Hot Best Seller

In the Flesh

Availability: Ready to download

Terrifying and forbidding, subversive and insightful, Clive Barker's groundbreaking stories revolutionized the worlds of horrific and fantastical fiction and established Barker's dominance over the otherworldly and the all-too-real. Here, as two businessmen encounter beautiful and seductive women and an earnest young woman researches a city slum, Barker maps the boundless Terrifying and forbidding, subversive and insightful, Clive Barker's groundbreaking stories revolutionized the worlds of horrific and fantastical fiction and established Barker's dominance over the otherworldly and the all-too-real. Here, as two businessmen encounter beautiful and seductive women and an earnest young woman researches a city slum, Barker maps the boundless vistas of the unfettered imagination -- only to uncover a profound sense of terror and overwhelming dread. Stories: The Forbidden The Madonna Babel's Children In The Flesh

*advertisement

Compare

Terrifying and forbidding, subversive and insightful, Clive Barker's groundbreaking stories revolutionized the worlds of horrific and fantastical fiction and established Barker's dominance over the otherworldly and the all-too-real. Here, as two businessmen encounter beautiful and seductive women and an earnest young woman researches a city slum, Barker maps the boundless Terrifying and forbidding, subversive and insightful, Clive Barker's groundbreaking stories revolutionized the worlds of horrific and fantastical fiction and established Barker's dominance over the otherworldly and the all-too-real. Here, as two businessmen encounter beautiful and seductive women and an earnest young woman researches a city slum, Barker maps the boundless vistas of the unfettered imagination -- only to uncover a profound sense of terror and overwhelming dread. Stories: The Forbidden The Madonna Babel's Children In The Flesh

30 review for In the Flesh

  1. 5 out of 5

    Fabian

    The manifestation of evil, "in the flesh" is the theme which unites all four novellas in this early Barker work. The highlight here is undoubtedly "THE FORBIDDEN". This is the basis for what is perhaps the MOST UNDERRATED HORROR FILM OF ALL TIME: Bernard Rose's "Candyman." The story itself, 60 pages that really do chill the blood, I've penciled in on a list of the best short stories ever. It is melancholia wrapped in detective Noir, supernatural urban legend; a human investment into something lar The manifestation of evil, "in the flesh" is the theme which unites all four novellas in this early Barker work. The highlight here is undoubtedly "THE FORBIDDEN". This is the basis for what is perhaps the MOST UNDERRATED HORROR FILM OF ALL TIME: Bernard Rose's "Candyman." The story itself, 60 pages that really do chill the blood, I've penciled in on a list of the best short stories ever. It is melancholia wrapped in detective Noir, supernatural urban legend; a human investment into something larger than the self. Helen, the doomed protagonist, looks for an interesting thesis in walls exploded with urban symbols: graffiti. The residents of a dilapidated city complex are all in on a secret conspiracy. The killer mesmerizes, comes from the realms of hell, literally. The personification is so complete in this study on urban decay. The myth baring a hook is more effective than Pinhead! The last paragraph plagues the reader with worry: it seems so possible that evil exists, is indeed a human disease made up of interior and exterior traumas. I almost cried for Helen. I read "The Forbidden" and felt immediately that Horror is alive and well (true-this comes to us from the 80s... but one has the instinct to hope). Stephen King's constant praises for the British author are not without substantiation. Barker can write circles around King: he practices brevity, brings out strong sexual themes (which of course soon delve into absolute terror), has an outright, singular poetic penmanship. The other stories are pretty good, too. The story about the Candyman, a must read for all aspiring writers, was an A+. The rest involve a doorway to hell in a prison with no relatable characters (B), a sick gender-bending misadventure in a satanic spa (B-) & bizzarro geriatric oracles in Greece (C+).

  2. 4 out of 5

    Traveller

    This has been my first Clive Barker read, and I was very pleasantly surprised by it. From what I had heard of Barker before, I had assumed his work was in the gory blood porn genre. As such I was never very interested in trying out any of his work, since the more trashy kind of cheap thrills that Stephen King used to grind out in his earlier years, really never did sit well with me. Neither does the kind of horror that features sexy teenagers being systematically mangled by homicidal maniacs (us This has been my first Clive Barker read, and I was very pleasantly surprised by it. From what I had heard of Barker before, I had assumed his work was in the gory blood porn genre. As such I was never very interested in trying out any of his work, since the more trashy kind of cheap thrills that Stephen King used to grind out in his earlier years, really never did sit well with me. Neither does the kind of horror that features sexy teenagers being systematically mangled by homicidal maniacs (usually with very long butcher's knives) . On the contrary, the volume I’ve just finished is a small collection of short stories that is intelligent, imaginative and satirical dark fantasy, the likes of which you see in the work of authors like Ray Bradbury and Gene Wolfe, with just a touch of a Lovecraftian sense of the macabre and a dollop of Kafka’s sense of the absurd. A trademark feature seems to be that the stories start off with a very commonplace scenario, where everything is sane and normal, and as commonplace as the routine you or I experience every day as we set off to work or school. Gradually a sense of weirdness starts to encroach as the stories progresss;- in some cases it works well, though in The Forbidden it did not work for me at first. At first glance it seemed like a childish attempt at painting a horror figure, and I think this is a clue as to how the picture of Barker as a cheap thrill goremonger might have evolved. However, after reading the rest of the stories, I realised that Barker’s works work on two levels. Despite throwing in a few bones for the cheap thrill junkies, (some of them being decidedly gore-less, nevertheless), there is a lot of social commentary and satire going on in the background. I had a squiz at the plot of the movie “Candyman” which was based on The Forbidden, and there it was obvious to me that the hidden theme was distorted and ignored in the film – its maker opting to put it into the slasher genre. (I’ll bet they made more money that way). The actual theme originally intended by Barker, (besides a bit of a poke at the snobbish one-upmanship always to be found in intellectual/academic circles) seemed pretty obviously to me, to be a working of the theme that there is nothing worse for the human psyche than to be ignored, impotent, ridiculed, and/or nondescript, since everybody needs their existence validated somehow. For some the issue is important enough as to even draw attention to themselves in negative ways, as long as it means they get attention, of whatever kind. The Candyman is a symbol of the allure of fame or notoriety, and Helen withstands this allure for a while, though she succumbs at the very end. Earlier in the story, other characters also succumbed to the Candyman, by telling sensationalist lies and …*censored for spoilers*. The story also offers an effortless juxtaposition of the contrasting worlds of people living on the edges of society, with that of snobbish university circles. Barker delivers his double message cleverly enough camouflaged that sadly, a lot of people probably do dismiss works like The Forbidden as simply being of the horror “slasher” genre. The Madonna is a wonderfully imaginative tale of ambiguity, which touches on relationship and gender issues, but overall delivers a delightful sense of the weird and macabre that only a Kafka or Lovecraft can match, yet delivered in pleasantly muted tones which makes it an enjoyable read. Babel’s Children is a delightful little comic satire displaying Barker’s disdain for world politics. In the Flesh was probably the story that touched me the most deeply and remained with me the longest, even managing to find it’s way into my dreams. I found myself identifying and empathizing with the characters in this one. Some of the story actually seems to have come from a dreamworld itself, and is guaranteed to please lovers of dark fantasy who enjoy exploring the landscapes of dream and psyche. My interest has definitely been piqued, so I will be reading more Barker soon. EDIT: (later) After reading some earlier Barker, I wasn't quite as impressed. It seems that his later, more mature works are definitely an improvement on his earlier fare.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Niki

    Surprise surprise, another 5-star read from mr. Barker to me. What was a surprise, though, was "The Madonna", the first story in the entirety of "Books of Blood" (that I've read so far; I still have volume 6 to read) that I found to be an anticlimax. The buildup was amazing, the elements were all there, but then it just... deflated when The Madonna herself made her appearance. (Also... (view spoiler)[rape? (hide spoiler)] Ugh) Hey, just one story out of the 25 in the five volumes is an amazing ra Surprise surprise, another 5-star read from mr. Barker to me. What was a surprise, though, was "The Madonna", the first story in the entirety of "Books of Blood" (that I've read so far; I still have volume 6 to read) that I found to be an anticlimax. The buildup was amazing, the elements were all there, but then it just... deflated when The Madonna herself made her appearance. (Also... (view spoiler)[rape? (hide spoiler)] Ugh) Hey, just one story out of the 25 in the five volumes is an amazing ratio. I'm cool with it. So my least favourite was "The Madonna", and my most favourite would have to be "The Forbidden". It was SO GOOD.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Chris_P

    This was the first Barker for me and, simply put, I liked it a lot. I always kind of thought that Barker was all about extreme gore which isn't quite what I ask of horror literature but since this book happened to come to my possession, I thought I'd give it a try. I'm glad I did because my initial impression couldn't be further from the truth. This volume consists of four dark and atmospheric stories. Atmosphere is definitely a key word here. Barker takes his time building it before he takes the This was the first Barker for me and, simply put, I liked it a lot. I always kind of thought that Barker was all about extreme gore which isn't quite what I ask of horror literature but since this book happened to come to my possession, I thought I'd give it a try. I'm glad I did because my initial impression couldn't be further from the truth. This volume consists of four dark and atmospheric stories. Atmosphere is definitely a key word here. Barker takes his time building it before he takes the final blow rewarding the reader for the lack of purely scary stuff. I think that that's what makes a horror story good. It doesn't necessarily have to be scary in a raw way. As long as the plot develops in the right manner with respect to the reader, avoiding what I call convenient improbabilities, it's succesful as far as I'm concerned. Of course, I don't mean to say that these particular stories aren't creepy (they definitely are) or that they didn't send shivers down my spine (they did). What I mean is that, short as they may be, they certainly are complete. They're not meant to simply make you feel disgust or shocked, but they are rather character-driven. Comparisons with Stephen King are inevitable and although there are some obvious similarities, Barker seems to have developed a unique style of his own, equally haunting and riveting. This is obvious in all four stories, all of which I almost equally liked. If I had to pick a favorite, I'd say In The Flesh which is one of the best horror stories I've ever read in general. So, first contact with Barker was succesful and I'll most likely be coming back for more.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jarek "the Mistborn" Dąbrowski

    Another great intallment in the books of blood by Clive Barker. 4 awesome stories from which the first " The Forbidden" is the basis for the Candyman movie:D As always clive gives us much more than just the surface blood and gore. Its a twisted journey inside peoples psyche. Two more books of blood to go:) 4 stars:)

  6. 5 out of 5

    Tobin Elliott

    I'm still finding the quality increases as I work through the volumes. But I have to say, though it doesn't say much, there was one quote that I found quite chilling, from the story The Forbidden: "Don't kill me," she breathed. "Do you believe in me?" he said. She nodded minutely. "How can I not?" she said. "Then why do you want to live?" Brilliant stuff, that.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Althea Ann

    This book is a collection of 4 novelettes from "The New Master of Horror." (not so new anymore!) The title piece, "In the Flesh" deals with a petty criminal trapped in a jail cell with a first-time offender who's messing with more than he bargained for in the spirit of his executed murderer grandfather.... "The Forbidden" is the story the movie Candyman was based on. I'm sure you've seen it. The story is shorter, snappier, and more powerful. (And set in England! Huh!) "The Madonna" reminded me of a This book is a collection of 4 novelettes from "The New Master of Horror." (not so new anymore!) The title piece, "In the Flesh" deals with a petty criminal trapped in a jail cell with a first-time offender who's messing with more than he bargained for in the spirit of his executed murderer grandfather.... "The Forbidden" is the story the movie Candyman was based on. I'm sure you've seen it. The story is shorter, snappier, and more powerful. (And set in England! Huh!) "The Madonna" reminded me of a modern Lovecraft story.... a business deal with a mobster turns into something far more when chthonic horrors lurk in a closed public pool complex... "Babel's Children" - not so much a horror story as a paranoid conspiracy theory. Who do you think is *really* controlling the world governments??? Good fun, all of them..

  8. 5 out of 5

    Wendle

    The second story was the one i’d been waiting for–The Forbidden. Much of it was familiar to me, having seen the Candyman film enough times. The creepy vibe of the film, and the Candyman himself in particular, came through in satisfying ways. But the story created even more, i think, than the film. The eerie, isolated feeling of the housing estate and the peculiar social structure are such banal things, but increase the macabre feeling in the story intensely. It draws on similar themes to High Ri The second story was the one i’d been waiting for–The Forbidden. Much of it was familiar to me, having seen the Candyman film enough times. The creepy vibe of the film, and the Candyman himself in particular, came through in satisfying ways. But the story created even more, i think, than the film. The eerie, isolated feeling of the housing estate and the peculiar social structure are such banal things, but increase the macabre feeling in the story intensely. It draws on similar themes to High Rise, but with more of a horror twist and i loved it. With not one story i didn’t enjoy, compared to the 700+ novel that failed to engage me, it’s clear Barker is a far, far more accomplished short story teller. While i’m unlikely to pick up one of his novels, i won’t hesitate to jump into another of his short story collections. A longer review can be read at my book blog: Marvel at Words.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Marvin

    This was the American edition of the last tales of the Book of Blood. Barker managed to keep the quality high right to the end. After this, he concentrated on novels until he gravitated from horror to fantasy. I prefer these early works to anything later. There is a deep dark and very visceral feel to these stories.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Emleigh

    Very intriguing collection of short stories. I started reading this because I'm a big Candyman fan, but the other stories in it really hooked me. Looking forward to going back and reading the first four Books of Blood.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lee Thompson

    This is my favorite volume in the Books of Blood.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Mcleod

    Probably my favourite part of all the books of blood, they seem to get better as they go on

  13. 5 out of 5

    Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*

    I've wanted to nab this baby forever, since watching the movie Candyman, adapted to the screen by Bernard Rose with Clive's backing. I have owned several of his books of blood anthologies for awhile, yet this one has remained an illusive completion of the cycle. Finally I now own all of them, and read this one within the week of receiving it. The book, a brief 255 pages, envelops four short stories. The first, 'In The Flesh', is a strange tale following the mind of a convict, Cleve, who is force I've wanted to nab this baby forever, since watching the movie Candyman, adapted to the screen by Bernard Rose with Clive's backing. I have owned several of his books of blood anthologies for awhile, yet this one has remained an illusive completion of the cycle. Finally I now own all of them, and read this one within the week of receiving it. The book, a brief 255 pages, envelops four short stories. The first, 'In The Flesh', is a strange tale following the mind of a convict, Cleve, who is forced by an overeager warden to be the caretaker of his new cellmate, Billy. Strange and reclusive, Billy isn't an easy man to keep safe from the other inmates, but it's even more tiresome trying to get his new companion to sit still on bizarre questions he's filled with. Soon Cleve is forced to witness some pretty strange stuff, and from there the story skyrockets. Baffling and strange, as Barker's works typically are, the short tale is blessed with bizarre imagery, unusual characters and an intriguing outcome. The endings a strange little thing, one I never saw coming, but a dark wrap-up that strangely fits. Following the unsettling piece is the short story of the legendary Candyman, in written form titled The Forbidden. There are outstanding differences in the short version versus the celluloid portrayal; Helen herself is much different, although not in a bad way, and her goal is instead on the history of graffiti rather than urban legend and myth. Candyman is also quite different, although I noticed much of his dialogue was copied through to the film. That's the only similarity really. Bernadette, Helen's best pal in the film, is only a mere aquaintance shown once here. No one sits to tell the young woman about Candyman's dazzling past, but instead insist she's a naive child being lied to. The situation with Anne-Marie and her son differ so strongly it was hard to compare the story and movie at all. Standing by itself the short story is an intriguing one, even if I felt the ending fell a bit short. It was hard for me not feel slightly cheated with The Madonna, as no character was likable, the ending seemed strangely depressing, and the story itself devoid of much enjoyment. The idea just seemed too silly and over-the-top, and no explanations for characters given (some of their actions just didn't make sense). It was a brief read, thankfully, but not something that kept my attention like the previous two. Finally, the shortest story, Babel's Children, may indeed by the strangest. The idea is very outlandish and it's clear Barker's bizarre humor gets to play with this one. The protagonist was a fun woman to follow, her actions making sense, her personality strong and fiesty but using common sense as well. There was a lovely sense of confusion that followed me toward the end, where I then wasn't sure whether to be disgusted or amused. On one hand the story is so far-fetched and silly it's almost a turn-off and cheesy, but on the other hand it makes a morbid sense and purposely pokes fun at a failing system. While I can't make my mind up on which side of the fence to stand firmly on, I'm settling for using both reactions and rating this one an intriguing story with a daring, mediocre death. If you happy to find this one, pick it up for sure. Short stories aren't my cup of tea, but Barker's writing style in his other Books of Blood anthologies and this one are sure to please. His writing style is intelligent, filled with an advanced, dry style that's poetically beautiful. Some of his phrasing is simply breathtaking, forcing me to repeat the sentences in my mind. All his stories are filled with inventive, unusual worlds not seen elsewhere. The level of horror in his tales is different as well, dark without even seeming to try, cleverly mixed with morbid fantasy. This is one book that thankfully lived up to my expectations in many ways, diving a bit short in others, but I've come to expect the latter fault in anthologies.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Dreadlocksmile

    In 1986, Clive Barker followed the enormous success of the first three volumes of The Books Of Blood, with a final three volumes to create the entire Books Of Blood series. His two omnibus's were later to be broken down, to be sold as individual books. Barker was invited to be able to illustrate these covers with his dark and twisted artwork. This volume was also released in America under the name 'In The Flesh'. The six volumes were all released in their individual forms back in 1985, this fift In 1986, Clive Barker followed the enormous success of the first three volumes of The Books Of Blood, with a final three volumes to create the entire Books Of Blood series. His two omnibus's were later to be broken down, to be sold as individual books. Barker was invited to be able to illustrate these covers with his dark and twisted artwork. This volume was also released in America under the name 'In The Flesh'. The six volumes were all released in their individual forms back in 1985, this fifth volume contains the following short stories: The Forbidden - 37 pages "There are some taboos too terrible to be broken. Some stories too terrible to be true. Until you begin to believe them". Here we have the original inspiration for the film Candyman, which was adapted from the short and further developed upon. The forbidden offers up an intense atmospheric story of tension and horror. The story is very well written, delivering a well crafted and haunting story. The Madonna - 38 pages "She was older than legend: the Unholy Mother whose beautiful children were most men's dream, and every man's nightmare". A nail-biting short packed with more bizarre and horrific images vividly crafted from the mind of Clive Barker. The storyline is gripping and dark, with an atmosphere so chilling, it will haunt you for ages afterwards. The story was later adapted in 1990 into the graphic novel 'Tapping The Vein - Book 4' where it was illustrated by Stan Woch, Mark Farmer and Fred Von Tobel. Babel's Children - 27 pages "A paradise island, lost in a sparkling sea, what better place to plot the end of the world?" A bit of a different short story here, compared with the rest of the shorts in the Books Of Blood. The plot is carefully unfolded, creating an air of mystery to the whole storyline, until the final conclusion hits you in the face. I wasn't that keen on this one, but it was certainly an interesting read. In The Flesh - 46 pages "Every night they locked the cell doors for twelve hours; locked the prisoners in with their regrets and their secret terrors, and something more. Something from the lunatic world of pure slaughter that waited just beyond the walls". One of the most loved and enjoyed of Barker's short stories is this dark and twisted tale that takes you on a trip through the weird and limitless imagination of Clive Barker. The storyline is extremely well-constructed, dragging you further and further into the story as it hurtles towards the horrific conclusion. This is a definite must read for all fans of Barker's work. This volume as a whole offers up a perverse and imaginative world of horrific violence and disturbingly dark creatures. The stories are gripping and original, keeping you entertained and involved. Another superb addition to the Books Of Blood series.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Spencer

    An unnerving collection of four short stories, I especially liked The Forbidden, which was the basis for the Candyman film. I'm a big fan of the film but I'd have to concede that the story is better!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Joshua Jorgensen

    Clive Barker's shorter fictions are so compelling, and his mind creates some of the most incredible things. I read the four short works over a period of time, and in-between novels, so as to have something to savor. These are dark and bizarre little pieces, each with a unique premise. Master.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Baal Of

    Not quite as good as the previous volumes but still worthwhile, since it is Barker. Includes the story that Candyman was based on.

  18. 4 out of 5

    BiblioBabes.ca

    BiblioBabe Kat gave this a 9.5/10! Read her review here: http://www.bibliobabes.ca/2/post/2011...

  19. 4 out of 5

    Dollie

    While reading these four short stories, a couple of them seemed familiar, so I may have read this a very long time ago. I wasn’t crazy about the first story. It just wasn’t my cup of tea, but I liked The Forbidden, which the movie Candyman, was based on. I’ve never watched the movie, but feel like now I should. I really liked The Madonna, too. I don’t even know why, it was a violent story, but it had elements of beauty in it, as well. I also liked Babel’s Children about elderly “thinkers,” who r While reading these four short stories, a couple of them seemed familiar, so I may have read this a very long time ago. I wasn’t crazy about the first story. It just wasn’t my cup of tea, but I liked The Forbidden, which the movie Candyman, was based on. I’ve never watched the movie, but feel like now I should. I really liked The Madonna, too. I don’t even know why, it was a violent story, but it had elements of beauty in it, as well. I also liked Babel’s Children about elderly “thinkers,” who ran the world by playing games, like racing frogs. It felt timely to me because of the shape the world is in right now. I mean, who would ever think that some crazy old coot would be able to maintain order in the world, when perhaps the president of the US could not? I thought it was a good story for the times we’re currently living in. There’s just something about Clive Barker’s writing that I feel almost makes me think differently, because he makes me imagine things I never would have imagined if he hadn’t put the idea in my brain. It’s like he’s a new drug for my mind. I’m not exactly sure how healthy that is, but I’ll take it.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Alex Telander

    The Dark Weaveworld of Clive Barker, Part 2 of 3: “In the Flesh” BIOGRAPHY: Clive Barker is the bestselling author of nineteen books, including Weaveworld, Imagica, and Galilee. He regularly shows his art in Los Angeles and New York, and produces and directs for both large and small screen. Recent projects include the Oscar-wining film Gods and Monsters, and an exhibition of erotic paintings and photographs, The Weird and the Wicked. He lives with his husband, the photographer David Armstrong, in The Dark Weaveworld of Clive Barker, Part 2 of 3: “In the Flesh” BIOGRAPHY: Clive Barker is the bestselling author of nineteen books, including Weaveworld, Imagica, and Galilee. He regularly shows his art in Los Angeles and New York, and produces and directs for both large and small screen. Recent projects include the Oscar-wining film Gods and Monsters, and an exhibition of erotic paintings and photographs, The Weird and the Wicked. He lives with his husband, the photographer David Armstrong, in Los Angeles, along with his family of dogs, rats, geckos, iguanas, and turtles. “In the Flesh”: A new inmate has joined the prison: a descendant of a man who murdered his wife and children; the man was hung and his grave is under an old bush. The inmate, through the powers of the supernatural, is able to transcend the real world and pass into the plane of death, reaching the town where murderers live after they die. There he finds his grandfather and a reconnoiter of the unusual kind takes place. But what the inmate doesn’t know is that the grandfather has other plans in mind, which involve a trade-off, bringing his old body back to life, where he will be able to continue where he left off. “The Forbidden”: The true story to the successful movie, Candyman, brings a college student to the ghettos of New York, where she hears the local legend of the man who smells of sweets and takes lives. The police pretend he doesn’t exist, even though lives have been taken. It is all very much shrouded in mystery, as Helen tries to solve what is really going on. There is a final confrontation between Helen and the Candyman, while the world around continues on as if nothing is happening. “The Madonna”: In a special building of astounding architecture there is a supernal activity taking place. In a pool the genesis of this metaphysical creation happens. A female beast of disgust, creating imps of revulsion, which are suckled by lolitas of captivating beauty and innocence. And when people discover this repulsive Eden, they inevitably engage it, but then an astounding change takes place from which they can never return to their former selves. “Babel’s Children”: A small island in Greece supports a prison facility of the most exceptional kind. A group of the most powerful people on the planet, created after the Second World War to control worldly decisions. Their existence must remain hidden, since they are like gods. But when they are visited by an inquisitive female, all this will change, and their existence is brought into doubt. Originally published on October 1st 2001 ©Alex C. Telander. For over 500 book reviews, and over 40 exclusive author interviews (both audio and written), visit BookBanter.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Rowan MacBean

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The Forbidden - A woman doing her thesis on graffiti chooses a run-down low-rent apartment complex on which to focus her study. She becomes aware of a nasty series of crimes in the area and thinks it might be related. The locals are pretty weird about it. Even weirder than one might expect. This is the story the movie Candyman was based on. I think it actually works better as a movie (not just because more background info was added) but I still enjoyed the story. The Madonna - Some people are try The Forbidden - A woman doing her thesis on graffiti chooses a run-down low-rent apartment complex on which to focus her study. She becomes aware of a nasty series of crimes in the area and thinks it might be related. The locals are pretty weird about it. Even weirder than one might expect. This is the story the movie Candyman was based on. I think it actually works better as a movie (not just because more background info was added) but I still enjoyed the story. The Madonna - Some people are trying to redevelop an old swimming pool complex but some weird things start happening when they're separated or there alone. And in the end, both of the male main characters are turned into women. This was my least favorite of the stories in this book because there were a few parts that felt uncomfortably misogynistic to me. That happens with Clive Barker stories sometimes. and often I can't quite figure out if it's just the character or if it's really coming from him. Babel's Children - A woman gets stranded in the middle of nowhere when her car breaks down. She winds up finding and being locked up in a compound where a committee of great thinkers decide the outcome of everything that happens in the world. But instead of deciding through debate, they've come to decide by playing games of chance. This is the shortest story in the book, but it's also my favorite. I love the whole concept, the main character irritated and interested me (sometimes Clive Barker's women fall flat), and there were parts that were creepy and made me think, as well as parts that made me laugh. In The Flesh - Billy Tait is Cleve Smith's new cellmate in jail. It turns out Billy got himself caught and sent to this prison on purpose because he thinks his grandfather (who was an inmate and was hanged there decades before) is calling him there. Insert supernatural murders, secrets and lies, weird dream states, and purgatory. I read a summary of this story before I started it and it didn't sound all that interesting to me. But I was extremely pleasantly surprised. The story before this was my favorite in the book, but this one was still good enough to really stand out. I think it'll stick with me and become one of the stories I call a favorite when I'm asked for reading recommendations.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn

    "Terrifying and forbidding, subversive and insightful,"...but in reality, kind of disappointing. I found this at the used book store, after having an unsettling day that I wanted a distraction from. Lo and behold, an entire collection of Clive Barker stories I'd never heard of! Now that I've read them, I can understand why his "Books of Blood" are so well known while this one...isn't. A couple of interesting moments, some deliberate cliches (Instead of a hand, his arm ended in *gasp* a hook!), a "Terrifying and forbidding, subversive and insightful,"...but in reality, kind of disappointing. I found this at the used book store, after having an unsettling day that I wanted a distraction from. Lo and behold, an entire collection of Clive Barker stories I'd never heard of! Now that I've read them, I can understand why his "Books of Blood" are so well known while this one...isn't. A couple of interesting moments, some deliberate cliches (Instead of a hand, his arm ended in *gasp* a hook!), and probably the most florid prose I've ever read. I'm glad Clive has calmed down a little since writing these; saying something in twenty-five words when five would do doesn't make a story scarier, or more interesting.

  23. 5 out of 5

    ✨Tamara

    Great quick little read! The first story was awesome. The second (The Candyman story) I have always wanted to read and it did not disappoint! Te third story was very good, though the ending leaves a bit to the imagination in wanting a bit more closure. The forth story was very strange however original and fun to read. Would definitely recommend!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Manda

    So far so good. Very intense writing. I am sure this will be the first of many Clive Barker books thanks to a good friend's recommendation.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Trent

    In The Flesh - *** The Forbidden - **** The Madonna - **** Babel's Children - *****

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    a short ride, but now I know where candyman came from

  27. 4 out of 5

    Charles

    Four of Barker's short horror stories. Pretty good.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Casey Hampton

    Four horror novellas. Solid writing, but I struggled with the form. Novella as form is so slippery. Too long for the –turn- that short stories offer, and too short for the –settling- that novels allow. I liked "The Forbidden" best.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Coni (conireads or skingproject)

    I had read a lot of Clive Barker’s short stories when I was younger, but forgot which ones I had read since I hadn’t read them all. I couldn’t remember if I had read In the Flesh or Inhuman Condition since they both started with the same letter. While reading this one, none of it was familiar until I got to the second of four stories, called “The Forbidden”. It is the basis for the Candyman movies. I never saw the movies, but the story stuck with me since it was very creepy and gross. When I rea I had read a lot of Clive Barker’s short stories when I was younger, but forgot which ones I had read since I hadn’t read them all. I couldn’t remember if I had read In the Flesh or Inhuman Condition since they both started with the same letter. While reading this one, none of it was familiar until I got to the second of four stories, called “The Forbidden”. It is the basis for the Candyman movies. I never saw the movies, but the story stuck with me since it was very creepy and gross. When I read it, the movie had not been made, but one scene in it became ingrained in my brain. A woman who is doing some graduate school research on a very poor neighborhood goes into an abandoned house to find an extremely disturbing face drawn on the wall. It is laughing, but the doorway was being used as the mouth. It was so descriptive that when I had an assignment in my junior English class to describe a room that another person in the class would have to guess who it belonged to, I described that room. No one guessed it was the room of a psychopathic killer, but instead thought it was a messed up teenager. :) The first story in the book, called “In the Flesh”, didn’t do much for me. It had supernatural and horror elements to it with a guy who had questions about good and evil and where sin comes from. Then he gets a cellmate who just isn’t quite right. I think when I first started reading Clive Barker, I was attracted more to his horror stories, but as I got older, I enjoyed his fantasy stories more. The first one was more in the horror realm, but beyond the final twist and the “city” that he dreams about, I didn’t care much about the crazy cellmate. I actually could have enjoyed the entire story if the cellmate had been left out, even though I guess it was the point of the story, I just didn’t care for that half of it. As I progressed through the book, I enjoyed each story more than the last one. “The Forbidden,” was the story with the room description described earlier. That was my favorite part, but the rest of the story was not as great as I remembered. “The Madonna” did have supernatural elements, but it was more in the fantasy vein. It is about an abandoned bath house where naked women wooed men to come visit them, but it doesn’t end well for them. It was creepy and fascinating. My favorite story was the last one called “Babel’s Children” where a woman who loves to drive off the beaten path comes across a nunnery that isn’t run by nuns, but has held some brilliant minds captive for years for some very twisted games. It was the most realistic story out of all of them, but you still had to suspend your disbelief about the games being played. With the way some things happen in the world, you wonder sometimes that maybe major world decisions are being made the way it is described in the book. I had a good chuckle about the absurdity of it.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Zack Clopton

    The fifth volume of Clive Barker's Books of Blood is easily one of the best collection in the series. Every single story is this book is extremely good. The titular story, "In the Flesh," features chilling visions of the afterlife, disturbing body horror, and ruminations on the birth of sin. "The Madonna" begins as a unnerving homage to Lovecraft that then twists into a intriguing statement about sexuality, gender, and transformation. (While also featuring one of Barker's most uncanny locations: The fifth volume of Clive Barker's Books of Blood is easily one of the best collection in the series. Every single story is this book is extremely good. The titular story, "In the Flesh," features chilling visions of the afterlife, disturbing body horror, and ruminations on the birth of sin. "The Madonna" begins as a unnerving homage to Lovecraft that then twists into a intriguing statement about sexuality, gender, and transformation. (While also featuring one of Barker's most uncanny locations: A dilapidated swimming pool becoming a citadel for otherworldly entities.) It's supernatural events are also, refreshingly, completely unexplained. "Babel's Children" is less horror story than Barker's twist on the conspiracy theories about secret cabals controlling the world. Naturally, Barker turns that idea on its head, turning history into a game of chance between insane men. This approach is comedic yet turns more unnerving by the end. The story also features some delightfully surreal moments - men dressed as nuns eating deep dish pizza? - that sells its dream-like revelations. Which brings me to "The Forbidden," the story that would be adapted into Bernard Rose's excellent film, "Candyman." While the story is still quite good - Barker's thoughts about the power of legends are ingenuous, his ability to place the horrific in the commonplace is excellent, his creeping prose is unmatched - it's probably my least favorite of this set. I was a little disappointed to discover that the fascinating mythology the film built around this character is almost entirely absent from the source material. Who would've thought, a movie actually having more depth than the book it adapted. Barker's prose is vivid, poetic, and enchanting. It entertains as often as it uneases. His characters are clear and understood. And his pure creative for connecting ideas and strength of narrative structure is without comparison. I think Volume II of the Books of Blood will always be my favorite but this is a fantastic collection.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.