Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Hellbound Heart


The Lemarchand box promises untold physical ecstasy to those that can solve it.  When Frank unlocks the box however the sensations he finds are too much for any person to endure.  The cenobites emerge and take Frank.  Later his brother Rory and his wife Julia move into the house from which he was taken.  When Rory’s blood splashes to the floor Frank can return, at a cost. 
“Its voice, unlike that of its companion, was light and breathy – the voice of an excited girl. Every inch of its head had been tattooed with an intricate grid, and at every intersection of horizontal and vertical axes a jeweled pin driven through to the bone. Its tongue was similarly decorated.”
Clive Barker’s The Hellbound Heart is a personal favorite of mine.  The novella is less about the specifics of the plot, and instead investigates concepts of humanity through its brief 164 pages.  Despite this Barker begins an incredible mythology around the Lemarchand box.  Barker’s book is an exploration of desire and the consequences that it can result in.  The prose is dark and sets the mood of the novella almost without flaw.  Frank and Julia the novella’s main antagonists are portrayed in a way that shows their humanity, while never condoning their actions.  This is an extremely satisfying read and a great introduction to Clive Barker. 
In the End;
There were enough ideas contained in The Hellbound Heart’ s 164 pages to create two great horror classics and seven other films.  Despite its short length there is more in The Hellbound Heart than in some much longer novels.  The story never slows and leaves you wanting more.  For those familiar with the movies “Pinhead,” is barely a bit player within the novel and if you are expecting a substantial showing from him look elsewhere.    Clive Barker has stated he is working on a novel tentatively called The Scarlet Gospels, in which Pinhead will face Harry D’Amour.  Harry D’Amour is a recurring character in Barker’s works featured in Everville, The Great and Secret Show and the short story The Last Illusion.  Scott Bakula in the film The Lord of Illusions written and directed by Clive Barker.  A clearly flawed movie that I enjoy regularly. 

"No tears, please. It's a waste of good suffering."

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