it.

HC: Was there one movie you saw when you were younger that made you want to be in the filmmaking business?

JS: Beetlejuice. I saw it when I was 5 years old. My family all got the flu and my mom went and rented it. This was back in the day when you didn't have access as easily to movies so if you rented a movie, it often would get watched a couple times before it was returned. Since we had nothing else to do, we all just laid around sick watching Beetlejuice over and over. I became obsessed. It was the first tim...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Conor Stechschulte writer of Ultrasound
Posted in Frightfest, Sunday 5th September 2021
Ultrasound-1

Based on his own graphic novel 'Generous Bosom', Conor Stechschulte has written a tight and tense script for Ultrasound which is showing today at Arrow Films Fright Online Edition. We chatted to him about the process of bringing his original idea to the big screen.

HC: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to become a writer?

CS: I did! At about 7 or 8 I went from wanting to be a fighter pilot to wanting to be a writer. My formal education is in visual art, but I've always had narratives at the heart of all the creative work that I make and have never really stopped writing in one form or another.

HC: Was there any one person who inspired you?

CS: I can't...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Rob Schroeder director of Ultrasound
Posted in Frightfest, Sunday 5th September 2021
Ultrasound-1

The feature debut of Rob Schroeder, producer of Sun Choke and Beyond The Gates, Ultrasound is a startling puzzle box Sci-Fi mystery and playing today at Arrow Films FrightFest Online Event. We chatted to Rob about this chilling movie.

HC: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to be in filmmaking?

RS: Not really. When I was young, I loved going to the movie theatre every week, but I didn't see filmmaking as a career because in my town I didn't know any filmmakers. The movies were always so special for me and even sacred, so at a young age I did sense the magic.

HC: How did become attached to this project?

RS: I developed the project, by reaching out to Cono...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Peter Daskaloff director and co-writer of Antidote
Posted in Frightfest, Sunday 5th September 2021
Peter Daskaloff Anitdote

Peter Daskaloff has brought his nerve-jangling movie Antidote to FrightFest Online Eidtion 2021 so we chatted to him about this complex and intriguing movie.

HC: What is your writing method when working alongside someone else?

PD: I usually write alone. But for Antidote, I had to hire a co-writer because the subject was complex. I needed another set of eyes to look at it from outside my box. Matt Toronto was recommended to me by my executive producer, Ian Michaels, who has worked with Matt before. The collaboration was a bit bumpy, but the resulting script turned out pretty good.

HC: How did you go about casting the movie?

PD: I had a casti...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Francesco Erba writer and director of As in Heaven, So on Earth
Posted in Frightfest, Sunday 5th September 2021
Francesco Erba As In Heaven director

As In Heaven, So On Earth mixes the found footage genre with incredible animation to deliver a truly unique take on the format. The movie effortlessly moves from its gothic animation to cutting edge technology footage and brings together a tale which is emotional and utterly heart breaking in equal measure. We chatted to its writer and director Francesco Erba as it plays at FrightFest Online Edition 2021.

HC: Where did the idea for As in Heaven, So on Earth come from?

FE: As in Heaven, So on Earth was born not only from one specific idea but, as very often occurs, from many different ones, different influences and life experien...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Casey Dillard actor and writer of Killer Concept
Posted in Frightfest, Sunday 5th September 2021
KillerConcept-2

If you managed to catch Driven the other year at FrightFest then you'll need to catch Killer Concept today. Writer Casey Dillard is back alongside director Glenn Payne but this time serial killers are the target. We chatted to Casey about this movie.

HC: It's been a couple of years since we last chatted, apart from Killer Concept, what have you been up to?

CD: Mostly avoiding Covid and trying to find work-arounds so that I can still perform safely.

HC: Where did the idea for Killer Concept come from?

CD: Glenn wanted to make a simple movie with minimal people while our core filmmaking team was unable to go to work so we kicked around a lot of ideas and KC wa...

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
Star Trek: Voyager
STAR TREK: VOYAGER
Wednesday 29th September
7.00 PM
The Quiet Ones
THE QUIET ONES
Thursday 23rd September
9.00 PM
The Rezort
THE REZORT
Tuesday 28th September
10.45 PM