Read The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker Online


Clive Barker is widely acknowledged as the master of nerve-shattering horror. The Hellbound Heart is one of his best, one of the most dead-frightening stories you are likely to ever read, a story of the human heart and all the great terrors and ecstasies within.At last he had solved the puzzle of Lemarchand's box. He was standing on the threshold of a world of heightened sClive Barker is widely acknowledged as the master of nerve-shattering horror. The Hellbound Heart is one of his best, one of the most dead-frightening stories you are likely to ever read, a story of the human heart and all the great terrors and ecstasies within.At last he had solved the puzzle of Lemarchand's box. He was standing on the threshold of a world of heightened sensations. In moments the Cenobites - who had dedicated an eternity to the pursuit of sensuality - would be here. They would reveal dark secrets that would transform him forever....

Title : The Hellbound Heart
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780061002823
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 164 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Hellbound Heart Reviews

  • mark monday
    2019-06-13 11:42

    Please allow me to introduce myself.Actually, let's save the introductions for when I meet up with you later this evening, in the wee hours of the night.First things first, as an inhabitant of the Dimension of Everlasting Pain I am not exactly a disinterested party when it comes to reviewing this novella. But I do feel I am able to provide a relatively unbiased review of this famous work, despite my intimate knowledge of all of the delightful and inspiring torture tableaux on display.The Hellbound Heart is well-written, yes. The Hellbound Heart is a seminal modern horror classic, yes. The Hellbound Heart is thoughtful and charming and full of the types of cozy & tender scenarios that can be regularly found in my home dimension... yes, yes, and yes.But I find that I have fallen prey to an embarrassingly modern predicament: I actually preferred the movie! This is rather shameful to admit. There is so much more potential for ambiguity and cruelty between the pages. However, in this case, I found the movie to be distinctly more visceral, ambiguous, and endearingly disturbing. My Lord and Master Pinhead is also better portrayed in the movie version; on the page he comes across as a quaint deus ex machina. Believe me when i say that in reality he is surely the opposite of both "quaint" and "deus"!THIS PARAGRAPH IS A SPOILER, FOOLISH MORTAL: I did find the idea that Frank the Id is literally putting on the respectable, boring, bourgeois skin of his brother Rory to be lovely and amusing. But to be perfectly honest, this entrancing concept did not actually occur to me while reading The Hellbound Heart - but rather when I read about it here on Goodreads on a group thread. Perhaps I am not as subtle as I imagine myself to be.Overall, despite there being nothing particularly wrong with this novella (and what does "right" and "wrong" mean anyway, in the grand scheme of things?)... I am rather sad to report that I found the writing in Barker's Books of Blood, Vols. 1-3 to be more absorbing, multi-leveled, and intriguing. Ah well, I suppose you can't win 'em all. Unless you are my Lord and Master Pinhead, of course. He always wins.

  • Fabian
    2019-06-13 16:30

    Rare RARE instance in which movie actually surpasses the novel. Then again, Barker directed his own creation on celluloid, so there's that. "Hellraiser" is not even included in the sacred list of horror films I adore (the genre which may be the hardest to love, easiest to make fun of, and which for that reason is my favorite), but no one can't say that it isn't mega creepy & creative. The merger of pleasure and pain-- Ahhh!This novella (which can be digested in one sitting) packs quite a punch. This is an important book for the genre, one that showcases Clive Barker's poetics in a compact way. You'll want to read another one of his immediately after!

  • Bark
    2019-05-29 09:38

    “No tears, please. It’s a waste of good suffering.” My boyfriend made the mistake of allowing me to pick out the movie on one of our earliest dates way back in the late 80’s. I chose Hellraiser which was based upon this novella. I didn’t know he had never seen a horror movie and couldn’t figure out why he was so pale and quiet when we left the theater. The poor boy married me and his movie going experiences have never been the same and I’ll always have fond feelings for Hellraiser. Recently I realized I had never read the novella it was based upon and decided to check it out.When Frank solves a puzzle box revealing a door to another world promising great pleasure he gets more than he bargained for. He thought he had prepared well, observing every ritual to welcome the Cenobites, experimenters in the higher reaches of pleasure. He was expecting oiled up women, eager for him to use as he wished to slake his lust but instead four scarred beings arrive and alter him in unimaginable ways.Meanwhile Frank’s brother Rory and his wife Julia are moving into a decrepit old house. The house was willed to both Rory and Frank but since Frank is missing Rory assumes possession. Julia and Frank had something going on way back when, if you know what I mean, and Rory ignores her misgivings about the house and remains blissfully ignorant while reveling in Julia’s beauty. Kirsty, a friend of Rory’s who appears desperately in love with the man, drops by to help with the move and annoy Julia. I see a big, bloody love triangle in the making. I’ve also seen Hellraiser so I think know where some of this is going. Though I don’t remember Kirsty being a love interest, I thought she was the husband’s kid?Julia starts to settle in but there’s one room with sealed blinds that unnerves but attracts her. She begins to spend time in the room alone. The room seems to demand it. One day Rory has an accident and bleeds on the rooms floorboards and soon after Julia is reunited with Frank and the blood bath begins. This book is pretty cold and brutal, especially in its portrayal of super-bitch Julia, but there’s a very dark thread of humor running through it too. Imagine a slim beautiful woman chasing a flabby naked man around an empty room, sticking him with a knife as he flails away, refusing to keel over quickly. I don’t know about you but this image struck me as ridiculously humorous. Kirsty, who is a home-wrecker sort in this book, stumbles upon Julia and Frank doing bad things (that’s what you get Miss Nosey-pants) and takes off running with The Box in her hands. Of course, she can’t leave well enough alone and has to fiddle with it. Now they’re all going to experience their fair share of suffering.The cenobites are only in the story briefly early on and again at the end. Most of the grisly horror happens at the hands of Julia and Frank which makes all uglier. I vaguely remember the cenobites being a larger part of the movie but I prefer this version of the story better.

  • Johann (jobis89)
    2019-06-12 11:40

    "No tears, please. It's a waste of good suffering."In a quest to satiate his darkest pleasures, Frank Cotton obtains and opens Lemarchand's box, summoning the cenobites who instead of granting him pleasure and entry into this promised new world, torture him and trap him within the box. However, his brother's wife, Julia, who had a previous dalliance with Frank, has found a way to bring him back - and it involves blood.Well, I had to use that quote, didn't I? Even though there was literally a plethora of amazing quotes I could have used. Having seen Hellraiser before having read this book, I would not have predicted that Clive Barker was a beautiful writer. When you experience all the guts and gore and disgusting sights and fucked-up ideas in Hellraiser, you just don't expect the creator to have such a wonderful way with words - although I guess the same can be said for Stephen King. I straight up LOVED this book. It's a relatively small book, a novella in fact, but it packs a PUNCH. There were slight differences from the movie, of course, but nothing too drastic. In the movie, the cenobites are better developed and have more dialogue, but I still think their presence in the novella is effective. These sadomasochistic beings don't differentiate between pleasure and pain - something that Frank learns pretty quickly. The way Barker depicts the cenobites is terrifying and my only real complaint with regards to this story is that I'm left wanting more. I'm literally dying to learn more about the cenobites and what happens in their realm, more specifically what horrifying torture is inflicted upon others. What can I say, I'm a sicko!? There's a substantial amount of violence and sex, mirroring that fine line between pleasure and pain. Frank and Julia seem to suit each other in that they're both pretty unlikeable and selfish individuals, with Julia willing to go to extreme lengths in order to get Frank back.I can already tell that Clive Barker is a master story-teller. He left me feeling unsettled, intrigued, and most importantly...wanting MORE. I found this to be an addictive read and couldn't put it down, even though I already knew the general story. It's a great introduction to Barker's work as I'm already getting extremely excited for my next venture, which will be the first Books of Blood - highly recommended by every Barker fan on instagram. So, if you're a hardened horror fan and love all things gory and disturbing, this would be a starting place for getting into Barker - maybe you'll start to become obsessed like me! This gets a 5 star rating!

  • Dan Schwent
    2019-06-12 15:43

    Frank Cotton activated the Lemarchand Configuration and was whisked away by the Cenobites to experience "pleasure" no mortal has ever felt. Now, Frank's brother Rory and his wife Julie live in the house where his experiment occurred. Frank's looking to return to the fields we know and the price is blood...As part of my continuing horror education, I had to give Clive Barker a shot, thus The Hellbound Heart.This novella is pretty memorable but I wouldn't say I was scared by it. More creeped out than anything. Clive Barker has a pretty twisted imagination. The Cenobites and their idea of pleasure was pretty horrible. I really liked the idea of a wooden puzzle box that opens a gateway to another dimension.Julie gradually falling under the spell of what was left of Frank was pretty cool. I had a pretty good idea of where the story would go and how it would end after she made contact with Frank but it was a fun, gore-strewn ride. Aside from the short length, my only gripe with the book would be that Clive Barker's style seemed overly ornate at times. Three things I learned from The Hellbound Heart:1. If you find a wooden puzzle box, don't mess with it.2. If there's a chance you'll encounter extradimensional beings, be sure you masturbate on the floor. It'll help you rebuild your body later.3. If you go home with a woman you meet in a bar and she wants to have sex in a room devoid of furniture, make sure she doesn't have a knife.3.5 out of 5 stars.

  • Apatt
    2019-06-14 15:28

    “In moments they would be here-the ones Kircher had called the Cenobites, theologians of the Order of the Gash. Summoned from their experiments in the higher reaches of pleasure, to bring their ageless heads into a world of rain and failure.”All hail Clive Barker, the king of arty (but mostly not farty*) horror. The Hellbound Heart is the novella which Barker adapted into the successful 1987 movieHellraiser, which he also directed. The Hellbound Heart is the story of Frank Cotton, a very depraved man who is still not quite depraved enough for his own liking so he seeks to up the ante to the next—even supernatural—level. So he bought this wooden puzzle box called “the Lemarchand's Configuration”, a sort of evil Rubik’s Cube, that—when solved—will open a door to let in weirdo creatures from another dimension called “The Cenobites”. The box owner’s puzzle solving success will (according to dodgy legends) be rewarded unimaginable pleasures, the details of which are a bit vague but clothes are expected to be left on the floor at all times. This being a Clive Barker book:The mind-bendingly horrific looking Cenobites show hapless Frank their idea of “pleasure”, which is definitely not in accordance with what it says in his dictionary, and leave him as a stain on the floor. All is not lost, however, soon after Frank’s disappearance his brother, Rory, and Rory’s wife Julia, move into Frank’s house. One night some blood is accidentally spilled during a DIY session, and Frank, the stain, absorbs it and begins the slow process of reconstitution... I have always liked Barker's prose style, he often comes up with surprising turns of phrase, and sometimes suddenly switches into lyricism when it suits him. His horror fiction always includes some grotesque imagery, The Hellbound Heart is even more grotesque than most of his other works. The climax between Frank and the Cenobites is particularly gruesome. None of the characters in this book are likable, and most are despicable, but I like that Barker always takes the time to develop his villains and monsters. The motivation of some of the human characters is a little hard to believe, and they tend to accept the supernatural too readily. Pinhead, the posterboy CenobiteThe Cenobites, on the other hand, are fascinating semi-evil beings who are not interested in world domination, hell on Earth, or anything like that. They only turn up to show you their idea of a good time (which, in all likely hood, is extremely contrary to your own.) if you make the fatal mistake of invoking them. They are also weird looking buggers, you would not want to meet one in a dark alley, or even a well-lit one. The Hellbound Heart is a terrific and horrific read if you like your horror bloody. If you don’t find the genre particularly appealing (Hi Cecily!), or ifGhost is your idea of a horror film then perhaps you would be happier leaving it on the shelf (at the book shop). It is not for the faint of heart, and should not be read in the dark; as that is very bad for your eyes. _________________* There are literally “shitty monsters” in Barker’s brilliant dark fantasy The Great and Secret Show. Highly recommended! Notes• The original title for the film adaptation was “Sadomasochists from Beyond the Grave”.• Somebody uploaded the full Hellraiser movie to Youtube (not me!), it will probably be taken down soon, so I won't link to it, but you can have a quick look ;)• All The Weirdest Secrets You Never Knew About Clive Barker's HellraiserQuotes:“The doorway was even now opening to pleasures no more than a handful of humans had ever known existed, much less tasted-pleasures which would redefine the parameters of sensation, which would release him from the dull round of desire, seduction and disappointment that had dogged him from late adolescence.”Party tips for welcoming Cenobites:“Upon the west wall he had set up a kind of altar to them, decorated with the kind of placatory offerings Kircher had assured him would nurture their good offices: bones, bonbons, needles. A jug of his urine-the product of seven days' collection-stood on the left of the altar, should they require some spontaneous gesture of self-defilement. On the right, a plate of doves' heads, which Kircher had also advised him to have on hand.”“She wasn't sure why she went up, nor how to account for the odd assortment of feelings that beset her while there. But there was something about the dark interior that gave her comfort; it was a womb of sorts, a dead woman's womb.”“She knew he was telling the truth, the kind of unsavory truth that only monsters were at liberty to tell. He had no need to flatter or cajole; he had no philosophy to debate, or sermon to deliver. His awful nakedness was a kind of sophistication. Past the lies of faith, and into purer realms.”

  • Michael Fierce
    2019-06-01 12:34

    Although I enjoyed the book, The Hellbound Heart, the movie version, Hellraiser - with the awesomely cheesy blue and yellow 80's FX - is a bit better and mainly because it was more fully realized.And, as a fun note, John Kozak, the singer of my band, Of The Arcane, had his head sculpted by our friend, Mitch Gonzales, into the likeness of Pinhead, and was presented to Clive at the very first signing we attended of his at The Dark Carnival bookstore, in Berkeley, CA. Clive liked it so much, Mitch gave it to him as a gift.A few years later I met up with Clive who said he had the head encased in glass and on display in his home. John Kozak Pinhead:)

  • RedemptionDenied
    2019-05-31 10:38

    3.5 stars.Hellraiser..... ...... it will tear your soul apart.This wasn't a bad little novella - except some of the sentences seemed to be thrown together; like Frankenstein's monster. I'm not sure if its the authors writing style? - but every so often there would be a sentence that staunched the flow - and some words he used were unnecessary. The dictionary didn't know the meaning.Frank Cotton gains possession of Lemarchands puzzle box (a box of wonders) - aka Lemarchands Configuration - after doing a few favours for a german man named, Kircher - who knows how to obtain the device.He spends several hours at a house on Lodovico Street - trying to unlock the mechanical device, which was constructed by a master craftsman. After several hours of looking for a way in - he finally stumbles across the pressure points that need to be pushed in order to unlock the first part of the device: music emanates from within - and when he finds other pressure points, more of the puzzle is unlocked, with a slightly different tune joining the first tune; each time he unlocks a piece. Once he solves the puzzle; he believes he is going to be shown unknown pleasures - that few men have witnessed before - and Frank wants to experience them. Completely unlocking the device will notify the Cenobites that someone has solved the puzzle, which is their cue to make an appearance. The problem is: Franks interpretation of pleasure is very different to that of the Cenobites - which he will soon find out.It's been a long time since I've seen the movie, Hellraiser - but there were some scenes I remember from the original film. Personally, I preferred the movie, as the book didn't have much Cenobite time; just a brief appearance - I would have liked to have learned more about them - and more about The Gash.I just hope the other book I bought (Imajica) is easier to read than this one - as that novel is the same length as Stephen King's 'It.'

  • Flannery
    2019-06-06 12:44

    I’m assuming everyone in the world has seen the last Harry Potter movie? This isn’t a spoiler but there is this part in the movie where Voldemort is in some place that looks like a train station and he looks like a cross between some sort of fetus and a seahorse. When I saw it with my friends, we were all wondering what the frak we were looking at…in fact, it is pretty safe to say that I am still wondering a few months later. So I know Clive Barker wrote this novella decades before HP7p1 would come out but nevertheless, the movie impacted my reading enjoyment. Why? Because a man in The Hellbound Heart is trying to become more flesh and bone (just like good ol’ Voldy) and needs blood to do so. As he becomes more substantial there is a period of time where all I could picture was some weird-looking seahorse thing flapping around in a corner. This is supposed to scare me? Mission NOT accomplished. Also, Barker went out of his way to mention one of the victims’ saggy, gray underwear before he dies. I was more disgusted by the saggy briefs than the murder. I feel a bit foolish that I didn’t know the movie Hellraiser was based on this novella until my book club buddy told me at our meeting. Because I read an e-version rather than the DTB, I didn’t have the benefit of all the creepy drawings. (Tip #1: Read the DTB. Actually there is only one tip.) I said to my friends, “Hey! That picture looks like that guy Pinhead from that horror movie!” Cue the cricket noises. Considering how short this work is (around 125 pages), Barker really packs a punch of a story. The brevity of the work really limits characterization and plot development. It felt like I was walking down a cafeteria line and just looking at all the things I could have but then never taking a bite of any of it. What kind of woman would just start killing people to feed blood to the demonish presence that may or may not be her brother-in-law with whom she had a rape-and-if-not-rape-certainly-rapey experience with before her wedding? Who the hell moves into a house where one room is totally dank and seemingly haunted? Who disposes of bodies and/or bags of bones by just tossing them in the spare room? Who finds a crazy-ass box in a haunted house and just starts playing around with it? (because that can only have GOOD results, right?) I just had to stop typing for a second to laugh at the memory of us rehashing the plot of this novella at book club. Here’s the lowdown: Was it scary? No.Am I an idiot for not realizing Hellraiser was based on this book? Yes.Do I recommend it to horror lovers? Meh, not really.Was it worth the read? Yes, for the weirdness.Do I want to watch the movie now? Yes, if only to see if there is a seahorse fetus scene.

  • Stepheny
    2019-06-04 16:20

    Clive Barker is the man.Let me just tell you. This is only the second book of his I have ever read but I already know he and I are going to be best friends for life. He may even work his way into my heart the way that Stephen King and JK Rowling have. Who knows?Look out, Clive Barker; I might just be hiding in the bushes. :DThe first book of his that I ever read wasThe Thief of Always and I could not believe I had waited as long as I had to read his work. If you haven’t read that one, you really should. There’s no puppy-killing , I promise. Anyway, I snagged The Hellbound Heart from Audible on a B1G1 deal. This is a really short listen- just over 3 hours. The narration was done really well and they even did this ghostly echo-y voice thing that I can’t begin to explain for the demon voice and it was life-changing. Meet Julia. She’s getting married to Rory. She’s not all that happy with her life but goes along through the motions because it’s the right thing to do. She does what any unhappy bride to be does- she sleeps with her groom’s brother the week before the wedding. Meet Frank. Frank is Rory’s brother and he lives his life freely, constantly searching for the next big thing. Frank likes pleasure. He likes pleasure a whole lot. He barks up the wrong tree though and he is quickly consumed by the Cenobites. Meet Kristy. Kristy is a good friend of Rory’s and not-so-secretly in love with him. Frank's disappearance leaves his brother wondering what adventure his brother has taken off for this time and Julia feeling even more lackluster about her lame hubby. Julia starts hearing voices in the room upstairs at their home and what she finds makes her feel all sorts of warm and tingly. She starts acting differently and Rory starts to worry. Kristy, naturally, starts snooping around and gets tangled into a very tricky web.This book reminds me of why I love horror. It’s twisted and dark. The writing is fantastic. It’s short and sweet; to the point. Clive Barker spins a great story- especially considering how much is packd into this short little book! I think you should read it. I think you should listen to it. I think you will like it. You’ll find it very….sensual

  • Scott
    2019-06-03 11:25

    Have you met your monthly quota of books that include people being torn apart by fish-hooks on chains then dragged off into endless torment? No? Then I suggest you read some Clive Barker.It's been a while since I visited the fevered worlds of Barker's imagination and I'd forgotten how readable he can be. Barker was very big in the 80s and 90s, and this book was the beginning of a multitude of his magical horror stories where sex, death and the occult are closely intertwined. Some of Barker's books are very entertaining reads and The Hellbound Heart is one such - an engrossing horror love story of the more twisted variety.The story centers around Frank Cotton, his brother Rory and Rory's wife Julia.Frank is a jaded hedonist, a man who has traveled the world to experience every drug, every pleasure, sexual or otherwise. He feels he has felt everything worth feeling, until he hears tell of something known as Lemarchand's configuration- a puzzle box that when deciphered opens a door into a world of infinite pleasure. Once the door is open a bunch of rather po-faced demons called Cenobites who look like they've each tripped over in a different section of a hardware store (one has a head punctured by hundreds of nails) appear and offer you the rather enticing deal of an eternity under their ministrations. (A few early-story spoilers follow)What Tony is unaware of is that the line between pleasure and pain can be narrow, and the Cenobites kinda see them as the same thing, making their world one of infinite suffering as well as infinite pleasure.Tony heads to his old family home to open the box, the home that his brother Rory and Julia are about to move into (Unbeknowst to Rory, his wife is obsessed with Frank, whom she once slept with). Tony figures out the puzzle box and after summoning the Cenobites, is dragged off to the fun and frivolity of eternity in the pleasure/pain universe and exquisitely tortured until he doesn't really know the difference between the two anymore.My main takeaway from The Hellbound Heart is that if you are going to open a door to a dimension of infinite pain be sure and spray a few bodily fluids around first. Frank, having had the foresight to ejaculate on the floor before entering the Cenobites' world (and the direly poor hygiene to leave the resulting fluids lying around) has left a small part of himself in our reality. While in the Cenobite's clutches Frank can sense the presence of his, ah, man-essence, something that gives him a nasty, nasty link to our world. (As a side note, the whole magic semen thing comes up in a few of Barker's stories, so if you're a little bit semen-phobic maybe give him a miss.)When Rory accidentally cuts his hand and spills blood in the room, Frank is able to bridge the two worlds and travel back. His body has been ravaged by the tortures he has received, and in need of blood sacrifice to rebuild himself completely he enlists the help of Julia. As you can expect, things escalate somewhat from here. While this isn't my favorite of Barker's books (Imajica, The Great and Secret Show and Weaveworld can battle it out for that title) it's a pacy read with some great sequences. Barker mixes the occult ,the horrific and the sexual very well, and knows both when to draw in for a gruesome close up and when to give the reader's imagination space to fill in the awful blanks. Barker tells a good story of obsession, lust and the supernatural, and The Hellbound Heart is both engaging and easily gobbled up in a short reading session.After reading this novel I'm left with only one concern. I feel much more prepared should I be dragged off to a torture dimension, but seriously, does it have to be semen that anchors me to our reality? Could we bargain down to spit? Or perhaps a few tears? if not I think I'm far too squeamish for Clive Barker style demon-summoning.3.5 stars.

  • Paul Nelson
    2019-06-11 09:17

    The Hellbound Heart starts with Lemarchand’s box and Frank's desire to solve the intricate puzzle and in turn find the promised new world, a province infinitely far from the room in which he sat, toying as the music rings. He had meticulously prepared, every part of the invocation ritual observed and now he was to finally set eyes on the Cenobites, theologians of the Order of the Gash. Summoned from their experiments in the higher reaches of pleasure and that is what he asks for, pleasure. Not as he'd dreamed though, the collision of sensuality and pain were too much and his mind teetered on the brink of madness. He'd been deceived, with no way back to his life or so he thought. Forward to Frank's brother Rory and his wife Julia, moving into the house that Frank briefly occupied and followed by the inexplicably devoted Kirsty, a close friend of Rory. Julia had a brief liaison with Brother Frank who disappeared shortly after and she forever yearned for him as her own marriage travelled the rocky path that most encounter at some time, desperate for the thing she couldn't have. One of the bedrooms in the house just doesn't feel right to Julia, Rory and a cut hand bring blood into the room. Julia sees something and the blood vanishes as if consumed, is Frank still here. Realization hits her, she'd been in love with him all along and if it takes blood to restore him, then blood she will supply, and not think twice of the consequences. 'It was human, she saw, or had been. But the body had been ripped apart and sewn together again with most of its pieces either missing or twisted and blackened as if in a furnace. There was an eye, gleaming at her, and the ladder of a spine, the vertebrae stripped of muscle; a few unrecognizable fragments of anatomy. That was it.' Rory and Kirsty are caught up in the insanity and ferocity, unwitting ingredients in a mixture of blood and violence, and it all comes back to Lemarchand’s box. The Hellbound Heart for horror fans is not a million miles away from being the perfect read, the concept of access to another plain of existence is a well-used one and Clive Barker handles it with vivid poise. The Cenobites and the story of Lemarchand’s box are the most outlandish parts of the story but the prose and vision that the author portrays make it feel real and not beyond all possibility. Characters are well rounded and there's enough horror to disturb most. Now I'm off to watch the film, again.A 4.5* RatingAlso posted at

  • Graeme Rodaughan
    2019-06-06 08:29

    One of the better books of Clive Barker's that I've read. I like the sparse structure with a clean straight through narrative.Extraordinary idea and well executed. Will suit horror fans. While there is some gore, it's never gratuitous or over done.

  • Edward Lorn
    2019-06-16 14:14

    I've now officially read three Clive Barker books to completion. The Great and Secret Show was my first, and though I enjoyed it, I can't remember what happened therein, nor can I recall exactly what I enjoyed about it. I do, however, recall laying it down and saying, "I need to find more from this author." I then went on to read The Thief of Always because I thought the blurb was coolio. I enjoyed it immensely. The rest of my experiences with Barker were not so good. I tried and failed to read four different novels (The Damnation Game, Galilee, Sacrament, and Mister B. Gone) and the first volume of his Books of Blood shenanigans. Out of all of that, I liked one story: "The Yattering and Jack." Everything else bored me to point that I traded them in to my local USB. I have enjoyed more Clive Barker celluloid than I have paper. This is my subjective opinion, and only my subjective opinion. I know this guy has fans, and I do not argue that he is a talented author. It's just that, mostly, he's not for me. Which brings me to why I like this book. It reads almost exactly like the movie plays out. Hellraiser is one of my favorite films, and one that is erroneously stuffed into the slasher film genre. Pinhead is categorized with the likes of Freddy and Jason and Mike Myers when he really has no reason to be. The Hellraiser movies that work have very little to do with Pinhead and the cenobites. The ones that work have everything to do with the worst of humanity being on display, and said horrible human beings just happening upon Lemarchand's puzzle box.Thus, the most interesting part of The Hellbound Heart is its darkly disturbed cast. Julia is one sick heffie, as is Frank the Skinless Psychopath. Frank's brother is oddly clueless, and his niece is seemingly inconsequential - that is until she's needed to save the day. At times I wish that this book had been written entirely from Frank's point of view. He's about as disturbed as they come, and a blast to hang out with. I wanted more Frank time. Call me nuts, but he and I could share a beer, I think. I kid, I kid... dude would probably try to fuck me with a fire extinguisher wrapped in barbed wire. Even though this book is short, it's still wordy as balls, and yet manages to be repetitive, as well. Adverbs are used to death, and it seems as if Clive made a pact with devil wherein he must use the word "din" as many times as possible in 164 pages. How many times is that, you might ask. Well, that would be 12 times, Virginia, and yes, there really is a Santa Claus. I find it funny how an author that prides himself on using the most lavish, sweeping prose imaginable repeats such a word as many times as he does in this book. With any other author, you might find "din" once in a five hundred page outing, if you find it at all. But here, Clive said, "Screw it! It's my party and I'll "din" all over your face until I get tired or someone calls the police!"(Note: "din" is NOT another word for jizz. It means loudness, yo. You just got learnted!)And, oh my Tom Cruise, the gore. I was pleased with the amount of catsup/ketchup coating the walls. Some dude got his jaw ripped off, and I love a good mandible yank. Makes me shiver, it do. Splatter-fiends will find their fix in this fearsome freakshow, trust the fuck outta me!In summation: The best Clive Barker I've managed to finish because it's just like the movie. This is probably because Barker wrote/directed/and masturbated on set of the film adaptation, or whatever, but it is what it is. And it is a fun, if verbose, bit of literary horror. The book and the movie can both be completed in the same amount of time, so take your pick. That's all I got... Get outta here, kid, ya bother me!

  • Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder*
    2019-06-14 14:41

    Not many minds can come up with the twisted worlds Clive Barker does. The plot for the Hellbound Heart is a creative, freaky version of Hell. The underlying theme is the fine lines between pleasure and pain, the greed and desperation of mankind to always seek what is beyond its reach and out of this world. But, besides all that, it is in a way a demented, twisted, dark, fairy-tale like love story. It focuses on a woman who believes she is in love with her husband’s brother, and would do anything to reclaim that passionate night she once held with him.The story is as much fantasy as it is horror, with a bit of realism intertwined. (yikes)Dark, stiff, matter-of-fact. The cenobites are not main characters per se, merely tools. Nothing much is revealed on them other than the fact that they work with simple rules to play the darkest game imaginable. Julia is shown as an uptight woman ruled by secret desires she eventually kills for. Kirsty is hampered by unmet excitement in her life, wanting a man who doesn’t care for her in the same way, then being slapped in the face by something she never wanted nor asked to see. Frank is a man who has always been searching for things beyond this world, never happy with something he can easily put his hands on. Rory is a loving man, simple and not adequate for Julia’s tastes, clueless to what she really feels for him. In a way he is the saddest victim of the novel, reminding me of many people walking around today and being used.The pace is even; this novella has a lot to cover in a relatively small amount of time. Barker goes for the jugular from the first page with summaries of pain, ending with a hopeless sort of ending that doesn’t make one want to sleep well at night.I always thought that Barker’s style seemed to a change a bit depending on what he was writing. If you read various short stories in the books of blood, you may see what I mean. His writing mildly changes to fit what he’s penciling out, and that’s a good trait. For the Hellbound Heart, his words are devoid of any humor or light. He’s to the point, crisp and short. As always he uses advanced vocabulary, although he doesn’t get as carried away as some of his other works. Many of the words he used to paint imagery/scenes are almost artistic in the way they’re phrased.The Hellbound Heart carries much of the same weight as the film Hellraiser, but it lacks some magic. The story is a good one, a haunting one, but it’s not something that stands out too much.The story is different for sure, the characters are realistic (although not that enjoyable), and the ending was exciting. I believe if I had seen the movie after the book, my opinion may be different. There wasn’t the big fight and brawl at the end like in the film; I thought more could have been added there. It just ended up being too short, too wrapped up for my tastes. Kirstys’ climax was strong but because of the timing of her discovery, to the last page, it wasn’t long lasting. I would have loved seeing this as a fleshed out novel.Even if this isn’t the best book out there, the idea is sensational, the writing superb, the moral lesson clear. I think every horror fan owes it to themselves to read this book.

  • Randolph Carter
    2019-06-09 09:36

    Many people don't realize that this book is actually a parody; a commentary on the ever increasing thrills we post-moderns crave from our lives and even horror fiction, films, etc. Look up Barker's own comments if you don't believe me. In fact, Barker has never written a story more gut wrenching and extreme than Heart; some equal it, but none actually exceed it. The fact that it spawned an entire industry of graphic novels and films all predicated on the the goal of being ever more extreme is an ironic commentary in itself. One wonders whether Clive is secretly enjoying the further irony that his baby spawned, just the thing he was commenting on, or just taking it to the bank.The Cenobites and the Lamarchand's Configuration are two of the great creations in horror and certainly one of the reasons the novella resonates so well with horror fans (ignore the fact that one of the films ruins the creation, makes the Cenobites "good" and mindful of their former lives).In any case, the novella is as perfect a modern horror story as there ever was written and Barker, and few others, have ever equaled it though he/they have tried. It is hard to repeat perfection. One of the reasons the book is so good is it jettisons all the horror tropes and traditions up to it's time to create a truly original story. Add to this Barker's perfectly evocative prose. It didn't hurt that it was especially memorable because it came out in the '80s when horror fiction was a having a sort of Renaissance. Every horror fan should have to read this story and watch the first two films (maybe Bloodlines too). If you haven't, you aren't a real horror fan, yet. Oh, and avoid Hellraiser III (the film) at all costs. It makes a joke of the entire Cenobite concept.

  • ♛Tash
    2019-05-23 09:33

    So this is the novella that spawned Hellraiser, and perhaps the thing responsible for patent leather fashion...Everything about this novella is grotesque and gory, but not that scary. Unless one finds bloody red meat and facial piercings scary.

  • Kasia
    2019-06-17 11:19

    I finally got to read the masterpiece that started it all and well… I was horrified all right to actually admit that I liked the Hellraiser movies better than this book. I have always loved the movies but I value books pillars above any celluloid so for me to enjoy the movie more is abnormal! The writing style is quite Gothic and lyrical, and I was glad to have seen the movies in order to make sure I wasn’t off the wall when it came to understanding the story which was dark, creepy and haunting but not as scary and sublime as I have imagined it to be. I was expecting hair rising gore form the Cenobites but come on, so few mentions of my favorite creepers … they were a mere shadow of their glorious sanguinary power, I did love the resounding bell sounds when they were around but the book skimmed though them and overall was tiny, something you can easily read on the couch during the afternoon in two hours. I definitely wanted more, I wanted meat and juice and to be freaked out.The tale starts off with Frank Cotton ( nice pure name for a dirty bastard) and his bored pursuit of pleasure, we don’t find out much about what moves him and even when he finds the golden Lemarchand's box it all happens too fast to bring any suspense, he wants sick and twisted pleasure and he pays the ultimate price but I wanted to experience it with him and not just read about him being taken by the forces that made the puzzle and accept it, I wanted to be there front row. Luckily his brother’s wife Julia is a total psycho who has been entranced by Frank and who discovers that he still exists in a creepy old house except that he’s part of it in a way, so she finds him victims in her love sick way and bleeds them into the floors for him to absorb. The action in the story is mainly though her and the noisy next door neighbor who gets involved in business that has nothing do with her. I won’t say more for those who want surprises but I expected a bit more, yes I gave this book four stars because it’s Barker but he has much improved since this book, and the series is quite magnificent and he did come up with the whole theme which I will always be a huge fan of, I just wanted more out of the book, I felt like it whet my appetite but never fed me… oh well, I always have the movies I guess! - Kasia S.

  • Eat.Sleep.Lift.Read.
    2019-06-15 15:14

    Never watched Hellraiser...(Don't judge)Never read a Clive Barker book...(Ok, fucking judge me already)Barker lays down some flowery lexicon wrapped in a tortilla of blood and gore. It's pretty nifty. However, it seems like he is trying too hard. Words are repeated bukkake style. And these aren't cool words like foreskin and lollipop. The word that comes to mind is 'din', yes probably in the top 5 most boring words in the English language is repeated 100 times in 100 pages, no joke (well, a little exaggeration but not that much). I enjoyed the HELL out of this book. It's a great story with great characters and amazing bad dudes. I wish I had read this book as a teen but even now as a jaded 'adult' it still packs a punch.I'm probably the only horror fan who hadn't read this classic but if you're still one of those lost souls - go read it, now.Guess it's time to go watch Hellraiser.

  • Thomas Strömquist
    2019-06-15 08:25

    And suddenly it becomes totally logical that Barker was considered (not least by S King himself) "the future of horror" in the mid to late 80's and that the movie based on this was a success. In other words, I simply loved this story, the characters are brilliant (hardly any of them likeable though). The prose - passive, matter-of-fact and a bit dreamlike - which I was not 100 % comfortable with starting out - I got to think fit the storyline perfectly. The fantasy world (or rather fantasy beings sometimes inhabiting our world) is fascinating and just the right amount of explained and revealed to keep the fascination up. And the ending, of course, is to die for - and some wish for just that.

  • Nate
    2019-05-20 10:32

    I don't do well with audiobooks. Because I am an ADD-ridden manchild, I find the link between the writer's imagination and mine to be much more palpable and accessible when I'm looking at the words and holding the book in my hands. I also don't like that I have to basically take in the story at the reader's pace, when my brain likes to cram as many words into it as possible with regular books. It sucks, because I really love the idea of audiobooks! It really mixes written word with the oral tradition in a wonderful way, and I know that there are a ton of talented readers out there who can bring individual characters to life with just their voices the way actors on the stage or screen do with their entire bodies.So it was with a bit of skepticism that I started playing the the audio version of The Hellbound Heart, read by the writer himself. There's some spooky ambient music and then the author's voice, pleasant but somewhat dry and with a thin, languid English accent: So intent was Frank upon Lemarchand's box that he didn't hear the great bell begin to ring. The device had been constructed by a master craftsman, and the riddle was this: that though he had been told the box contained wonders, there seemed to be no way into it. You could do a lot worse for a beginning, and the book held me for the relatively short length of about three hours.As you can tell from the preceding paragraph, this story is about a dude, Frank, who finds this mysterious puzzle box named after its apparent creator Lemarchand. Frank is promised by the man he gets the box from that unlocking its puzzles will summon beings that will take him to a new dimension of sensual pleasure. See, Frank is a soul-deadened nihilistic hedonist who has become bored with life's Earthly pleasures such as sex and drugs and he wants to ascend to a new plane of sensory bliss, hopefully with the help of these otherworldly beings called the Cenobites--who will apparently be summoned or appear when he solves the maddening puzzle of the box.Well, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that this book is not about Frank going to some heavenly new plane of joy and pleasure with his friendly new companions. Turns out that the Cenobites are in actuality mega-soulless humanoid S&M junkie demons. They're all kinds of scarified and have ornate and complex systems of chains and hooks hanging everywhere from their flesh. Obviously, Frank has totally fucked himself over--and that's just the prologue! The story proper starts up a bit after all this, when Frank's younger brother Rory and his wife Julia move into the house that Frank has mysteriously abandoned.The small cast really is what drives this story, rather than the supernatural elements. Lemarchand's Box and what it does is more of the axis around which the characters spin. This is no story of malicious demons invading our world and wreaking havoc upon innocent people; more often than not, the humans themselves are the true antagonists of the story, and the choices they make are what get things so utterly fucked up for them by the end of the novella. The Box and its travelers are just an awesome, terrifying catalyst for them to do that. The Cenobites and the obscure Order of the Gash they belong to felt almost more like a creation of a fantasy novel rather than a typical horror invention and they definitely made me excited to see what Barker creates in his longer works.I can't believe I slept on Barker's stuff for so long! His prose is powerful and ornate, his characters realistic and attentively-drawn, and his imagination is obviously extremely potent and full of cleverly fucked up ideas. I also got kind of a gothic vibe from this one for some definitely felt like a more modern Poe or Lovecraft with a more pronounced sexuality than a successor to someone like Stephen King or Peter Straub. This I definitely dug, because felt less like an Everyman's horror experience in Everytown, USA and more of some alien, parallel-reality English soap opera with fucked up interdimensional horror--complete with a big, cold house with very own Room, as in That Room or The Room.I read (listened) to this in conjunction with making my way through Barker's first three volumes of Books of Blood, and am consistently surprised at how imaginative, well-formed and gelled these early works of his are. It's always impressive when a writer comes right out of the gate with such original and well-written work, and I'm glad I finally tried Barker's stuff out. I'm totally watching Hellraiser after reading this, and will probably add an unnecessary update on how it compares to the original work.Unnecessary Hellraiser update:Hellraiser: What a classic! I can't believe it took me this long to see the movie. More authors should adapt their own work to the screen. Loved it. The music was great as well, with the main theme already making its way into my favorite movie themes. The lady that played Julia (I don't feel like Googling her) was awesome and of course Andy Robinson (who many will remember as the tres creepy Scorpio from the first Dirty Harry film) was reliably great.Hellbound: Hellraiser 2: I was pleasantly surprised by this one! I've watched WAY too many horror series to expect anything but probable garbage from sequels but this was a good flick It retained the feel of the original extremely well and I absolutely LOVED the scenes in the Cenobites' Hell. Extremely fucked up and creepy shit. I was also pleasantly surprised to see Pompey from HBO's criminally underrated Rome slumming it up as Dr. Channard.Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth: LOL. I was waiting for the other shoe to drop, but this was a really, really heavy and shit-caked shoe. Vapid, unlikable characters, a weak-ass plot that turns Pinhead into another rote serial killer/slasher and hilariously bad Cenobite design (the DJ Cenobite, Bartender Cenobite and Cameraman Cenobite were hideously dumb and offensive) make this a really terrible film. Of course I didn't stop here.Hellraiser: Bloodlines: So this is like Hellraiser in Space meets Historical Hellraiser. Much less horrible than the third film but still firmly mediocre. That said, Anjelique was the most interesting non-Cenobite villain since Julia from the first two, and the Cenobite designs were much, much improved. I also liked the look at how Lemarchand's Box came into existence.Hellraiser: Inferno: This was the one that made me give up the series for the moment. Like a mediocre Bad Lieutenant with some Hellraiser stuff crudely grafted on. Unfortunately the dude in this movie is no Harvey Keitel. Honestly there were moments where it felt like the film started life as an unrelated horror movie and they just shoved some Pinhead appearances in for the hell of it. Pure fucking garbage.

  • Mili
    2019-06-03 13:19

    I was excited to read this novella when I found out the movie Hellraiser was based on it! I love horror and to be honest when it comes to books I hardly pick up that genre. So sometimes I go browsing for one and this time it brought me to Clive Barker. I definitely would want to try out more of his horror books! I liked his imagination! This novella was entertaining and a fast read, worked its nostalgic magic :) It wasnt amazing but still very good and inviting to read more from this author. The Cenobites are awesome, they have a very short but mystical role in this book. The masters of pain :) and when it comes to the gore it was raw and oldschool!I did not like the 'come to Daddy' phrase, gag! And the women were a sad bunch to be honest haha. 3.5 stars!

  • Michelle {Book Hangovers}
    2019-06-12 11:30

    Take two people, Frank and Julia:Now imagine a box that you think if opened you'll find a sexual experience that will blow your mind, kindof like a Genie's lamp and your wishing for pure pleasure. Instead you open the box and get an eternity of torture. That's what Frank did...Now imagine being so in love it become obsessive. That you'll do anything to bring a loved one back to you, even if that someone is disfigured, mangled and mutilated beyond belief causing a group of extra dimensional beings to appear, determined to bring back what belongs to them no matter what it takes. Well that's what Julia did for Frank....Personally, I'm going to stay away from any kind of puzzle boxes. The crazy obsessed lovers is up in the air....Reread in October 2017Clive Barker is the master of mystery and Macabre. A legend when it comes to horror. He is such a fascinating human being. Making horror feel more Intellectual and eloquent, than spooky and terrifying.

  • Bob Milne
    2019-05-20 11:44

    As I prepare to settle down and immerse myself in the long-awaited literary spectacle that is The Scarlet Gospels, I am going back and revisiting the original appearances of Pinhead and Harry D'Amour. As brilliant as Doug Bradley and Scott Bakula were in their respective screen roles, I want to recapture the essence of Clive Barker's vision, the magic of his words, and the subtle nuances that remained on the page.Although The Books of Blood is technically where it all began, with Harry D'Amour and The Last Illusion, it's with The Hellbound Heart that Barker became an obsession for me. I actually had the pleasure of reading the novella just days before watching Hellraiser, and I remember how satisfying it was to see the story come alive on the screen, scene-for-scene, in the kind of faithful adaption that Stephen King would have to wait decades to enjoy.To be fair, there are two significant differences between the two adaptations. The cinematic Pinhead has become a horror icon, a figure of fear and fascination alongside the likes of Freddy and Jason, but he only has one brief scene in the novella, and just two short lines. His iconic pins are actually adorned by jewels here, and he has "the voice of an excited girl," rather than the perfect baritone of Doug Bradley. Instead, it's The Engineer who serves as the face and voice of the Cenobites in the novella, although it speaks the same quotable lines, such as "No tears, please. It's a waste of good suffering," and iconic pledge to "tear your soul apart."*The other significant difference is in the ending, with the film having more of a heroic sort of climax for Kristy, although I far prefer the creepy, haunting, final shocking scene of the novella. It places Julia in a bit of a different light, not quite redeeming her murderous adultery, but instilling her with a little sympathy and sorrow. (view spoiler)[The image of a dirt-smeared bride, sitting amid the smoldering ruins of a family dining room, is vivid enough, but then that twist . . . with Julia's plaintive cries not coming from beneath the lush veil, but from the bride's lap . . . wow, does that ever bring the themes of the story home. (hide spoiler)]Everything just works in this tale, from the characterization, to the plotting, to the themes, to the dialogue, to the visuals. It's a perfect length, as well, capturing the essence of Barker's tale with nary a wasted word or scene. For me, this was also the first work by Barker where the language of the narrative really made an impact, forcing me to slow down, detach myself from the story, and just linger over the word choices and construction of sentences. It's a horribly dark story, of despicable people committing atrocious acts, but so beautifully told, you really do come away with a proper sense of just how close pleasure is to pain, and just how wondrous the intersection of the two can be.There is absolutely no doubt that Hellraiser is one of the finest horror movies ever made, but The Hellbound Heart rarely gets the literary recognition it deserves. It is, quite simply, one of the most perfect horror stories ever written.Originally reviewed at Beauty in Ruins

  • Mindi
    2019-06-17 10:36

    Review to follow...

  • Becky
    2019-05-27 11:17

    3.5 stars. I've seen 'Hellraiser' of course, and my brother even dressed up as an awesome Pinhead for Halloween 2 years in a row in the late 80s. Mom painstakingly applied about a hundred gray toothpicks all over his head. Some weren't even sharp enough to go in properly, so it took a while, and he just would NOT stop crying... Kidding, kidding! I do wish that we had pictures of that costume though, it was great. My mom is an artistic genius, and my dedicated brother even allowed his head to be shaved almost bald for effect. Good times. Anyway, back to business. So, I'd seen the movie, but being that young (I was 5 when it came out) I didn't really get it, but my boyfriend likes the movies too, so we have a full collection, and I've seen them again a couple times as an adult. And this is one case where I think the movies are better than the book. True, the effects were pretty cheesetastic, but it was the 80s and the movies themselves are great. Gory and depraved and awesome. The story itself is short, and quite good, but kind of... sparse. I mean, Barker fits a lot of stuff into less than 200 pages, but he doesn't really describe the Cenobites or give much information about the history of the box, etc. We can fill in the blanks this way, making the Cenobites as horrible as we like, but I think the movies were fantastic for the creativity in depicting them. The book most definitely lacked there. Anyway, this was a good book, and I'm glad I listened to it. I liked the reader, even though his voice took a little while to get used to. I liked the way he voiced the Cenobites though. Creepy! :)

  • Kathryn
    2019-05-21 15:23

    Having seen the Hellraiser movies, and owning the fourth in the series, I was surprised to learn the idea came from a book, The Hellbound Heart. I was immediately intrigued, mainly because I actually like the movies and think they are definitely creative. And of course, who could forget Pinhead? The Hellbound Heart is a pretty quick read. I believe my Kindle edition is about 176 pages. It follows the story of the first movie, in case you've seen the movies, and you were wondering. Clive Barker's writing is like reading poetry. I have to say, I'd love to read more of his works simply to see what else he has to say and to see the way he wrote it. This is a good, four star read. It's nothing really spectacular, and I almost think the movies were better. I guess because you can actually see what the Cenobites look like, because I felt they could have been described a little more to get a better visual. But, the writing definitely pushed the rating up for me, as well as the creativity of the story, the box, and the Cenobites. Thanks to my friend Victor for recommending this to me.

  • Stephen
    2019-06-17 09:16

    3.0 stars. This novella was the basis of the Hellraiser movies featuring everyone's favorite Cenobite, Pinhead. This was a decent read, but I actually enjoyed the movie more as I thought it did a better job of creating an atmosphere of dread than the story. Nominee: World Fantasy Award for Best Novella.

  • Medhat The Book Fanatic
    2019-05-20 13:43

    A macabre book that is shocking, and interesting and enjoyable to a certain extent. For the most part I thought this was OK, but I think I would have enjoyed it more if it were longer and more developed.

  • Andrea ❤Ninja Bunneh❤
    2019-05-23 15:22

    You have come into possession of a puzzle box.If you can solve this puzzle, all of your wildest dreams may be finally reached. You slave over the innocuous cube, and eventually the fruits of your labor are revealed. Suddenly, the room brightens, you sense someone (or something) is coming. You realize that your fantasies may all be about to come true. They are here.It begins to dawn on you that their definition of your fantasies may not be the same as your definition. Welcome to your own personal hell.If you happen to bump into Pinhead, tell him I say hi before he rips the skin from your flesh.You may also discover the secret of where bunnehs really come from.3.5 Cenobite-Ninja-Bunnehs