Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Book Review: The Hellhound Heart by Clive Barker

In a quest to satiate his darkest pleasures, Frank Cotton obtains and opens Lemarchand's box, summoning the cenobites who instead of granting him pleasure and entry into this promised new world, torture him and trap him within the box. However, his brother's wife, Julia, who had a previous dalliance with Frank, has found a way to bring him back - and it involves blood.

"No tears, please. It's a waste of good suffering."

Well, I had to use that quote, didn't I? Even though there was literally a plethora of amazing quotes I could have used. Having seen Hellraiser before having read this book, I would not have predicted that Clive Barker was a beautiful writer. When you experience all the guts and gore and disgusting sights and fucked-up ideas in Hellraiser,  you just don't expect the creator to have such a wonderful way with words - although I guess the same can be said for Stephen King. 

I straight up LOVED this book. It's a relatively small book, a novella in fact, but it packs a PUNCH. There were slight differences from the movie, of course, but nothing too drastic. In the movie, the cenobites are better developed and have more dialogue, but I still think their presence in the novella is effective. These sadomasochistic beings don't differentiate between pleasure and pain - something that Frank learns pretty quickly. The way Barker depicts the cenobites is terrifying and my only real complaint with regards to this story is that I'm left wanting more. I'm literally dying to learn more about the cenobites and what happens in their realm, more specifically what horrifying torture is inflicted upon others. What can I say, I'm a sicko!? There's a substantial amount of violence and sex, mirroring that fine line between pleasure and pain. Frank and Julia seem to suit each other in that they're both pretty unlikeable and selfish individuals, with Julia willing to go to extreme lengths in order to get Frank back.

I can already tell that Clive Barker is a master story-teller. He left me feeling unsettled, intrigued, and most importantly...wanting MORE. I found this to be an addictive read and couldn't put it down, even though I already knew the general story. It's a great introduction to Barker's work as I'm already getting extremely excited for my next venture, which will be the first Books of Blood - highly recommended by every Barker fan on instagram. So, if you're a hardened horror fan and love all things gory and disturbing, this would be a starting place for getting into Barker - maybe you'll start to become obsessed like me! This gets a 5 star rating!



  1. I've never read anything by Clive Barker, but he's an author I'm curious in. I'll definitely have to check out this one and see what I think!

  2. Hey there, I think you already have a copy of "Scarlet Letters", but Barker also wrote a Hellraiser comic series for Boom Studios. Well worth taking a look at.

    (This is aka_RusWJ from Instagram, btw)


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