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Clive Barker and Ashley Laurence discuss HELLRAISER, Part 2
Warning: Graphic Descriptions of S&M!
By Denise Dumars
August 27, 2000
Q. HOW DO YOU RELATE TO THE CHARACTERS IN YOUR BOOKS AND IN YOUR FILMS?Barker:
I don't relate to the characters in my films the way that I relate to the characters in my books. In my books I can really get into the characters. The characters in films belong to the actors. The actors will take the characters and do extraordinary things with them. Again, I was reminded when watching the picture how many of the great things in the show were concocted by actors in the moment. In the scene at the end when Andrew Robinson says, 'Jesus wept,' that was his own addition. I don't know what it means, but it's right. And the moment when he fiddles with the corner of his eye, I said, 'Oh, well we'll need an effect for that,' and he said, 'No, I can just make that work,' and he did. There are places where Ashley looksand I just love this in the last reel of the movielike the Holy Spirit has just inhabited her, like all Japanese-intense, looking like, 'Fuck you, demons,' and that intensity validates the drama. You believe the movie because the actors give that degree of feeling to it. One of the things I hate about horror movies is when they don't take themselves seriously. Everybody on this movie had this drummed into them: 'We're gonna do this seriously.'Laurence:
Oh, yes. This was a bone of contention with New World, I remember, and we were speaking about it like, 'I don't want to look like I'm in a douche commercial, saying, 'Oh look there's a monster, scampering away.'' Clive was like, 'I want you to look really crummy,' and I was like, 'Yes!' Because it was more believable that when you fight off demons from hell you wouldn't look your best. [Laughter.]Barker:
We had a series of problems with New World which have been echoed in my endeavors as a filmmaker every since. And they're to do with intensity. There are things missing from this movie which are gone forever, which were to do with the intensity of the experience. For instance, the MPAA really hated the fact that Frank was enjoying his final crucifixion. We had this shot where the skin was split in half and he was still licking his lips and smiling, and there was no way they would have that. And there was wonderful thing that happened. We had this sex scene, and I always said it needed to be erotic; it needed to be the most amazing sex ever.Laurence:
It's transcendent. It changes her.
Barker: She's gonna murder for this guy, so it has to be the best fuck of her life. [Nervous laughter from the audience.] She's gonna hammer people to death, so it's got to be great sex. I'd never directed sex before, so I'm going to my actors saying, 'Let's talk about this. What shall we do that will be really amazing?' Sean [Chapman] and Clare immediately took on the personas of their characters, and Sean said, 'You know, I think Frank would be into spanking.' [Laughter.] And Clare said, 'I think Julia would like that.' We agreed that Frank and Julia would enjoy spanking and it should turn into this piece of S&M. So, we shot a spanking scene, and it was smashing! The MPAA called us up and said, 'This is hot
! This material is hot
! Are you out of your mind, you British pervert? It's full of spanking!' We needed a sex scene in which there was nothing perverted. So I said to them, 'In the interest of saving time, tell me what the rules are.' This is the honest truth: in the sex scenes I was allowed, when he was inserted, two consecutive buttock thrusts, and then I have to cut away to something else. A third thrust, and it would be obscene. [Laughter.] So it was thrust, thrust, daffodils....[Laughter.] It was ludicrous that they were counting buttock thrusts. And it's something to do with what horror movies do, that they push at the envelope of what's acceptable, and people like the MPAA will push back. But I'd love to know where that footage is. Someone probably has it in a private collection. Somebody from New World has a private collection of those scenes.