Thursday, October 23, 2008

Hellbound Heart, The (Clive Barker)

Hellbound Heart, The (Clive Barker)

Rating: 5/5
Pub. Date: 1986
Genre: Horror
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!

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