The Hellbound Heart

The Hellbound Heart - Clive Barker, Jeffrey Kafer I've now officially read three Clive Barker books to completion. The Great and Secret Show was my first, and though I enjoyed it, I can't remember what happened therein, nor can I recall exactly what I enjoyed about it. I do, however, recall laying it down and saying, "I need to find more from this author." I then went on to read The Thief of Always because I thought the blurb was coolio. I enjoyed it immensely. The rest of my experiences with Barker were not so good. I tried and failed to read four different novels (The Damnation Game, Galilee, Sacrament, and Mister B. Gone) and the first volume of his Books of Blood shenanigans. Out of all of that, I liked one story: "The Yattering and Jack." Everything else bored me to point that I traded them in to my local USB. I have enjoyed more Clive Barker celluloid than I have paper. This is my subjective opinion, and only my subjective opinion. I know this guy has fans, and I do not argue that he is a talented author. It's just that, mostly, he's not for me.

Which brings me to why I like this book. It reads almost exactly like the movie plays out. Hellraiser is one of my favorite films, and one that is erroneously stuffed into the slasher film genre. Pinhead is categorized with the likes of Freddy and Jason and Mike Myers when he really has no reason to be. The Hellraiser movies that work have very little to do with Pinhead and the cenobites. The ones that work have everything to do with the worst of humanity being on display, and said horrible human beings just happening upon Lemarchand's puzzle box.Thus, the most interesting part of The Hellbound Heart is its darkly disturbed cast. Julia is one sick heffie, as is Frank the Skinless Psychopath. Frank's brother is oddly clueless, and his niece is seemingly inconsequential - that is until she's needed to save the day. At times I wish that this book had been written entirely from Frank's point of view. He's about as disturbed as they come, and a blast to hang out with. I wanted more Frank time. Call me nuts, but he and I could share a beer, I think. I kid, I kid... dude would probably try to fuck me with a fire extinguisher wrapped in barbed wire.

Even though this book is short, it's still wordy as balls, and yet manages to be repetitive, as well. Adverbs are used to death, and it seems as if Clive made a pact with devil wherein he must use the word "din" as many times as possible in 164 pages. How many times is that, you might ask. Well, that would be 12 times, Virginia, and yes, there really is a Santa Claus. I find it funny how an author that prides himself on using the most lavish, sweeping prose imaginable repeats such a word as many times as he does in this book. With any other author, you might find "din" once in a five hundred page outing, if you find it at all. But here, Clive said, "Screw it! It's my party and I'll "din" all over your face until I get tired or someone calls the police!"

(Note: "din" is NOT another word for jizz. It means loudness, yo. You just got learnted!)

And, oh my Tom Cruise, the gore. I was pleased with the amount of catsup/ketchup coating the walls. Some dude got his jaw ripped off, and I love a good mandible yank. Makes me shiver, it do. Splatter-fiends will find their fix in this fearsome freakshow, trust the fuck outta me!

In summation: The best Clive Barker I've managed to finish because it's just like the movie. This is probably because Barker wrote/directed/and masturbated on set of the film adaptation, or whatever, but it is what it is. And it is a fun, if verbose, bit of literary horror. The book and the movie can both be completed in the same amount of time, so take your pick. That's all I got... Get outta here, kid, ya bother me!