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The Hellbound Heart Mass Market Paperback – December 5, 1991

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Editorial Reviews Review

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.


"Barker's most ambitious work to date...Rapturously full of emotions." -- L.A. Life

"Barker's the best thing to happen to horror fiction for many moons...[he] never fails to deliver..." -- Chicago Tribune

"Mesmerizing invention." -- Publishers Weekly

"Rich in plot twists, byzantine intrigues and hidden secrets, Imajica is a Chinese puzzle box constructed on a universal scale..." -- Washington Post Book World

"Spellbinding." -- Atlanta Journal

"[A] dazzling metaphysical astonishing feat of imagination...Barker's best yet." -- Kirkus Reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTorch (December 5, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061002828
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061002823
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.4 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (198 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #366,464 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Clive Barker was born in Liverpool in 1952. He is the worldwide bestselling author of the Books of Blood, and numerous novels including Imajica, The Great and Secret Show, Sacrament and Galilee. In addition to his work as a novelist and short story writer he also illustrates, writes, directs and produces for the stage and screen. His films include Hellraiser, Hellbound, Nightbreed and Candyman. Clive lives in Beverly Hills, California.

Customer Reviews

If you like the movie, read the book that started it all.
Fenrir Wolf
From the twisted imagination of Clive Barker comes the chilling inspiration for his film "Hellraiser."
The plot was well crafted, and the story kept me engaged.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

74 of 74 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 21, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I first came across this book hesitant and unsure of what to expect. I had already seen the Hellraiser movie and I thought I might have been disappointed because I already knew the storyline. However, after reading this book I realized that Clive Barker tells things better on ink and paper than on a movie screen. Even with all the guts and gore in the book the reason why the book captures me so much is the fact that Barker tries to show us what is inside the hearts of people. The actual theme of the book is what makes this book fascinating not the blood and suspense. This is a true horror story if there ever was one. The Cenobites also add to the intrigue and horror to the book. The Cenobites are demons who offer limitless pleasure to all the senses only to realize afterwards that they are only interested in pain and suffering. The introduction of the book gets the mood going and afterwards it will want to make you want to read more. The interaction between Frank and Julia also adds to the fascination of the story. Frank's character you could say depicts the restless and ceaseless anguish of mankind looking for something "beyond" what this world offers. Frank shows us that human beings are beings that are driven for the need for lust, pleasure, and sensory satisfaction. That people will even go beyond moral imperatives to satisfy their carnal passions and live life as if it was one sensory experience. Though this view of man presented by Barker seems dismal and discouraging, he does teach us the unfortunate condition of man on earth. Barker does a good job showing us the horrors contained within man's heart and where it can lead us if our desires are not contained.
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By "badboyssj" on November 3, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
From the twisted imagination of Clive Barker comes the chilling inspiration for his film "Hellraiser." The story goes something like this: a sexual adventurer named Frank, in search of new pleasures, obtains a puzzle box said to give him the kind of experiences he desires in a third-world country. He brings it back to his London home and, after a time, solves it, unleashing sadomasochistic demons from Hell known as the Cenobites.
Some time later, Frank's brother Rory and his wife Julia move into the house. When Rory's blood drops onto the floor of the attic where the Cenobites took Frank, Frank manages to escape the Cenobites and come back, albeit as a very weak and fleshless creature. When Julia discovers him, he convinces her to lure men into the house and spill their blood so that he can fully come back as a human before the Cenobites track him down and bring him back for good.
While the book is rather short (I read it it one day, actually, but I'm a fast reader), it's endlessly entertaining - I couldn't put it down. Highly recommended, and then after you've read this, watch Hellraiser (if you have a strong stomach). It's just as good as the book.
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44 of 48 people found the following review helpful By N. Durham HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on June 19, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Clive Barker crafted one of the best pieces of modern horror to come along in quite some time with this shocker novella. The Hellbound Heart tells the tale of the human heart and all of it's pain and ecstasy contained within. When Frank solves the puzzle of the Lemarchand box, he discovers the vastness, and the cost, of pleasure and pain. Upon his encounter with otherworldly creatures called the Cenobites, Frank is left as quite a mess to say the least, and when his ex-lover Julia and her husband Rory move in to Frank's old home, that's when we see Barker at his best. Despite the lack of character development and the novel itself is way too short; The Hellbound Heart is some of the most compelling horror stories I have ever read, and it helped cement Barker as one of the genre's true masters. In 1987 Barker would take this story to the big screen (and would also serve as screen writer and director) re-naming it Hellraiser; which would go down as one of the best horror films in the past few decades. All in all, if your into horror literature but have never entered the world of Clive Barker, this is one of the best places to start.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful By D. Knouse on November 26, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This book leaves little doubt that Clive Barker has an incredible imagination linked and obviously influenced by H.P. Lovecraft. Lovecraft often wrote of alternate dimensions, realms, in which foul denizens wait, hatching diabolical intentions and torturous ideas about harming Mankind. "The Hellbound Heart" is a book with such a scenario at its center. Demons, known here as Cenobites, who are summoned through the opening of a unique artifact called Lemarchand's box. In fact, the entire first chapter reads more like Lovecraft than at any other point in this novella. This book is very short, a little over 160 pages in length, and the margins are narrow with fairly large print. This is a quick read, the modernized style of writing leaving no room for catching your breath. It is entertaining, albeit very naive. I have little doubt that Clive Barker looks back on this book and thinks about how little he knew about characterization and their driving motivations. His writing is clearly ambitious, but the characters are so thinly drawn, their reasons for their actions so tenuously wrought, that I just waited around for another paragraph of straight creative description. I longed for the return of the malevolent Cenobites on many occasions. Kirsty is never fully explained. Is she somebody's daughter, as it is shown in the film version, "Hellraiser"? Is she Julia's daughter? Frank's? It is never directly stated. As for Julia, it seems unlikely that a fleeting love/lust affair would drive her to commit murders. Perhaps it was the affect of the demons lurking upstairs, but that is never suggested. Just all of a sudden she goes out and brings home her first victim/sacrifice. The most interesting character is Frank who aches for new and intense experiences beyond human understanding.Read more ›
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