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The Hellraiser Chronicles Paperback – October 1, 2004
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This was an impulse purchase for me. I found a used copy for a few bucks and, loving Clive Barker’s work along with having seen and reviewed every movie in the Hellraiser franchise, I grabbed it in hopes of learning some new information I didn’t already know about the movies. I could not have been more wrong.
THE HELLRAISER CHRONICLES chronicles nothing. There are four chapters to this book, the first three dealing with the first three movies respectively, and the last an article titled “Creating the Cenobites”, by Stephen Jones. That’s not exactly the case, but I’ll get to that in a moment.
Those first three “chapters” are where this book falls the most flat. Instead of offering even the slightest bit of information on the first three Hellraiser movies, this book is nothing more than a series of pictures and quotes from the movies, divided by characters. The first chapter starts with a page titled “Larry”, along with four stills from the movie featuring Andrew Robinson. Also included are two quotes from the movie, one from Robinson’s Larry character and one from Larry’s brother, and the main protagonist, Frank: “Don’t mourn him. He was dead long before we laid a finger on him.”
Turn the page and it’s “Julia”. We get four pictures of Claire Higgins in character, and a long quote from Frank. The next page is Kirsty. Again, four pictures of Ashley Laurence, and two quotes, one from Kirsty, one from Frank.
So on and so forth. Chapter two is the exact same layout, this time with the characters from HELLBOUND: Hellraiser II. Chapter three continues with character shots and quotes from HELLRAISER III: Hell on Earth.
How is any of this a chronicle of the movies? It’s not. I can check IMDB for free and get the same information. And to think the cover price on this book was originally $16.95. I would never have paid that amount in the first place--I think I got it for $5--but that’s some nerve to charge that much money for a magazine-sized paperback that doesn’t do the thing promised in the title.
The final chapter, about the creation of the cenobites, is also lacking in information, but at least it’s got something of substance. Jones seems to have interviewed the principle movers in the making of the third film, Doug Jones (Pinhead), effects man Bob Keen, and director Anthony Hickox. Unfortunately, the entire thing is also a lie because they talk, mostly about how great the third film is and how much better the cenobites are this time around. HELLRAISER III’s cenobites were terrible! I challenge anyone out there to explain to me how C.D. or Camerahead are better than Chatterer or Butterball. And while Terri’s cenobite makeover was pretty cool with the skinned arms, I think the Female Cenobite from the first two movies could take her in a fight.
In case it’s not obvious, I was incredibly disappointed in this book. I hoped to get something that might offer some inside information about the movies and their making. Instead I got a printout of a Google search. The only bright side to this experience was 1) I now know, having seen them full-length in still photos, just how lame the HELLRAISER III cenobites were, and 2) it was a really quick read. I got through the bulk of it on break at work and finished up the last few pages this morning while waiting for the coffee to brew.
Other than that, though, there’s no reason at all to waste money on this purchase. Even at that big discount, I wasted my money.