Sommerleigh Pollonais, Horror Head Writer
Plot: A journey into uncharted and forbidden territory through three takes tangled in space and time.
Review: I know, that plot is vague as all hell, but there’s a reason for this. The first being the most obvious, Books of Blood is an anthology, a series of stories all interconnected by one framing device, or main theme. The second reason is Clive Barker’s work isn’t always that easy to explain or adapt for viewing audiences.
Like Stephen King and Dean Koontz, Barker is an accomplished horror novelist, but unlike the others, the movies adapted from his books are not as well known (with the exception of the Hellraiser franchise), and most people probably didn’t know they were even watching a film based on his work.
For example, how many of you knew Candyman was adapted from The Forbidden, which is actually one of the stories from the Books of Blood? I’m guessing not many of you did and it’s understandable. Clive Barker’s brand of horror might be too much for some as the man has a penchant for grasping the uncomfortable with both hands and pressing it right up to your face. He blends together pleasure and pain while adding a heavy dose of hellish visuals that can make the most avid of horror fans squirm. That said, Books of Blood (not to be confused with 2009’s Book of Blood, which was a different adaptation of one of the stories) is by far the tamest version of a Clive Barker story I’ve ever seen brought to life.
The stories told here are not part of the six volumes that make up the novels, with the exception of “The Book of Blood.” This story is the frame for all the others but that’s about it, and even this Book of Blood is loosely adapted (character names are the same but most other things have been changed). While all three tales are well told and acted, the movie feels restrained, like director Brannon Braga (best known for his Star Trek work) was trying to make a Clive Barker movie that appealed to a PG-13 audience. Sorry buddy, but you can’t have your cake and stab it to death too. Clive Barker’s work was never meant to be anything but “no holds barred,” and while there are moments of blood and gore here, they don’t come close to what the original stories contained.
Ultimately, Books of Blood is a serviceable horror movie, and those who just wish to dip their toes in the shallow end of the genre pool may get more out of it than I did. As a fan of both horror and Clive Barker’s work, this just didn’t live up to its potential. Here’s hoping someone in the future gives it another go. Someone willing to look into the abyss of these books and show us the truly dark things that looked back.
Sommer’s Score: 5 out of 10
And speaking of Hellraiser, why not check out our Chucky vs Ghostface vs Jigsaw vs Pinhead: Horror Icon Showdown here? And for more than 100 horror movie reviews and lists you can check out the RMR horror section here.
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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