THE HELLBOUND HEART (Clive Barker)
I vividly remember renting Hellraiser with my cousin as a teenager. I knew of Pinhead, the Lament Configuration and the name Clive Barker. That's basically all I knew. I went in expecting Krueger-screened carnival horror, a commodity that the 80's had been known to ferment. Obviously, I didn't see much of that. Where was the psychoactive spangle? Wasn't the lighting supposed to be colorfast? Why isn't the villain running around with weapon in hand? For one, I mistook the Cenobites as the real bad guys. Over the years, I came to appreciate the film series, but deep down, I knew that Barker got it right the first time. I knew I had to refer to the source material.
I was wrong. This is a shitty fucking book. Just kidding! I'm becoming something of a Barker demagogue. No, that's not the proper term. A dogmatist? That's still too strong. An enthusiast? Yeah, that's it! I'm a goddamn enthusiast, and I'm in the centriole of learning everything I can about the sententious, semen-throated prose pitcher. Hey, give me some credit. I waited until the second paragraph to unstrap a blowjob joke. And I'm no bigot, if that's the charge you're preparing to inveigh next. I love homosexuals! Why, I've swallowed more seed than an acreage farm. I'll have you know that I very nearly poked a hole in...hmm, I would have to backtrack to finger the exact point of deflection, but I seemed to skid abroad and beyond the main topic.
Barker has created an extremely intriguing mythology to wrap his characters around. I couldn't wait to flip the page, but I found that it was his writing that kept me reading. He has a way with words, doesn't he? "Blood-buttered." That's probably the loveliest adjective my eyes were lucky enough to scour. There were many other attractive units of language, of course, but what kind of picture did these vocables paint? Themes of self-control, existential suicide, stagecraft and duplicity underpin what amounts to being a fucked up love story. The Cenobites are window dressing. Now, I don't mean to insinuate that the showy gore is negligible. At the end of the night, this is terror fiction.
Pinhead is never named. As a matter of fact, The Engineer is the only demon/angel to be designated. I'm dying to know how these beings were turned into Cenobites. There is so much to reveal as it relates to The Order of the Gash, and you can bet your bottom dollar that I'll be in line to purchase a hot pressing of The Scarlet Gospels. It's mind-boggling that literary sequels failed to transpire, unless you count comic books. Speaking of which, I'm putting Hellraiser comics at the top of my chopping list. Yahtzee scorecards and soft taco shells will have to wait.