Thursday, January 28, 2010

Raising Hell

It's a little known fact about me: I don't scare easily. I'm a person of logic. I can figure out a movie's ending, its twist, before the evidence is laid out for us - that is, with the exception of Saw, which blinded sided me. But surprise endings are only of stuff of psychological horror. There's no room for Jigsaw in the ranks of the greats: Freddy, Jason, Leatherface and so on. 

However, those mothers - disfigured by the hatred of others - never so much as sent a chill down my spine. I was immune to them. To their ways. To their tricks. Their slaughters. And I've always been. Nothing could scare me as a kid that wasn't real. Nothing until I was introduced to one ghastly creature.

Call him demon, or call him angel. He is what you seek in your deepest fantasies. He is the vision of your lusts, the search for raw pleasures. Call him The Engineer. But to many of us who are horror fans, he is only known by one name: PINHEAD.

Several times I watched Hellraiser as a kid, never knowing it was based on a novella written by Clive Barker. And several times - despite its cheap effects - the sheer thought of something so metaphysically neutral scared me. (Of course, I had to ration my reasons later in life.) There wasn't anything good about Pinhead, nor was there anything pure evil about him and his gang of Cenobites. There was just something that seemed rather in the between - like the Grim Reaper, who is thought to be as an evil entity, but really, he's just a wraith doing his job.

Flash forward several years: I'm twenty-six years old and I've finally decided it's time for me to read the novella that started it all. I call up my buddy Mike over at Georgia's Thrift Shop (actually, I messaged him on Facebook) and asked if he could find me a copy of The Hellbound Heart. He told me sure, worked his magic and quickly responded it would be in within two weeks and it would only cost me three dollars. Awesome f'ing possum! 

Because I've working on reading my 100+ books for the 2010 challenge, I knew that it would a nice quick read. I wasn't wrong about that. However, I was slightly wrong in my expectations of the book. 

Thinking sheer genius, because Clive Barker is  a genius, what I got was a play by play of the motion picture adaptation. While I read Barker's words, scenes from the movie played in my head. I shouldn't be at all surprised by this, as Barker was both director and writer of the film. There are notable changes from the novella and its adaptation brethren - like there being no actual Pinhead.

Nevertheless, it was a good book, and I praise it higher than most others have on Good Reads. Still, it's not enough to say it's five-star worthy. Four stars at most.

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