Film's most popular action hero needs a place to heal after his surgery has gone terribly wrong. His fiercely loyal agent finds him just such a place in a luxurious forgotten mansion high in the Hollywood Hills. But the original owner of the mansion was a beautiful woman devoted to pleasure at any cost, and the terrible legacy of her deeds has not yet died. There are ghosts and monsters haunting Coldheart Canyon, where nothing is forbidden . . .
Clive Barker's Coldheart Canyon showcases the boldly innovative New York Times bestselling master at the very top of his formidable and frightening skills. Clive Barker is the internationally bestselling author of more than twenty books for adults and children. He is also a widely acclaimed artist, film producer, screenwriter, and director. He lives in Beverly Hills, California.
I can imagine Clive Barker falling asleep on the sofa one night while watching Sunset Boulevard, then waking in the wee hours halfway through a showing of Splatter Cinema Showcase and getting a very bright idea for his next novel. Hollywood. Has-beens. Ghosts. Sex. Angels. Cretinous atrocities resembling the love children of H.P. Lovecraft and Mary Shelley. Yes, the elements are all there for horrormeister Barker to whip up weirdness a la ready-for-her-close-up Norma Desmond and the authorâs own Nightbreed. Why not throw in a dash of Touched by an Angel for good measure? The result is Coldheart Canyon, a typically thick, luxuriant, ick-stained book which attempts too much and ultimately collapses under the excess weight. Coldheart Canyon contains several plot threads which tangle into one big ball of slime-coated string. First, thereâs the tale of Todd Pickett, a Tom Cruisean golden boy who is sitting at the pinnacle of Hollywoodâs A-list. Unfortunately, when you perch on the pinnacle, that usually means youâre teetering and, in Toddâs case, heâs about to go sliding down the has-been side of celebrity. Concerned that his perfect good looks are starting to show too much wear and tear, he visits a cosmetic surgeon for a routine chemical peel. But something goes wrong while heâs under the knife. Horribly wrong. Bandaged and bleeding, Todd retreats from society and its paparazzi, buying an old mansion high in the Hollywood hills until his face can heal and he can again face the flashbulbs. The dream-palace he settles in once belonged to an actress named Katya Lupi, the most beautiful actress of the silent era. In her day seventy years ago, Katya out-Garboed Greta, vamped more sensually than Theda Bara, and left Mary Pickford choking on her stardust. In the Hollywood heyday of parties populated by Valentino, Chaplin, Fairbanks and Barrymore, Katya was the life of all the parties. A simpering, pure-hearted virgin on-screen, she turned into a wild vamp after-hours as she threw lavish orgies at her mansion in Coldheart Canyon. One night, she shimmers into Toddâs life as heâs moping around the house. And when I say âshimmers,â? I mean that literally. The eighty-year-old silent cinema has-been appears like a radiant mirage in a dark corner of the room, startling Todd as she walks out of the shadows. Sheâs gorgeous and downright juicy as a ripe apple. Trouble is, she doesnât look a day over thirty. Like Alma Mobley, the preserved beauty in Peter Straubâs Ghost Story, Katya Lupi lingers in corporeal form, a sensuous ectoplasm that soon has Todd dropping his drawers and engaging in some very vivid (and spirited!) sex. What Todd doesnât realize is that Katya has become a Queen of the Underworld, the ruler of a howling pack of deformities bred when humans like Victor Mature and Jean Harlow had sex with wild creatures. Those bizarre offspring now want access to a place called the Devilâs Countryâa region which could only spring from Barkerâs imagination. Pinhead, Candyman and the Cenobites would feel right at home in this corner of Hell. The portal to the Devilâs Country lies deep in the bowels of the Coldheart Canyon house and Katya has placed a spell over the doorway of her house so no creatureâespecially those resembling half-man, half-peacockâcould come back to the country which helps preserve their good looks (the secret to Katyaâs ability to look ravishing after all these years). Meanwhile, topside in the real world, a member of Toddâs fan club, a housewife named Tammy Lauper, is trying to track down the elusive star who seems to have disappeared right off the face of tabloid earth. Tammy eventually makes her way to the Canyon where first sheâs assaulted by the well-endowed man-peacock, then finds Todd and aids him in escaping Katyaâs clutches. While Coldheart Canyon ends up in a muddle of disappointmentâpoints are belabored, dialogue is curdled and plots are treacledâthereâs plenty of ultra-sharp horror to prick your nerves in the hundreds of pages that come before the closing chapters. This is by no stretch of the imagination a tame novel. Everythingâghosts, mutations, sex, Hollywood satireâreads as if it has been plugged into an electric amplifier. Fair warning to prim, goody-two-shoes readers: there are several sex scenes which will curl your toes; scenes of an orgiastic cornucopia (pornucopia?) with a landscape of writhing limbs, exposed genitalia and kinky S&M; eroticism so intense that, were I to type an excerpt here, the very words on your computer monitor would melt your hard drive. Sex, pain, horrorâitâs all a phantasmagorial stew bubbling in Barkerâs brain. Even Lovecraft starts to look like a Sunday School teacher by comparison.read more
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Book Description: New York, NY, U.S.A.: Haper Collins, 2001. Hard Cover. 1st Edition. 1st Impression. Hard Cover. Very Fine/Very Fine. First Edition. 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Book and dust jacket are both clean and bright in a new Mylar dust jacket cover.read more
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HBarker fans may breathe a sigh of relief. That the Walt Disney Company is paying $8 million for ancillary rights to the author's forthcoming for-all-ages novel series, The Arabat Quartet (first volume due out in 2002), doesn't mean the British master of dark fantasy has lost his savage bite. Barker's new novel is a ferocious indictment of (and backhanded tribute to) Hollywood Babylon, depicted through Barker's glorious imagination as a nexus of human and inhuman evil where fleshly pursuits corrupt the spirit. It's also one ripping ghost story, spooky and suspenseful, as well as a departure for Barker in that here, as never before, the fantastic mingles with the real, kind of. Many ghosts haunt the titular canyon, and some of them are the shades of men and women we already know as shadows of the silver screen: Victor Mature makes an appearance, as do George Sanders, Mary Pickford and many others. When alive, these stars and their colleagues were drawn by the beautiful, rapacious film star Katya Lupi to her magnificent home in Los Angeles's Coldheart Canyon. What kept them at the house, even after death, is the incredible room in its lowest story. Assembled from thousands of painted tiles, that room brought to California in the 1920s from an ancient monastery in Romania is literally alive with evil; the tiles depict a world that mortals may enter, and within which the Queen of Hell has condemned a nobleman to hunt forever, or until he entraps her son. The room's powers bestow timeless youth on some, including Katya, but give rise to monstrous entities as well. In the present day, into this horrific place enter several modern sorts, most notably A-list film hero Todd Pickett and a dowdy woman, head of Todd's fan club, whose courage and good sense mark her as the novel's hero. The narrative rocks, as Barker's always do, with intense violence and sex sacred, profane and grotesque; a torrent of intent and emotion from the depraved to the sublime; and, here, an impressive thematic excavation of the interplay between illusion and reality, the fantastic and the real. Many of the players without famous names are reminiscent, nastily, of known celebrities; decoding this roman clef is fun. But entertainment is only one card Barker flashes. Along with the others a fluid writing style; a canvas whose twisted originality rivals Bosch; a depth of theme; and an understanding of the human yearning for good and evil alike they add up to a royal flush, one of the most accomplished, and most notable, novels of the year. (On sale Oct. 8.) Forecast: Major ad/promo, including a five-city author tour, plus the book's excellence and the buzz surrounding Barker's Disney deal, as well as a dynamite b&w cover photo of the author as an old-time film star, will make this novel Barker's most popular and most talked-about book to date. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved