Barker sells his horror novel to Phoenix

Clive Barker has sold his best-selling novel “The Damnation Game” to Phoenix Pictures, in a mid-six figure deal.

Barker will also produce the film under his Seraphim Films banner, with his VP of production Joe Daley executive producing.

Barker told Daily Variety that “Damnation Game” will not “wink at you, in the way that so many horror films today do, with a comedic or semi-comedic self-referential tone.”

Instead, Barker said, “we will do our damndest to scare people in the old fashioned way.”

Novel follows the exploits of convicted felon Marty Strauss, an inveterate gambler and thief who gains early release from prison at the behest of a wealthy industrialist. In exchange, Strauss agrees to serve as his bodyguard — a task that proves treacherous when he discovers that someone is coming to collect the soul of his employer to settle an old debt.

“There’s so many books I’ve written where I just know, ‘No way is this ever going to be a film,'” said Barker, adding, “But this one has the right size and feel. You don’t have to cut out too much of the story, which in this case is a Faust story — without the Devil.”

Development director Brad Fischer, who brought the project into the company, will oversee its production with Phoenix’s Anne Rodman.

Barker is currently writing “The Abarat Quartet,” a series of four fantasy-adventure books for which Disney paid a massive $4 million against $8 million, with plans to develop the tomes into a multimedia franchise (Daily Variety, April 17, 2000).

His 21st and latest book, the Hollywood gothic suspenser “Coldheart Canyon,” will be published this November by HarperCollins.

Seraphim Films also has the suspenser “Bloody Mary” set up in development at Touchstone Pictures.

Barker was repped in the deal by ICM.

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