The Hellbound Heart – Book Review

For those of you who may not know the film “Hellraiser” and the franchise, it generated started with the novella “The Hellbound Heart” by Clive Barker. When I initially read “The Hellbound Heart” it was on the grounds that I had seen that Hellraiser was based on “The Hellbound Heart”. Curiosity got me into horror novels.

I was stunned. The book begins with a genuinely horrendous scene that I believed was quite recently unnecessary when I’d initially observed “Hellraiser” yet in the light of the book with the force of the written work I truly delighted in it and general I took in a considerable amount of inspiration from the Novella.

There are 3 characters that matter in this story and the cenobites. Each character including the cenobites is well developed. It goes extremely far to demonstrate to you what you can achieve by keeping the story more straightforward with lower character numbers.

Sexuality is front and center in this book. Desire and the need to satisfy our sexual longings is the reason for the puzzle box being opened and the Cenobites being called. The way sexuality in the book is discussed is done gently now and again and gruffly practically in your face at others. It attracted me and made me more intrigued in light of the fact that pleasure drove the story. Undoubtedly the story couldn’t have occurred without sexual longings.

The bulk of the novella is about Julia and her interests in Frank and her helping Frank get back to being his old self. The principal character is Frank. We begin seeing him go to hell. At that point, we concentrate on Julia as she and Frank’s sibling (Rory) move into the old family home. Gradually the story moves from an emphasis on Julia to an attention on Kirsty, Rory’s friend, lastly, the novella closes with an encounter with the Cenobites. The Cenobites are a gigantic piece of the story however they truly aren’t in the book that much. When they do show up they truly bring the horror however at its heart, this novella is about humanity, not the creatures.

I was taken by the dialect of this novella. The way it was composed, the word decision and the voice of the piece truly addressed me and made me need to peruse more. It made me consider my own particular voice.



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  1. If you haven’t heard it, the British industrial/ambient band Coil was commissioned by Clive Barker to compose the music for the first Hellraiser film. The studio found the score too disturbing and thought it would distract the viewer from the story, so they weren’t used. But they are still out there and a Google search should uncover them without too much difficulty. Very creepy stuff.


  2. I actually read “The Hellbound Heart” before I saw “Hellraiser”–a friend of mine gave me The Books Of Blood and I went looking for anything I could find by Clive Barker. When I did catch the film–several years later, on VHS–it took me a while to connect it to the novella.

    And Barker was a very big influence on my own writing–he was one of the first authors that I saw building a new universe of horrors rather than recycling the old standbys of werewolves and vampires. I tried to do the same thing in my books (although I’ll admit that Barker’s Cenobites are something that I stole unashamedly.)

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    1. Yeah I first read the Hellbound heart, then books of blood, then found out that Cabal was written by Barker, and Nightbreed was based on Cabal. Loved Nightbreed. Used to watch it with my father whenever we saw it on TV. Was overjoyed when I found out there was a book of it.

      I like the Cenobites, but I like to think they they are not really from hell but an ethereal realm of pleasure where all things convey into pleasure and the most intense feeling is pain. Hell is more easily connected with though, so I see why it’s always referred to as hell. Same thing in event horizon, I don’t believe they wen’t to hell. I think they went to some other dimension where pain and suffering aren’t pain and suffering but instead are means to another end.


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