This is one of my all-time favorite written stories by a true master of horror that can take a step into the darkened realm of pure terror and showcase it on the page. I first read this 15 years ago in high school and became addicted to its word play. Barker showcases true talent with this story that plays with the mind and enters a darker pleasure reality of the flesh mixed with the idea of sex horror.
An almost erotic terrifying tale that the macabre reality of hell comes to life for the reader. A powerful written tool of literature for the imagination that comes full force into the readers mind so that your there with the cenobites, the idea of the door of pleasure opening to showcase a dark side. He plays it out with the true understanding of what Lovecraft achieved in becoming the horror on page. Barker like Lovecraft not only write the horror, he bleeds the horror upon the page written with the very tension that the story is written as.
This is a dark tale, a tale that opens the imagination beyond mere fiction, it's a classic tale. A created world of darkness, stunning with its thick imagination that showcases no boundaries. Whereas King is master to horror, Barker is master to the macabre. A spooky in-depth approach to the many emotions humans explore.
From love to despair to death to blood to sexual exploration. The book is a crazed rending of a passionate pain filled hell, bloody with sick and twisted images of chains and torture and fantasy. Barker is able with this book to hold the reader and explore the inner dark soul in us all, to open the very fabric of our deep inner hidden thoughts.
The dark side of life is explored in the very realms of the puzzle box. This is a must read, must own little book. I decided to give it ago once again and something that shocks and surprises a lot of the readers reading it for the first time is most of them are familiar with the movie and the whole Pinhead character in Hellraiser. Well if you go into this exploring the birth and originality of the Hellraiser world, Pinhead is not the main character and only show ups one time and that's at a mere mention in chapter one.
Pinhead is portrayed as a sexually ambiguous follower of the "Engineer":
"It’s voice, unlike that of its companion, was light and breathy-the voice of an excited girl. Every inch of its head had been tattooed with an intricate grid, and at every intersection of horizontal and vertical axes a jeweled pin driven through to the bone. Its tongue was similarly decorated." —The Hellbound Heart, Clive Barker
So be warned about that, Pinhead was a major player and over all creation of his father Clive Barker for the Movie Hellraiser.
This is what great reading is about, a true horror book that lingers and lasts upon the reader long after its back on the shelf waiting to be read again.