The Hellbound Heart (read by the author)
I’m ashamed to admit that this is the first Clive Barker I’ve read. Oh man, I’m going to work to make up for that heinous error. I say “read” – I purchased the Audible edition, narrated by the author.
I’m always a bit hesitant to try books where the author narrates, as whilst they have the passion for the story, they don’t have the style to actually deliver. I loved both the story, and the delivery of this. I haven’t seen the Hellraiser movies either, so either I’m a complete failure of a horror ‘fan’, or I’m reviewing this without the bias of having seen the film adaptation.
The composition and pace of this short is excellent. Barker’s narration infuses the story, and I’d happily listen to him narrating his own stories again. The visceral horror packed into such a short space is immense, and the idea of the Cenobites, and the now-infamous Lemarchand’s Box (and the Lament Configuration) has spawned such a rich following, that I’m now obliged to follow this work through the genre. I was aware of the nod to this in the Cabin in the Woods and Fornicus. Now I know why.
What a glorious, original, timeless masterpiece of horror fiction.