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Why Books Of Blood's Stars Say It's Not A Horror Movie

In the overcrowded horror genre, author Clive Barker and his novels and short stories are considered some of the finest in the bunch. His ability to use gore and body horror in a way that's not only coherent but also narratively intelligent is truly second to none, lending itself perfectly to adaptation. The most notable interpretations of his works are the soon to be rebooted Hellraiser and the once again delayed Candyman, and the film industry continues to mine Barker's treasure trove of fiction work. The latest adaptation effort came to streaming via Hulu, bringing Barker's critically acclaimed Books of Blood series to life as an "anti-anthology" film – and possibly more down the line.

Written between 1984 and 1985, the six Books of Blood volumes have become recognized as some of Barker's defining stories. While 2009's try at adapting some of these tales, entitled Book of Blood, didn't quite take off with general audiences, Hulu's spin on the source material is finding greater success. Co-writer and director Brannon Braga selected three particular narratives that are commonly touted as horror, since that is, generally, Barker's foray as a writer. However, Hulu's Books of Blood doesn't quite adhere to that very strict label — according to the cast of Books of Blood themselves.

They recently tossed in their two cents and explained that Braga's film isn't exactly what it appears to be.

The Books of Blood cast find the film more complex than simple horror

When discussing the project during New York Comic Con 2020, the cast and creator of Hulu's Books of Blood gave some interesting insights into the show's true intent. 

Rafi Gavron, who plays Simon in the film, was the first to bring up the fact that, despite Barker's work finding roots in horror, this adaptation is much more. "I don't see it as a horror film, personally," he said. "What drew me to it was a drama with supernatural aspects." 

Gavron added that the wider scope allowed him to settle in, find his place in the production, and deliver the best work he could.

Following up on Gavron's comments, his costar Anna Friel (who plays Mary) elaborated and seconded his thoughts. She referred to Books of Blood as part of a "retro genre," since it calls back to the psychological horror staples of yesteryear and isn't shy about going outside its boundaries to give viewers visceral experiences.

"It's very Twilight Zone-y in the way it intertwines with all the different stories," said Friel. Rather than being a cookie-cutter fright fest, that's the narrative goal of the movie. Still, Friel did reassure fans that "it's got just the right amount of scary," and it isn't without its share of breathtaking jump scares.

As the panel drew to a close, Braga added onto their discussion — specifically talking about how the story of Yul Vazquez's character Bennett ties into their analysis of the project. He referred to it as "a crime story," and that Bennett "wanders into a horror movie by accident," thus continuing the discussion of how the narratives all connect to one another in the end. 

While the folks who made Books of Blood agree that it isn't the typical scary movie, you'll definitely want to watch it with the lights on. 

Just in time for the Halloween season, Books of Blood is currently streaming exclusively on Hulu.