On August 18, I met one of my horror idols: Clive Barker. A multi-talented artist who has mastered numerous mediums, Clive is a playwright, an author, a director, and a painter. He created, wrote and directed Hellraiser, his most famous work, and he’s also known for Candyman and Nightbreed, as well as more than 20 novels, hundreds of incredible paintings, and so much more. Stephen King once said, “I’ve seen the future of horror, and his name is Clive Barker.” That’s the highest praise one can get in this genre, and Clive lived up to that prophecy and then some.
I was supposed to meet Clive at Monster-Mania several years ago but he became ill. It was reported that he slipped into a coma following toxic shock syndrome, which he was afflicted with after a visit to the dentist. Currently reliant on a wheelchair and a cane to get around, I knew that I shouldn’t pass up the opportunity to meet Clive this time because none of us knows what the future may hold. Before meeting Clive, I spent time speaking with the three cenobites I had never met: Nicholis Vince, Barbie Wilde, and Simon Bamford. All three were lovely and as nice as could be. Doug Bradley and Ashley Laurence were also in attendance. However, I met both of them twice before, including last year, so I didn’t chat with them this time around.
When I entered the photo booth to get my picture taken with Clive, he was already seated. I extended my hand and said to him, “Hi, Clive! I’m Michael Cavacini. It’s a pleasure to meet you.” He replied, “Nice to meet you. There are many Michaels here today.” I chuckled and we took our photo. I turned back to him, shook his hand again and said, “I’ll see you upstairs.” Clive said, “I look forward to it!”
As you can see from my video above, Clive’s room upstairs was incredible. I walked in and was blown away by all of his artwork hanging up, as well as the first editions of numerous books, not to mention the t-shirts, hats, and movies for sale. The room even featured a handful of Pinhead sketches Clive created on Friday when he arrived. This room was a Clive Barker museum, as well as a summation of his life’s work. It was incredible and inspiring to see how prolific and profoundly talented this man is, and how he’s mastered numerous forms of art. What really struck me about Clive’s painting is his vivid use of color in some of his work, which is beautiful. I approached Clive, stuck out my hand to shake his and said, “Clive, check out our photo together. It turned out great!” He said, “Yes, it did!” I was told that Clive wouldn’t personalize items, just sign his autograph. However, I know that most of the time these rules are made up by the venue, not the artist. So, I whispered to Clive, “Would you please personalize this?” as I slid my hardback copy of Leviathan across the table for him to sign. he said, “Of course!” and proceeded to personalize the item to me and write “very best wishes” alongside his name. The autograph, as you can see above, is big and beautiful, and he signed it with gusto, as if he truly enjoyed doing it for me. He then took our photo together and wrote the same thing with a beautiful silver paint pen, which resulted in a fantastic inscription. I proceeded to tell Clive how I really enjoyed his novel Mister B. Gone because of the clever premise and how it was written, for the most part, in the second person point of view, which is incredibly rare in books. He said, “I’m glad you liked it. Yes, not many books are written that way.” I then asked him, “How are you feeling? He paused for a moment, thought about it and said, “I’m feeling good.” I thanked him again for his time, shook his hand, looked him in the eye and said, “Be well.” He responded, “You too!” With a smile on my face, two beautiful autographs in my hands, and a memory to last a lifetime, I headed home.