By Michelle Halloween
With so many horror films being postponed, until 2021, we horror fans have been sitting on pins and needles (Hellraiser pun intended) waiting to hear if the film BOOKS OF BLOOD would have the same fate. Thankfully, Hulu is moved forward and, BOOKS OF BLOOD arrives just in time for Horror fans' favorite time of year, October! Mastermind playwright, Clive Barker is no stranger to having his written works adapted to film. It’s basic Horror Movie knowledge that he wrote and, directed both HELLRAISER and, NIGHTBREED. However, for BOOKS OF BLOOD Barker left the Directing to Brannon Braga while he wrote the story. So, how exciting is it that the book that propelled Clive’s success in Horror history has finally been made into a film? It’s bloody exciting!
From the introduction, BOOKS OF BLOOD is deceptive. There are three tales all having something to do with a book called, you guessed it, The Book of Blood. The introduction begins in a very popular book store in Downtown Los Angeles where a pair of thieves looking for the intriguing book have just spilled blood for a lead. The story melts into flesh and, blood revealing a single legible name. Before you know it, you are being thrust into three stories of pure nightmare fuel. A young woman, fresh into adulthood, cold turkey's off of her psychiatric medications.
What follows is either her delusions from her withdrawal or, is what’s happening to her is actually real? The next story, a woman’s grief over the death of her seven-year-old son, leads her to desperation and, failure to contact him in the afterlife. A stranger convinces her that he can speak to the dead and, bring them back to communicate. Set on proving the stranger wrong, the grieving mother is determined to debunk the stranger’s attempt. That is until he seemingly proves, he can speak to the Dead using his body as a vessel. Once again, is it a delusion of the Mother’s and, the stranger is playing on her grief or, is her Son actually back? The tale fast forwards into the near future and, the tables have been turned between the Mother and, the stranger and, it becomes clear which can actually communicate with ghosts? The third tale finally reveals the parallel between the tales but, it all circles back to the first story and, we are sped through time and, space it seems through the three tales. It is here where we find out what exactly The Book of Blood is and, Even more disturbing, we find out what it is used for.
When I heard that BOOKS OF BLOOD was being made into a film, I was curious how Barker would decide which stories would make the cut. BOOKS OF BLOOD is actually six volumes of stories that Barker wrote between 1984 and 1985. I have a copy of all of the books in one volume and, it is massive! But, Clive Barker masterfully wrote new stories specifically for the film using the BOOKS OF BLOOD as a sort of frame for the movie. I picked up on a couple of intentional or unintentional nods to the original stories in BOOKS OF BLOOD. As a fan of the Book and, now the movie, this is exhilarating! Barker is such a phenomenal writer, it feels like a contribution to The Book of Blood itself. Braga executes Barker’s vision flawlessly and, caused a bit of discomfort during some scenes. This is exactly the effect I hope Barker and, Braga are striving for.
From his disquieting paintings to his film direction and, impeccable writing, Clive Barker is already a Horror legend. An icon. BOOKS OF BLOOD is a blood-soaked perfect addition to Barker’s cinematic legacy. Much like reading BOOKS OF BLOOD, the movie is just as brutal, bloody and, unapologetic as the stories bound between the covers of the book. In the fashion of all of Clive Barker’s work, proceed with caution as there is no lack of terror, anxiety and, rage within BOOKS OF BLOOD. You may get caught up in a tangle of delusion and, unspeakable terror. With that, what’s your life’s story going to be? Be careful now, it’ll be written in blood.
BOOKS OF BLOOD will premiere on Hulu on Wednesday, October 7th.