Mike’s Horror Blog: Son of Celluloid


“Son of Celluloid” from Clive Barker is a favorite of mine. The story tells of an escaped convict that dies behind a movie screen, where his cancerous tumor grows sapient from the emotions and thoughts of the viewing audience. Eight months later, the cancer begins to kill the workers and visitors to the theater to sustain itself.

The main reason I like this story is because it gets to the heart of why watching movies can be such a powerful experience. A really good film can make its audience laugh, cry, scream, or any other variety of emotions. We live vicariously through film, and it’s that “life” that the cancer wants. Just as our imaginations make movies real, the cancer uses images of old movie stars to seduce and kill its victims.

Most of the horror comes from the concept of “body horror,” where the body is ruined in some way – the concept of a piece of you becoming sentient and consuming others certainly qualifies. Barker has written other stories that deal with the twisting of flesh: “Jacqueline Ess” and “The Hellbound Heart” are some examples. He has this weird talent for intertwining the sexual with the grotesque – he’s not for everybody, but I’ve reviewed some of his other pieces and I recommend him.

— Mike Malan, Blogger

Editor’s Note:  Mike Malan recently graduated from Lewis University with a degree in English with a sub-speciality in Creative Writing.  Mike especially enjoys writing gothic, Poe and all things that chill your bones. He is a dark writer but you can find him dabbling in politics. He is also interested in the editing process and hopes that you will enjoy his work.