Filleted Souls (Mania.com)

By:Anthony C. Ferrante
Date: Saturday, October 20, 2001

Just about every cool horror movie villain has had their toy day over the past couple of years, with Todd McFarlane's company setting the bar quite high with their Michael Myers, Jason, Leatherface and Ash (of EVIL DEAD) figures in the Movie Maniacs series.

But one face suspiciously absent from the toy scene has been Pinhead from the HELLRAISER series, though creator Clive Barker says it has more to do with a rights issue than anything.


"HELLRAISER toys was something we could never do because I don't have those rights and I've been told they're hard to get," says Barker, who instead worked out a deal with McFarlane to create a TORTURED SOULS line which have the look and feel of the HELLRAISER universe but come directly from Barker's visceral mind.


"There is the sadomasochistic

Clive Barker poses for the camera at a signing of his book, COLDHEART CANYON.

imagery for sure, but these figures feel more like something out of THE BOOKS OF BLOOD," says Barker. "They're also thousand of miles away from anything you could ever do in a movie. I supposed you could do them with CGI but it's not really HELLRAISER at all."


Released this fall, the six figures consist of Agonistes (an eyeless, surgically altered skull-looking fellow), The Scythe-Meister (a leather clad assassin), Lucidique (the lovely angel of doom), Talisac (comes with fetus in belly and hung from the mouth by a surgical hoist), Venal Anatomica (imagine your head turned inside out and then wrapped around your face) and Mongroid (with a huge monster belly protruding from his stomach). To top it off, each figure contains a 1,000 - 2,000 word short story that links into a bigger whole if you buy the set, and follows the "tortured souls" through the underworld of Primordium.


"There are little backstories that were given to these characters," explains Barker. "They're more fun that just getting a really neat toy."


The process for bringing the toys to life was pretty simple. According to Barker, he began sketching out some drawings and throwing ideas back and forth with McFarlane and his team of sculptors to get the ball rolling.


"It was basically [IMG3L]a marriage of minds," says Barker, who enjoyed the process since it allowed his warped vision to be captured flawlessly unlike his film creations, which sometimes have to be toned down or altered due to budget and/or creative limitations.


"What these things look like and what they feel like once you have them in your hand is something from a movie that you would love to see," says Barker. "And they have that kind of elaboration the detailing is unbelievable."


Whether or not TORTURED SOULS will exist beyond the toy world is still up in the air, but Barker teases that they're readymade for movies.


"I don't think there is a book in there but there's certainly a movie," reveals Barker. "The city of Primordium, which is where all this takes place, that's a city that I'll definitely be visiting again."


Also out this month from McFarlane Toys will be Barker's other popular movie creation, CANDYMAN, appearing in the latest Movie Maniacs line, but Barker says he wasn't involved in the production of that.


"I didn't even know they were [IMG4R]doing CANDYMAN dolls until I was at Toy Fair for the TORTURED SOULS line," says Barker. "I was going around a corner saying, 'That's Candyman. Nobody told me.' They're actually wonderful though. Those guys over there [at McFarlane] could do no wrong, whether they are doing hockey players or doing the Movie Maniacs."


In the meantime, Barker enjoys exploring this brand new medium because it affords him the opportunity to present something in its purest form. No studio executives. No test screenings. It's simply toys, from Barker's fertile mind to the sculptors and out to the stores.


"This is an undiluted thing and that's a great pleasure," says Barker. "I think one of the things I am always trying to give my fans, readers or people who have seen my paintings is a completely undiluted experience. And in that sense, this is exactly what I wanted them to be. How often can I say that?"