Short Sharp Shocks! #1
Barbie Wilde: Patient K
Reviewed & Additional Questions By Jennifer Sullivan
At the age of ten, Karla lost an eye in a BB gun accident. Now in her twenties, she’s ready for a new ocular prosthesis from Dr. Markham but stepping into his office was the last thing she should have done.
Patient K is packed with gruesome images of sexual assault, torture, and revenge, and not recommended for squeamish readers. But for those who delight in gore, this is a fantastic story which will have you squirming from start to finish.
Few things make me wince more than body horror dealing with eyeballs and eye sockets. Just the thought of anything coming near my eyes sends a shudder through me, so this story had me wanting to jump out of my skin. Eviscerated eyeballs, eye speculums, ocular prostheses of every imaginable material emerging from orifices other than eye sockets, and even a glass eye possessed by a vengeful spirit. Yes, you read that right – Karla has a tiny golden man living in her new prosthesis.
Strange and at times sickening, Patient K truly delivers a short sharp shock. Running less than 30 pages long this is a quick read, but the images are sure to stick with you like eye-jelly on toast.
My only gripe is that a lot of story is crammed into these pages and I wished the author had expanded the text to develop the characters more and allow the reader to linger in Karla’s bizarre world a little longer.
Jennifer Sullivan Post Review Questions
Your writing style is wonderfully graphic. What initially got you interested in the body horror subgenre?
Thank you! Well, I really don’t start a story thinking: “I’m going to write body horror today”. I just get an idea and then develop it into whatever it becomes: horror, crime, erotica, etc. It’s human motivations that fascinate me. We are such complex and dangerous creatures.
Although it is helpful to have some kind of “road map” to follow when creating a story, whether it’s a sub-genre anthology, or simply a letter of the alphabet.
My inspirations are often things that really bother me, or scare me personally. And I never edit myself. Whatever disgusting or disturbing thing pops into my mind, I just put it down on paper.
As far as body horror is concerned, Carpenter’s The Thing (1982) and Ridley Scott’s Alien franchise really influenced me (or rather scared me to death). Another early film that made a huge impression on me was the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), as well as the remake by Philip Kaufman in 1978.
I loved your performance as Female Cenobite in Hellbound: Hellraiser II! She was one of the first characters on screen that showed me women could be just as badass as men. Since then, what shifts have you noticed in the horror industry for women on both sides of the camera?
One of my favorite badass female characters in movies was Ripley in Alien, however, it’s interesting to note that the original script for Alien didn’t designate gender for any of the roles. (Also, Julia in the first Hellraiser is a fabulously diva-esque character.)
I think that things are shifting because more women are “doing it for themselves”. They’re getting involved in the creative process and writing their own screenplays and directing their own movies.
However, of the top-grossing 1,300 films from 2007-2019, only 4.8% of directors were women. Although 2019 had a significantly higher percentage (10.6%) of female directors than 2018 (4.8%). BTW, I just discovered this rather cool statistic: Female protagonists were most likely to appear in horror features (26%), than any other genre.
People like the Soska Sisters, Patty Jenkins, Kathryn Bigalow, Mary Harron, Gigi Saul Guerrero, Jovanka Vulkovic, Julie Taymor, Susanne Bier, Karyn Kusama, Jennifer Kent, Sofia Coppola, Greta Gerwig, Coralie Fargeat, Agnieszka Smoczyńska, Alice Lowe, Mary Lambert and Lynne Ramsay are real inspirations.
Special shout-outs to pioneers actor-writer-director-producer Ida Lupino and special effects wizard Milicent Patrick, who designed the Creature from the Black Lagoon.
If you could co-write a book with any author (living or dead), who would you choose?
Living: Clive Barker
Passed into the Big Sleep: Raymond Chandler
What can you tell us about your current project?
I’m still working on a couple of screenplays. One is based on a short horror story of mine called Zulu Zombies (featured in my illustrated short horror story collection, Voices of the Damned). The tagline is: “From Rorke’s Drift to Milton Keynes…” and it’s a disturbing, apocalyptic roller coaster ride of horror, sex and Zulu Zombies that starts in 1879 in South Africa and ends up in present-day London and Milton Keynes, UK.
Blue Eyes (“Deeper than love. Darker than death…”) is a feature-length horror movie that I’m working on with former Fangoria Editor-in-Chief, Chris Alexander. It’s in pre-production in Canada at the moment. We’re both exec-producing and co-writing. Blue Eyes is based on a particularly visceral and erotic short horror story of mine by the same name. It’s basically Barfly meets Under the Skin.
And finally, three years ago I returned to acting in the horror series, Dark Ditties Presents ‘The Offer’, which is on Amazon Prime. I’ve just finished filming the 5th episode, Dark Ditties Presents ‘Dad’, which should be out soon on Amazon Prime.
After a childhood accident in which she loses her left eye, Klara Alexander visits her new ocularist, Dr Markham, to have a replacement ocular prosthesis fitted. Unfortunately, the good doctor is a sexual pervert and he takes advantage of her while she is under sedation. Too shocked to report the attack, Klara goes home and tries to recover. There she notices a scary phenomena occurring in her new prostheses: a tiny glittering golden entity appears in what previously was the dark void of her left eye socket. The frantic little figure is waving to her…sending her signs and messages…advising her how to take her revenge. And boy, does she.
You can buy Patient K from Amazon UK & Amazon US
Barbie Wilde: The Kendall Reviews Interview
(This interview was conducted back in late October 2019)
KR: Could you tell me a little about yourself please?
Short. Angry. Blonde. Canadian. As an actress, I’m best known for playing the Female Cenobite in Hellbound: Hellraiser II and for throwing a beer bottle at Charles Bronson and screaming my head off in Death Wish 3.
My band SHOCK supported Gary Numan at Wembley in the 80s, as well as appearing with Depeche Mode, Adam and the Ants and Ultravox.
As a TV presenter, I’ve interviewed Hugh Grant, Nicolas Cage, Iggy Pop, Cliff Richard, The B52s, John Lydon (AKA Johnny Rotten) and many more.
As an author, my diary-of-a-serial killer novel, The Venus Complex, published by Comet Press, prompted Fangoria to call me “one of the finest purveyors of erotically charged horror fiction around”. My collection of short horror stories, Voices of the Damned, was called “sensual in its brutality” and “a delight for the darker senses” by Publisher’s Weekly and “horrifically bloody, lascivious and wickedly shocking” by Scream Horror Magazine.
KR: What do you like to do when not writing?
Watch too many movies and drink too many cocktails.
KR: What is your favourite childhood book?
Dracula as a teen. Pre-teen, I was a big fan of sci-fi, particularly Edgar Rice Burroughs and his John Carter of Mars series.
KR: What is your favourite album, and does music play any role in your writing?
I could never pick one album. However, my partner and I have an “our song”, which is “Christian Zeal and Activity” (an extremely beautiful but ironic look at a Bible basher in action) from The Chairman Dances by John Adams. I’m a big fan of Kate Bush, Prince and classical music (Handel, Bach, other Baroque composers, Beethoven). I also love film soundtracks. I usually don’t play music when I write.
KR: Do you have a favourite horror movie/director?
Movies: Autopsy of Jane Doe. Psycho. Audition. Alien. Crimson Peak, Rabid, American Mary and of course, Hellraiser. Also more venerable black and white horror like The Innocents, The Curse of Frankenstein, The Horror of Dracula, the original versions of: The Haunting of Hill House, The Thing From Outer Space and Invasion of the Body Snatchers. I also love sci-fi horror.
My favorite directors: Hitchcock, the Soska Sisters, Guillermo del Toro, André Øvredal, John Carpenter.
KR: What are you reading now?
I’m just about the start the last novella of Stephen Volk’s The Dark Masters Trilogy.
KR: What was the last great book you read?
Whitstable by Stephen Volk. (The first novella of The Dark Masters Trilogy.) It haunts me still.
KR: E-Book, Paperback or Hardback?
I love the convenience of e-book, but really I adore them all.
KR: Who were the authors that inspired you to write?
Rod Serling, Dashiell Hammett, Hemingway, Margaret Atwood, Shirley Jackson, Patricia Highsmith, Raymond Chandler, Clive Barker, Colin Wilson (for his crime books).
KR: Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you?
I create my sinister characters and then follow them as they scamper off to commit mayhem.
KR: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
I spend an inordinate time researching, because I want my characters as believable as possible as they do unspeakable things. When I was working on The Venus Complex, I was writing in the first person as a man, who makes the decision to become a serial killer. I read a lot of books by serial killers, as well as homicide detective handbooks and forensic psychology textbooks. I interviewed a homicide detective based at the Manhattan North Police Precinct, which was really cool. I also interviewed a few psychologists as well.
KR: How would you describe your writing style?
Muscular, funny, erotic, disturbing.
KR: Describe your usual writing day?
Coffee. Research. Writing. Writer’s block. More research. Coffee.
KR: Do you have a favourite story/short that you’ve written (published or not)?
All my stories are my obscene children and I wouldn’t want to give them complexes if I favor one above the others. However, any mother would always love their first child a wee bit more, so that would have to be my first short horror story, “Sister Cilice”, from the Hellbound Hearts anthology. All the stories in the antho were based on Clive Barker’s novel, The Hellbound Heart, which formed the basis for the Hellraiser franchise. “Sister Cilice” is an origin story of a Female Cenobite and is featured in my collection, Voices of the Damned. I like my second short story, “U is for Uranophobia”, which first appeared in the Phobophobia antho and is also in VoTD as “Gaia”. It’s about a female shut-in who takes horrible revenge on some home invaders.
And finally, I do have a soft spot for my first novel, The Venus Complex, now an audiobook narrated by Hellraiser’s Doug Bradley.
KR: Do you read your book reviews?
Yes, I think it’s important to know what people think of your work. Sometimes they piss me off, but what the heck. Would I change a word of a story or novel because of a bad review? Absolutely not. I stand by every sick sentence that I’ve ever written.
KR: How do you think you’ve developed as an author?
I’ve always written stories and plays, ever since I was a kid. I guess my development has been to arrive at the state of not being afraid. Not being afraid of being too funny or too sexy or too extreme or too anything. Just write from the heart. Follow your passion.
KR: What is the best piece of advice you’ve received regarding your writing?
Just write from the heart. Follow your passion. And to quote from GalaxyQuest: “Never give up. Never surrender.”
KR: What scares you?
Home invasion. [See “Gaia” above.] People are the worst monsters of them all. And someone blatantly attacking you in your own home is horrifying.
KR: Can you tell me about your latest release please?
My short story, Patient K, released by Demain Publishing. Many years after a childhood accident in which she loses her left eye, Klara Alexander visits her new ocularist, Dr Markham, to have a replacement ocular prosthesis fitted. Unfortunately, the good doctor is a sexual pervert and he takes advantage of her while she is under sedation. Too shocked to report the attack, Klara goes home and tries to recover. There she notices a scary phenomena occurring in her new prostheses: a tiny glittering golden entity appears in what previously was the dark void of her left eye socket. The frantic little figure is waving to her…sending her signs and messages…advising her how to take her revenge. And boy, does she.
KR: What are you working on now?
A real-life ghost story. Very serious and heartbreaking. As Harry Zimm says in Get Shorty: “No mutants or maniacs. This is gonna be my Driving Miss Daisy.” (Well, maybe not my Driving Miss Daisy, but a different kind of horror altogether.) And a couple of horror screenplays based on two short stories of mine: Blue Eyes and Zulu Zombies.
KR: You find yourself on a desert island, which three people would you wish to be deserted with you and why?
You can choose…
a) One fictional character from your writing.
Well, not Michael Friday my serial killer, for sure. Although he would be very entertaining. Miss Adendorff from Zulu Zombies would be a great companion and she’s a dab hand at handling firearms and zombies.
b) One fictional character from any other book.
Patricia Highsmith’s Mr Ripley. Ripley is very talented at lots of different things, so he could probably build a shopping mall equipped with just a pocket knife and a Q-tip. As long as I don’t get in his way, I think that we’d get on fine.
c) One real-life person that is not a family member or friend.
If the real-life person can be deceased, then I’d choose Vincent Price. He’d be very entertaining and we could talk endlessly about art. Also, he was a fabulous cook.
Living person: Jason Momoa. He’s very charming and very tall. He’d be able to swim us back to civilization in a New York minute.
KR: Thank you very much Barbie
Barbie Wilde is best known for playing the Female Cenobite in Clive Barker’s Hellbound: Hellraiser II. She also featured in Death Wish 3, Grizzly II: The Concert and in the Bollywood blockbuster, Janbazz. As a member of the music-dance group Shock, she supported artists such as Gary Numan, Depeche Mode, Ultravox and Adam & the Ants in the early 1980s and released two singles on RCA Records. Wilde also wrote and hosted eight different music and film review TV programs in the UK in the 1980s and 1990s.
In 2009, Wilde moved into writing horror and crime with the publication of her first well-received Female Cenobite short horror story, “Sister Cilice”, for the Hellhound Hearts anthology, edited by Paul Kane and Marie O’Regan. The publication of her debut diary-of-a-serial-killer novel, The Venus Complex, by Comet Press in 2012 prompted America’s best-selling horror magazine Fangoria to call her “one of the finest purveyors of erotically charged horror fiction around”. The Venus Complex was released as an audiobook in Autumn 2018, narrated by Hellraiser’s Doug “Pinhead” Bradley.
Wilde’s illustrated collection of short horror stories, Voices of the Damned, published by SST Publications in 2015, was called “sensual in its brutality” and “a delight for the darker senses” in a starred review from Publishers Weekly. Voices of the Damned was nominated for the Best Horror Story Collection Award by This is Horror, 2015.
Wilde returned to acting in 2017 in The Offer, which was the first episode in Amazon Prime’s British horror series, Dark Ditties Presents. She will be appearing in DDP’s 5th tale of terror, Dad, in 2019.
Wilde is now collaborating as co-producer and co-screenplay writer with ex-Fangoria Editor-in-Chief and director Chris Alexander (Blood for Irina, Female Werewolf, Blood Dynasty) on the feature-length horror movie, Blue Eyes, based on her short story of the same name.
Barbie Wilde FB Page: www.facebook.com/barbie.wilde
Barbie Wilde Author-Actress FB Page: www.facebook.com/BarbieWildeAuthorActress/
Twitter and Instagram: @BarbieWilde
For more information about SSS! please visit the Official Demain Website www.demainpublishing.com
J. A. Sullivan is a horror writer and paranormal enthusiast, based in Brantford, ON, Canada. Attracted to everything non-horror folks consider strange, she’s spent years as a paranormal investigator, has an insatiable appetite for serial killer information, and would live inside a library if she could.
Her latest short story can be found in Don’t Open the Door: A Horror Anthology (out July 26, 2019), and other spooky tales can be found on her blog. She’s currently writing more short stories, a novel, and reading as many dark works as she can find.
You can follow J. A. on Twitter @ScaryJASullivan
Check out her blog https://writingscaredblog.wordpress.com
Find her on Instagram www.instagram.com/j.a_sullivan
Love Barbie, she is such a legend and what an amazing writer!
Her novel,’The Venus Complex’ was just wonderful
Barbie has been a joy to interact with. I’ve not read The Venus Complex yet, and I have Voices Of The Damned near the top of my TBR pile.