The horror genre actually has the capability of being a welcoming place for women, because it offers opportunities for participation in a variety of approaches to the genre. Barbie Wilde is an example of a woman who has successfully transitioned from acting to writing, with her role as the Female Cenobite in Hellbound: Hellraiser II leading to the publication of her short story “Sister Cilice” in Hellbound Hearts, an anthology themed around the Hellraiser mythology created by Clive Barker, on which the movie franchise is based. Barbie has since published short stories in a variety of anthologies and recently came out with a book, The Venus Complex, which we reviewed here. It’s great to see the horror genre lifting up women in the horror community so that they can take advantage of all it has to offer, and I can only hope that not only continues, but becomes much more common.
1. Can you give our readers a brief introduction?
My name is Barbie Wilde. As an actress, I’m best known for playing the Female Cenobite in Clive Barker’s cult horror movie, Hellbound: Hellraiser II. I’ve also appeared in Death Wish 3, Grizzly II: The Concert (along with then unknowns George Clooney, Charlie Sheen and Laura Dern) and numerous TV shows in the UK as either an actress, a mime artist or a host-presenter.
So far, I’ve written eight short horror stories published in eight different anthologies, as well as my debut dark crime-real life horror novel,The Venus Complex. Fangoria magazine has called me “one of the finest purveyors of erotically charged horror around.” (My mother would’ve been so proud, I’m sure!)
2. Why do you write horror? What draws you to the genre?
I didn’t actually start out as a horror writer. I was always more interested in crime, particularly the psychology of the scariest monster on the planet: man.
Then Paul Kane (who interviewed me for his book, The Hellraiser Films and Their Legacy) asked me to contribute to an anthology that he was editing with Marie O’Regan called Hellbound Hearts. All the stories in the antho had to be based on Clive Barker’s mythology that he created for his novel, The Hellbound Heart, which the Hellraiser film franchise is based on.
When Paul contacted me about writing a horror story, I was initially reluctant, as I didn’t think I could write horror. However, two weeks later, I finished my first horror story, “Sister Cilice”, about the making of a female cenobite. I’m actually planning a Cilicium Trilogy and the second part, “The Cilicium Pandoric”, is appearing in Fangoria’s Gorezone #30.
So quite a few horror stories down the line, why am I drawn to the genre? I think that there is a great leeway for your imagination to take flight in horror. You can use all sorts of mythological, literary and historical research and then turn these sources into something (hopefully) unique. Also, I was very influenced and disturbed by horror and science fiction movies when I was a kid and they made their mark on me, fueling all sorts of uneasy and paranoid fantasies. Movies like The Thing From Another World (1951), Invaders from Mars (1953), Psycho (1960), The Innocents (1961) and The Haunting (1963) made a big impression on me. And of course, TV shows like The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, One Step Beyond, Dark Shadows and Night Gallery were also very influential.
3. Can you describe your writing style or the tone you prefer to set for your stories?
I like to keep things as simple as possible– I love spare and muscular writing. [See influences below.] There is a strong erotic thread through my stories, which I’d like to think is more sensual than romantic. Also, even when I’m writing about the most horrific crimes and events, there is always a sense of humour in there somewhere.
4. Who are some of your influences? Are there any women authors who have particularly inspired you to write?
Influences: Rod Serling, Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Hemingway, Clive Barker, Colin Wilson (for his crime non-fiction, like The Criminal History of Mankind and The Order of the Assassins).
Influential women authors: Patricia Highsmith, Shirley Jackson and Margaret Atwood. I’m also inspired by writer-directors such as The Soska Twins, Jovanka Vuckovic, Mary Harron, Kathryn Bigelow and Ida Lupino.
5. What authors do you like to read? Any recommendations?
All of the above authors, as well as Paul Kane. I just finished his latest compelling novella Rainbow Man and really enjoyed it. Other Kane books that I can recommend are The Gemini Factor and Red. All of Paul’s books are written so beautifully and so descriptively that you can just imagine movies been adapted from them. I also love the work of John Skipp and Craig Spector. Their novel, Light at the End, was a very cool and unusual take on the vampire genre.
My top pick of 2013 was the evocative and brilliant written Whitstable by Stephen Volk. The main character of the novella is Peter Cushing and it’s almost spooky how Stephen has channeled Cushing as a character in the story.
6. Where can readers find your work?
You can buy The Venus Complex as a paperback and Kindle on all the Amazons, as well as Barnes & Noble (online only). All the short stories that I’ve written are available in the following anthologies on Amazon. Most are published as both paperback and Kindle:
“Sister Cilice” (Hellbound Hearts)
“American Mutant: Hands of Dominion” (Mutation Nation)
“Polyp” (The Mammoth Book of Body Horror and as a reprint for The Unspoken)
“A is for Alpdruck” (Demonologia Biblica)
“Z is for Zulu Zombies” (Bestiarum Vocabulum and as a reprint for Gorezone #29)
The following stories will be available soon:
“The Cilicium Pandoric” (Gorezone #30)
7. Is there anything else you’d like to share with librarians and readers?
If your readers would like to read more news, reviews and interviews, then please go to:
Follow me on Twitter at: @barbiewilde
Facebook Author-Actress Page: www.facebook.com/BarbieWildeAuthorActress
I’ve got some interesting writing projects and appearances coming up in the future, so please keep an eye out for news on either Facebook or my website.