Entitled Wunderkammer the show brings together Barker’s more recent oil paintings depicting the “unseen world of fantasy co-existing with our own reality.” Wunderkammer means “a place where a collection of curiosities and rarities is exhibited.”
Barker is of course best known for his superlative work as a writer and producer of fantasy-horror fiction and film. His novels include The Hellbound Heart, Weaveworld, Imajica, Abarat and The Scarlet Gospels. While as producer or director he has made the movies Hellraiser, Nightbreed, Candyman and Lord of Illusion.
Barker divides his day between writing, filmmaking and painting. The painting he usually does in the evening around seven when he dons his “painting clothes” and goes into his studio. His artwork has been exhibited across the world and included in books and magazines.
During a screening of Jean Rollin’s first horror movie, La Viol du Vampire (aka Queen of the Vampires) in Paris 1968, police stormed the cinema and a riot erupted between the audience and the gendarmerie. The event made Rollin and his film famous, and started a career in fantasy, horror and sexploitation movie-making that has continued for over forty years.
Rollin began his career as an editor, and hung out with Nouvelle Vague film-makers such as Jean-Luc Goddard, François Truffaut, Claude Chabrol, Alain Resnais and Eric Rohmer.
I met most of them at Henri Langlois’ Cinemateque Francaise; we talked, and I saw their films. It was not exactly my cup of tea. It was a movement similar to German New Wave filmmaking, some sort of rebellion against the old directors—not only their approach and vision, but also their technical style. I was always most attracted to traditional, old French cinema, but there is no doubt that the Nouvelle Vague played an important economic role. They proved it was possible for young people without experience to make successful, acclaimed films on a small budget. They gave me and others the courage to attempt the same feat.
However, Rollin had his own vision of the cinema he wanted to make, and it wasn’t long until he tried his hand as a director. As a member of France’s Left, Rollin was asked to make a documentary in support of the Spanish resistance against the fascist leader, General Franco. The experience and the success of the film encouraged Rollin to make his first feature, the fantasy horror La Viol du Vampire.
In general, the fantastic cinema is always political, because it is always in the opposition. It is subversive and it is popular, which means it is dangerous. I made films with sex and violence at a time when censorship was very strong, so that was certainly a political statement as well, although again, not a conscious one. I just happen to have an imagination which doesn’t correspond with those of certain conservative people.
Over the next decade, Rollin made thirty-two films, mainly horror-fantasy, including Le Frisson des Vampires (aka The Shiver of the Vampires), Requiem for a Vampire, Les Démoniaques and Lévres de Sang (aka Lips of Blood). To help supplement the budgets for his own film projects, Rollin made a series of sexploitation films (usually under the name Michel Gentil), the first of which, Schoolgirl Hitch-hikers has just been digitally remastered and is about to be released for the first time on DVD, to coincide with Rollin’s birthday, by Nigel Wingrove’sSalvation Films.
Now in his seventies, Rollin continues to work and his latest fantasy horror flick, The Mask of Medusa was released in France last month.