In part 1 & part 2, Paul Kane answered our questions about his books Arrowhead and Broken Arrow, as well as giving us a cheeky peek at the upcoming Arrowland. In the concluding portion of our interview with Mr Kane, we talked about his work outside of the Afterblight, including RED and the upcoming Voices in the Dark.
As you’ve probably guessed from one of my other answers, I’m also a massive Barker fan.
Clive’s one of the reasons I got into writing in the first place, having read the Books of Blood when I was young and just being blown away by the stories. He made me realise what could really be done in genre fiction, the different directions you could take it and how flexible it is.
Then, when I saw Hellraiser, he did the same for me with film as well. It opened doors in more ways than one! I read the novella on which it was based after seeing the movie, and that was that. It was the start of a lifelong interest in the mythology that saw me collecting any magazines that mentioned the film series and also the Hellraiser comics that came out in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Years later, I was fortunate enough to get to know Clive – who is one of the coolest human beings on earth, by the way, and just a lovely, lovely bloke – plus also write about the mythos for my book The Hellraiser Films and Their Legacy. It occurred to me that someone should do something fiction-wise with the mythology like they did with the comics; in fact it amazes me that someone hadn’t already done it. I mentioned the idea to Clive on the phone, who really liked it. He still owns the fiction rights to the original novella and the mythology created in The Hellbound Heart, just not the movie rights, so we came up with the notion of doing an anthology based in that world. He even said he’d do an original painting for the cover, which was brilliant of him.
Marie came on board soon afterwards as co-editor, as she’s just as much of a Barker and Hellraiser fan as I am, and we contacted authors we thought would be a good fit for the book. We were lucky enough to get Neil Gaiman & Dave McKean, Christopher Golden & Mike Mignola, Mick Garris, Steve Niles, Richard Christian Matheson, Simon Clark, Tim Lebbon, Nancy Holder and Nancy Kilpatrick, Sarah Pinborough and Sarah Langan, Yvonne Navarro, Gary A. Braunbeck & Lucy Snyder, Mark Morris, Jeffrey J. Mariotte, Chaz Brenchley and Conrad Williams, as well as people involved in the movies themselves, like scriptwriter Peter Atkins, Female Cenobite Barbie Wilde, Chatterer Nicholas Vince, and of course Clive doing the foreword, Stephen Jones doing the intro and Doug ‘Pinhead’ Bradley doing the afterword.
Judging from the reaction and the reviews, I think we did a good job – people seemed to really like the stories. Actually, it’s been heart-warming to see that reaction in person, as well, at the launches in San Hose at the World Fantasy Convention, and then down in London at the BFS Christmas Open Night. Made all the hard work worthwhile and it felt like we were giving something back to the mythology we ourselves are fans of.
Robin Hood isn't the first piece of folklore you've reinterpreted. Your novella, RED, is a modern, horror reworking of Little Red Riding Hood. Is this an area you'll continue to explore in the future? Are there any other myths or fairy tales that you find particularly intriguing?
Absolutely. I’ve already covered Goldilocks in a short story I did for the Signs of Life book, called ‘Who’s Been...’ – in that one the bears are this mutated family a young girl on a council estate stumbles on. I did that initially for a themed anthology based around horror fairy tales, but that didn’t happen in the end. It got me interested in the subject matter, though, which is when RED started to surface. I have to say of all the things I’ve done I’m really proud of RED. I know people have done different takes on the story before, but – as with the Hood stuff – I like to think mine adds something new to the mix. I definitely intend to look at a few more, but don’t really want to say too much about that just yet.
You have a non-fiction book coming out this year - Voices in the Dark, again with Marie - a collection of interviews with prominent figures in horror cinema. How long has that been in the making? Who have you interviewed?
That’s been quite a while in the making, a few years now. The idea first cropped up when Marie and I started doing more and more freelancing for magazines. We’d cover a film or book coming out and interview people, but always end up with lots of material left over. Mick Garris, for example, we interviewed about Masters of Horror but ended up talking a lot about his other projects and how he got into the industry – none of which we had the room to use in a very short news piece or article.
That’s when we started to realise we could put together a book of these interviews, plus add more done especially for the book. There are some terrific interviews in there with people like James Herbert, Betsy Palmer – from Friday 13th – Rob Zombie, John Carpenter, Christa Campbell... the list goes on. It’s also introduced by Anne Billson, who wrote the brilliant BFI book on The Thing. Marie and I are really excited about it.
Random concluding question. Horror movies are clearly a passion for you - what's the last one that actually scared you?
I’ve been watching horror movies since I was a kid – some real nasty ones, as well – so they don’t tend to scare me much anymore. Recent films I’ve found disturbing, though...hhmm. I know I keep mentioning Clive’s stuff, but I’ve been really impressed with the movies that have been based on his Books of Blood stories. I thought Midnight Meat Train was a great horror ride, and Vinnie Jones was very well cast as the killer Mahogany; just the right mix of menace and restraint.
I also really loved John Harrison’s Book of Blood, starring Jonas Armstrong and Sophie Ward. Even though we visited the set in Edinburgh and post production in London for this one, it still unsettled me to watch it. [You can read Paul and Marie’s set report on this at Total Sci-Fi - and his review of the movie at Mass Movement]. I thought the way Clive’s framing stories were fleshed out was totally believable, and the way the ghosts were done was extremely effective.
We’ve just been sent a preview copy of Anthony DiBlasi’s Dread – another set we visited – and I’m hoping it’s just as enjoyable. We heard good things from Cannes , where a short film I scripted called The Opportunity was also doing the rounds last year. Other than that, Mirrors did make me jump a couple of times, Let the Right One In was very creepy, Raimi’s Drag Me To Hell was a return to comedy horror form last seen in the Evil Dead movies...
But I’ve been finding a lot scarier stuff on TV. I thought "Apparitions" starring Martin Shaw was absolutely brilliant, definitely worthy of another series. I think "Being Human" is absolutely fantastic! It was great to hear writer/creator Toby Whithouse’s thoughts about the show at the SFX Weekender, recently. In terms of US shows, I love "Supernatural", "True Blood", "Fringe" and "Dexter", and the final season of "Lost" is dishing up some genuinely chilling moments as well. All in all, a good time to be a fan of genre film and television. Long may it continue...
Thank you very, very much for your time!
If you missed them, don't forget to read part 1 and part 2 of our interview with Paul Kane. Arrowhead, Broken Arrow and Hellbound Hearts are all available through your local bookshop. Voices in the Dark will be released later this year - add it to your wishlist now to avoid disappointment. And, to keep up with the latest news and release dates, visit the author's website.