the Mummy

Clive Barker Still Wants To Make His Transgender Take On The Mummy

Horror master Clive Barker opens up on his unmade transgender take on The Mummy, which studios execs turned down in the 1980s.

There’s a whole heap of unmade movies that I want to hop into an alternative dimension and check out. I’d love to see the Nicholas Cage-starring Superman Lives, Darren Aronofsky’s Batman: Year One, and Alejandro Jodorowsky’s take on Dune. But for the most part, the best we can do is read the scripts, watch interviews, and imagine what they might have been like.

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Now, we have another to add to the pile, as Hellraiser creator Clive Barker has revealed a very interesting take on The Mummy that seems to have been too much for late 80s studio executives. In an interview on the Post Mortem with Mick Garris podcast, Garris and Barker discussed the script they worked on together several decades ago.

Set in Beverly Hills, their aim was to make it “scary, violent and sexually charged,” with the focus of the story the head of a modern art museum secretly being a cultist dedicated to resurrecting ancient Egyptian mummies. But there’s a twist, as Barker explains:

“It had the first gender change.. transsexual… so we were ahead of the curve. So there’s a boy born… a boy-child born at the beginning of the narrative, who is obviously significant in the narrative… but we cut twenty years and there’s no sign of this guy. Apparently. There is a wonderfully strange, mysterious woman who is part of the narrative, a very important part of the narrative. I don’t want to say too much because we’re gonna make this one day… I hope… we should talk to Netflix.”

the Mummy

He went on to reveal a little more about the story, though you can probably guess what happened to the boy, with Barker saying:

The little boy… who is born at the beginning of the narrative… has become this exquisite woman. And a major part of a modern day narrative about The Mummy. But this is our naivete, Mick. How could we ever have thought, in 1989, when we turned this in, that they would say, ‘Ah, great!’ I think I’ve had a slightly naïve attitude [towards] the suits.”

While this does sound like a fun take, I’m not sure a late-80s horror movie about a transgender character would stand up to scrutiny now. The closest Hollywood got to this material back then was 1992’s The Crying Game, in which a character being transgender was the shocking twist that the plot revolves around and isn’t considered particularly progressive today.

Barker ends by pondering about whether times have changed enough to get this movie made. As he says during the interview, he thinks and Garris should set up a meeting with Netflix to pitch it again, which indicates that he still believes there’s mileage in the idea. Barker is one of the most original minds in horror, too, so I’d definitely be interested in this as it’s at least very different from other Mummy adaptations.


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David James
I'm a writer/editor who's been at the site since 2015. Love writing about video games and will crawl over broken glass to write about anything related to Hideo Kojima. But am happy to write about anything and everything, so long as it's interesting!