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Hell on Earth: Behind the scenes of ‘Hellraiser’ and its sequels

Author and director Clive Barker with Doug Bradley as the Cenobite nicknamed ‘Pinhead’.
Clive Barker didn’t know much about directing when he made his debut feature Hellraiser. He thought it best to clue-in on the subject. He decided to borrow a book on filmmaking from his local library. Unfortunately both copies were out on loan. Barker worried that his cinematic career was over before it had even started.

When he pitched the idea for the movie to Roger Corman’s New World Pictures, Barker avoided too much emphasis on his lack of experience. He presented a brief synopsis of his novel Hellbound Heart, a few storyboard sketches and some catchy taglines. It got him the gig.

Barker wanted direct movies because of the abortion made of his last screenplay Rawhead Rex in 1985. He didn’t want the same thing to happen to Hellbound Heart. He also hoped the film would be his calling card to Hollywood.

But he didn’t have a copy of Directing for Dummies or whatever it was called and New World were quibbling over the title Hellbound Heart. They said it sounded like a bad romance.

Thankfully, Barker’s cast and crew were professional and very patient. Together they helped him realize his dark and gory vision on screen.

The film was shot over ten weeks. It cost around a million dollars.

As for Hellbound Heart.—Barker gave his movie the working title Sadomasochists From Beyond The Grave. One female crew member suggested it should be called What A Woman Will Do For A Good Fuck. Hellraiser was chosen as the title—and a legendary franchise was born.

According to writer Neil Gaiman the infamous Cenobites—those dark, mutilated figures from another dimension—were loosely inspired by a group of likeminded writers (called the Peace and Love Corporation) who gathered one night in a rooming house during a party being held in the building. As Gaiman recounts in an introduction to Kim Newman‘s short stories:

The Peace and Love Corporation, which was never a corporation, although it was a bank account, and had not really to do with either Peace or Love, although I think on the whole we were pretty much in favour of both of them, formed, more or less, during a party. We weren’t at the party—it was being held in Kim [Newman}‘s Crouch End flat by his landlord. But we—Kim, Stefan Jaworzyn, Eugene Byrne and myself—were on sleeping bags in Kim’s room, listening to the party going on down the hall. Kim had the bed.

The party was long and loud and the partygoers (old hippies to a man) were playing old hippy music.

We started talking about hippies, lying in the darkness. And we began to rant about commune life and going to San Francisco and putting flour in our hair. It was a kind of free-form improvised stand-up routine, only we were lying on the floor.

The next day we wrote down what we could remember of the rant, added a plot of sorts, called it ‘Peace and Love and All That Stuff’ and sent it off to a magazine, and became the Peace and Love Corporation.

Clive Barker was fascinated by the Peace and Love Corporation. At one point he announced that he was going to write a story called ‘Threshold’, in which Kim, Stefan and I would be creatures from a far-future world beyond the boundaries of pleasure and pain, come to the here and now to hunt down a fugitive. When he finally wrote it it was called The Hellbound Heart, and was later filmed as Hellraiser. Which may mean that Kim Newman was the original inspiration for Pinhead. They are, after all, both snappy dressers.

A new film Hellraiser: Judgment will be released next year.
More images of Hell on earth, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Neil Gaiman’s ‘American Gods’ gets vintage cover from pulp master Robert E. McGinnis

TV fans are already lamenting the impending resolution of Game of Thrones likely to arrive in 2018 with a shortened 8th season, and so the chase for a suitably addictive replacement has been underway for some time now. Right now the heir apparent to take over that hole in our hearts is, without question the Starz adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods.

For those wondering how you can get roughly 60 episodes of TV mega-narrative out of a brisk 465 pages (brisk next to George R.R. Martin’s projected five doorstops, anyway) will be relieved to hear that Gaiman will permit Starz to draw from the book’s companion novel Anansi Boys as well. Bryan Fuller, recently of Hannibal and Pushing Daisies, will be the showrunner for the series with writer Michael Green.

Yesterday Gaiman took to his blog to tell readers about a development of no small excitement for the writer. Gaiman explained that he was waxing wistful with his HarperCollins editor about the fantastic painted paperback covers of pulp novels from the mid-century era and wondered if HarperCollins might be willing to release a set of paperbacks with new covers in that style. The answer, he learned, is yes.

Gaiman has long admired the covers of Robert E. McGinnis, best known for the posters for Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Diamonds Are Forever as well as the covers of literally hundreds of crime novels from the postwar years, but had supposed that anyone whose heyday was so long ago must surely be dead or at least retired. It turns out that his hero was not only alive (he recently turned 90) and is “pretty much” retired but not very long ago was still churning out terrific covers for the Hard Case Crime imprint.

McGinnis agreed to do the covers for the forthcoming HarperCollins series, and the first cover to see the light of day is for Gaiman’s American Gods, of which, due to the increased media attention due to news of the impending Starz series, the publishers currently have hardly any copies in stock to sell. Thus the need for a new edition, which will have the gorgeous new McGinnis cover seen below.

As Gaiman points out, there is a recent coffee table book celebrating the alluring cover artist under the title The Art of Robert E. McGinnis.


Lots more McGinnis art after the jump, including the new cover for ‘American Gods’

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Neil Gaiman, Jesse Jackson and ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic read ‘Green Eggs and Ham’

Author Neil Gaiman, known for the Sandman comic book series, the teleplay and novel Neverwhere, and the book and film Coraline, among many other wonderful works, has made an amusing video of himself reading aloud from Dr. SeussGreen Eggs and Ham. There’s probably a rich lode in the notion of Gaiman/Seuss mashups, but this was done for charity:

I promised WORLDBUILDERS that if they made it to $500,000 raised I would read Green Eggs and Ham ob video. They did, so I did. I hope you enjoy it.


It’s fun, but it doesn’t touch Jesse Jackson’s infamous read of the book on Saturday Night Live in 1991:

Another winning contender in the Green Eggs and Ham-off is “Weird Al” Yankovic, whose response to a fan letter asking him to read the book on TV is hilarious:

I will not include Ted Cruz in this roundup. This is Dr. Seuss, we need to keep this dignified and respectful, please.

Via Metafilter

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Happy Birthday Neil Gaiman
07:33 pm


Neil Gaiman

Happy Birthday Neil Gaiman, the multi-talented author of novels, comics, plays, films and essays, born today, November 10th, in 1960.

Few modern writers have had as much of an impact, or as devoted a following as Mr. Gaiman, whose work has entertained, enlightened and inspired readers with his incredible stories and ideas.

I came to Mr. Gaiman through 2000 A.D. and then The Sandman comics, before picking-up on his TV series (co-written with Lenny Henry) Neverwhere. Then through his stories to the novels, Stardust, Coraline and American Gods.

There are many things to be learnt from Mr. Gaiman, but I always liked this line from The Graveyard Book:

”If you dare nothing, then when the day is over, nothing is all you will have gained.”

Happy Birthday Neil Gaiman!


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Grant Morrison, Neil Gaiman, Terry Gilliam and others want to ‘Illuminate Parkinsons’

This Saturday night in Los Angles, there’s going to be a special art show hosted by Neil Gaiman and actress Fairuza Balk and produced by Dangerous Minds pal Lenora Claire:

“Illuminate Parkinsons” is a benefit for Becky Hurd’s Illuminate charity fighting young onset Parkinson’s disease

The aim of Illuminate is to raise awareness of Young Onset Parkinsons while raising funds to support Parkinsons charities. The Illuminate Parkinsons International Photography Exhibition has been created by Becky’s best friend and celebrity photographer, Allan Amato. This amazing photographic journey into the world of Parkinsons spans two years beginning in September 17th at Pop tART Gallery. Subjects in the exhibit include Terry Gilliam, Neil Gaiman, Kevin Smith and an assortment of other fascinating people all of whom lent their support to the project.

The initial aim of the Illuminate Parkinsons campaign was to raise £100,000 for Parkinsons charities. So far the campaign has generated over £51,000 since it began with the first Illuminate Ball in Birmingham in April 2010. Since the first ball Illuminate Parkinsons has gone from strength to strength with many new fundraising projects.

Illuminate Parkinsons by Allan Amato
Saturday, September 17th, 8-11pm Pop tART Gallery, 3023 W. 6th St., Los Angeles

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Michael Zulli: The Fracture of the Universal Boy


Dangerous Minds friends Century Guild announce the release of “The Fracture of the Universal Boy,” a new graphic novel by Michael Zulli, years in the making. Zulli was a regular artist on Neil Gaiman’s Sandman comic and is well-known to the 4-color literati. Century Guild proprieter Thomas Negovan blogs about the new book here:

Speaking of focus, the kind of focus that makes electrons shudder, imagine being at the top of your game for decades.  Say, being one of the go-to artists on something as seminal and powerful as Neil Gaiman?

Posted by Jason Louv | Leave a comment