We Have Such Sights to Show You….Meeting Clare Higgins (Julia Cotton in Hellraiser I & II)

Clare Sunday 12th Novenmber 2023 For The Love Of Horror Manchester

In my ‘other’ life, I write about film and have been for the last 10+ years a podcaster appearing on all sorts of film related shows. Art and film are my two passions, so no surprise that they bleed into each other.
‘What’s your favourite film’?
HOW can you answer that?  It’s impossible. Like picking your favourite song. 
Are they the films you’ve watched the most? Maybe. 
I can tell you a few of my favourite films.
Spartacus, Conan the Barbarian, For a Few Dollars More and …. Hellraiser.

Out of all the films I’ve watched, I’ve written more about Hellraiser than any other film. I’ve talked more about it than any other film, and having just written about it again for the Arrow 4K release. I can still find new things to think an talk about, but my attention is always centred one character. 
Julia.
Clive Barker wrote the character of Julia as a feminist fantasy for the ages, a woman who exudes the raw essence of longing, lust, need, sex and the sheer bloody boredom of being trapped married to the wrong man. 
No other actress could have given the gravitas or made this character come to life as well as Clare Higgins.
She is perfection and gives us a powerhouse performance of such depth in just 90 minutes as an ingénue, corrupted by a man who will never been satiated.
Clare’s performance elevates both Hellraiser and Hellbound – Hellraiser II,  beyond the realm of horror and makes it Shakespearean. 
At first naive, and innocent she succumbs to seduction and is set on a path to literally becoming…
The Queen of Hell.   
Why am I, Tina the artist, writing this? 
Well, both the character of Julia, and the real person Clare the actress, have been a major Muse to me. 
One of the first canvas board paintings I did was of Julia and it was… terrible. 
I just couldn’t stop drawing her because I love History, I love STORIES, and Julia is a Greek Tragedy (does that make Frank Achilles? and Larry Hector?).
To me she is Medusa, used and abused by the men around her, made to suffer, slashed and tied to a bed, abandoned and left to rot in hell. 
Ah, but the beauty of Julia is, she rises up and takes control of her destiny in Hellbound. 
I just love her. 

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Clare Higgins as Julia

This is a painting 6 years in the making!
Black and white (how do you draw her nose? What colour is her skin… BLOOD??). Move forward a few years and I finally dipped my toes (brush) into paint.
Yep, it was still awful. LOOK at that photo of Clare/Julia. She in her bathroom, she’s just hammered (literally) her first Victim to death, to bring life to her love, Frank.
Covered on blood, shocked… then there are Clare’s amazing blue eyes, HOW do you…. create Clare? 
Well, you practice. You doodle, you feel the blood splatters, and you admit (like most artists) that it’s not finished.
Looking the screen shot of Clare as Julia, I know this isn’t a great likeness, but I do think it’s a passable painting of Julia at that moment in the film. Yes, her painted face is too big -too wide as her real face is slender, her nose is wrong, the colours are too gold, and MY Julia is not as Haunted as the real one.
But all Art is a curve of learning and SEEING. 

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Perfect isn’t she?  switchblade raised (should be a hammer!), gold satin and those earrings.
Those great BIG 1987 tortoiseshell earrings.  WoW

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I have been, over the years, to countless Comic and film cons, and met a load of famous people, from Lori Cardille (I had to put that in, she’s my mate!), to Starsky and Hutch so don’t really get phased by it, I’ve said for years the ONLY person I would make an effort for and pay good money to have my photo taken with, is Clare Higgins.
No one else. Just her, Julia. Gertrude, Miss Cackle, Stella Kowalski, an Evening standard best actress, a Tony Nominee and winner of the Olivier Theatre award, Phew. 
I wanted to take her something I’ve created, and without thinking, out popped Julia. 

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Painted in Ink (Vinta, Wearinguel and Noodlers), I literally didn’t ‘think’ but rather felt.
And being the Queen of hell, Julia must have a gold leaf knife and earrings (interesting fact  – Julia is in fact wielding a hammer in this picture – and the film, but the head of it is behind her head, so I morphed it into a cut throat razor). 
It helped that I’d recently seen the new arrow release of Hellraiser, and seeing Julia in 4k is quite something, It’s her eyes, those blue eyes, which are painted in 3D paint from Arteza (it comes in a squeezy bottle is lets you makes raised motifs, but small ones). 
Mr 60MW and I went to Manchester to For the Love of Horror, but this time was different, we weren’t covering the event, we literally went just to meet Clare. 
What a lovely lady she is, watching her with her fans was a delight, she is so warm and genuine and very cuddly.  After a chat I gave Clare her painting and … she really liked it. So much so she asked me to sign it for her (gulp), and as I left she told me she knew exactly where she would hang it, in the light to catch the gold leaf. 
It’s unlikely Clare will ever read this, but… that old saying ‘Never meet your heroes’? It’s balls. 
Meet them, hug them, draw them.

Clare Higgins. You bloody beaut. 

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Finally, a work in progress (#wip), a small ink painting of Clare as Julia in Hellbound – Hellraiser II