Barbie Wilde is perhaps best known for playing the Female Cenobite in Clive Barker’s seminal cult horror sequel ‘Hellbound: Hellraiser II’ (1988).  In the early 1980s Wilde was a professional dancer in the group SHOCK, she has been a TV presenter and movie critic, appeared in a variety of films and shows, and more recently, her creative side has moved into the world of horror fiction.

Wilde’s debut novel ‘The Venus Complex’ (2012) received praise from reviewers and critics across the length and breadth of the internet and other such media.  And now, on the cusp of the release of her next publication, a collection of eleven short stories beautifully presented with full colour illustrations, Wilde has taken the time out of her busy schedule to speak with DLS Reviews about her work past, present and future…

DLS - Hi Barbie, many thanks for agreeing to be interviewed on DLS Reviews.  To begin with could you tell us when you started writing fiction and what got you to first put pen to paper?

BW -  I started writing seriously in the 1980s, collaborating on a few script ideas with a writer friend of mine. When “acting left me behind” as thespians say, I began to work on an (currently) unfinished noiresque novel called ‘Death of a Dominatrix’, which I must return to one day.

‘The Venus Complex’, my first dark crime novel (published by Comet Press, November 2012) was born out of my long-standing fascination with serial killers, the criminal mind in general and what makes these people tick. Also, a friend of mine who was a notorious dominatrix in New York City once confessed to me that her greatest sexual fantasy was to sleep with a serial killer. I was appalled, but at the same time, her statement kick-started an idea that became ‘The Venus Complex’.

DLS – I think it’s fair to say over the years your creative output has come from quite a number of different avenues (performer / actress / author).  Do you have a favorite, which has been the most challenging, and which have you been most proud of?

BW – I loved performing on stage with my group Shock in the 1980s: the music was terrific, we supported some great bands (Gary Numan, Ultravox, Depeche Mode, Adam and the Ants, etc.), we travelled around the UK, Europe and New York City, and we had a pretty enthusiastic following.

Acting in ‘Hellbound: Hellraiser II’ was probably one of the most career defining jobs I’ve done, as I met a wonderfully talented bunch of people that I’m still friends with today.

Presenting my own late night TV film review program back in the 80s was really fulfilling, as I’m so passionate about movies.

However, being a writer is magical: I’m creating my own worlds, my own mythologies, my own characters and it’s beyond satisfying.

DLS – What’s an average day in the life of Barbie Wilde?

BW – I don’t really think that I have an average day. (I hope that sounds mysterious…)

DLS – You’re probably most famous for your role as the Female Cenobite in Clive Barker’s ‘Hellbound: Hellraiser II’ (1988).  Was there any of the real Barbie Wilde in the Female Cenobite (or perhaps in the latter Sister Cilice)?

BW – Do you mean: do I like to rip folk’s skin off on a daily basis? No… I don’t think so… The characters of the Female Cenobite, as with the main character from my serial killer novel, ‘The Venus Complex’, are pretty far away from me as a human being. (Of course, the Female Cenobite and Sister Cilice are demons, so there ya go!) I’m perhaps too empathic, too caring, which is why psychopaths have always fascinated me. I do have my imperious moments, however, so that could be interpreted as a kind of cenobitical arrogance.

As far as Sister Cilice is concerned, I drew upon a family member’s lapsed Catholicism for a lot of her character and angst.

DLS - How much of an influence did playing the role of the Female Cenobite have on your written work (outside of the Cilicium stories that is)?

BW – I adore the work of Clive Barker, so I suppose that is an influence.  Obviously, I did absorb something from the experience of playing a Cenobite that I was able to perhaps use later on, however, it’s hard to be specific. My main influences are from my research and the dark thoughts that sometimes come to me just before I go to sleep, or even from my dreams. My brain seems to synthesize my daily experiences into themes and motifs that are quite otherworldly and bizarre.

DLS - Clive Barker is clearly a huge influence on your stories.  Do you notice this whilst you’re coming up with your ideas and penning your tales?  And do you have any other notable influences?

BW – I love Clive’s work: it’s muscular, sexy, fearless and funny, while at the same time being scary and visceral. I admire his work and those are the qualities are what inspire me. I’m also inspired by the work of Hemingway, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Patricia Highsmith and Shirley Jackson. (You’ll note that most of these authors are crime writers.) I think that the best way to put it is that I try very hard to create my own unique voice and not to mirror other writers and their voices.

DLS - Your written work has quite often been very sexual – is this something you’ve done intentionally, or just the way the proverbial chips fell?

BW – I never set out to write erotic short horror stories, although with ‘The Venus Complex’, I felt that the subject of the sexual mindscape of a serial killer had never been adequately explored in a novel to my satisfaction, which is why I chose to set that tone for the book. I wanted to get into my serial killer’s head, which is why I wrote the book in the first person, in diary form.

DLS – It should also be noted that the vast majority of your work tends to get pretty twisted.  Do you enjoy making your readers squirm in their seats?  And is this something that you find comes easy to you – or do you really have to work hard to get under our skin (like you do)?

BW – Once I get an idea, my stories just flow. (Or “spew out”, as I like to say.) I create the characters, then just follow them on their merry (and sometimes erotic) journeys. I never sit down at my desk and say: “Wow! How can I gross out my audience today?” (Or “make them squirm”, etc.)  However, after I’ve written my stories, I do sometimes sit back and wonder where the hell all that crazy stuff comes from.

DLS – With so much of your work delving into dark, twisted and quite deviant territory, do you sometimes worry whilst you’re writing them, what people who know you will think?

BW – Well, sometimes I do occasionally worry whether my friends will ever talk to me again! (However, so many of my close friends and family members don’t like horror, so there’s really no danger of that.)

I do make it a point to never edit myself as I write, as I think that is a death knell for creativity. If people don’t like my work, then they can always just go and read something else. I know of some sparkly vampire stories that they may like!

DLS - In ‘The Venus Complex’ (2012) you seemed to really be able to tap into the male mind.  How did you achieve this so convincingly?

BW – I did a lot of research! Luckily, because of my dominatrix friend, who had a Masters Degree in Human Sexuality, I was able to make some great contacts with forensic psychiatrists and a homicide detective at the Manhattan North Police Precinct. Also, I had some male friends who were refreshingly candid about what men really think about women. Scary stuff!

DLS - Your short story ‘Zulu Zombies’ is a gloriously over-the-top pulp horror thrill of a ride.  Did you find you enjoyed penning such a different style of story, and do you have any plans to do any more pulpy stories in the future?

BW – I’m not a big Zombie fan, but I was stuck writing a story beginning with “Z” for the ‘Bestarium Vocabulum’ anthology, edited by Dean M. Drinkel. Then the idea of Zulu Zombies came along (I’m a big fan of the film, “Zulu”). In a weird kind of way, there was something quite liberating writing a story about a subject that I’m not that fond of. It was enormous fun to write and I may write more stories in that vein at a later date.

DLS - Speaking of ‘Zulu Zombies’, I understand that you’re currently writing the screenplay for the story.  Can you tell us a little about the plans for this and how the screenplay adaptation process is going?

BW – The ‘Zulu Zombies’ screenplay has been on the back burner since I’ve been putting together my short horror story collection, ‘Voices of the Damned’, with Paul Fry of Short Scary Tales Publications, but I can’t wait to get back to it once the book is published. ‘Zulu Zombies’ at the second draft stage at the moment.

DLS - Your new short story ‘Valeska’ which appears for the first time in your collection ‘Voices Of The Damned’ (2015) spent a larger portion of the tale creating a whole mythos behind age-old breeds of vampire-like beings.  Do you have any plans to continue on with this particular mythos, particularly as a good portion of the mythos is now established?

BW – ‘Valeska’ actually started out as a novel. I put it into short story form for the collection. So, yes, there will be more of the Seminal mythos to be explored, which is why the story ends on a bit of a cliff-hanger.

DLS - Your story ‘Botophobia’ is one messed-up, completely unpredictable, roller-coaster of a ride.  Did you set out writing it to go completely over board with the story, or did it just evolve into this completely off-the-wall beast?

BW – I’ve always had a problem with basements, so many of the elements of the story came from my own childhood fears. (And yes, there was a locked room in our basement when I was a kid that no one was allowed to go into. Very mysterious and disturbing to a young child.) And I must confess that the black and white movies ‘Invaders From Mars’ and ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’, which were name-checked in the story, really did scare the hell out of me as a kid. Basing it on my own fears, Botophobia just evolved into that wild, crazy tale.

DLS - Your short story ‘Polyp’ ventures into the weird and wonderful territory of what many would class as ‘Bizarro Fiction’.  Do you have any intention of exploring this overtly wacky style of fiction any further in the future?

BW – I’m not really a big “planner”. My stories evolve organically, depending on the anthology that I’ve been asked to contribute to, or whatever mood I am in when I sit down to write. I don’t plan to write “bizarre” or “pulp”. The stories just come out in the way that they do.

DLS - The artwork within ‘Voices Of The Damned’ is absolutely stunning.  Could you tell us a little about your interaction with the artists and any involvement you had with the creation of the pieces which led to your collection becoming such a visual feast?

BW – I’d written a couple of reviews of Daniele Serra’s art books: one for Fangoria for his ‘Veins and Skulls’ and one for Amazon & Goodreads for the Joe Lansdale-Daniele Serra collaboration, ‘I Tell You It’s Love’. (Dani had created the cover artwork for ‘The Venus Complex ‘and I adore his work.) Dani’s publisher, Paul Fry of SST, approached me after he’d read ‘The Venus Complex’ and mentioned that if I ever wanted to publish something in the future, to please consider his company. I’d been toying with the idea of an illustrated collection of my short horror stories and SST seemed to be the ideal publisher for this project.

First on board was Dani, who did the illustrations for ‘Valeska’ and ‘Writer’s Block’. Then I thought: “why not ask Clive?” (And a big thanks to Mark Allen Miller, VP of Clive’s company Seraphim Films, for helping to facilitate this.) Clive let us the use three of his artworks: ‘She Waits’ for the cover, ‘Kiss Me’ for ‘Sister Cilice’ and ‘Princess Breath’ for ‘Gaia’. And what gorgeous artworks they are!

Next, I approached Nick Percival, because I loved his covers for the Boom! Comics Hellraiser series. Then Paul suggested Vincent Sammy, Ben Baldwin and Tara Bush. I got Steve McGinnis involved because I discovered his work when I met him at Toronto’s first horror only convention, Horror-Rama. And finally Eric Gross and I have been working on The Cilicium Project for a while now. He’d already created the illustration for ‘The Cilicium Pandoric’, so it was a natural for him to also illustrate ‘The Cilicium Rebellion’. I adore all the illustrations that these talented artists have come up with. If this collection is a jewel of horror, a lot of it is down to them!

As far as my involvement, the artists read the stories and were inspired to do their illustrations. The only real “hands on” involvement I had was with the Cilicium Pandoric (I co-designed the actual pandoric box with Eric), as well as The Cilicium Rebellion, as I had very firm ideas of what the visual representation of that story should look like.

DLS - I understand you’re good friends with the painfully talented author, actor, artist and all-round gentleman - Tim Dry.  Over the years of your friendship, has Tim had any involvement or influence in your work?  And are there any plans of you possibly working together in the future?

BW – Tim is what Stephen King would call my “Ideal Reader”. When I finish a story, then I send it off to him because he “understands” me and my work, after all these years of working together and being friends. And Tim does the same when he finishes a story or book. We’ve contributed to the same various anthologies. We are thinking of collaborating on a project, but it’s still very early days, so I can’t go into detail at this time.

DLS – So, you’ve got a full-length novel and a short story collection under your belt now.  What’s next in your writing career?  And do you have any other non-writing projects in the pipeline?

BW – Well, my ‘Zulu Zombies’ are still waiting for me… There’s also been a lot of interest in a sequel to ‘The Venus Complex’. And I do plan on expanding ‘Valeska’ back into novel form. I have been asked to act in a anthology horror film called ‘Bad Medicine’, but it’s still looking for funding at this time.

DLS – Barbie…it’s been an absolute pleasure.

BW – Same here!

Barbie’s website:
Voices of the Damned on FB:
Barbie on Facebook:
Barbie on Twitter: @barbiewilde

Or see in-depth reviews of Barbie’s work here:

You can also pick up a copy of Barbie’s new collection ‘Voices Of The Damned’ directly from the publishers ‘Short, Scary Tales Publications’ here:


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