Monday, October 10, 2011
"Your most treasured depravity is child's play beside the experiences we offer."
From Goodreads: 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.
Book synopsis: Frank Cotton's appetite for the dark pleasures of pain led him to the puzzle of Lemarchand's box, and from there, to a death only a sick-minded soul could invent. But his brother's love-crazed wife, Julia, has discovered a way to bring Frank back-though the price will be bloody and terrible...and there will certainly be hell to pay.
My synopsis: Bloody brilliant!
This is only my 2nd Barker book and my 1st adult book by him, the 1st being The Thief of Always, which was a YA book (see review on this very blog!). As a hard-core fan of SK for my entire life, I can honestly say Barker has now found a place in my horror heart right next to King. His character development is fantastic. You feel for them, you despise them, you fear them, in short he does what every author should do and that is to get the read to feel empathy for the characters. His story telling is taut, dark, sadistic and pure macabre fun. I'm not one to get scared while reading and only SK and Poe have really gotten me spooked, after reading this, I swear I had to fight off images of the Cenobites coming for me. Lol. It was awesome! There are so few authors that can take this genre and make it unique, fascinating, tantalizing and scary all while weaving an intricate, thought provoking and satisfying plot. If an author is sub-par the book becomes a farce, something to be laughed rather than taken seriously and certainly not going to frighten the reader. I really hate to repeat myself but to me, only Poe and King have done it brilliantly and now I can add Barker to that list. Now admittedly I haven't delved into too many authors of this genre. But I have dabbled in Koontz and John Saul, and have come away with a bad taste in my brain. Koontz has written some pretty good books, but overall he's not very good. Saul I've only read a few books and found them to be trite and hard to read. I actually hated his hero in one book and was rooting for him to die. Actually it may have been a heroine, either way, blah!
So The Hellbound Heart, which the fantastic movie, Hellraiser, was based on, is about Frank Cotton and his reckless, pleasure seeking, way of life. He seeks the ultimate pleasures in everything, drugs, travel, sex, money, material things, etc. He's made his living as a trader of items, people; drug dealer/smuggler and has been all over the world and especially to all the seedy parts of the world for new highs in both drugs and sex. In his travels and dealings he hears rumours of Lemarchand's box. A box that is to supposed to take an individual to a new world, new realm, never dreamed of, of unimaginable pleasures. He finds the box in Germany from a cat named Kircher, who affirms the pleasures that await him if he should figure out how to solve the puzzle box. Fast forward, Frank is in California in his grandparents house, who have passed away and left it to he and his brother Rory. Frank is in the biggest room of the house where he has set up all his offerings for the Cenobites that will come if he should be able to solve the puzzle box. What offerings? The heads of doves, a jar of his urine, another jar of his essence, and several other oddities. Frank has been obsessed with the box since before he obtained it. Having the box for months and failing to figure it out but never being deterred. Finally he gets the box to open...
"The bare bulb in the middle of the room dimmed and brightened, brightened and ddimmed again.. It had taken on the rhythm of the bell, burning its hottest on each chime. In the troughs between the chimes the darness in the room became utter' it was as if the world he had occupied for twenty-nine year had ceased to exist. Then the bee wold sound again,k and the bulb burn so strongly it might never have faltered, and for a few precious seconds he was standing in a familiar place, with a door that led out and down and into the street, and a window through which-had he but the will (or strength) to tear the blinds back-he might glilmpse a rumor of morning.
The bulb flickered out. This time it went without hope of rekindling. He stood in the darkness, and said nothing. even if could remember the worrds of welcom he'd prepared, his tongue would not have spoken them. It was playing dead in his mouth.
And then, light.
It came from them: from the quartet of Cenobites who now, with the wall sealed behind them, occupied the room. A fitful of phosphorescence, like the glow of deep-se fishes: blue, cold, charmless. It struck Frank that he had never once wondered what ty would look like. His imagination, though fertile whe it came to trickery and theft, was improversihed in other regards.
Why then was he so distressed to set eyes upon them? Was it the scars that covered every inch of their bodies, the flesh cosmetically pnctured and sliced and infibulated, then dusted down with ash? Was it the smell of vanilla they brought with them, the sweetness of which did little to disguise the stench beneath? Or was it that as the light grew, and he scanned them more closely, he saw nothing of joy or even humnity, in their maimed faces: only desperation, and appetite taht made his bowel ace to be voided."
Yeah and it only gets better. Rory, Frank's aforementioned brother, moves into the house with his new wife, Julia, whom we come to find out did the horizontal bump bump with Frank. Rory is a bit of dullard, but lovable. He is enamored with Julia but after diddling his brother, she finds Rory repulsive. She hadn't stopped thinking about him since he disappeared, which the family just chalked up to his flighty, wishy-washy ways and assumed he left the country again. Julia discovers Frank is "living" in a different realm just beyond the walls of the room the Cenobites took him from. Now the "living" is in quotations because, well I'll just leave it here. I don't want to ruin it for you all. Let's just say evil dirty deeds transpire and the fun really begins!
I was seriously hooked, delicious pun intended, from page 1 and read the the entire book in a day. It's not very long at 164 pages. I devoured :) every page ferociously as if I were a Cenobite with a new soul. I highly rec this book and Barker. Highest JaSexxy rating XXX. Stay Booked! Happy Reading!