The Hellbound Heart

        Clive Barker - The Hellbound Heart  5/5


      Hellraiser is one of the greatest and most iconic horror movies ever created. You disagree and I will fight you. Horror had reached a new level and at the helm was a man named Clive Barker who was changing the landscape of horror. I was a young metal/horror fan of twelve when I stumbled onto Barker's classic Books Of Blood. I think it was either the second or third volume and my mind was blown. I had been worshiping at the altar of Stephen King for quite some time but wanted to branch out and see what else was out there so I gave Barker a shot and it reaffirmed this insane belief that I wanted to write. As soon as I heard about Hellbound Heart I was intrigued enough to read it and it became one of my favorite horror novels. I wanted to read it again just to see if I felt the same way and holy shit! Many years have passed as have many viewing of the film that it was based on and if anything Hellbound is still just as ground breaking today as it was when I was twelve.

      A lot of reviewers want to compare the novel and film and I refuse to do that.because the book is just as important as the film, The book is a masterpiece of horror fiction that blends so many different genres that it elevated the horror genre. Finally we had a smart horror novel that didn't fuck around and rehash old ideas or just go for the gross out to placate horror fans. The Hellbound Heart was a novel that went beyond the usual themes, and gave us something different. Among the overall theme of the box itself is the search for pleasure. The ultimate pleasure, but underneath that is obsession. Frank is obsessed to open the box, and Julia is obsessed with bringing Frank back. It's these human elements that drive the novel.

     Barker uses human emotions to fuel Hellbound and while the Cenobites themselves aren't as visual here as they are in the film that isn't what makes this novel so good. It's the story of the box and what it leads to. The Ultimate moral here is to be careful what you wish for because once you have it, it may not be what you want. For fans of horror this is a must read. Barker was a breath of fresh air in a horror market that was saturated with Stephen King, and Dean Koontz. He wrote novels that embraced the macabre and made it appealing. The Hellbound Heart is one of those novels that you should read because it's just so damned good. Barker has a style all his own and I have yet to see anyone that has come close to copying it. When I first read this many years ago I knew that I was reading something special and as I sat on my couch at the age of forty something I was still blown away by it. Nothing had changed and that's how classic novels are. They age well and no matter where horror has gone The Hellbound Heart proves that if you try hard enough you can change an entire genre.


  1. It's a respectable stance to take, not comparing book to movie. They're really two completely different animals. Just reference the description of Pinhead (who is never referred to as Pinhead) compared to the movie version of the same monster. Good write-up on the book, btw.


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