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Clive Barker on the Next 'Books of Blood' Movies and 'Tortured Souls'!

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With the uncut Midnight Meat Train finally out on DVD and Blu-ray this month, Clive Barker fans are more excited than ever for the next film adaptations of Barker's Books of Blood. On an press conference phone call with FEARnet this weekend, Barker spoke a little bit about what's next -- Book of Blood and Dread -- as well as his hopes to eventually direct a film that brings his Tortured Souls creations (originally produced by McFarlane Toys) to the big screen. We'll have more from our chat up soon, but here's Barker answering our quiestions about these films...

Could you talk a little bit about why you think the filmmakers working on the other [Books of Blood] are so well suited to the films they're tackling?

Well, you know, in both cases they were people who came to me with titles and said, "I want to do this movie." John [Harrison] wanted "The Book of Blood" because he essentially saw it as a ghost story, and a love story with horrific elements. But [Dread director] DiBlasi came in essentially as an intern, a glorified intern, and then very quickly rose in the ranks. It became very apparent, very quickly, that this man had huge talent and huge motivation. So he was a natural, because, again, he came to me and said, "I know how to make this movie." All three of them – Mr. Kitamura, Mr. Harrison and Mr. DiBlasi – have completely different styles. You put these movies side by side and… They obviously have the same author writing the material, but other than that there's nothing in common. I like that. It's the way movies should be. I've always thought that horror movies got a bad rap in part because we are characterized as a genre of being repetitive and not vision friendly. We are a genre that's sort of limited, really. We're a "blood and potatoes genre", and we're so much more than that. I think Dread is amazing and completely different from Midnight Meat Train in terms of its style. It has a voyeuristic feel to it. I liken it to the Friedkin pictures, the two French Connection pictures and The Exorcist. You really do feel like you're there watching this stuff. You don't really feel you should be watching it, you're not really supposed to be there. It's a very different style to the very grand and polished and almost operatic style that Kitamura brings to Midnight Meat Train, particularly in the violent sequences. Then again, particularly on the DVD, because they have the right rhythm there. They don't have the rhythm the MPAA thought they should have. I think they're much more powerful.

I can't help but wonder what the status might be of Tortured Souls. At one point you were linked as a director to that project. Is that no longer a given?

I think it'll happen. I think it'll happen probably only when I've got back into the swing of directing. There's a script I like very much. I love the toys. I shouldn't call them "toys." What should I call them…? The figures, the sculptures. I think they're beautiful, detailed things. Do I want to see those things walk onto the screen and speak? Damn right I do. So I would like to make sure that happens at some point. But right now we've got a lot of scripts that are already written, and I want to get those out and have people shooting them. But I'm a tenacious son of a bitch, you know – I'm Italian-Irish – and one of these days if it gets done, it gets done. I think what Todd's company did when they created the Tortured Souls stuff was superb, and I think it will be wonderful to see those things breathe and take on life and step onto the screen.

In an odd sort of way, does the success of Transformers and G.I. Joe allow a film studio to consider toys as a suitable [basis] for a film?

I just think it's a very different world. I mean, toys have always been there as a potential. I think Tortured Souls is a slightly different world than G.I. Joe. But you know I did try and torture my G.I. Joe very badly when I had him, so I strung him up by his hands and threw a dick on him. [Laughs.]

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