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In the Flesh

(Books of Blood #5)

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  7,237 ratings  ·  168 reviews
Terrifying and forbidding, subversive and insightful, Clive Barker's groundbreaking stories revolutionized the worlds of horrific and fantastical fiction and established Barker's dominance over the otherworldly and the all-too-real. Here, as two businessmen encounter beautiful and seductive women and an earnest young woman researches a city slum, Barker maps the boundless ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published February 1st 2001 by Gallery Books (first published 1986)
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Average rating 4.01  · 
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 ·  7,237 ratings  ·  168 reviews

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Feb 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
The manifestation of evil, "in the flesh" is the theme which unites all four novellas in this early Barker work.

The highlight here is undoubtedly "THE FORBIDDEN". This is the basis for what is perhaps the MOST UNDERRATED HORROR FILM OF ALL TIME: Bernard Rose's "Candyman." The story itself, 60 pages that really do chill the blood, I've penciled in on a list of the best short stories ever. It is melancholia wrapped in detective Noir, supernatural urban legend; a human investment into something lar
Jan 17, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
This has been my first Clive Barker read, and I was very pleasantly surprised by it.

From what I had heard of Barker before, I had assumed his work was in the gory blood porn genre. As such I was never very interested in trying out any of his work, since the more trashy kind of cheap thrills that Stephen King used to grind out in his earlier years, really never did sit well with me. Neither does the kind of horror that features sexy teenagers being systematically mangled by homicidal maniacs (us
Feb 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Surprise surprise, another 5-star read from mr. Barker to me.

What was a surprise, though, was "The Madonna", the first story in the entirety of "Books of Blood" (that I've read so far; I still have volume 6 to read) that I found to be an anticlimax. The buildup was amazing, the elements were all there, but then it just... deflated when The Madonna herself made her appearance. (Also... (view spoiler) Ugh) Hey, just one story out of the 25 in the five volumes is an amazing ra
This was the first Barker for me and, simply put, I liked it a lot. I always kind of thought that Barker was all about extreme gore which isn't quite what I ask of horror literature but since this book happened to come to my possession, I thought I'd give it a try. I'm glad I did because my initial impression couldn't be further from the truth.

This volume consists of four dark and atmospheric stories. Atmosphere is definitely a key word here. Barker takes his time building it before he takes the
Althea Ann
Jun 09, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a collection of 4 novelettes from "The New Master of Horror." (not so new anymore!)

The title piece, "In the Flesh" deals with a petty criminal trapped in a jail cell with a first-time offender who's messing with more than he bargained for in the spirit of his executed murderer grandfather....

"The Forbidden" is the story the movie Candyman was based on. I'm sure you've seen it. The story is shorter, snappier, and more powerful. (And set in England! Huh!)

"The Madonna" reminded me of a
Jarek "the Mistborn" Dąbrowski
Another great intallment in the books of blood by Clive Barker. 4 awesome stories from which the first " The Forbidden" is the basis for the Candyman movie:D
As always clive gives us much more than just the surface blood and gore. Its a twisted journey inside peoples psyche.
Two more books of blood to go:) 4 stars:)
Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*
I've wanted to nab this baby forever, since watching the movie Candyman, adapted to the screen by Bernard Rose with Clive's backing. I have owned several of his books of blood anthologies for awhile, yet this one has remained an illusive completion of the cycle. Finally I now own all of them, and read this one within the week of receiving it.

The book, a brief 255 pages, envelops four short stories. The first, 'In The Flesh', is a strange tale following the mind of a convict, Cleve, who is force
Tobin Elliott
Jan 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: hard-copy, fiction, horror
I'm still finding the quality increases as I work through the volumes. But I have to say, though it doesn't say much, there was one quote that I found quite chilling, from the story The Forbidden:

"Don't kill me," she breathed.
"Do you believe in me?" he said.
She nodded minutely. "How can I not?" she said.
"Then why do you want to live?"

Brilliant stuff, that.
Sarah Mcleod
Jun 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Probably my favourite part of all the books of blood, they seem to get better as they go on
Feb 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
In 1986, Clive Barker followed the enormous success of the first three volumes of The Books Of Blood, with a final three volumes to create the entire Books Of Blood series. His two omnibus's were later to be broken down, to be sold as individual books. Barker was invited to be able to illustrate these covers with his dark and twisted artwork.

This volume was also released in America under the name 'In The Flesh'. The six volumes were all released in their individual forms back in 1985, this fift
Feb 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very intriguing collection of short stories. I started reading this because I'm a big Candyman fan, but the other stories in it really hooked me. Looking forward to going back and reading the first four Books of Blood.
Oct 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
BiblioBabe Kat gave this a 9.5/10! Read her review here: ...more
Apr 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, short-stories
The second story was the one i’d been waiting for–The Forbidden. Much of it was familiar to me, having seen the Candyman film enough times. The creepy vibe of the film, and the Candyman himself in particular, came through in satisfying ways. But the story created even more, i think, than the film. The eerie, isolated feeling of the housing estate and the peculiar social structure are such banal things, but increase the macabre feeling in the story intensely. It draws on similar themes to High Ri ...more
Mar 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, autographed
This was the American edition of the last tales of the Book of Blood. Barker managed to keep the quality high right to the end. After this, he concentrated on novels until he gravitated from horror to fantasy. I prefer these early works to anything later. There is a deep dark and very visceral feel to these stories.
Lee Thompson
Jan 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everybody
This is my favorite volume in the Books of Blood.
Mar 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
An unnerving collection of four short stories, I especially liked The Forbidden, which was the basis for the Candyman film. I'm a big fan of the film but I'd have to concede that the story is better!
Joshua Jorgensen
Apr 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Clive Barker's shorter fictions are so compelling, and his mind creates some of the most incredible things. I read the four short works over a period of time, and in-between novels, so as to have something to savor. These are dark and bizarre little pieces, each with a unique premise.
Horror Bookworm Reviews
Jan 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Some classic Barker including the short story where Candyman came from. Clive Barker seems to breed from the H P Lovecraft style of imagination. He is my favorite because of this.
Baal Of
Feb 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Not quite as good as the previous volumes but still worthwhile, since it is Barker. Includes the story that Candyman was based on.
Dec 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
While reading these four short stories, a couple of them seemed familiar, so I may have read this a very long time ago. I wasn’t crazy about the first story. It just wasn’t my cup of tea, but I liked The Forbidden, which the movie Candyman, was based on. I’ve never watched the movie, but feel like now I should. I really liked The Madonna, too. I don’t even know why, it was a violent story, but it had elements of beauty in it, as well. I also liked Babel’s Children about elderly “thinkers,” who r ...more
Alex Telander
The Dark Weaveworld of Clive Barker, Part 2 of 3: “In the Flesh”

BIOGRAPHY: Clive Barker is the bestselling author of nineteen books, including Weaveworld, Imagica, and Galilee. He regularly shows his art in Los Angeles and New York, and produces and directs for both large and small screen. Recent projects include the Oscar-wining film Gods and Monsters, and an exhibition of erotic paintings and photographs, The Weird and the Wicked. He lives with his husband, the photographer David Armstrong, in
Rowan MacBean
Jul 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 07, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: horror, fiction
"Terrifying and forbidding, subversive and insightful,"...but in reality, kind of disappointing. I found this at the used book store, after having an unsettling day that I wanted a distraction from. Lo and behold, an entire collection of Clive Barker stories I'd never heard of! Now that I've read them, I can understand why his "Books of Blood" are so well known while this one...isn't. A couple of interesting moments, some deliberate cliches (Instead of a hand, his arm ended in *gasp* a hook!), a ...more
✨Sumi's Books✨
Jan 15, 2017 rated it liked it
Great quick little read! The first story was awesome. The second (The Candyman story) I have always wanted to read and it did not disappoint! Te third story was very good, though the ending leaves a bit to the imagination in wanting a bit more closure. The forth story was very strange however original and fun to read. Would definitely recommend!
Dec 06, 2007 marked it as to-read
So far so good. Very intense writing. I am sure this will be the first of many Clive Barker books thanks to a good friend's recommendation.
Jun 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
Four of Barker's short horror stories. Pretty good.
Jul 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
a short ride, but now I know where candyman came from
Nov 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
In The Flesh - ***
The Forbidden - ****
The Madonna - ****
Babel's Children - *****
Tasha Robinson
May 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Not sure what possessed me to read all five of the other Books of Blood volumes back in 2013-2014 and leave this one for last, but maybe I was saving the first story in this collection, "The Forbidden" until I'd seen the film version, Candyman. Which I'm glad I did — Candyman seems like a more thorough exploration of the same ideas, and a more character-and-metaphor-rich version. But the original story is also strikingly well-described and well-paced, and the other three stories here all had the ...more
Mark Hartzer
Feb 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
2 excellent short stories: "The Forbidden" & "The Madonna"; 1 very good short story: "In the Flesh"; and 1 meh story: "Babel's Children".

The Forbidden is the basis for the "Candyman" movies and is likewise, very scary. These stories are similar to King's "Four Past Midnight". More like novellas than a short story. Barker is a clever writer, and these stories (from the mid 1980s) are early examples of his work.

You may want to try these shorter stories (or "The Hellbound Heart") before starting
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Clive Barker was born in Liverpool, England, the son of Joan Rubie (née Revill), a painter and school welfare officer, and Leonard Barker, a personnel director for an industrial relations firm. Educated at Dovedale Primary School and Quarry Bank High School, he studied English and Philosophy at Liverpool University and his picture now hangs in the entrance hallway to the Philosophy Department. It ...more

Other books in the series

Books of Blood (6 books)
  • Books of Blood, Volume One
  • Books of Blood, Volume Two
  • Books of Blood: Volume Three (Books of Blood #3)
  • The Inhuman Condition (Books of Blood, #4)
  • Books of Blood: Volume VI (Books of Blood, #6)

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