hellraiser

Days Of The Dead (Con Review)- House Of Tortured Souls

Days Of The Dead (Con Review)- House Of Tortured Souls

Over the past weekend I had the privilege to volunteer at the Days Of The Dead convention in Atlanta, Georgia and as always, it was a blast. Days Of The Dead is one of my favorite conventions to attend and having volunteer for them before I couldn’t pass it up again. The convention had headliners such as Clive Barker, Hellraiser Cast (Barbie Wilde, Doug Bradley, Simon Bamford, Ashley Laurence,  and Nicholas Vince), David Howard Thornton (Terrifier), Tony ToddSid Haig, Bill Mosley, PJ Soles, and Kathy Najimy.  

With all conventions there are positives and negatives with some added pointers for the next con, but in this case I must say it ran very smoothly all weekend. Each celebrity and vendor room were very organized and easy to navigate and spread out. The back hallway had all the panel rooms, photo ops and film room which had a poster on the wall with each event and times per day, very easy to keep up with so you didn’t miss out on what you wanted to catch. I helped out with the photo op lines, and we all know with Saturday’s being the busiest of convention weekends, this went pretty smoothly, the lines were easy to manage and able to line up early enough so con goers could get in and out to continue on with their weekend. Between con goers and guests, there was nothing but positive feedback all around which makes Days so successful. 

A Highlight for me personally this weekend would be seeing a lot of my con family, making new friends, meeting David Howard Thornton he’s such a great guy and has such a great personality, the VIP party, helping out with the line control, and catching some panels. I also just love the overall atmosphere and seeing everyone just enjoying theirselves with one shared interest… horror. 

This was a great convention kickstart to 2019 and I can’t wait to see not only what Days has in store but for other conventions as well. 

Overall Grade: A

Posted by Sarah Gregory in Categories, EVENT REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
HELLABRATION DELUXE! Thirty-One Days of SHOCKTOBER: Day Six – 10/06/18

HELLABRATION DELUXE! Thirty-One Days of SHOCKTOBER: Day Six – 10/06/18

10/06 – 1992: CANDYMAN

“It was always you, Helen…”

All you have to do is say that to someone, and then watch as they shudder as if a big spider just moonwalked across the back of their neck. If that’s the reaction they give you, then you know they’re probably a fan of CANDYMAN.  Besides Stephen King, Ira Levin and Dean Koontz, not many writers have had the indelible, undeniable impact on the horror genre that CLIVE BARKER has, and if HELLRAISER had been his only contribution, his legacy would have been set. But the man wrote such compelling, irresistibly addictive stories that begged to be adapted for the screen (though the success of doing so is another thing entirely,) that other filmmakers took the plunge to try and replicate what he did with his touchstone of a film.

 

For my money, the only person who’s been about as successful as Barker has in translating his own tales is British director BERNARD ROSE (PAPERHOUSE), a stunning visual fantasist in his own right, on par with the likes of MARY LAMBERT and GUILLERMO DEL TORO. No one could’ve been a better fit for CANDYMAN than Rose, and it shows in every frame.  Based on Barker’s tale, “The Forbidden”, there hadn’t been a story like this before, that encapsulated the themes of racism, classism, misogyny, poverty, mythology and the supernatural quite like this.

Helen Lyle (the radiant VIRGINIA MADSEN of such cult hits as DUNE and ELECTRIC DREAMS) is a grad student working on her dissertation, about how urban myths affect the landscape and people in impoverished areas, and vice versa. The main target of her research is Chicago’s notorious Cabrini Green projects, where she comes to learn about the ultimate horror story: the gruesome and tragic tale of Daniel Robitaille, a.k.a. “The Candyman.”

An artistically-talented black man who dared to fall in love with a white woman, Daniel payed the ultimate price, losing a hand and having honeycombs filled with live bees shoved into his chest cavity, as a gruesomely fatal form of torture.  And now, he has become legend: say his name three times in front of a mirror, and his vengeance-hungry ghost will appear, to deliver a demise you wouldn’t want to imagine.

Ever the cynical academic, Helen believes less than nothing about the things she actually writes about, so she decides to try and conjure him up. Imagine her shock, terror and dread fascination…when she succeeds.

Now Candyman is laying waste to people in her life (some way more deserving of a brutal death than others), and letting her take the fall for it, trying to break her down physically and psychologically, so that soon she will have no choice but to join him and “be his victim” forever…and become ‘legend’ as he has.

Director Rose’s surrealist sensibilities were the perfect platform with which to elevate Barker’s tale to a whole new level as a film, thanks in no small part to DP ANTHONY B. RICHMOND (DON’T LOOK NOW, RAVENOUS, AUTOPSY).  And the actors were more than happy to tackle and own their roles in this endeavor: Madsen has never been a more beautiful combination of strength and vulnerability – even in DUNE, which hardly gave her as much to do as she has here – and CANDYMAN is the role that finally made genre actor TONY TODD a household name, and with good reason. He slips into the skin and psyche of Daniel Robitaille like it was the role he was born to play, which isn’t far from the truth.

Plus a great supporting cast that includes KASI LEMMONS (THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS) as Helen’s best friend; XANDER BERKELEY (GATTACA, AIR FORCE ONE, TAPEHEADS and way too many other credits to list here) as Helen’s faithless other half; VANESSA WILLIAMS, (a.k.a. VANESSA L. WILLIAMS), TED RAIMI, and STANLEY DESANTIS in an unforgettable cameo as Helen’s condescending headshrinker.

And just when you think it couldn’t get any better, iconoclastic composer PHILIP GLASS contributed what has to be his best and most beloved score after KOYAANISQATSI, a sumptuous, reverent and almost religious musical landscape that intensifies in majesty to match the onscreen horror, (a style of composition that would later be replicated by other composers as diverse as ELIOTT GOLDENTHAL and MICHAEL NYMAN & DAMON ALBARN.)

CANDYMAN isn’t just a piece of horror mastery as worthy and as iconic as A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET or FRIDAY THE 13TH, but a necessary item in every dyed-in-the-wool horror lover’s library.

Posted by Samuel Glass in EDITORIALS, FEATURED CONTENT, GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, HALLOWEEN, HORROR HEROES, MYTHS AND LEGENDS, PARANORMAL, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, THRILLER, TRIBUTE, URBAN DECAY/DYSTOPIAN FUTURES, 1 comment
HELLABRATION DELUXE! Thirty-One Days of SHOCKTOBER: Intro And Day One – 10/01/18

HELLABRATION DELUXE! Thirty-One Days of SHOCKTOBER: Intro And Day One – 10/01/18

As long as there have been movies, and as long as there have been Halloweens, Hollywood and the independent denizens who scrape and scrounge outside of the system, have been more than happy to exploit the holiday, by presenting crowd-pleasing, creepy creations of the killing kind. The offerings have been as diverse and diabolical as anything the human mind has been capable of whipping up, and for this particular occasion, HOUSE OF TORTURED SOULS – and Yours Cruelly – have devised a diversion of devilish delights just for you, dear readers!

Starting today, and for the days to come, we dug back into the dusty archives, going back THIRTY-ONE YEARS, and will be presenting to you, reviews of films that served as “fright fulfillment” for the spookiest night of each.

Hopefully, no one’s going to feel insulted or that I’m being condescending, but I’m going to talk about each one of these as if none of you readers have ever seen or heard of these before and at thirty-one years and counting, believe it – there are quite a few of you who have not.

I’ve relied on IMDb.com for the suggestions here, but I made each selection in terms of what film I found meant THE MOST to me for that year. That will make it easier, even though some time periods made it a lot harder to choose than others!

10/01 – 1987: HELLRAISER


In a year that was literally ‘an embarrassment of riches’ for die-hard horror fans, which saw the release of EVIL DEAD 2, THE LOST BOYS, THE HIDDEN, ANGEL HEART, NEAR DARK and PREDATOR, choosing the best film would seem like a daunting and impossible task. Filmmakers were transcending boundaries, going deeper into imaginative scenarios. There seemed to be no limit to what could be done to refresh what audiences recognized as the “tried-and-true” stories that were quickly  becoming established horror tropes, but it was writer/actor/artist/poet CLIVE BARKER, who struck out to give fans something totally new: a vision of horror not seen before in any previous effort. But HELLRAISER would certainly become highly influential for many, many years to come.

So here’s the skinny on HELLRAISER in a nutshell…think of it as a more arty, intimate version of THE GATES OF HELL, THE DEVIL’S RAIN or THE BEYOND.  Based on the Barker novella, “The Hellbound Heart,” it’s the heart-freezing story of the Cotton family: stepmonster Julia (CLARE HIGGINS), husband Larry (ANDREW ROBINSON) and daughter Kirsty (ASHLEY LAURENCE) and the house they’ve just moved into.

Nobody knows that Julia was seeing Larry’s brother, Frank (SEAN CHAPMAN) on the side, but that would be the  least of their worries even if they did know. Frank was into some pretty intense, weird occult shit, which included a certain ornate Chinese puzzle box, that once solved, opens the doors to Hell and summons a group of demonic entities known as the Cenobites – devotees of a brand of eternal torture and suffering undreamt of by mortal men…well, most of them.

In any case, Frank didn’t just solve the damn thing, but he did it in this very house.  And now, having suffered a fate worse than death, he’s looking for a way – any way – to escape.
Enter Julia. She loves (well, actually more lusts after) the disappeared Frank as much as she loathes mealy-mouthed Larry, but that’s not the point. The point would be that there’s not a lot that she wouldn’t do to have her lover back, as she discovers when a drop of blood on the floor of the room where Frank was taken, begins to bring him back to earthly life (and the special effects are something you’ve got to see to believe, courtesy of a crack English FX team, lead by legends BOB KEEN and GEOFF PORTASS).

Things begin to get really complicated, when Kirsty stumbles over what they’re up to, and she decides to strike her own deal with the satanic emissaries, to stop Julia and hopefully save her father.  The rest of the movie is devoted to revealing whether or not she’s successful.  Not saying this is a spoiler, people, but there are about a half-dozen HELLRAISER sequels now at the very least, so you can pretty much figure out the answer to that one.

Up to that time, no one had seen anything like HELLRAISER, and it would raise the bar for so many horror films to come, not just in the occult sub-category of horror, but horror in general. Barker really let his art school roots show with this one, as the creature designs, the amazing, atmospheric photography by ROBIN VIDGEON, and CHRISTOPHER YOUNG’S dark, chilling score combined to complete a vision that could only belong to him, and was introduced by the cult favorite “Books Of Blood” (also destined to provide some other film adaptations, none of them as much of a hallmark as this.)

The unforgettable roles portrayed by acting vets Robinson, Higgins and Chapman and the then-‘unknown’ Laurence made a lasting impression upon the young minds of blossoming horror fans and seasoned horrorphiles alike, but it was DOUG BRADLEY, BARBIE WILDE, NICHOLAS BURMAN-VINCE and SIMON BAMFORD, once relative unknowns to mainstream moviegoing audiences, who all became household names as the “angels to some, demons to others”, the S&M-by-way-of-Bosch infused Cenobites – a mouth-watering future challenge to cosplayers everywhere.

Posted by Samuel Glass in EDITORIALS, FEATURED CONTENT, HALLOWEEN, HORROR HEROES, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, MYTHS AND LEGENDS, PARANORMAL, SATANIC/DEMONIC, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, TRIBUTE, 0 comments
WiHM9 Blood Drive, PSA #25 – Kirby, A Hero

WiHM9 Blood Drive, PSA #25 – Kirby, A Hero

Morning, Souls! It’s the twenty-fifth morning of Women in Horror Month, and House of Tortured Souls is proud to present the twenty-fourth entry in this year’s Women in Horror Month Blood Drive.

The twenty-fifth PSA comes from the devilicious mind of Nicholas Burman-Vince.

Obligatory disclaimer (not that we need it, right Souls?):

DISCLAIMER: This IS Horror, boys and grrls, so SOME of these do have VERY naughty content. Blood. Gore. EXTREME gore. Disturbing situations. Nudity. Sexual situations. Violence. Language.
If you are SENSITIVE to this kind of content, be a mature human being and just don’t watch. No need to spoil the fun for us fellow weirdos. We’re not hurting anyone. It just REALLY looks like we are 😉

Without further ado, behold the brilliant twenty-fifth Blood Drive PSA of Women in Horror Month:

Kirby, A Hero

By Nicholas Burman-Vince

DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT:

When I was 19, I had major reconstructive surgery on my face and during the operation half the blood in my body was replaced via transfusion. For years I thought that was an extraordinary amount, but through the my involvement with the Soskas Blood Drive PSA, I’ve learned this is common – which help put into perspective just how urgent the need for blood donations is. Particularly as surgery isn’t the main use for donated blood. In the UK 67% is used to treat medical conditions including anaemia, cancer and blood disorders. So, people regularly need blood to survive.
I particularly like the current promotion by blood.co.uk #Date2Donate, encouraging people to donate with a friend or family member. What could be more romantic. Getting to know if your partner has a phobia about needles and helping to save someone’s life?

Cast & Crew:

Nicholas Vince – Writer and Director

Nicholas Vince played The Chatterer Cenobite in Clive Barker’s Hellraiser & Hellbound: Hellraiser II and Kinski in Barker’s Nightbreed. In 2016 he was awarded the London Horror Society Award for Outstanding Contribution to UK Independent Horror. He is Patron of the London Horror Festival.

His first short film as writer and director, The Night Whispered, screened at festivals in the US, UK, and France and is now available on Reelhouse.org. His second film, Your Appraisal, is on its festival run and a third, Necessary Evils, will be part of the horror anthology feature film For We Are Many, from Hex Media.

He still acts and recently starred in The Offer, with others from the Hellraiser films. He also stars in the independent feature film, Hollower (dir. MJ Dixon), and numerous short films including the award-winning Mindless (dir. Katie Bonham).

He hosts the weekly YouTube show Chattering with Nicholas Vince, where he interviews independent film makers and actors.

His two collections of short stories, What Monsters Do (rated 5*) and Other People’s Darkness are both available on amazon sites. His short story ‘Prayers of Desire‘, a new origin story for The Chatterer was published in Hellraiser: Anthology – Volume 2 by Seraphim Inc.

Holly Boyden – Rebekah

Recent graduate of the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, Holly Boyden previously studies at Goldsmith’s College, University of London and the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain.

She is known for The Night Whispered, @MovieGeek and One In A Million.

She is a trained dancer, specialising in Classical Ballet and Ballroom and Latin American. She speaks fluent Spanish.

Dawson James – Kirby

Film maker, actor, cinematographer, performance capture artist and photographer Dawson James, is known for Scale Down, Ophelia, The Night Whispered and his science fiction short, HUD, which is on its festival run. Later this year he stars in Burying the Mother in Law

He is the creator of the young YouTube channel, Fluffy Dog.

Patrick E. Fagan – Composer

Patrick graduated from The University of West Scotland in 2002 with a BA Honours degree in Commercial Music. Since then, Patrick has worked in many roles within the music industry from music management to event organisation and is now currently working as a music teacher.

After many years performing in various bands, Patrick decided to move into creating music specifically aimed at film, TV and Media.

Remember, Souls, there’ll be a new PSA every day, and please check out the official WiHM website for more on Women in Horror Month.

Check out the other PSAs:

Posted by Alan Smithee in STAFF PICKS, WOMEN IN HORROR, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Hellraiser: Judgment (2018) [SPOILERS]

MOVIE REVIEW: Hellraiser: Judgment (2018) [SPOILERS]

Writer/Director: Gary J. Tunnicliffe; Stars: Damon Carney, Randy Wayne, Alexandra Harris, Heather Langenkamp, Paul T. Taylor, Gary J. Tunnicliffe; Rating: N/A; Run Time: 81 min; Genre: Horror; Country: USA; Language: English; Year: 2018

The Butcher from Hellraiser: Judgment (2018)When I first heard rumors of Hellraiser: Judgment, I was excited. Then I learned that Doug Bradley wouldn’t be in it. Again. My expectations dropped. While better than the ninth installment, it still falls short of what Hellraiser fans want and doesn’t even come close to capturing the feel of the first three. That said, it might have been a decent movie had it not tried to shoehorn itself into the Hellraiser universe.

Warning: Spoilers Ahead

Gary J. Tunnicliffe and Paul T. Taylor in Hellraiser: Judgment (2018)Despite a faux Pinhead, the opening scene is intriguing and hints of a new approach to the Cenobites and how they interact with humans. The box, it seems, is no longer sufficient to lure in pleasure- and pain-seekers and they are attempting to find new ways to attract the immoral to them. The addition of a bureaucracy to Hell (more like the Christian Hell rather than The Labyrinth) is not a new concept, but the execution is interesting if a bit hackneyed at times. However, it quickly goes downhill and begins employing gimmicks and jump scares in place of real horror. Once again we are presented with a detective story, but this time the murderer kills according to the ten commandments. How very Seven of it. Once the tale plays out and the murderer is revealed, no one is surprised. Indeed, it is telegraphed throughout and not the bombshell it should be.

Mike J. Regan in Hellraiser: Judgment (2018)The one aspect that is interesting is the depiction of Hell, God, and the afterlife, but these do not necessarily align with the actual Hellraiser universe. In this movie, we learn that God is “in on it” in that He allows evil to exist for without it, man cannot know true evil. This has long been speculated regarding both the Christian God as well as other “creators”, but the Hell of the Hellraiser universe is widely accepted as being an extra dimension rather than the biblical Hell, making this something outside of the mythology. While it is an admirable attempt to expand the universe, it ultimately doesn’t work because it goes too far astray from Clive Barker’s original universe. I would like to see this in an original, non-Hellraiser film, but such a film would definitely be compared to the Hellraiser series without radical changes.

The Surgeon from Hellraiser: Judgment (2018)The effects in Hellraiser: Judgment are solid, which is to be expected from someone who worked as closely with Hellraiser as Gary Tunnicliffe did, but effects alone do not make a good movie. Moreover, they tried far too hard to cram in the Hellraiser universe, even going so far as to repeat lines and duplicate items from previous Hellraiser movies. This, more than anything, felt forced rather than natural. The acting is competent but not spectacular, and Pinhead has little to do with the movie beyond tying it to the franchise. All in all, Hellraiser: Judgment is not a bad movie, but it’s also not a good movie. To be fair, Barker set the bar pretty high, and I applaud the attempt to bring something new to the mythology, but I wish Tunnicliffe had stayed closer to the source material and brought back the original (and only) Pinhead – Doug Bradley.

Final verdict: 4/10 claw marks, worth a watch but, as Mom used to say, nothing to write home about

Gary J. Tunnicliffe and Damon Carney in Hellraiser: Judgment (2018)

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, SATANIC/DEMONIC, 0 comments
In Memoriam: Simon Sayce

In Memoriam: Simon Sayce

The horror community was shocked and saddened yesterday at the news of Simon Sayce’s passing. Simon, as you know, was the creator of the Hellraiser puzzle box for Hellraiser (1987) and Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988). Known as The Real Toymaker and The Lament Configuation Creator, Simon’s contribution to the films was pivotal in establishing the nature of the puzzle box. Each side was carefully designed to reflect some portion of the Hellraiser mythos, its stylized markings representing the box’s victims as well as displaying warnings against solving the puzzle. The 2015 documentary Leviathan: The Story of Hellraiser and Hellbound: Hellraiser II has an excellent section on the puzzle box with Simon Sayce explaining in detail the inspiration behind, research into, and design of the etchings on the puzzle box.

Fair use doctrine.
Catherine Oxenberg and Amanda Donohoe in The Lair of the While Worm

While Hellraiser and Hellbound: Hellraiser II were the most famous movies on which Simon worked, they were not the only ones. Simon also designed Old Button Eyes, the mask worn by Dr. Phillip K. Decker (David Cronenberg) in Nightbreed (1990) and is credited with special effects work for I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle (1990), The Unholy (1988), and The Lair of the White Worm (1988) – a personal favorite. The story revolves around the discovery of a giant snake skull on the site of a pagan temple where a convent was later erected and the disappearance of multiple locals. Packed with humor and plenty of excellent effects, The Lair of the White Worm is a cult favorite, and Simon Sayce helped make that happen, too.
Image: www.thepuzzleboxmaker.com - Larry Clark – Designer and Puzzle Box Maker, the builder of the replica puzzle boxes from the movie Hellraiser; Lisa Medley – Graphic design, project management, editor; Simon Sayce – Original Design of the Hellraiser Puzzle Boxes, Mentor to Larry Clark for historical reference and design of replicas. Signed by Simon Sayce.
House of Tortured Souls would like to extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Simon Sayce. His spirit will always live on in the work he did and in the hearts of the millions of fans who appreciate it.
Memorial candle
Simon Sayce
~ Rest in Peace ~
Signed puzzle box at www.thepuzzleboxmaker.com:

  • Larry Clark – Designer and Puzzle Box Maker, the builder of the replica puzzle boxes from the movie Hellraiser. Scribe of the historical documentation for the box design By/From Simon Sayce, Original designer of the box. Webmaster, designer and editor of www.thepuzzleboxmaker.com.
  • Lisa Medley – Graphic design, project management, editor of www.thepuzzleboxmaker.com.
  • Simon Sayce – Original Design of the Hellraiser Puzzle Boxes, Mentor to Larry Clark for historical reference and design of replicas.

Special thanks to Barbie Wilde for cluing me in on Simon's work on Nightbreed. -Woofer McWooferson
Posted by Alan Smithee in TRIBUTE, 0 comments
ARTIST OF THE MONTH – NOV 2016: Cory Newman

ARTIST OF THE MONTH – NOV 2016: Cory Newman

By Tammie Parker

A Few Minutes With
Cory Newman

Boy, do I have a way of stumble across different, unique, and original artists! Once again, I found an artist through a mutual Walker (zombie for TWD) friend, that was showcasing his work of her as a Walker. My original comment was 'WOW! That is one helluva nice tat!' However, I came to find out it wasn't a tattoo at all; that's just the style and the fact that Cory Newman uses parchment paper so it looks like it's on skin. His highlighting and shading is on point, and these portraits jump off that paper. You really have to stand back to make sure you do not get bit.


Then, when I struck up a conversation with him, I found out that not only is he a real tattoo artist (and a kick-ass one - click here to check out his tat Facebook page), but he's also a horror fan and does other monsters besides zombies. So there's something for everyone. 😉

Cory is 45-years-old and a professional tattoo artist from Wisconsin. He owns Black Lotus Custom Tattoos in Onalaska, Wisconsin.


I harassed Cory, and got these Q&As out of him.

House of Tortured Souls: How old were you when you started to draw?
Cory Newman: I've been drawing for as long as I can remember. I remember growing up with people always saying how good my art was.

HoTS: Where did you learn to draw? Did you take classes?
CN: I'm a self-taught artist. I did take an art course once, but it didn't last long. I didn't like being told what's the right and wrong way to draw.

HoTS: When/why did you fall in love with horror or zombie art?
CN: I fell in love with horror when I was 8. I remember being home alone and watching the Exorcist through the holes of a blanket. It was fun being scared.

HoTS: Do you draw on paper (in lead?) then paint in? Or on a computer with a program?
CN: I draw it graphite, white charcoal, and red food coloring.


HoTS: Do you have a favorite monster or walker?
CN: It's hard to choose a favorite horror movie monster but if I have to answer I would say I'm partial to Michael Myers and Ash and the Deadites from the Evil Dead. I'm also I big zombie fan. I love The Walking Dead. My favorite character is Rick Grimes and my favorite walker is the 'Bicycle Girl' played by Melissa Cowen. Also, I love Hellraiser and all the Cenobites.


HoTS: Do you do comic cons or art shows?
CN: I don't do comic or horror cons. but that is one of my long term goals. I would love to travel to like-minded people to sell my art.

HoTS: Where can we find and purchase your work?
CN: As of right now, the only way to purchase prints of my work is to contact me on Facebook. I very rarely sell my originals. Only two people own my original work. I don't really do commissions. I feel like I'll be stuck drawing a bunch of stuff that's extremely boring to me. I don't want to get burnt out on my drawing.

HoTS: Do you have any fan pages or a Twitter account so we can keep up with your work?
CN: No real fan pages. I have most of my work on my Facebook profile under the album Horror and Fan Art. And I also have a page called The Devils Sketchbook. The best way to keep up on my drawing is through my Facebook profile.

HoTS: Are you working on anything right now?
CN: Right now I'm working on a drawing of Negan from The Walking Dead. Next I'm planning two Hellraiser drawings.

HoTS: What are some of your pastimes outside of drawing?
CN: Outside of drawing and tattooing I spend a lot of time with my wife and my boxer Boondox. I also collect horror and walking dead collectibles. Other than that I'm a pretty boring person.

HA! Yep, he's a pretty boring person! Right?

I am the proud owner of two of his pieces.


I am completely in love and now planning a road trip to Wisconsin to find a bush to hide in (or in this case a bookshelf!) to watch him work.

Posted by Alan Smithee in ART AND VENDORS, FEATURED ARTISTS, 0 comments
HISTORY OF HORROR: SEPTEMBER

HISTORY OF HORROR: SEPTEMBER

By Woofer McWooferson

Join House of Tortured Souls as we celebrate significant dates in the history of horror in September. Click on thumbnails for full images.

September 1 - 7


09/01/1939 – The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939) released
theatrically

Poster The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939) Copyright RKO Radio Pictures


Poster Universal Pictures

09/02/1923 – The Hunchback of Notre Dame released
theatrically


09/02/1978 – Dawn of the Dead released
theatrically

Fair use doctrine.


Image credit erinc salor

09/05/1942 – Werner Herzog (director of Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht) born


09/06/1879 – Max Schreck (actor who portrayed Count Orlok in Nosferatu) born

Public domain


Image Universal Pictures

09/06/1925 – The Phantom of the Opera (1925) released theatrically


09/07/1940 – Dario Argento (director, producer, and screenwriter of Suspira and other horror films) born

Photo by Ian Gavan - © 2012 Getty Images - Image courtesy gettyimages.com


Photo by Bobby Bank - © 2010 Bobby Bank - Image courtesy gettyimages.com

09/07/1954 – Doug Bradley (best known as Pinhead in the Hellraiser film series) born


09/07/2004 – Silent Hill 4: The Room released on the PlayStation, Xbox, and PC in North America

Image Konami

September 8 - 14


Fair use doctrine.

09/08/1990 – Bride of Re-Animator released theatrically


09/09/1954 – Jeffrey Combs (actor in many horror films) born

© Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Fair use doctrine.

09/09/1997 – Cube released theatrically


09/09/2004 – Resident Evil Outbreak File #2 released for the PlayStation 2 in Japan

Image Capcom


Copyright 2005 Sony Pictures

09/09/2005 – The Exorcism of Emily Rose released theatrically


09/10/1993 – The X-Files premieres on television

Fair use doctrine.


Fair use doctrine.

09/10/2004 – Resident Evil: Apocalypse released theatrically


09/11/1987 – Hellraiser released theatrically

Fair use doctrine.


Fair use doctrine.

09/11/1992 – Candyman released theatrically


09/12/1958 – The Blob (1958) released theatrically

Fair use doctrine.


Photo by Apger - © MPTV - Image courtesy mptvimages.com.

09/12/1992 – Anthony Perkins (actor who portrayed Norman Bates in the Psycho films) dies (b. 1932)


09/13/1913 – Paul Wegener (director of The Golem: How He Came Into the World) dies (b. 1874)

Photo by A7A08A39_023.jpg - © Archives du 7e Art/Deutsche Bioscop - Image courtesy photo12.com.


Fair use doctrine.

09/13/1991 – Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare released theatrically


09/13/2005 – Supernatural premieres on television

Fair use doctrine.


Fair use doctrine.

09/14/1960 – The Little Shop of Horrors (1960) released theatrically

September 15 - 21


09/15/1974 – The Ghost Galleon released theatrically



© Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.

09/16/1963 – The Outer Limits premiered on television


09/16/2002 – Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance released on the Game Boy Advance in the US

Box art. Fair use doctrine.


Movie poster. Fair use doctrine.

09/16/2005 – Cry_Wolf released theatrically


09/17/2004 – Silent Hill 4: The Room released on the PlayStation, Xbox, and PC in Europe

Image: Konami.


Fair use doctrine.

09/17/2004 – Resident Evil Outbreak released on the PlayStation 2 in Europe


09/18/1963 – The Haunting (1963) released theatrically

Movie poster. Fair use doctrine.


Movie poster. Fair use doctrine.

09/18/1998 – The Dentist 2: Brace Yourself released theatrically


09/20/1940 – The Mummy’s Hand released theatrically

Movie poster. Fair use doctrine.


Fair use doctrine.

09/20/1975 – Asia Argento (actress in many horror films, daughter of Dario Argento and Daria Nicolodi) born


09/21/1947 – Stephen King born

Fair use doctrine.


Movie poster. Fair use doctrine.

09/21/1984 – The Company of Wolves released theatrically in the UK

September 22 - 28


09/22/1986 – Castlevania released for the Nintendo Entertainment System

Box art. Fair use doctrine.


Movie poster. Fair use doctrine.

09/22/1995 – Se7en released theatrically


09/22/1999 – Resident Evil 3: Nemesis released for the PlayStation in Japan

Box art. Fair use doctrine.


Movie poster. Fair use doctrine.

09/23/1988 – Dead Ringers released theatrically


09/24/2001 – Silent Hill 2 released on the PlayStation, Xbox, and PC in the US

Fair use doctrine.


Movie poster. Fair use doctrine.

09/24/2002 – Vampires: Los Muertos released on video in the US


09/24/2004 – Shaun of the Dead released theatrically in the US

Movie poster. Fair use doctrine.


Movie poster. Fair use doctrine.

09/25/1959 – The Mummy (1959) released theatrically


09/25/1994 – Alone in the Dark 2 released on PC

Box art. Fair use doctrine.


Movie poster. Fair use doctrine.

09/25/1998 – Urban Legend released theatrically


09/26/1962 – Carnival of Souls released theatrically

Movie poster. Fair use doctrine.


Fair use doctrine.

09/26/1970 – Sheri Moon (actress in House of 1000 Corpses, The Devil’s Rejects, Toolbox Murders) born


09/27/1985 – The New Twilight Zone premiered on television

Fair use doctrine.


Box art. Fair use doctrine.

09/27/2001 – Silent Hill 2 released on the PlayStation, Xbox, and PC in Japan


09/28/1987 – Friday the 13th: The Series premiered on television

Title card. Fair use doctrine.


Fair use doctrine.

09/28/2007 – Moonlight premiered on television


09/29/1955 – The Night of the Hunter released theatrically

Movie poster. Fair use doctrine.


Movie poster. Fair use doctrine.

09/29/1995 – Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers released theatrically

September 30


09/30/1984 – Tales from the Darkside premiered on television

Title card. Fair use doctrine.


Movie poster. Fair use doctrine.

09/30/1988 – Elvira, Mistress of the Dark released theatrically


09/30/2005 – Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow released on the Nintendo DS in the European Union

Box art. Fair use doctrine.

Posted by Alan Smithee in HORROR HISTORY, 0 comments
COMING SOON: Rubik’s Lament Configuration

COMING SOON: Rubik’s Lament Configuration

What's Your Pleasure?

By Woofer McWooferson

Lament Configuration - Opening the door

Since Hellraiser first came out, fans have hoped and dreamed of one day owning a functional puzzle box – minus the soul ripping Cenobites. Now, thanks to Mezco Toyz, they can. It's not the puzzle from the series; instead, it's the product of the unholy yet thoroughly delightful combination of the Hellraiser Lament Configuration puzzle box (featured in Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth) and a Rubik's Cube. Unlike the traditional cube, where one must solve for six sides of solid colors, the Hellraiser cube is solved to the design of the Lament Configuration puzzle box before activation. This is deliciously diabolical and sure to be a hit among fans of the Hellraiser universe.

Rubik's Lament Configuration

For the uninitiated, Hellraiser and, to a lesser extent, its sequels are the product of the twisted imagination of Clive Barker, one of horror's modern masters. The puzzle box is a gateway to Hell and summons the Cenobites, demons whose sole purpose is to torture anyone who solves the puzzle and summons them. The Rubiks Cube, on the other, is the product of Erno Rubik and first came on the scene in 1974. While it summons only geek applause, solving it is still considered an achievement. And the faster one can solve it, the more esteemed one's place in Rubik's Cube geekdom.

Lament Configuration, horizontal movement

According to Mezco:

Within the Hellraiser universe, the Lament Configuration is the key to the gates of Hell itself and the summoner of the Cenobites. Now, for the first time ever, it is recreated as a working puzzle. Featuring artwork based on the designs of Philip Lemarchand, the prop-sized square puzzle rotates on both the X and Y axis with an almost supernatural smoothness. With 43,252,003,274,489,856,000 possible combinations, even Dr. Channard would find himself bedeviled in a quest for the solution.

So what does this mean for fans of either or both? It means get your credit card or Paypal ready because they're already taking pre-orders. At only $13.00, this is a deal that fans won't be able to pass up.

Posted by Alan Smithee in HORROR NEWS, 0 comments
Doug Bradley Talks Hellraiser: Judgment

Doug Bradley Talks Hellraiser: Judgment

Doug Bradley Explains It All For You

By Woofer McWooferson

As almost every Hellraiser fan knows, the esteemed Mr. Doug Bradley will not be in the tenth Hellraiser film. This has been a deep disappointment to fans of the series as well as fans of all of Bradley's work. Earlier this year, he posted a Facebook status indicating his reasons for not appearing in the film, and those reasons were quite disturbing for it shows how little respect the filmmaker had for the man whose portrayal of Pinhead became synonymous with Hellraiser films. In a recent interview, Bradley elaborated on what he wrote in February.

Regarding the nondisclosure agreement:

I’ve been part of the Hellraiser franchise thirty years, this year. I’ve been in possession of, to my certain knowledge ten Hellraiser scripts because there was at least one Hellraiser script I had which didn’t get filmed. I hope I’m not being egotistical if I say that I’ve been an important part of the franchise and an important part of the reason why there’s a Hellraiser ten being made at all. So I didn’t understand why I had suddenly become a security risk that I had to sign a nondisclosure agreement. I don’t disclose. I was approached about Revelations and I’ve gone on record as saying I was very reluctant to consider it because I didn’t like the reasons why the movie was being made. It was being made, as we know now, entirely for political reasons because Dimension were about to lose the rights to both the Hellraiser franchise and the Children of the Corn franchise. That’s why the movie was being made, not because they wanted to reinvest, reinvigorate or kick-start the franchise. But I said ‘Let me see the script.’ I read Gary’s script for Revelations and I didn’t think it was good, so I turned it down. I never said a word about it, never said a word about Revelations, disclosed nothing.

And:

It was Through The Looking Glass stuff, it was telling me that I could not talk about this movie or the screen play in restrooms, in restaurants, in elevators, or in cellular telephone conversations which may be overheard. It also made me liable for a million dollars if I was deemed to have in any way harmed the investment of the producers in the project.

His perception of the movie itself, which Tunnicliffe purports to have always been a Hellraiser movie, echoes my own opinion of the film:

It’s a slightly puzzling situation, as well, Gary has told me and the FANGORIA readers that this is one hundred percent an original screenplay. Now he’s saying that he wrote it as a Hellraiser film some years ago. I’m trying to fill in the blanks, but maybe that would be after Revelations, and nobody wanted to make it. Then it resurfaced in, I think 2013, as his Kickstarter movie called Judgment, which he told us was ‘a horror movie like no other’. I saw the teaser trailer, and it had this guy with a very deep voice with scars across his head, diagonally it has to be said, but scars and a deep voice playing a toy music box which sort of reminded me of another horror movie we’re all very familiar with. But Gary said it was a horror movie like no other, so I must be mistaken.

Anyway, that Kickstarter campaign failed and now here we are with that movie, that was a Hellraiser movie, then was not a Hellraiser movie, and now suddenly is a Hellraiser movie again. (Tunnicliffe’s) also promised us that it’s going to contain some of ‘the most powerful and thought-provoking sequences ever seen in a horror film’, which is some claim. So I’m looking forward to seeing it.

Regarding other scripts that were edited to be Hellraiser films:

Inferno, Hellseeker and Deader are the next three movies in the series, and they were all preexisting movies that were tweaked to become Hellraiser movies. That’s lazy. It doesn’t speak to me of great respect for the franchise.

Hellraiser: Inferno

Hellraiser: Inferno


Hellraiser: Hellseeker

Hellraiser: Hellseeker


Hellraiser: Deader

Hellraiser: Deader

Will he ever play Pinhead again?

Never say never. I’ve turned down one script because I didn’t think it was good enough and I didn’t like the reasons why the movie was being made or the way the movie was being made.

And:

I’m not losing sleep over not playing Pinhead – it’s more than thirteen years now since I played him last, but I’m not closing the door on anything, either.

You can read the full interview at iHorror.

So keep the faith, fellow Hellraiser fans. We may not have seen the last of Doug Bradley.

Doug Bradley; image source: Horrorfan666 (Photobucket)

Posted by Alan Smithee in HORROR NEWS, PREQUELS AND SEQUELS, 0 comments
A WORD FROM PINHEAD HIMSELF : DOUG BRADLEY

A WORD FROM PINHEAD HIMSELF : DOUG BRADLEY

untitled

By  John Roisland

As per the ongoing discussion of the Hellraiser saga, Doug Bradley, best known as Pinhead to the world, posted this yesterday to the public on Facebook, February 17, 2016 . Here's what he had to say:

"Ladies, Gentlemen and Others,

I gather word is beginning to spread about the new Hellraiser movie which is, apparently, already shooting.
First, a point of clarification. This is the first time I have said anything about this. Anything else you have heard me say about any proposed Hellraiser film refers to the constantly rumored remake. And, for the record, I still know nothing about that.

First I heard about this new film was around Christmas in a phone call from Gary Tunnicliffe, who was my make-up artist on Bloodline through Hellworld. Gary, you may recall, also wrote the screenplay for Revelations. He has written and is directing this new effort. I can also assert, contrary to some rumours I've already seen, that Clive Barker is not involved with this in any way, shape or form.

Gary said he would send me a copy of the script when he had completed a second draft, but before I could be allowed to set eyes on the precious document, I was required to sign a gagging order. This was a three page document preventing me from talking about the script 'in restrooms', 'on elevators', 'in restaurants' or 'in cellular telephone conversations which may be overheard'. There was also dark reference to 'people talking out of turn at conventions'. I read this thing in disbelief, and informed Gary I would not be signing it.

And that's that. Clearly, I am deemed too much of a security risk to be allowed to read a Hellraiser script. People are starving to death in Syria and they're worried about me talking about a Hellraiser movie? Get a fucking grip. Can you say 'sense of proportion'?

Anyway, story short: a new movie is happening and I have nothing do with it. I was unable to make a decision about it because I was not allowed to read the script, unlike Revelations where I made a conscious decision not to do the movie based on the motives for making it and the poor quality of the script.

And that's everything."

Peace and Pain
Doug

This is what Doug posted openly yesterday, and personally speaking , I support him 100% , and most certainly don't have much hope for the series without him.

Keep It Evil.

Posted by John Roisland in HORROR NEWS, 1 comment
New Hellraiser Movie, But No Doug Bradley

New Hellraiser Movie, But No Doug Bradley

By Dixielord 

News has been hitting social media and the internet about a new Hellraiser movie. It appears the film is already in production. It also appears that scream queen Heather Langenkamp, aka Nancy, is attached in a cameo role. The news that Heather will be appearing in the movie obviously got fans a bit excited. But it seems the Hellraiser franchise giveth good news, and the Hellraiser franchise taketh it away.

Doug Bradley as Pinhead in Hellraiser

The one and only Pinhead, Doug Bradley. Accept no substitute

No sooner than the good news about Langenkamp hits the news, than rumors that Doug Bradley, once again,wont be cast as Pinhead. The rumors have been now been confirmed by Bradley himself on his verified Facebook page. Bradley originated the role in the original Hellraiser, and reprises the role in seven sequels before being replaced in the abomination Hellraiser:Revelations.

The new film, which so far as I know doesn't have a working title is being directed by Gary Tunnicliffe. Tunnicliffe is definitely no stranger to the Hellraiser series, having done Doug's make up in three of the previous films. Unfortunately he also wrote the script for Revelations. In the past I have laid most of the blame for the still birth that is Revelations on director Victor Garcia, and the studios, who rushed a shitty film out just to maintain the rights to the name Hellraiser, but the story was crap, and the writer has to take the blame for that.

To paraphrase Doug from his facebook, he turned down Revelations because it was a poor script and it was being rushed into production for the “wrong reasons”. With this new film, according to Bradley, he was not allowed to see the script without signing a gag order before hand. A gag order that would have prevented him from talking about the script anywhere he could be overheard, including fan conventions.

Faux Pinhead from Hellraiser:Revelations

Dis muh scway face, doooh. Hellraiser: Revelations

Maybe it's just me, but if you are that worried about someone knowing about your script, it must be a pretty weal script. Maybe there are other reason, but a good story, talked about at conventions, in my mind would only stoke interest in the film.

Along with word, that everyone's favorite cenobite wont be returning to the role he helped create, Bradley also says Clive Barker will in no way be associated with the new film. So any rumors of a Hellraiser reunion with Barker and Bradley are, for now at least, just that, rumors.

Hellraiser's cenobites

The cenobite family from Hellraiser

My personal two cents. If you are making a Hellraiser with Pinhead, you need Doug Bradley. Sorry but he means to much to fans of the series. Now if you want to make a Hellraiser film and Doug isn't interested, or can't commit to the part, just don’t use the Pinhead character. No offense to Heather Langenkamp, who is an awesome person, but I wont be rushing to see this new movie. Just too many negatives. No Barker, no Bradley, and too much of the creative force behind Revelations. Seriously, I had rather watch Uwe Boll pick his nose while screaming anti Semitic remarks for two hours than watch Revelations again.

You really want to excite Hellraiser fans? Give us The Scarlet Gospels with Doug Bradley as Hellraiser and Scot Bakula as Harry D'Amour! At least this Hellraiser fan gets wet thinking about that.

Clive Barker's The Scarlet Gospels

The Scarlet Gospels, end of Pinhead from Hellraiser

Posted by Allen Alberson in HORROR NEWS, 0 comments
GRAPHIC NOVEL REVIEW: Clive Barker’s Omnibus

GRAPHIC NOVEL REVIEW: Clive Barker’s Omnibus

clivebarkeromnibus

By Nick Durham

Clive Barker and comics go back an awful long way. Back in the 90s (yes, that dreaded decade of comic book misery), Barker lent his name to Marvel to oversee a few various comic titles that focused on horror and fantasy elements as opposed to Marvel's typical superhero fare. None of those titles lasted too long however, but it wasn't the last Clive would dip his fingers into the comic book world. In the years to follow, many of Barker's works would find themselves adapted into the comic medium. Everything from Hellraiser, to Nightbreed, to some original work like the recent Next Testament series (which is excellent by the way) would have varying degrees of success, as well as be pretty well received by critics. Thanks to the folks at IDW Publishing, we get three of Barker's stories told in comic book form collected in this nice Omnibus. The Thief of Always, The Great and Secret Show, and Seduth make up this book, and they are simply wonderful.

The Thief of Always is based on a novel Barker had written in the early 90s, and is adapted by Kris Oprisko. Unlike just about the rest of his blood-drenched horror stories, this is actually more of a story tailored for younger readers, or a fable as it was marketed as when it was first originally published. That aside, the fact that it's aimed towards a younger audience isn't a bad thing at all, as it is plenty enjoyable for adults as well. The story revolves around a pre-teen boy that has become bored with the tedium of everyday life, and is whisked away to the mystical Holiday House, where everyday life is simply amazing. It soon becomes apparent that things aren't at all what they seem, and Harvey seeks to return home, only to discover that years and years have passed. He struggles to return things back to normal, making for a very entertaining conclusion. The stark artwork by Gabriel Hernandez is very moody, and quite wonderful as well.

The Great and Secret Show is also based on a well-known novel by Barker, is adapted by Chris Ryall, and this takes up the bulk of the Omnibus. At its core, the story revolves around an age-old struggle between two somewhat otherworldly men, and whose conflict has caused varying degrees of misery on mankind. There's also a cameo from my favorite Barker character ever, the paranormal detective Harry D'Amour. The story itself I've never been that big a fan of. While I love Clive Barker with all my heart, The Great and Secret Show has never managed to grab me by the throat like so many of his other works have done. The comic adaptation doesn't do much to change this feeling either. The artwork by Gabriel Rodriguez is pretty good though, so I guess there's that.

The Clive Barker Omnibus closes with Seduth, which is co-written by Barker and Chris Monfette. This is by and far the shortest story in here, as well as the most confusing. A perfect and demonic diamond takes control over a man named Harold, which results in some very grisly murders, retribution, and eventual total overall insanity before everything comes full circle. This story makes little sense in complete honesty, and isn't as engaging as one would hope, but Gabriel Rodriguez returns with art duties, and his work here is very detailed and seems much more polished than his work did with The Great and Secret Show.

So yeah, The Clive Barker Omnibus isn't a total home run, but it is fairly enjoyable regardless. The good definitely outweighs the bad here, and the artwork throughout this book is wonderful, despite the varying qualities of the stories here. All in all, if you love Clive Barker and you love comic books, you should give this a look at the very least.

Rating: 3.5/5

Posted by Alan Smithee in BOOKS, COMICS, AND PUBLICATION REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
HALLOWEEN HORRORS: Hellraiser (1987)

HALLOWEEN HORRORS: Hellraiser (1987)

By Machete Von Kill

Hellraiser poster

Director: Clive Barker; Writer: Clive Barker (adapted from The Hellbound Heart) Stars: Doug Bradley, Ashley Laurence, Clare Higgins; Rating: R; Run Time: 94 min; Genre: Horror; Country: USA; Language: English; Year: 1987

Sexual deviant Frank (Sean Chapman) inadvertently opens a portal to hell when he tinkers with a box he bought while abroad. The act unleashes gruesome beings called Cenobites, who tear Frank's body apart. When Frank's brother Larry (Andrew Robinson) and his wife, Julia (Clare Higgins), move into Frank's old house, they accidentally bring what is left of Frank back to life. Frank then convinces Julia, his one-time lover, to lure men back to the house so he can use their blood to reconstruct himself. (Summary from IMDb.)

I honestly don't remember how old I was the first time I saw Hellraiser. It was some time in middle school. And I've seen it eleventy billion times since. It is one of my favorite movies of all time, and I don't mean just horror movies either. I can probably recite almost every line from the movie and had Pinhead as a notification alert on my cellphone (I can't lie. After several texts from a close friend, I had to change it. LOL! Pinhead was starting to creep me out!)

Meeting Doug Bradley aka Pinhead

I have to say, seeing Doug Bradley's name on the guest list for Motor City Nightmares last year was one of the biggest reasons I wanted to go. I was heartbroken when it became clear I couldn't afford tickets. Thanks to Dark Legacy Haunted House, I WON A GOLD PASS and was able to meet PINHEAD himself. I will full on admit, I was extremely nervous about meeting Mr. Bradley. I was a complete mess. Nervous stutter when I could speak, dry mouth and shaking like a leaf. Mr. Bradley put up with me (LOL) and was nice enough to take photos with me, autograph my DVD, and accepted my gift to him, a hand painted Pinhead Christmas ornament. I could go on and on about Doug Bradley, but that's not why we're here. Let's get back to the movie.

The scene when Frank begins to regenerate after absorbing his brother's blood through the floor boards is both totally gross and totally captivating. You can't turn away, even though you want to. And the subsequent scenes of Frank consuming the blood of the men Julia brings to the house are just as gross and captivating. The sounds effects alone are gag worthy.

I can't say I have any sympathy for Frank or Julia. Frank was a sick, mean, creepy bastard when he was alive and Julia, a cheating tramp. Who sleeps with their newly wedded husband's brother!? Ick! Dirty ho! They totally deserved each other and all of the tortures dished out by the Cenobites. It seems so fitting that Frank ended up consuming Julia.

And the Cenobites themselves, HOLY WAH! As if Pinhead wasn't terrifying enough, throw in Chatterer (Nicholas Vince), Butterball (Simon Bamford), and the female Cenobite (Grace Kirby)... Nightmare material for days! Deliciously evil and brilliant. Bravo to Clive Barker for bringing these henchmen of Hell to life.

The movie is dark, beautiful, gory and everything a good horror movie should be. Even with the 1987 special effects, it still stands up today as one of the greatest ever made. And I'm really unhappy to hear that it will be rebooted. It is a classic that needs to be left alone. Sure, make another sequel (just please, please, please do a better job than the last few), but there's no reason to reboot.

If you haven't yet seen this masterpiece, I'd really like to know what the hell you are waiting for.

10 out of 10 Cenobites Tortures

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
BOOK REVIEW: The Scarlet Gospels (2015)

BOOK REVIEW: The Scarlet Gospels (2015)

By Nick Durham

scarlet
Clive, what the fuck?

I want to start by saying that I am a Clive Barker fanatic. In my youth when I first started reading horror, aside from Stephen King, Clive Barker was one of the names I'd heard get thrown around the most. I had seen Hellraiser long before I ever read The Hellbound Heart, but once I did it didn't take long before I had read all through his published works. Barker has been and forever will be beloved by me, so much so that I'd even put him above King on my list of favorite horror authors. The man is a true master of horror literature.

Or at least he was.

I've been looking forward to The Scarlet Gospels for what seems like years. In fact, it doesn't just seem like years, it has literally been years (actually well over a decade) since Barker himself teased this unholy face-off between paranormal detective Harry D'Amour and Pinhead. An unholy face-off between the two that would spell the end for one, or possibly both, characters that we've all come to love over the years. Good fucking lord, such an epic showdown would truly be something special that will as revered in the years to come as much as The Hellbound Heart and most of what's contained in the Books of Blood volumes.

I am very sad to say that it doesn't work out that way, if at all.

First of all, I'm going to try and not delve into too many spoilers, because I'm not a dick (I'm lying, I totally am). With that in mind, be warned, because things may get a little spoiler-y regardless. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Anyway, the novel gets off to a flat-out fantastic start where we learn that various magicians all over the world have been reaching incredibly grisly demises at the hands of Pinhead, who mostly gets referred to as the "Hell Priest" here (truth be told, Barker himself always kind of hated the name "Pinhead", so this is kind of a nice little in-joke here). The opening chapter of The Scarlet Gospels is simply brilliant. It's vintage Barker, with an imaginative set-up, and some disgusting pay-offs. I don't want to give too much away, I really don't...you just have to read it to believe it. Trust me, it's awesome.

After that though, things are mostly downhill. We catch up with Harry and his blind medium friend Norma, as Harry takes on a job that turns out to be a fairly predictable trap that puts him in Pinhead's sights. Before we know it, both Harry and Norma, along with a small crew of their compatriots (or "Harrowers" as they end up getting referred to) are headed straight to Hell...figuratively and literally. This is where I have some of the biggest problems with The Scarlet Gospels. I had really looked forward to reading Barker's take on Hell, because I figured that at the least it'd be unique. Sadly, it just isn't. It's not awful or anything mind you, it all just comes off as meh. His vision of Hell and the denizens therein are just plain boring. Seriously, it feels like more of a chore reading through his descriptions of the inner-workings of Hell, and that flat out kills any momentum that has been garnered by the time we get to this point.

Another problem with the novel, at least for me anyway, are many of the characterizations and dialogue. Harry and Norma come off as well-written as they always have been, but the rest of Harry's Harrowers are two-dimensional, cookie-cutter caricatures. The cookie-cutter caricatures mostly refer to Harry's pal Caz as well as the precognitive Dale, who, once they meet, just totally become gay caricatures. Considering Barker himself is gay, and has usually written gay characters wonderfully in the past, this is a massive disappointment. In fact, whenever Caz and Dale converse with each other or about each other at all, it's kind of mind-numbing.

While I'm on the subject of characterizations, what the fuck is up with Pinhead? We never really get a clear motivation as to why he's doing what he's doing, or why he really needs Harry to be his "witness" to his deeds. We also are never really given a clear reason as to why he wants to usurp Lucifer or much else either. This is one of the story elements that you can just tell had so much left on the cutting room floor. It has been said before that so much had been excised from the original product that I would love to read a sort of "director's cut" of this if it would ever see the light of day. I truly hope that one day such a thing happens, but I'm not really counting on it to be totally honest. I kind of think that we should all be glad that The Scarlet Gospels has finally seen the light of day at all.

Now I know it sounds like I'm shitting all over it, and I kind of am because I've been looking forward to The Scarlet Gospels for so fucking long now, but the end result isn't the abortion I may be painting it to be. A majority of the novel is entertaining, and a showdown between Pinhead and Lucifer and the fallout that follows, is entertaining enough. It's just that the finished product is so disappointing considering the years of hype. Maybe that shouldn't be such a surprise, because when something gets hyped up like this for this many years, it'll never meet anyone's expectations.

So yeah, The Scarlet Gospels isn't what I'd hoped it would be. Like I said before, it isn't bad, not one bit...but it is still pretty disappointing considering what we've seen from Clive Barker in the past. I'd say still check it out though regardless. It's worth reading, just don't expect it to be as wonderful as you might hope it to be.

Rating: 2.5/5

Posted by Alan Smithee in BOOKS, COMICS, AND PUBLICATION REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments