It wasn’t just modelling for the Books of Blood. He used to get me to model as characters in his books, Shadwell in Weaveworld for example. Shadwell opens his jacket and invites people to find their greatest desire inside the jacket. He got me to stand there and play around and act as this character, offering someone their desires from within the jacket; “Do you like what you see?”, “What is your desire?”, etc.
When he came to do the movie Hellraiser, he asked some friends “Do you want to be monsters?” He used the same line on me as he did with Simon Banford who played Butterball - “There is a little makeup involved!” (Laughs).
WHH: What’s the Cabal Cut’s running time on top of the Nightbreed theatrical release?
NV: it’s not "on top of" - it’s "instead of". He completely re-edited, with the material he could find, to get it so much closer to the original story. He used the original script and he used the book - he being Russell Cherrington; the restoration director. It’s so much better!
WHH: Do we get to see more of Kinski?
NV: You see a little bit more Kinski in it. You hear my voice, and I’m supposed to be going in to redub it at some point. There is one scene that I know we filmed which is now completely lost, which I feel is a real shame. It’s literally only four lines between Peloquin and Kinski, when Midian is about to fall. Kinski is saying to Peloquin “This is all our fault. We are responsible for this” and Peloquin gets annoyed and says “You want me to suffer? Ok, I’ll go off and suffer.” The next time you see him he’s up above ground facing the truck.
Anyway, it’s definitely my voice in there rather than the dubbed voice, which is nice to hear. I hope to be more involved with it - I don’t know yet, as these things take time and will just magically happen at some point I hope.
WHH: What will you be doing this Halloween?
NV: Steven Volk (Ghostwatch, The Awakening) is having one of his short stories read at the Bush Theatre in London on Halloween and I’m going to try to get to see that. I’m also going to Brighton to the World Fantasy Convention. So, the next few weekends are going to be very busy, exciting and fun.
WHH: What’s your favorite Horror Movie and why?
NV: It’s going to be something with Vincent Price in it; I’m torn between Masque of the Red Death and Theatre of Blood. I was watching Masque of the Red Death the other day actually, because I’m seeing Roger Corman on Friday at the BFI - He’s doing a Q&A there - and boy, did I have to fight to get a ticket for that one! If I really had to choose it would be Theatre of Blood - possibly without Diana Rigg doing her real obvious man thing, in a wig, a moustache and some dark glasses (laughs). It’s Robert Morley’s death I love more than anything else. I always thought Robert Morley was the most wonderful character and Eric Sykes in the boot of the car! It’s always going to be something with Vincent Price in it - the first of the Dr Phibes movies is another choice.
WHH: Would you like to share information on any current or upcoming projects?
NV: Obviously, we have discussed What Monsters Do and the second volume of short stories - Other Peoples Darkness and other Stories - I’m working on the last story and re-editing the others as we speak.
I did some filming for Robert Nevitt - who runs Celluloid Screams - for the twenty-sixth film in the ABC's of Death 2 (M is for Mutation). That’s the first time I have been in front of a camera in over twenty-five years. It’s just three minutes playing a nefarious doctor, which was fun and I thoroughly enjoyed that day’s filming in Sheffield - a couple of weekends ago when I was there for Grimmfest. I believe it’s coming out online on October 26th.
The Day After Dark had literally been announced today. This is a short film directed by Damian Morter who directed The Eschatrilogy. I’ve got 3 days of filming on that at the end of November. It’s a vampire movie and you can find out more about it and the cast they’ve assembled on facebook.
There are a couple of other film projects bubbling away, but those are "hush - hush" at the moment.
Theatre-wise, I’m going to be working with Hidden Basement Productions - the guys who are producing What Monsters Do at the Etcetera Theatre. I want to write another evening of horror - an evening of Victorian horror.
WHH: It sounds like you have a busy schedule?
NV: (laughs) I have to say I love my life, I really do and I’m very grateful for these opportunities.
Exclusive Interview: Nicholas Vince
By Anthony Silver - 24th October 2013
Nicholas Vince has played the iconic Chatterer Cenobite in Clive Barker's Hellraiser and Hellraiser II: Hellbound. He also starred as Kinski in Barker’s cult movie Nightbreed.
Nicholas has contributed stories to the Hellraiser and Nightbreed comics, as well as creating the interview series, The Luggage in the Crypt.
After working in the IT industry for sixteen years, he returned to writing full-time with the publication of his short story anthology: What Monsters Do. He is currently working on his second volume of short stories: Other People's Darkness and Other Stories. Most recently, Nicholas has adapted two of his dark stories from page to stage and has brought them to life at the Etcetera Theatre in Camden as part of the London Horror Festival 2013.
We spent some time talking to Nicholas about his works in the genre and what the future has in store.
WeHeartHorror: How did you first get into the Horror Genre?
Nicholas Vince: I suppose my earliest exposure to ‘horror’ was reading the Greek myths and legends which have some wonderful monsters - The Minotaur, Hydra etc. - Gods and ghosts, and so on. I found those in the local library when I was a kid. I loved going there, and went through the children’s section pretty rapidly. So, when I got my adult reading card - I must have been fourteen - I headed straight for the horror collections. I read collections edited by Peter Haining and purchased the Pan Books of Horror and later read novels by Dennis Wheatley.
In terms of horror films, BBC 2 used to show Marx Brothers movies on Friday night and we were allowed to stay up extra special late to watch those with my mum. Because we didn’t get the Radio Times TV listings, we turned on expecting to see the Marx Brothers and I think it must have been Universal’s Frankenstein or Dracula in its place. Mum seemed quite happy for us to watch that.
I really got the idea the monsters are the victims in these movies. Less so with Dracula obviously, but certainly the case with the Phantom of the Opera and Frankenstein’s creature. From then, I always maintained an interest in horror.
WHH: You went from Chatterer the Cenobite and Supernatural creature, Kinski to author; with your book What Monsters Do. You obviously enjoy working within the Genre. What keeps you drawn to it?
NV: The journey between doing the movies and getting to write What Monsters Do includes writing short stories for Skeleton Crew Magazine and Fear Magazine and I wrote stories to Hellraiser and wrote four issues of Nightbreed comics.
WHH: They are very good! I have read them.
NV: Thank you! Quite explicit one of them. Necrophiliac Bestiality. Good family fun! (Laughs) I also did interviews for Skeleton Crew titled The Luggage in the Crypt. I met Neil Gaiman for the first time in about twenty-five years the other day and he was just really lovely to me, as I’d expect, because he’s a really lovely guy. He was saying how much he enjoyed the Luggage in the Crypt interview I did with him, which basically was asking people what pieces of art, music, etc. they’d take with them into the afterlife.
I’m not that impressed with a lot of the movies that came after Hellraiser. I don’t do gratuitous gore, so when I came back to writing horror last year I had far more interest in making it as “real” as possible, in the sense that these things happen to ordinary people!
I think this is what horror is about, and also putting people in very difficult situations where they have a moral dilemma in the end. I was watching a program on BBC Two where they were talking about Greek drama and they said the definition of Greek drama was that the hero was always left with a moral choice. That’s what they thought of as tragedy and I realised that the first story in the book Family Tree, in that sense is a Greek tragedy. The narrator is left with a moral choice at the end which is not resolved. So, it’s this kind of thing I’m interested in. You take somebody - an ordinary person - and then you twist their world slightly. What will they do and what will become of them?
The best horror deals with the ‘big questions’ about life, death and sexuality, so that’s what keeps me interested.
They made the British version in 1940 and it did well. Four years later, it was remade in Hollywood with Ingrid Bergman as the female lead - for which she won the Oscar. The producers of the second movie worked to ensure no-one could see the first one! They suppressed the prints and made sure it wasn’t distributed, so that their movie made money. To be honest I enjoy both movies. Charles Boyer starred in the second one. Both have interesting strengths. The original stage play that the movies are based on starred Vincent Price. The British Film Institute is re-releasing the British version of Gaslight staring Anton Walbrook on DVD as part of their Gothic season.
Green Eyes the other story that I made into a play was written back in the 1980s, and that was inspired by a painting called We Must Always Turn South.
I usually have a particular scene in mind or maybe just a phrase or words; that starts me off on a story.
WHH: What challenges do you face as a writer?
NV: Oh, wading through all my boring ideas (laughs). Facebook is obviously a challenge - a huge challenge at times.
I’m writing the second book at the moment which was supposed to be out months ago. One of the reasons it was delayed so long was because my father passed away in April, at the age of ninety seven, so it has been tough doing the second book.
Some of the feedback I got from the first book was that people wanted longer stories. In the first volume they are all about three to five thousand words. Now, they are averaging about eight to ten thousand words in the second volume and they take a lot longer to write.
There’s always the moment during the day when I think “Why on earth did I think I could write?” (laughs). I remember my friend Pete Atkins telling me this when I first started out, saying “Once a day you’ll get that! You just will!”. Of course the inspiration comes, as it did last night at half-past midnight. I was writing through till three in the morning, so I’m fairly shattered at the moment, but I think I have cracked the story which has just been driving me up the wall for the last month or so.
I think the challenges for any writer are more or less the same. There is a combination of; “Will people like this?”, “Does it make any sense?” and, “Is it interesting? “Am I entertaining enough?”, “Am I being scary enough in this genre?”, “Are my characters likeable or dislikeable enough?” - All those things writers go through. But it’s fun. I’m very grateful I’m in a position where I can write and just share these stories with people. That’s a very privileged position to be in.
WHH: What inspired you to turn two of your short stories from page to stage?
NV: It came about because I was interviewed by the Hellraiser Podcast - Peter Davis and Philip North. They asked me if I would like to come along and see their plays at last year’s London Horror Festival. They did two. I went along and one was a really dark piece called Puppetry of Flesh. I was really impressed, and I thought I’d like to do something for this next year because it’s a very nice venue at the Etcetera Theatre. It only sits forty people, so it’s very intimate. There is no escaping!
Having seen the shows last year, I spoke to the guys this year and said, “Would you be interested in working together?” and they said they absolutely would. Great! I sat down and started writing plays, and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it. I wasn’t writing a play from scratch though - I think that’s going to be something slightly different. I plan on writing a full-length play early next year. It will be an evening of horror probably using some of the material from the current show.
I started off doing amateur theatre, so I love it. If theatre’s done well, it can be extraordinary - there is nothing like it. That’s not to say that film can’t be wonderfully effective. I saw The Cabin in the Woods and thoroughly enjoyed it. I was sitting by myself in the center of the cinema and a lady was sitting next to me. I think I grabbed her hand a couple of times - a complete stranger! I was buzzing for about an hour afterwards thinking this is the sort of thing that I want to write - really thoroughly interesting.
WHH: How did you go about adapting the stories into a theatre play? It’s a very different medium.
NV: There were some challenges. The brief at the Etcetera Theatre is that you have an hour; they always do two shows a night - one show at 7.30pm and one at 9pm, so you have got to deliver a show which runs under an hour. Phil and Peter asked me to adapt the stories so both pieces were twenty-five minutes long. When I did the initial draft of Green Eyes it came out at twenty-minutes, so I then had to add a scene that is only referred to in the story. It happens in the ‘off stage’ in the story, but I had to bring that on stage, which meant creating new dialogue and action.
The other challenge was how to deal with the narrator’s voice. In Tunes from the Music Hall, the narrator is a character in the story. In Green Eyes, the narrator is just a narrator - the normal voiceover. Because the whole thing was written like that, I kept looking at it and I couldn’t think of doing it any other way than having a narrator on stage. Then the immediate challenge was, “Ok, how do you make the narrator not a narrator?” In other words, how can he be on stage but not be like a puppet master narrator? He’s got to be involved in the action somehow - not sitting at the side of the stage saying this and that happened. He had to be involved in the action on stage. I won’t say too much more about it but if you see the show, I hope you enjoy the solution I came up with.
Of course, it’s not just me who has created this. There are the actors, and Phil the director, and everybody working back stage. I just wrote words on a page. They are the people who have learned those lines and brought them to life - fleshed them out. Phil had added action to help deal with the problem of the narrator.
When I was writing the show, the second thing I did was read a book on playwriting by Alan Ayckbourn. I wrote the plays first, then thought I’d better check I hadn’t done something hideously wrong. I was conscious of the advice not to write all the stage directions. I did write one half page of stage directions that has very little dialogue and dictated what I envisaged. They stuck with that and used it, but they have added so much more to it. So, everything you see happening is based on my words but these guys bring them to life.
WHH: What made you give up acting?
NV: I very definitely gave up acting to go into writing, and I supported myself by writing comics for over two years.
I really felt that when Clive Barker left the country and went to the States - obviously I wasn’t going to be able to work with him anymore and the Hellraiser franchise was going to number three, with Pinhead but no Chatterer. I thought, “What do I really want to do?” I really wanted to write, so when I left acting it was to write.
WHH: What were your inspirations for writing What Monsters Do?
NV: I wanted to do at least one traditional monster and I wanted to write psychological stuff and ghost stories - I always liked ghost stories.
One of the inspirations for the story Tunes from the Music Hall - and obviously for the play, which we will come to later - was a movie called Gaslight, which I must have seen one Sunday afternoon in the 1960s or 70s.
It’s an interesting story about a man and his wife and the way he torments her. There was also another twist which I wanted to put into the story as well.
WHH: How did you get the part of Chatterer the Cenobite in Hellraiser?
NV: I met Clive Barker at a party in Crouch End and he asked if I would like to come and model for him (laughs) and I accepted. I was in my twenties. I knew a little about Clive. Simon Banford was at drama school with me so I was aware of who Clive was. I can’t remember at that stage if I had seen any of his plays. He asked me to model for him which I did and I continued modeling for him. Pieces of my body and my face are scattered across the the covers that Clive did for the Books of Blood. If you look at Volume One, you can see my face with a knife sticking in the top of my head holding up a picture of Clive. The original artwork for Volume Four, has my face smiling with my head peeled open, my brain exposed with syringes dropping into it, and my chest floating around in the shape of penises (laughs). The line I usually use when I have this conversation at conventions, I ask the audience “If you have seen Clive’s tumblr page it will give you an idea of the sort of modeling I was doing for him”. So that’s how we became friends.
What Monsters Do is on at the Etcetera Theatre, Camden at 7:30pm, 25th-27th October 2013 as part of the London Horror Festival.
Tickets: £10 (£8 conc.)
Buy online at:
Etcetera Theatre box office: 020 7482 4857