The time I got to put an adapted screenplay literally in Clive Barker’s hands

So when I was younger and decided I was going to attempt to learn filmmaking, I had dabbled in learning to properly adapt a work of fiction not originally written for the screen. One particular work I longed to adapt into at least a short form movie was a story called The Body Politic written in a series of collection books by Clive Barker titles The Books of Blood.

I was into horror movies back then, but I loved the more mental component of Barker’s work not just his radical imagination mixing horror and fantasy.

The Body Politic was a small story of how everyone’s body parts had a mind of their own and everyone’s hands decided to organize and execute a bloody revolution, severing themselves from their masters.

So I wrote the screenplay for Barker’s story simply for myself as a learning tool. And I did figure I would eventually attempt to shoot the movie with a low budget on video at some point as a learning experience as well. However, for about two years, my script collected dust, that is until I received an email from the Clive Barker fan club.

The email was a flash announcement to Colorado’s chapter members stating Clive Barker would be doing a surprise autograph signing at the Tattered Cover in Denver. There was only 24 hours notice of the event and fortunately I was able to rearrange some things to make sure I got to meet one of my favorite authors at the time.

Although I wanted to of course have Barker sign his latest hardcover release, Sacrament, which I went out and bought for the occasion, the email announcement also stated he would be willing to sign one other item of each fan’s choosing. I had him sign a copy of my favorite book from him, Cabal, which was made into the movie Nightbreed in 1990.

However, in addition, I knew this moment was also an opportunity for me to actually put one of my screenplays in the hands of the man who inspired it. Yes, I had a small day dream of Barker reading the script and deciding it was so good he would want to produce it himself, he would both win Emmy awards, we’d be best friends for life, yadda, yadda… you know how day dreams go. But moreso, I just wanted to show Barker I was a big fan enough to write a screenplay for my favorite short story of his just for the hell of it.

So I took my brother with me for the sole purpose of having him take photos of my while meeting Clive Barker. I don’t exactly remember how long we stood in line, but the wait alone was testament to the effectiveness of the Colorado chapter of the Clive Barker Fan Club email list. It was impressive that in only 24 hours from announcement, the turn out went out the door of the store, then inside and up the stairs and back down the stairs to Barker’s table on the other side.

What was worse, Barker was a nice enough author to take as much time with everyone as he needed. This made the event feel like an all day thing but it also ran my chance of meeting Barker and handing him my script very close to closing time. Fortunately, I got there early enough to be in front of the Master of the Macabre an hour before his event was over.

The moment was so long ago. I can barely remember any real details and thank god I had my brother take pictures. If he hadn’t, I may not remember Clive Barker at all except for his autograph on my books. However, here is what I do remember…

It was my birthday the day I met him. I know this because Barker actually wrote a happy birthday note to me in my copy of Sacrament.

He suggested we get a birthday beer after the event. I remember this because with the release of Sacrament, Clive Barker officially came out of the closet as a homosexual. So given this, I wondered if him suggesting to get a beer was some way of him hitting on me. Of course, at the time, I hadn’t any homosexual friends, at least none I knew of or at least out of the closet, so I didn’t exactly have an understanding of what it was like to be flattered by someone of the same sex. Nor did I know what it was like to be flattered by a celebrity.

Clive Barker was just being a nice fellow trying to amuse a fan. In hindsight, I know he wasn’t series about going for a beer after. He was trying to be friendly. It’s kind of like that thing where to tell someone you casually just met, “Hey let’s get together and have dinner sometime,” and then neither of you ever call the other because the intent was never really there in the first place. That was my beer with Clive Barker…except I was a young retarded fanboy…and he was the creator of the character Pinhead.

Now I can’t exactly tell you what his reaction was to my presenting him my Body Politic Adaptation and of you look at the photo of me shaking hands with him, there appears to be something tied up WITH the manuscript. I couldn’t tell you what that was either. It may have been a VHS copy of one of my movies, but I hope to god it wasn’t since most of the projects I produced and directed by that time were less cinematically impressive than cat vomit. Regardless, I do remember he was willing to accept my gift. He was like I said friendly and appreciative of my fanship.

I also remember feeling genuinely happy for Barker. I can imagine coming out is never easy at any age and can’t be much easier for a celebrity. But he definitely had a spark about him I hadn’t seen in interviews with him before and I got the sense it was his coming out and acceptance of so many fans which seemed to put a smile on his face that day. Maybe I’m wrong. I don’t know. He was a happy guy though. That was for sure.

The end of my story is unfortunately not one of achievement or even excitement. Not only did I never hear from Clive Barker or his people about how amazing my adaptation screenplay was, years later I read a production company bought The Body Politic’s film rights intended to become a TV mini series. To this day, I can’t find any evidence of that project actually getting off the ground but regardless, I won’t be the credited screenwriter or director if it ever does.

Regardless, I did get to meet Clive Barker in person and I did manage to put a piece of my own writing in his hands in homage of my fanship towards the creator of Hellraiser.

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