Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Hellbound Heart: A Novel by Clive Barker

The Hellbound Heart: A Novel (original 1986; edition 2007)

by Clive Barker

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,457315,137 (3.79)26
Title:The Hellbound Heart: A Novel
Authors:Clive Barker
Info:Harper Perennial (2007), Paperback, 164 pages
Collections:Leeds library, Already read
Tags:horror, fiction

Work details

The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker (1986)

  1. 10
    Cabal by Clive Barker (Anonymous user)

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 26 mentions

English (29)  Spanish (1)  French (1)  All languages (31)
Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
"The Hellbound Heart" has a lot of surprises in it. The first, of course, is that everyone's favorite cenboite, Pinhead, makes only a cameo appearance. I'd been warned about that one, but it also surprised me how much like a regular literary novel "The Hellbound Heart"can sometimes seem. Sure, it involves bloodthirsty unspeakable ghouls from another dimension who have disfigured their bodies beyond recognition, but it's also the story of an upwardly mobile Thatcher-era British couple called Rory and Kristy whose marriage is falling apart. It's kind of surprising how much of "The Hellbound Heart" doesn't involve people getting torn limb from limb. "The Hellbound Heart" could even be mistaken for a stealth critique of boring yuppiedom. Yes, Frank's a monster, but it's clear that he's got much more ambition than his brother, and Barker seems to kind of admire him for it. To be perfectly honest, Barker's not at his best in that part of the book: the characters aren't particularly memorable, and there's a lot of stock language to be found in the book's quieter scenes. The horror stuff is, of course, a fair sight better. I'm a sucker for art about bodily difference and transformation, and that seems to be one of Clive's major obsessions, too. The cenobites aren't, after all, anyone's victims, and they weren't born looking that way. They're the weird products of their own out-of-control desires. In fact, despite the fact that the Hellraiser movies are notorious for their references to S and M and fetish sex, there's less of that sort of thing here than I expected: the cenobites aren't much for talking, and they keep things pretty understated when referring to the bizarre pleasures that they've experienced. It is, in a way, wonderfully British of them. Lastly, I also wondered how much "The Hellbound Heart" prefigured the modern vogue for all things steampunk: Barker's "hooks, chains and pulleys" fixation seems more industrial age than Gothic, and we meet a cenobite called "The Engineer" as the book closes. I'm not really a horror fan, and don't know if I'll read any more of the Hellraiser books, but this brief, gory little novella was still worth my time. ( )
  TheAmpersand | Nov 20, 2015 |
I found myself surprised how true-to-the-story the film turned out to be. It also made me wish I’d read the book first, I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more.

I still don’t understand Kristy’s relationship to Rory, and it’s been like 30 years. ( )
  sixteendays | Oct 21, 2015 |
Fascinating, frightening, enjoyable, and much better than the movie! One of the greatest things about Clive Barker is that no two books of his read the same, they are all truly original and so different. If not for the advertised fact, I wouldn't know that the same man who wrote The Abarat wrote Mister B. Gone and any of his others. It seems the main thing they have in common is their fantastic consistent quality. I definitely count him among my favorite authors. ( )
  bgnbrooks | Oct 8, 2015 |
I was addicted to watching the movie "Hell Raiser" when I was a young teen, watching it a multitude of times; the sequels never did anything for me, but the original just really captured my imagination. It was the Cenobites, of course, that intrigued me. I don't think I ever really understood the meaning of anything. So anyway, I've wanted to read the original novella ever since then. Unfortunately, I wasn't impressed. The Cenobites play a minor role, there is no character development in the "good guys" though you are made to really dislike the "bad guys". The overall theme is sensual pleasure to a debaucherous level that turns into the utmost degraded sadism possible. It is afterall a horror story. Even with this theme though there is no sex and I didn't find the story gross or scary or even all that macabre in the end. It's pretty tame by today's standards, a very quick read that bordered on boring. ( )
1 vote ElizaJane | Mar 9, 2015 |
I think I've learned that it's impossible for me to be scared by the written word. Maybe it's the medication, maybe I'm older. I hear people who couldn't sleep after reading Salem's Lot or The Exorcist, and I just don't get it. This book is no exception for me.

It follows the movie quite well, so if you've seen the film, I don't think you'll get much more out of this book. The Horror Guru had a lot of good things to say about both, but I believe that not all stories fit the medium. Horror, as good as the written word has been, just thrives better in cinema. It was very "meh" for me. Maybe it's too wordy to be scary.

Maybe it's scarier in concept and theme than the words on the page. One thing that happens to horror as it ages is that the scariness becomes campy. No one takes Freddy and Jason seriously anymore. When you grow up and look at it, it's just a Rubik's Cube and a guy who fell on a nail gun. ( )
  theWallflower | Jan 29, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

Is contained in

Has the adaptation


You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
« Je veux parler au spectre de quelque antique amant
Qui mourut avant que le dieu Amour ne fût né. »

JOHN DONNE, « Divinité de l'amour »
Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Pour Mary
First words
-Sabéis lo que he soñado -dijo Frank-. Podéis proporcionar el placer.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0061002828, Mass Market Paperback)

Clive Barker is widely acknowledged as the master of nerve-shattering horror. The Hellbound Heart is one of his best, one of the most dead-frightening stories you are likely to ever read, a story of the human heart and all the great terrors and ecstasies within.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:37 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Originally published in an anthology collection called "Night Visions", this long novella was the basis for the film "Hellraiser". Considered by many Barker fans to be among his best, the story introduces Pinhead, the leader of a group of hell-spawned demons called Cenobites, as he (it?) tries to secure the soul of Uncle Frank, who foolishly thought that he could arrive at the gateway to ultimate pleasure without traveling a path of grisly torture and pain.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
8 avail.
60 wanted
3 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.79)
1 7
1.5 6
2 14
2.5 9
3 117
3.5 24
4 138
4.5 13
5 110

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Store | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 100,956,084 books! | Top bar: Always visible