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Top 5 films adapted from the work of Clive Barker


5 -Hellraiser


JULIA : What’s that?
FRANK : A puzzle. A conjuring box. I bought it in Singapore after I left here. It cost me a small fortune –
JULIA : Why?
FRANK : The man I bought it from told me it was a way to invoke powers. Forces from another level of creation –
JULIA : The Cenobites?
FRANK : The Cenobites.
He holds the box up. Pale, barely recognizable forms move in the shiny lacquer of its surfaces.
FRANK : I wanted pleasure, you see. I wanted access to experiences only they could offer –
We can see the faces of the Cenobites moving in the lacquer; but they are tantalizingly blurred and distorted. Julia looks nevertheless, trying to work out what she’s seeing.
FRANK : – the highest reaches of sensuality. Fantasy made flesh –
Oiled bodies move in the box now. Again, they tantalize. What are we seeing? Some elaborate coupling, maybe? Or terrible torture? Impossible to be sure.
JULIA : But they cheated you.
FRANK : Oh no. They gave me experiences I would never forget –
The images in the lacquer are becoming clearer, and they are appalling. Wounds and scalpels; flesh torn open, revealing pulsing organs. And flowing between these atrocities, the Cenobites’ faces, and that of Frank, screaming and screaming –
FRANK : But their pleasure was my pain. The heights they took me to…
His voice trembles with remembering. He can’t go on. But the images in the box continue to play; one horror after another.
When Frank speaks again his voice is heavy with suppressed feeling.
FRANK : I gave my body to them. But they left my spirit here, in the boards. In the walls. Watching the world, but never able to touch it. God, it’s been a long twelve months. Waiting for something to happen. Someone to come.
JULIA : And Rory’s blood let you out.
FRANK : There are ways to resurrection. Blood’s one of them…

4 – Nightbreed


Eigerman cleans his silver-plate Magnum .45, Decker sits beside him holding his briefcase, across from Ashberry, who’s frantically paging through an ancient Bible.
EIGERMAN : Ever done an exorcism, Father?
EIGERMAN : Ever seen one?
EIGERMAN : Well I’d start rehearsin’ if I was you. (hands a gun towards Decker) Why don’t you hang on to that, Doc?
DECKER : (a little prim) Oh no, I wouldn’t know how to use it…
ASHBERRY : (finds something in the book) Listen! “So Moses spoke to the people, saying ‘Arm yourselves for war and let them go and take vengeance for the Lord on Midian…’ and so they burned with fire all the cities where they dwelt and killed the kings of Midian, both man and beast!”
EIGERMAN : (with a wink) Hey, how ’bout that, Doc? Sounds like we’re on a crusade against the Devil himself.
ASHBERRY : (not terribly convincing) I don’t believe in the Devil.
DECKER : Oh… you will.
Ashberry looks at Decker; no trace of irony in his expression. Ashberry sorts through the canteens, finds the one that doesn’t have a white cross on it, opens it and knocks back two fingers of bourbon.

3 – Midnight Meat Train

2 – Lord of Illusions


Harry takes a sheaf of papers, and hands them to Billy.
HARRY : You go through these. Go on!
Reluctantly, Billy does so. Harry picks up a faded photograph of the doorway to Nix’s house (with the sigil painted on it) and Butterfield the child standing in the sun. There are other cultists standing around. And in the doorway — a barely visible figure (and all the more intimidating for that) — is Nix.
HARRY : Wait a minute…
He stares at the boy’s face. The eyes are clearly different colours.
HARRY : That’s Butterfield…
BILLY : (points to man in doorway) And who’s that?
On Harry, staring at the ambiguous presence.
On the photograph of the shadowy figure.
HARRY : At a guess? The Puritan. Nix.
Billy picks up an etching, water-stained and dirty. It shows a horror we recognize: a man’s hand pressed into the flesh of another man’s head.
BILLY : Take a look at this.
HARRY : (looking at it) A Nix speciality?
Billy is getting subtly spooked now. He puts the etching down and starts to go through others in the series. We glimpse them as he does so. In one, a man regurgitates a serpentine form made of flame. In another, a man stares at his own hand which is stripped of flesh. There is no bone beneath. Only a form of solid blackness. In a third, we see a head with a slit in the middle of the brow, emanating darkness.
BILLY : I don’t know any of these tricks…
Harry studies the etchings.
HARRY : (a slow burn) Maybe they’re not tricks.
BILLY : (mystified) I mean there’s no instructions — (realizes what Harry said) What do you mean they’re not tricks?
HARRY : What did Vinovich say? Something about walking a path between —
BILLY : Trickery and divinity. Yeah, he says that all the time.
HARRY : That’s because he knew. He’d seen these files and he knew.

1 – Candyman


Helen leaves the elevator and walks towards her car. She vaguely notices the Man, a tall dark silhouette, standing as if waiting for something, but she pays him little attention.
Helen arrives at her car and searches in her bag for her keys.
A dark shape crosses the foreground.
MAN : Helen…
She turns at the sound of her name. The Man stands a short distance away, silhouetted against a pool of light in the gloomy parking structure. His voice is rich and sonorous.
HELEN : (friendly) Yes?
MAN : I came for you.
There is a buzzing sound, the sound of a sleepy afternoon far from here.
HELEN : (still friendly) Do I know you?
MAN : No. But you doubted me.
Helen opens the car door and is about to get in.
HELEN : I’m sorry. I have to go.
He speaks, murmuring so softly that seduction might be in the air.
MAN : No need to leave yet.
HELEN : (wary) I’m late…
He moves towards her and light falls on his face. Helen freezes. The fine cheekbones, the sparkling eyes. She has seen this face before.
MAN : You were not content with the stories, so I was obliged to come…
He is finely dressed, his dark suit an antique cut. His right hand hidden in his coat pocket.
He pulls his hand out of his pocket. The hand has been crudely sawn off. A butcher’s hook rammed into the bloody stump.
CANDYMAN : Be my victim…