Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Hellbound Heart, by Clive Barker

(pb; 1986: novella)

From the back cover:

"Frank Cotton's insatiable appetite for the dark pleasures of pain led him to the puzzle of Lemarchand's box, and from there, to a death only a sick-minded soul could invent. But his brother's love-crazed wife, Julia, has discovered a way to bring Frank back - though the price will be bloody and terrible. . . and there will certainly be hell to pay."


The Hellbound Heart is an intense, excellent, horrific (in a good way) blast of a read. The story in this 164-page novella is notably different than that of the 1987 film (retitled Hellraiser) - e.g., in the book, The Engineer is the head Cenobite in the "Order of the Gash"; Pinhead doesn't exist. In the film, The Engineer was replaced by the physically dissimilar Pinhead. That said, both versions work.

Worth owning, this.


The resulting film, Hellraiser, was released stateside September 18, 1987.

Andrew Robinson played Larry Cotton ("Rory Cotton" in the novella). Claire Higgins played Julia Cotton. Ashley Laurence played Kirsty Cotton. Sean Chapman played Frank Cotton. Robert Hines played Steve. Oliver Smith played "Frank the Monster".

Doug Bradley played Pinhead/Captain Elliot Spenser. Nicholas Vince played "Chattering Cenobite". Simon Bamford played "Butterball Cenobite". Grace Kirby played "Female Cenobite".

Novella author Clive Barker directed and wrote the screenplay for the movie.


A theatrical remake has been greenlit, with Barker's vocal support, but filming hasn't begun on it.


Eight sequels, many of them direct-to-video, have followed the original film. The latest, Hellraiser: Revelations, is supposed to be coming out sometime this year. This ninth Hellraiser film, a DVD/Blu Ray release, will be the first where Doug Bradley doesn't play Pinhead. (This does not bode well for the film.)


In 1989, Epic Comics published an anthology comic book, Hellraiser, with various authors and illustrators - including Bernie Wrightson, John Bolton and Ted McKeever - creating their own short stories about the Cenobites, their victims and their universe(s). I don't know how long this series was published, but I know it ran for at least eighteen issues. (The first comic book image seen below is the cover of issue #1).

In 2011, Boom! Studios revived the series, with the same name (Hellraiser) with new Cenobite stories, written by different writers and artists - Clive Barker has been co-writing the series' ongoing storyline.

Seen below is one of the three alternate covers of issue #1, illustrated by Tim Bradstreet. Leonardo Manco provided the interior art.

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