Clive Barker’s superlative novella tells a gruesome tale of greed, love and desire, as the hedonistic Frank determines to explore the intricacies of a strange and magical box. Given that the book prompted a great movie series (Hellraiser et al) which Barker also directed, I’m puzzled that it’s taken me this long to get around to reading the original version.
This book would’ve scared the pants off me if I hadn’t already watched the movie a dozen or more times. It’s a short read, but Barker’s prose is gorgeous, sliding creepy and often gruesome images into the reader’s mind. And there’s no traipsing around the houses – Barker launches straight into Frank’s exertions as he strives to open Lemarchand’s mysterious box, leaving no doubt that where we’re going will not be pleasant. The writing is sharp and original and though the author’s descriptions are sometimes sketchy, they leave enough to the imagination for us to picture exactly what horrors the Cenobites bring with them.
A classic of horror fiction.
Back to the Blog