Hellbound Heart, The (Clive Barker)
Pub. Date: 1986
Would I read it again? Yes
This short novel is what became the movie "Hellraiser."
This is the first of Barker's works I've read. I hope all of his writing is as tight and economical as this example! He doles out only as many words as needed to express a thought, to describe a mood, and not a syllable more. Even better, he doesn't lead you by the hand through his plot or hit you over the head: you are expected to work things out for yourself.
It's been more than 20 years since I last saw "Hellraiser," so I can't say how close "The Hellbound Heart" is to its cinematic offspring. We begin with Frank exploring an intricate puzzle-box. He's been at it for hours, dreaming of pleasures promised by the man who gave him the thing: wild orgies, sated lust, women used and discarded.
He opens the box. Wild orgies, sated lust? Nope, nothing he'd imagined. Frank gets used up--but not discarded--by the horrific creatures summoned by the opening of that box.
Eight months later, his brother and sister-in-law move into the house, not knowing that Frank was even there. Hell-raising ensues!