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Clive Barker Books: The Man Behind the Cenobites and Other Classic 80s Tales of Terror

Are you a fan of horror books that send shivers down your spine? If so, you can’t miss the works of Clive Barker. Barker is a master of horror who rose to fame in the 80s with his unique blend of chilling imagery, dark fantasy, and gore. In this article, we’ll dive into Barker’s best horror books of the 80s, including his famous Cenobites, and explore why he’s considered one of the best horror authors of all time.

Who is Clive Barker?

Clive Barker was born in Liverpool, England in 1952. He’s a playwright, novelist, and filmmaker, but he’s best known for his horror fiction. Barker’s early works include “The Books of Blood,” a series of six volumes filled with short horror stories that became instant classics. His first novel, “The Damnation Game,” was published in 1985, followed by “Weaveworld” and “The Great and Secret Show.” However, it was his novella “The Hellbound Heart” that became the basis for the “Hellraiser” film franchise.

Barker’s style is characterized by a mix of intense violence, bizarre creatures, and philosophical overtones. He’s known for creating unforgettable characters like the Cenobites, supernatural beings that torture humans in perverse ways. His works are also praised for their explorations of human nature, existentialism, and sexuality.

Barker’s Best Horror Books of the 80s

The Damnation Game (1985)

Barker’s debut novel, “The Damnation Game,” is a harrowing tale of a man who makes a deal with a mysterious millionaire to win his freedom from prison. In exchange, he must participate in a game of unspeakable horrors, pitting him against supernatural enemies. The novel is a visceral combination of supernatural horror and psychological thriller, with Barker’s signature blend of eroticism and depravity.

The Books of Blood (1984-1985)

“The Books of Blood” is a collection of short stories that put Barker on the map, cementing his reputation as a horror master. The six volumes contain a total of 30 stories, each one more twisted and unsettling than the last. Barker explores various themes, such as the nature of evil, the consequences of desire, and the darkness within the human psyche. Some of the most memorable stories include “The Midnight Meat Train,” “In the Hills, the Cities,” and “The Yattering and Jack.”

The Hellbound Heart (1986)

“The Hellbound Heart” is a novella that spawned the “Hellraiser” franchise. It tells the story of Frank Cotton, a man who discovers a mysterious puzzle box that opens a gateway to Hell. Frank’s desire for pleasure leads him to summon the Cenobites, sadomasochistic beings who transform him into a tortured monster. “The Hellbound Heart” is a masterpiece of body horror, with scenes so disturbing they will stick with you long after you finish reading.

Weaveworld (1987)

“Weaveworld” is a departure from Barker’s usual horror fare, blending horror with fantasy elements. The novel tells the story of a magical world hidden within a tapestry, threatened by a group of evil shape-shifting creatures. The main characters are a woman named Cal and a man named Shadwell, who must navigate this hidden world to save it from destruction. “Weaveworld” showcases Barker’s vivid imagination and his ability to craft intricate world-building.

Cabal (1988)

“Cabal” is a dark and violent novel that explores the concept of otherness. The story follows Boone, an outcast who discovers a hidden community of freaks called Midian, where he finds acceptance and belonging. However, the community is threatened by a group of human hunters who see them as abominations. “Cabal” is a haunting exploration of identity, morality, and the dangers of societal norms.

The Legacy of Clive Barker

Clive Barker’s influence is still felt in modern horror. His works have inspired a generation of horror writers, filmmakers, and artists who continue to push the boundaries of the genre. Barker’s unique blend of horror, fantasy, and philosophy has carved out a niche that no one else has been able to replicate. His legacy will continue to inspire and terrify future generations of horror fans.


Clive Barker is a horror icon whose works have stood the test of time. His books from the 80s, including “The Damnation Game,” “The Books of Blood,” “The Hellbound Heart,” “Weaveworld,” and “Cabal” are some of the best horror books ever written. Barker’s disturbing imagery, complex characters, and philosophical musings make his works unforgettable. If you’re a horror fan, you owe it to yourself to give Barker a read. Who knows? You might end up summoning the Cenobites yourself.

So, have you read any of Clive Barker’s books? Which one is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!