Clive Barker THE HELLBOUND HEART Book Review

Clive Barker wrote this 1986 novella, and also directed and wrote the screenplay for the 1987 film adaptation Hellraiser. I've always wondered why there are so many difference between the book and the film. Names are changed, relationships, and even the look of the Cenobites is changed. The main difference that I noticed was Pinhead's voice. In the book it is described as "light and breathy - the voice of an excited girl" but in the film it is the exact opposite, deep and menacing. The film is not fully faithful to the original text, which is a great reason to read this book even if you have seen Hellraiser.

The general plot is the same, however the book provides a deeper explanation about Frank Cotton's obsessive quest for pain and pleasure. His participation in every hedonistic pleasure known to man, and his journey to find a greater degree of pleasure than the last. This of course leads him to the mysterious Lemarchand's Box. It is said to open a gateway to a world of pleasure only felt by a handful of people in the entire world. But when Frank solves the puzzle box and is met by the disfigured Cenobites, he realizes what a mistake he has made. The Cenobites find little difference between pain and pleasure, and proceed to drag him into their realm for an eternity of torture.

After these events unfold, Frank's estranged brother Rory (renamed Larry in the film) and his wife Julia move into Rory's late grandmother's house, which just so happens to be the same house where Frank had summoned the Cenobites. After an accident, Rory's blood drips onto the floor in the same room where Frank had been tortured, and provides Frank with a way to escape his eternal hell. But he needs more blood. Unknown to Rory, his wife Julia had an affair with Frank shortly before the wedding and so when she eventually discovers Frank's incomplete body in the upstairs room, she agrees to bring him the blood that he needs.

I'll stop there so I don't spoil it for anybody.

If you're familiar with Clive Barker's style then you'll know what to expect. A prefect blend of horror and fantasy, exploring themes such as the darker side of human desire and the seductive powers of the sinister. And if you haven't read any of Clive Barker's work, then you are definitely missing out. This is a very satisfying read, and well worth it even if you have seen Hellraiser.

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