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Clive Barker Teases The Future Of Hulu's Books Of Blood - Exclusive

In October 2020, Hulu released Books of Blood, a horror anthology film that takes its name and basis from Clive Barker's legendary horror fiction collections of the same name. First published in 1984, The Books of Blood propelled Barker into the horror stratosphere, prompted no less of a genre titan than Stephen King to declare him "the future of horror," and helped launch a career that has included acclaimed novels like Weaveworld and The Thief of Always and feature films including Hellraiser, Candyman, and Lord of Illusions.

Directed by Brannon Braga and developed from conversations Braga and Barker had about what they wanted to see in a good anthology film, Hulu's Books of Blood aims to introduce Barker's work and general horror aesthetic to a new generation of viewers through a combination of both classic Barker ideas and new material dreamed up along the way. 

The framework of the Books of Blood film is directly inspired by "The Book of Blood," the very first story in Barker's anthology, which tells the tale of a man who claims to be a medium but is in reality a con artist ... at least until the dead decide to make an example of him and use him as a literal canvas on which to inscribe their stories. A good deal of inspiration was also derived from "On Jerusalem Street," the last tale in the collections, which aims to sort of close the circle opened by "The Book of Blood." The rest, though, all grew out of discussions between Braga and Barker, during which Barker would continue to spin off new horror ideas that could make up hypothetical future Books of Blood

It was one of these ideas, the concept of an entire neighborhood decaying after a kind of supernatural fallout hit, that helped shape the connective tissue of the three stories in the film. 

"We discussed many dozens of ideas and possibilities, and these three seem to fit together," Braga told Looper when discussing the three interwoven tales in Books of Blood. "And [Clive] had one idea that I just thought was a great framing device, which is the idea of a haunted neighborhood — forget a haunted house, a haunted neighborhood – where some kind of Chernobyl-like supernatural event has occurred. I just thought that, I mean, just like we have to. We have to do that. And that's kind of how we chose the stories."

Clive Barker and Brannon Braga have a ton of ideas up their sleeves

Those conversations between Braga and Barker ultimately gave us a three-part "anti-anthology" that interweaves to reveal various connections across time and space in the world of the story — but Braga emphasized that these were far from the only stories he and Barker devised. The director described their talks as a bit like hearing about "the lost volume of The Books of Blood" from the author himself, something Barker was happy to latch onto. According to the legendary author, if the audience responds, there are plenty of ideas already there to generate a sequel — or perhaps several sequels. 

"I have talked about it with great passion, and we will do somehow or other, and hopefully we'll do much more than just the [second movie]. There are 30 Books of Blood stories," Barker said, referring to his original texts. "Then together, either from Brannon writing something down or us working together on a story, we must have another 20, which are essentially books, seven, eight, nine, [and] ten of the Books of Blood."

He continued, "The good thing about that is horror always has new things to find. I know horror is thought of as being a somewhat stale kind of fiction. It isn't. Good fiction is new — always, always fresh, always new, always surprising. And we've got a lot of things up our sleeves, which we haven't told anybody about. It's just between the two of us right now, which are essentially new Books of Blood, and we will tell those one way or another."

But Barker isn't just busy adding onto his existing horror properties. With Books of Blood out on Hulu now and a new film adaptation of Candyman on the horizon, the author is also plotting new fiction work — ranging from long-form prose to short stories to a long-gestating poetry collection. 

"I have three books. One of them is a big dark-fantasy-slash-horror novel called Deep Hill, which is set in Pennsylvania and other places, which is a pretty intense book, I think," Barker said. "Then I have a massive collection of short fiction, which is called Fear Eternal. And Fear Eternal contains fiction that has been out of print for a long time, but it also contains a lot of new fiction, including a novel called Mercy and the Jackal."

As for Barker's poetry collection, he shared with Looper, "It's something I'd never done before: a collection of 250 poems, which are dark, erotic, weird, fetishistic, pretty perverse, transgressive, and sometimes they even rhyme. That book is called The Presence of This Breath, and the whole idea is for me to collect up all the stuff that I've written over the years. Sometimes it's appeared in fiction. Most of the time, this will be new. I would say overwhelmingly of that 250 poems, I would say probably 220 of them will be new to people."

So basically, whether you're watching or reading his work, it's a very good time to be a Clive Barker fan.

Books of Blood is now streaming on Hulu.