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

by Clive Barker

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1,296None6,097 (3.82)20
Member:Erratic_Charmer
Title:The Hellbound Heart: A Novel
Authors:Clive Barker
Info:Harper Perennial (2007), Paperback, 164 pages
Collections:Leeds library, Already read
Rating:***
Tags:horror, fiction

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The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker (1986)

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    Cabal by Clive Barker (Anonymous user)
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English (20)  French (1)  All languages (21)
Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
I finished this book very quickly as it was very fast paced. There is a lot of action and gory scenes in the story. But because the book is short I didn't get to learn much about the characters which meant that I didn't really care whether they lived or died.
The plot of the story is very imaginative, I just wish there had been a bit more background about the cenobites and their world. ( )
  26kathryn | Jul 11, 2013 |
Truly super creepy. I have not seen Hellraiser (or most 80s horror movies), so I wasn't sure what to expect. My only complaint is that it's really easy to dislike the victims. It might have been a little creepier if more morally ambiguous people had suffered; instead, I prayed for their painful demise.

Reading it after Mister B. Gone just confirmed what a disappointment Barker's newest book was. This one will be like The Thief of Always, I suspect, which has stayed with me for over a decade. ( )
  BrookeAshley | May 23, 2013 |
3.5 stars.
I've seen 'Hellraiser' of course, and my brother even dressed up as an awesome Pinhead for Halloween 2 years in a row in the late 80s. Mom painstakingly applied about a hundred gray toothpicks all over his head. Some weren't even sharp enough to go in properly, so it took a while, and he just would NOT stop crying... Kidding, kidding! I do wish that we had pictures of that costume though, it was great. My mom is an artistic genius, and my dedicated brother even allowed his head to be shaved almost bald for effect. Good times.

Anyway, back to business. So, I'd seen the movie, but being that young (I was 5 when it came out) I didn't really get it, but my boyfriend likes the movies too, so we have a full collection, and I've seen them again a couple times as an adult. And this is one case where I think the movies are better than the book. True, the effects were pretty cheesetastic, but it was the 80s and the movies themselves are great. Gory and depraved and awesome.

The story itself is short, and quite good, but kind of... sparse. I mean, Barker fits a lot of stuff into less than 200 pages, but he doesn't really describe the Cenobites or give much information about the history of the box, etc. We can fill in the blanks this way, making the Cenobites as horrible as we like, but I think the movies were fantastic for the creativity in depicting them. The book most definitely lacked there.

Anyway, this was a good book, and I'm glad I listened to it. I liked the reader, even though his voice took a little while to get used to. I liked the way he voiced the Cenobites though. Creepy! :) ( )
  TheBecks | Apr 1, 2013 |
I’m assuming everyone in the world has seen the last Harry Potter movie? This isn’t a spoiler but there is this part in the movie where Voldemort is in some place that looks like a train station and he looks like a cross between some sort of fetus and a seahorse. When I saw it with my friends, we were all wondering what the frak we were looking at…in fact, it is pretty safe to say that I am still wondering a few months later. So I know Clive Barker wrote this novella decades before HP7p1 would come out but nevertheless, the movie impacted my reading enjoyment. Why? Because a man in The Hellbound Heart is trying to become more flesh and bone (just like good ol’ Voldy) and needs blood to do so. As he becomes more substantial there is a period of time where all I could picture was some weird-looking seahorse thing flapping around in a corner. This is supposed to scare me? Mission NOT accomplished. Also, Barker went out of his way to mention one of the victims’ saggy, gray underwear before he dies. I was more disgusted by the saggy briefs than the murder.

I feel a bit foolish that I didn’t know the movie Hellraiser was based on this novella until my book club buddy told me at our meeting. Because I read an e-version rather than the DTB, I didn’t have the benefit of all the creepy drawings. (Tip #1: Read the DTB. Actually there is only one tip.) I said to my friends, “Hey! That picture looks like that guy Pinhead from that horror movie!” Cue the cricket noises. Considering how short this work is (around 125 pages), Barker really packs a punch of a story. The brevity of the work really limits characterization and plot development. It felt like I was walking down a cafeteria line and just looking at all the things I could have but then never taking a bite of any of it. What kind of woman would just start killing people to feed blood to the demonish presence that may or may not be her brother-in-law with whom she had a rape-and-if-not-rape-certainly-rapey experience with before her wedding? Who the hell moves into a house where one room is totally dank and seemingly haunted? Who disposes of bodies and/or bags of bones by just tossing them in the spare room? Who finds a crazy-ass box in a haunted house and just starts playing around with it? (because that can only have GOOD results, right?) I just had to stop typing for a second to laugh at the memory of us rehashing the plot of this novella at book club.

Here’s the lowdown:
Was it scary? No.
Am I an idiot for not realizing Hellraiser was based on this book? Yes.
Do I recommend it to horror lovers? Meh, not really.
Was it worth the read? Yes, for the weirdness.
Do I want to watch the movie now? Yes, if only to see if there is a seahorse fetus scene.
( )
  FlanneryAC | Mar 31, 2013 |
I somehow got through the 80s without watching "Hellraiser". I like the horror genre so I thought I'd check out the novella that the film was based on. It's not a bad premise and it certainly does have some merit; I can see why it might have broke the mold at the time. For me, though, it felt mostly gratuitous for the sake of trying (and failing) to be gratuitous. For better or for worse, I was not grossed out or offended by the content. It just seemed like an attempt to shock the reader which is kind of insulting.

After I finished the story I watched the movie and ended up preferring the book. Pinhead is overrated. ( )
  matthew254 | Dec 7, 2012 |
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« 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 »
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-Sabéis lo que he soñado -dijo Frank-. Podéis proporcionar el placer.
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:05:49 -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)

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