11 April 2010

The Forbidden - Clive Barker

The Forbidden is a Clive Barker story which was adapted in 1992 as the film Candyman.

Clive Barker began to make his name in the field of horror in 1984 with the Books Of Blood, six volumes of short horror fiction. The Forbidden appeared in volume four, and was a lengthy tale of rumour and urban legend. It's a powerful piece of writing, and it's easy to see how it could inspire the film Candyman, directed by Bernard Rose.

It's also interesting, when reading the story, to note how the theme of the narrative focuses much more on Helen, the protagonist, than the Candyman mythos. The film is quite different in this respect, making much of the urban legend and adding the mysterious summoning ritual - the saying of Candyman's name into the mirror five times. The overall idea is the same, however, that Candyman is a force summoned by the needs of the people as a focus for their despair and misery, the character of Helen providing a conduit through which this takes place. The Forbidden also takes place in the United Kingdom, more specifically in a Liverpool housing estate, Liverpool being Clive Barker's home town. The film, of course, is moved to the projects - the Cabrini Green area of Chicago.

If you intend to track down and read the story, be aware that although the initial publication of the Books Of Blood was a series of six volumes, but now the books are generally to be found as two-volume omnibus editions. 'The Forbidden' originally appeared in Book Five, and should now, therefore, be in either a slim book marked 'Volume 5', an omnibus marked 'Volume 2', or one marked 'Volumes 4 - 6'. Best to check the contents page...

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