Clive Barker is one of the leading creators in the horror genre today. Over the years, he has raised the level of scares on a physical and psychological level with such films as Hellraiser and Lord of Illusions. With the harvest and Stan Lee’s Los Angeles Comic Con upon us, moderator Rebekah McKendry of Blumhouse assembled a handful of individuals dedicated to Barker’s vision at the “Clive Barker: Looking Ahead” panel held Saturday, October 29. Included in the panel were Blumhouse’s David McKendry, Matt Murray of POW! Entertainment, Mark Alan Miller, VP of Seraphim Inc., Thommy Hutson (Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy), and Ben Meares, Creative Executive at Seraphim Inc. During the panel, upcoming books, films, and comics were revealed.
Miller led off with upcoming books. The first will be The Thief of Always, which is a reprinting of the 1992 children’s dark fantasy story. It will include approximately 30 pages of new artwork. Infernal Parade collects the stories that were included in the Tortured Souls toys jointly designed by Todd McFarlane and Clive Barker back in 2001. It’s the first time the character studies are being made available. The hardcover book will incorporate a wraparound cover and will be released next year. The fourth volume of the Imaginer series will be published in early 2017 in three versions. The comic book series, Next Testament, will be novelized and include an introduction by writer F. Paul Wilson, and in 2018, fans can expect to see a special edition of Imajica.
The panelists were asked if they could recall their initial introduction to the world of Barker. Miller cited Lord of Illusions, while David McKendry mentioned Hellraiser and that he later read Barker’s books during college. Murray remembers his parents taking him to art shows in New York City, where he met Barker at one of them. Barker spent about 10 minutes with Murray, providing him with an introduction to filmmaking. Meares was a Spawn fan, so the Tortured Souls figurines attracted his attention. For his birthday, his dad gave him money to buy them. Meares said the stories blew his mind; he started reading the Hellraiser comics, and he knew he wanted to write comics. Hutson described himself as a “super nerd reader,” so Books of Blood was his introduction, specifically Rawhead Rex. Rebekah McKendry shared that she fell in love with the film, Nightbreed, which led her to read Barker’s short stories as well as Hellraiser.
Audience members got to hear an exclusive announcement during the panel hour: On Monday, October 31, the details of Project Greenlight would be released to instruct interested individuals how to submit horror scripts. Early next year, Crypt TV will distribute a short film produced by Barker. Hutson, who has written documentaries on famous horror franchises, is currently in pre-production of a Barker documentary that will focus on the “exploration of the man” that explores Barker’s vision. He is focusing on Barker’s core associates, which so far include Ashley Laurence, Anne Bobby, and Neil Gaiman. Hutson mentioned that the launch of the documentary may coincide with the 30th anniversary of the original Hellraiser in September 2017.
Meares shared with the audience a one-minute video (voice-over from Pinhead’s Doug Bradley) which revealed the upcoming Hellraiser: Anthology, a graphic novel releasing next spring. It’s the first foray for Seraphim Ink and promises to be spine-chillingly fantastic. The stories will be set in the same universe and will include art from Christian Francis, Daniele Serra, Jim Terry, and Sam Shearon. The anthology will be available at Clive Barker’s official website store in a hardcover edition and DRM-free PDF download. It was stressed that because the graphic novel will be distributed via Barker’s website, there will be no content censorship. Meares added that the writers and artists have “total creative freedom.”
*Panel photography by Michele Brittany.