A lot of the time the job of an interviewer is to get juicy information out of the person they are interviewing. The job of an interviewer can even be to help promote something in conjunction with the person they are interviewing. In this case – in my interview with Barbie Wilde – my job turned out to be something a little different than I expected. This time around, when you read this interview – yes, I’m here promoting Ms. Wilde and her career – but I also think you should take heed to her words. There’s a lot of wisdom here that aspiring authors and entertainment industry individuals can learn from.
It’s no surprise that Barbie Wilde speaks with passion and wisdom. She has enjoyed a three decade long career both in front of and behind the camera, and also in almost every aspect of entertainment you can imagine – books, singing, miming, etc. Barbie has dared to do what few have done, become truly versatile. Now, as an accomplished short story author and novelist, she has taken a little time to chat with me about her career, her literature, and what you may expect from her in the future. And yes, we do talk about Hellraiser II a little bit!
Read my interview with Barbie Wilde below!
H: When I posted on Facebook that I would be interviewing you, my status update exploded with people saying nothing but positive things about you. Why do you think your life and career have reached horror fans so well?
B: I think it was because I was lucky enough to have appeared in an iconic cult horror film, Hellbound: Hellraiser II, which was based on a mythology created by an amazing and unique author, Clive Barker. Also, I’ve had quite an eclectic career, which I’ve detailed with photos on my website, complete with monsters, robots, pop stars, Bollywood movies, glove puppets and giant bears! And, of course, I’ve always really enjoyed meeting up with fans at conventions, etc.
H: You’ve accomplished a lot outside of acting. You dance, sing, you’ve worked as a casting director, television presenter, you write, you even mime. Why have you pursued so many talents and which one is your favorite?
B: I think that if you’re not on the inside of showbiz, you can imagine that someone else’s career is the product of intensive planning. However, from the inside, it is often down to serendipity. If a job comes along, like appearing in a mime troupe, or if a recording company is interested in signing you, or if a TV company wants you to review films, then you take the job! Versatility is a real necessity to survival as an artist, because at any one time, around 90 percent of actors are unemployed. So if something wonderful (or even not so wonderful) comes along, then you grab it. (Of course, there are actors who do plan their careers out, but I wasn’t one of them.)
However, writing is now my favorite. There’s nothing like it really. Although performing live in my mime-dance-music group Shock was brilliant and I have very fond memories of my wild, blue-haired days in the 80s, when Shock supported such acts as Ultravox, Adam and the Ants, Gary Numan and Depeche Mode.
H: When you received your role in Hellraiser II, did you ever expect that it would become something as classic as it is today?
B: I think we all felt that we were participating in something special, because of the connection to Clive. However, at the time of filming, both Hellraiser I and II were considered to be small, British, cult movies, so I was a bit surprised when I did my first horror convention a few years ago and discovered so many devoted Hellraiser fans, especially in the United States. Thanks to Late Night Horror Movie Channels, I guess!
H: You’ve also appeared in Grizzly II and Death Wish III, as well as a few television shows. Do you ever get recognized for your roles outside of Hellraiser II?
B: At every Horror Convention, there is at least one or two Death Wish III fans and Grizzly II is slowly getting the reputation as being the so-called “Holy Grail of unfinished, unreleased horror”, simply because some of the smaller roles were played by the likes of George Clooney, Laura Dern and Charlie Sheen. However, Hellraiser II is the primary movie that I’m recognized for, which I’m pretty pleased about. Somehow, I just don’t think I would have received as much recognition for my new dark crime novel, The Venus Complex, if I’d only been known for teaching a famous UK Children’s TV puppet called Sooty how to be a robot, or for dancing in a pink clown costume with venerable comic duo Morecambe and Wise!
H: Now you’re an accomplished author. Has writing always been something you were passionate about?
B: Yes, I am very passionate about writing. I wrote most of the scripts for the TV shows that I hosted in the 80s and 90s and I always knew I had a “novel in me” as they say, even though it is about a serial killer! (I’ve been fascinated by the criminal mind ever since I was a kid.)
It’s also been great to discover the joy of writing short stories, which — to use a music business analogy — is rather like releasing singles before an album comes out. This is thanks to the talented Paul Kane, who interviewed me for his book, The Hellraiser Films and Their Legacy, and then asked me to contribute a story to The Hellbound Hearts Anthology, which he edited with Marie O’Regan in 2009. Although I wasn’t convinced that I could write horror, I came up with ‘Sister Cilice’, which got some pretty good reviews. Since then, I’ve written three more stories: ‘Uranophobia’ for the Phobophobia Anthology (edited by Dean Drinkel), ‘American Mutant’ for Mutation Nation (edited by Kelly Dunn) and ‘Polyp’ for The Mammoth Book of Body Horror (edited by Paul Kane and Marie O’Regan).
B: Paul Kane wrote a wonderful review for The Venus Complex, which says it best: “After purposefully killing his wife in a car accident, art history professor Michael Friday finds his perspective on things has become a little…warped. Via his personal journal, we’re allowed into his mind to slowly watch the disintegration of it, bearing witness to his unnerving sexual cravings and ideas about killing: intertwined with the paintings he loves so much. As Michael writes, he’s “turning into something dead”; but at the same time he wants to be somebody, not a nobody.
“Using his diary to rant against the world in general – including everything from banks to popular culture, from national holidays like Christmas to politics – he reveals more about the big, gaping hole in his own life. But as the novel goes on the first person narrative tensely builds up, displaying his dark dreams and innermost thoughts; his way of filling that void and presenting his grisly “works of art” to the world. As intelligent and cultured as Hannibal, easily as disturbing as American Psycho and infinitely less “reassuring” than Dexter, this is a sexually-charged real life horror story that will definitely stay with you.”
I’ve always been interested in what makes a serial killer tick, so the book is more of a “whydunit” than a “whodunit”. There’s less emphasis on violence and more on the sexual fantasies and dreams that Michael experiences. I’ve tried to tap into the anger that someone like Michael would feel, his “world rage” as he calls it, however, I’ve also injected some dark humor into the novel as well.
I’ve been lucky enough to receive some great reviews so far, which people can read at:
H: Where can interested readers purchase The Venus Complex?
B: All the Amazons, as well as Barnes & Noble. It’s available as a paperback and as an e-book, or Kindle version. You can also order it from the publisher’s website: https://www.cometpress.us/books/venuscomplex.html
H: Are you going to stay with being an author from here on out or is there any chance you will act again in the future?
B: I love writing, and the things that writing can lead to, such as the possibility of turning The Venus Complex into a film. Although I’m more interested in directing nowadays, if a part did came along that was irresistible, then it would be very difficult to turn down.
B: I’ve written a short horror story called ‘A is for Alpdrücke’ for the Demonologia Biblica Anthology, which is edited by Dean M. Drinkel for Western Legends Press, which should be out early this year. And I’ve got a short crime story called ‘Beauty and the Skell’ that will be coming out later in the year in The Screaming Book of Crime, which is edited by Johnny Mains and published by Screaming Dreams.
I’m exploring the idea of expanding my Sister Cilice universe, as I’ve already written a sequel to her adventures called The Cilicium Pandoric, which is at the Followers of the Pandorics website:
I’m also planning on turning one of my short stories into a film screenplay and I’m co-writing the book for a musical drama for stage and screen that’s about love, betrayal, vengeance and redemption, set in the ruins of post-war Marseille.
H: What is your favorite horror film?
B: Oh, that’s too difficult – I can’t just choose one! I love Hellraiser, of course, as I think Julia is one of the most kick-ass, sexy, obsessive female roles ever written (and played with juicy perfection by Clare Higgins). Other favs (off the top of my head) are: Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), Psycho (1961), The Haunting (1963), Audition, Se7en, The Ring, Alien, Let The Right One In and Pan’s Labyrinth.
*Thank you for taking the time to chat with me, Ms. Wilde. I thoroughly enjoyed your answers. If any new fans are interested in Barbie’s film career, you can view her resume here: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0928411/. If you are interested in reading her book, you can purchase it here: https://www.cometpress.us/books/venuscomplex.html. If you just want to say hi, you can do so here: https://twitter.com/BarbieWilde.