Author Interview: Barbie Wilde

Welcome to the blog Barbie

 

I really enjoyed your short story collection Voices of the Damned, my favourite was the Cilicium trilogy closely followed by Valeska and Writers Block. Which was your favourite story and the one you had second thoughts about?

 

I think my favorite story has to be my first horror story, which was “Sister Cilice”. “Sister Cilice” was featured in the Hellbound Hearts anthology (edited by Paul Kane and Marie O’Regan) and all the stories had to take place in the universe that Clive Barker had created in his Hellbound Heart novella, which was the basis for the Hellraiser film franchise. Close second favorites are “Zulu Zombies” and “Gaia”.


If I’d had any second thoughts about a story, it wouldn’t have made it into the collection…(good point and here is Barbie showing off Voices of the Damned)

 

 

 

The artwork preceding each story is sensational and adds a unique dimension to what you're about to read, have you ever considered the world of graphic novels?

 

Absolutely! I’d love to see a graphic novel made from any of my stories, although “The Cilicium Trilogy” would be an obvious start.

 

Here's a taste of the artwork, an absolutely fantastic Zulu Zombie.

 

 

 

How is the Zulu Zombies screenplay going? There’s one scene from the story that will stick in my mind for some time and that's Trish getting the stomach churning acid orgasm, can that translate to film?

 

The Zulu Zombies screenplay is in the second draft stage. I’ve had to down tools while I’ve been putting Voices of the Damned together, but I plan to get back to it soon.

 

I think that everything can be done in film nowadays, you just have to have an imaginative and skilful director.

 

 

Favourite scene from your fiction & the one you deliberated over the most?

 

My favorite scene from The Venus Complex is the journal entry about the prostitute’s murder: it’s strangely tender, erotic and very disturbing. I wrote the scene under the influence of multiple Margaritas after watching the Eurovision Song Contest.

 

I’m the kind of writer that deliberates endlessly over their work, constantly editing and re-editing. To turn the question on its head, the story that I had the least trouble with and took me only a week to write was “Sister Cilice”.

 

 

The Bad Medicine film project looks an extremely interesting one and your sales pitch certainly pulled me in. It's pretty creepy; what attracted you to the project?

 

The script by Dave Jeffrey was fantastic and all the stories in the film were brilliant, including the wrap around story. (The film is a “portmanteau” style film in the mode of the Amicus films, like Dr Terror’s House of Horrors, starring Peter Cushing.)  Unfortunately, the funding never came through for the project, but I do hope that the filmmakers continue to try to get it made. It’s a wonderful idea. (real big shame that and here's a link to the video pitch - Here)

 

Looking forward to getting back in front of the camera?

 

Absolutely! I’ve always said that if the right part came along, I’d love to get back into acting and this part is fabulous.

 

 

So where is your focus at the moment and do you struggle with writing time?

 

My focus is on promoting Voices of the Damned. Sometimes it is difficult to find the time for creativity, but one just has to be disciplined.

 

 

Have you struggled to get inside any of the characters you’ve written about and are you prone to masses of research?

 

I really believe in research. I did a script-writing course with the legendary Robert McKee a while back and he said that when you suffer from writer’s block, one way out of it was to go back and do more research.


I think that having been an actress in my “previous life” means that I don’t consciously worry about getting inside of any of my characters. Although, after writing The Venus Complex, which is written from the viewpoint of a man, for a while I did find it tough to get inside of a female character!

 

The most difficult thing is to create a character that really lives. Once I do that, then I don’t find it that difficult to get into their heads.

 

 

I feel I should congratulate you on The Venus Complex getting banned, those are the books that immediately get noticed, was it good news publicity wise?

 

Yes, there was a spike in sales! Of course, it was just one library in Edmonton, Canada, that refused to stock it. Unfortunately, The Venus Complex wasn’t reviewed by Publisher’s Weekly because they rarely review independently published books. Libraries use PW as their measuring stick as to whether they will stock a book or not. As far as they’re concerned, reviews in Fangoria or similar publications don’t count. What I thought was funny was that they mentioned all the edgy literature that they already stocked and not one woman author (or Canadian author, for that matter) was mentioned. Bad Edmonton Public Library!

 

I’m pleased to report that Voices of the Damned has been selected for review by Publisher’s Weekly, which is very cool, since SST is an independent publisher.

 

 

I’ve just started TVC and I’m a big lover of first person narration, nothing gets you into a character more, what was your most enjoyable stage of the writing process and was there any parts you had serious second thoughts about?

 

I actually started to write the book in the third person, following the plucky female forensic psychologist on her hunt for a murderer, but I got bored. I wanted to do something different. I’ve always wondered why serial killer fiction seemed to skirt over the fact that serial killers, like most human beings on the planet, have sexual thoughts. So that’s what I decided to write about: the sexual mindscape of a man who decides to become a serial killer, from the male point of view.

 

The most enjoyable stage of the writing process is when it just flows. It’s like the character takes over and you just follow along for the ride. That’s really delicious.

 

I try very hard not to edit myself when I write and like I said above, if I have second thoughts about a passage or a chapter, then it doesn’t make it into the final version.

 

 

You have a fantastically interesting and vivid history, movie performances aside there's Sooty, the Morecambe and Wise Christmas special, TV presenting, all the Celebrity interviews and dance performances, too much to list. Which experience did you gain the most personal satisfaction from and which did you enjoy the most?

 

I loved performing live, so being a founding member of the music-dance-mime group SHOCK in the 80s was fantastic. We supported Gary Numan at Wembley and had some great times: touring the UK and bits of Europe, having a residency at the Ritz Club in New York City, and recording and releasing two singles on RCA Records.

 

Appearing in Hellbound was also a career highlight: I’m still friends with the folks that I met on the film. It’s great to see how Clive’s vision has reached out and touched people all over the world. And what a visceral, sexy and powerful vision it is…

 

However, the biggest satisfaction I’ve received has to be how people have reacted to The Venus Complex and to my short stories. It’s wonderful to act in a movie, but it’s also wonderful to write and create something yourself and to have folks respond favourably to it.

 

 

It’s my view that a good author needs to be an exceptional study of people, do you notice things others don’t or does it all come from the imagination?

 

I think that it’s a mix of the two. I do love to observe people and I’m a big fan of people-watching. Add that to an over-active imagination and we’ve got something here!

 

 

If you were stuck on a desert island and could choose 2 books as companions. 1 to read again and again, and one, page by page to wipe your backside with. Which books would you choose?

 

Well, I haven’t read it, but I guess Fifty Shades of Grey would be a good choice for Number 2 -- literally! One book to read over and over again? It would have to be Colin Wilson’s A Criminal History of Mankind. It’s very long and extremely interesting!

 

 

You played the Female Cenobite in Hellbound: Hellraiser II and the female mugger in Death Wish 3. What are your best memories from each role?

 

Hellbound: my favorite memory is my first day filming on set, although it didn’t start very well, as my plane from Canada had been delayed for 24 hours and I had to take a cab directly from Heathrow to Pinewood. Four hours in the makeup chair, putting on the costume, waiting until 6 PM to get in front of the cameras – wow, I was exhausted. The scene was the first appearance of the Cenobites in the movie (that wasn’t a flashback) and as we file in, there’s poor little Tiffany playing with the Lament Configuration. Dry ice and smoke were billowing across the floor, the lighting effects were tremendous and the set was amazingly atmospheric. I almost didn’t feel like I was acting in a movie.

 

 

Death Wish 3: At the end of the film, Gavan O’Herlihy as Fraker gets blasted through the wall of the apartment building by Charles Bronson with his handy Law Rocket Launcher. Waiting outside the building, I had to react to the explosion by jumping up and screaming like a banshee. I was given one rehearsal and one take by director Michael Winner, so I was nervous as hell. But I did it; I gave “good scream”.  (Luckily, screaming on cue was never a problem for me as an actress.)

 

(And here is that Scream)

 

 

 

Who are your favourite characters both from what you’ve written and what you’ve read?

 

I love Professor Michael Friday, my serial killer from The Venus Complex. He’s funny, sardonic, complex and smart. I love Sister Cilice. I love Gaia. I love Miss Adendorff from “Zulu Zombies”.

 

A favorite character from a book I’ve read? There are millions of them! Off the top of my head: Tom Ripley from The Talented Mr Ripley. Peter Cushing in Stephen Volk’s brilliant Whitstable. Dracula. Sherlock Holmes. Sam Spade.

 

 

What’s the funniest thing that's ever happened to you? (The more embarrassing the better).

 

I can’t really think of the funniest thing, but the most ridiculous was this: back in the 1980s, I was hired to play a contestant in a game show for a German TV advert. After spending hours in makeup to look fabulous, I found out that my role in the advert was to stick my head out of a hole in a wall and get my face painted red with an enormous paintbrush by another contestant. There were five of us having to endure this. By the end of the afternoon, I was pretty fed up. I was released and I was stomping off set, thinking that this was the nadir of my acting career, when the producer ran up to me and said that she wanted me to do one more bit. I said that I was finished for the day. Then she said: “But we want you to be a contestant holding an enormous hammer and hitting people on the head.” WTF?

 

So I go back to the set and there are all these hapless actors sticking their heads up through holes in the floor. They give me a huge inflatable hammer and I set about bopping the other contestants on the head with gusto. I took out my revenge on my fellow thespians, which was a bit unfair, I suppose, but I enjoyed it tremendously. Schadenfreude a go-go! (Schadenfreude literally means "harm-joy" in German.) (brilliant stuff)

 

 

I love your website, all the pictures of big hair take me back to the days of Top of the Pops and Toyah Wilcox, what's the most memorable hairstyle that's been imposed on you and have you got a picture?

 

The most memorable photo of me from the 1980s has to be the one on the cover of AVANTGARDE HAIR magazine. (Only in the 80s could there be such a publication!)  Trevor Sorbie did my hair for the shoot and he must have used at least three cans of hair spray. Richard Sharah created and applied my makeup. They came together to do a very similar style for Toyah Wilcox for her “Thunder in the Mountains” pop video. Richard also did Bowie’s makeup for the seminal “Ashes to Ashes” video.

 

 

 

(Damn that really is spectacular)

 

 

Is there a particular book or author that made you want to start writing?

 

When I was a kid, I was obsessed with Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories. I was fascinated by Moriarty. I even made up a back story for him to make Moriarty more sympathetic.

 

Bram Stoker’s Dracula and other gothic tales were also very influential in my early years. I remember my English teacher in high school telling me that I had a very gothic mind. (I was very chuffed when I got an “A” in his Gothic Literature class.)

 

 

The world in my opinion needs a wild Barbie, horror and erotica are a heart thumping mixture, what's your favourite story in this genre and where do your influences lie.

 

My favorite horror story is probably The Hellbound Heart novella by Clive Barker: it’s smart, funny, erotic and beautifully written. I find writers like Clive, Shirley Jackson, Patricia Highsmith, Stephen Volk, Paul Kane, Ramsey Campbell all inspirational.

 

 

What’s next in the pipeline with the writing and can you give us some inside information? Just between me and you of course ;)

 

I’m planning a sequel to The Venus Complex and as mentioned before I’m writing the screenplay based on my short horror story, “Zulu Zombies”. I’d also like to get into the graphic novel world, so I’m working on that as well. (great stuff, looking forward to that)

 

 

Know any good jokes? For some reason I'm expecting a dirty one :)

 

Hahaha… Actually, I’m terrible at jokes. I like the short ones that are easy to remember, such as:

What do you call a man covered in leaves?

Russell.

 

What do you call a woman who throws all the bills she gets in the post on the fire? Bernadette!

 

Yeah, yeah. I know: “Don’t call us. We’ll call you…”

 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

 

Watch movies, watch good TV shows, eat nice food, drink cocktails. And do vigorous bouts of exercise, of course!

 

 

I notice the one/two sentence flash fiction story is becoming more and more popular, and is in itself a powerful storytelling method, can you give it a go for us?

 

A journalist asked an author to write a two sentence flash fiction story. The author said: “talk to my agent”. :-)

 

 

Any issues close to you heart you’d like to share?

 

I really admire all the women that I’ve had the privilege of meeting lately who are out there, writing and making horror movies. A big shout out to: the Soska Sisters (Dead Hooker in a Trunk, American Mary, Vendetta), Jill Sixx (Call Girl), Izzy Lee (Innsmouth, Postpartum), Jovanka Vulkovich (The Captured Bird, Clive Barker’s Jacqueline Ess), Melanie Light (The Herd), Chelsey Burden (She) and more. It’s not easy being a woman in the film or book biz and I admire everyone who can go out there and make their wonderfully twisted and imaginative dreams come true.

 

Great stuff, Thanks for dropping by Barbie and I wish you every success in the future.

 

A little more about Barbie:

 

 

 

 

 

 If you do a google image search for Barbie there is literally a million pictures so I had to do some trawling to find one that wasn't actually her and this was one of the first.

 

 

 

 

Pretty sure that's not her, there's no nail through the nose.

 

 

 

 

 

Barbie Wilde is best known as the Female Cenobite in Clive Barker's classic cult horror movieHellbound: Hellraiser II. She has performed in cabaret in Bangkok, Thailand, robotically danced in the Bollywood blockbuster, Janbazz, played a vicious mugger in the vigilante thriller Death Wish 3and appeared as a drummer for an electronica band in the so-called "Holy Grail of unfinished and unreleased 80's horror" Grizzly II: The Predator, a.k.a, Grizzly II: The Concert, which starred a then unknown George Clooney. She was a founder member of the mime/dance/music group, SHOCK, which supported such artists as Gary Numan, Ultravox, Depeche Mode and Adam & the Ants in the 1980s.

Barbie presented and wrote eight different music and film review TV programs in the UK in the 1980s and 1990s. She interviewed such pop personalities as Cliff Richard, Iggy Pop, John Lydon (AKA the Sex Pistol's Johnny Rotten), The Sisters of Mercy, Roger Taylor of Queen, Pepsi & Shirley, The B52's, Lisa Stansfield, Jimmy Sommerville and Black, as well as actors Nicolas Cage and Hugh Grant.

In 2009, Barbie contributed a well-received short story, entitled 'Sister Cilice', to the Hellbound Hearts Anthology, edited by Paul Kane and Marie O'Regan. The stories in Hellbound Hearts were based on Clive Barker's mythology from his novella The Hellbound Heart, the basis for theHellraiser film franchise. (“Barbie Wilde’s ‘Sister Cilice’ is devastatingly haunting, piercingly erotic and is one of the true stand-out stories of the anthology.” - All Things Horror)

 

In 2011-14, Barbie contributed seven more short stories to different anthologies and publications: 'U for Uranophobia' for Phobophobia, 'American Mutant: Hands of Dominion' for Mutation Nation, 'Polyp' for The Mammoth Book of Body Horror (reprinted for The Unspoken anthology), 'A is for Alpdruck' for Demonologia Biblica, 'Z is for Zulu Zombies' for Bestiarum Vocabulum (reprinted in Gorezone #29), 'The Cilicium Pandoric' for Gorezone #30 and 'Botophobia' for Phobophobias.

Barbie's first dark crime novel, The Venus Complex, a fictionalized diary of a serial killer, was published by Comet Press at the end of 2012. America's biggest horror magazine, Fangoria, has called Wilde "one of the finest purveyors of erotically charged horror around." Rue Morgue called The Venus Complex "a transgressive tale that would make Patrick Bateman blush." Brutal as Hell said: "Imagine the hottest, horniest f**kbook in the Black Lace library spliced in with a Quantico serial killer profile report and you’ve got The Venus Complex."

 

Barbie is co-writing the book for a musical drama with composer-lyricist Georg Kajanus and screenwriter-playwright Roberto Trippini called Sailor, which contains a unique perspective on life, revenge, violence and love, set in the ruins of post-War II Marseille.  Sailor is not only a romantic voyage – it also depicts the brutality of war and life on the fringes of society. Sailor has been conceived as both a stage and film musical.

Barbie is working with writer and designer Eric Gross on a project called The Cilicium Pandoric,which has been sanctioned by writer-director-artist and Hellraiser creator Clive Barker. She has also written a "further adventures" of Sister Cilice to accompany the Pandoric.

 

Barbie is also writing a screenplay based on her short story, 'Zulu Zombies':
“’Zulu Zombies’ is pure Barbie Wilde; eccentric, bizarre, dark and frightening but laced with a inimitable, irreverent punk rock exuberance. It was an honor to reprint the tale in the blood-stained pages of GOREZONE Magazine..."


- Chris Alexander, Editor-in-chief Fangoria Magazine

“Expect Zulu Zombie mayhem, undead rape, witch doctor rituals, vomiting and plenty of bloodshed. Cram it all into one hell of an adrenaline pumping read - and you've got a strange I Am Legend (1954) meets Zulu (1964) meets Horror Express (1972) maddening ride.”


- Chris Hall, DLS Reviews

Barbie will soon be returning to acting in a featured role in the horror movie,Bad Medicine, written by Amazon #1 horror author Dave Jeffery and helmed by Bram Stoker award-winning director, James Hart.

 

 

You can learn more about Barbie Wilde on her website 

 

Voices of the Damned is available here on SST Publications but hurry because its selling fast.

 

And here's my review of Voices of the Damned on the blog, Shelfinflicted and finally on Scream