Painted Monsters: “Remains”

For the month of October, as part of the Countdown to Halloween, I’ll be revisiting each of the thirteen stories in Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts and suggesting movies that pair well with them, for your viewing pleasure!

“Remains” was originally going to appear–under a different title–in my previous collection, Never Bet the Devil & Other Warnings. You can read about why it didn’t in the author’s notes at the back of the story. It eventually did show up in the “lost” 13th issue of Strange Aeons Magazine, available only to backers of the 2014 H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival Kickstarter. Besides that, Painted Monsters is its only time in print. As such, it probably owes less to movies than any other story in this collection, besides maybe “The White Prince.”

The biggest debt in “Remains” is to Clive Barker’s story “The Last Illusion,” which was my first introduction to the notion of using a previous supernatural experience to prime a character for their current predicament. “The Last Illusion” was adapted (and expanded) to film as Lord of Illusions, a project both much more ambitious and much less successful than its source material. It also proved to be Barker’s last directing gig–at least so far–possibly because it was frequently kind of terrible, in spite of moments of great promise, hampered in no small part by its Lawnmower Man-esque CGI segments. Still, it’s not a bad companion piece to “Remains,” especially in its opening moments.

For a more successful film that also maps onto “Remains” in ways that hopefully become obvious after reading the story, we only have to go a step to the left to Clive Barker’s first feature-length attempt at adapting his work to the screen, Hellraiser.

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