Friday, November 13, 2009

Hellbound Hearts: Closing Post

The end has been reached. What can be said about “Hellbound Hearts”? The stories speak for themselves, but I feel compelled to summarize the experience for me. As a child the Hellraiser movies stroke unimaginable fear in my heart and I didn’t rekindle with the franchise until a later date, when I thought that the first two movies were in fact brilliant as in being something entirely else and bold and pretty damn good, even if they were dated.

As a writer and an idea person I am drawn to concepts. A world with these demonic beings and their hellish puzzles, chains and torture vomits bile and viscera, standing in stark contrast to other horror titles. This was the original torture porn horror, which now has found solid soil with series like Saw and Hostel. Hell has never looked crueler and at first glance the formula seems rather limiting to explore by others. Humans solve puzzles and sign their damnation, but what I didn’t count on was that a puzzle has many shapes, damnation has many masks and so do the executioners of that death sentence. Given that the authors assembled here had to work with the intellectual material of someone else to me presented a great challenge and the result is more than pleasing.

Horror itself as a genre is vast and so are the techniques to achieve the desired sense of fear, which on its own has many nuances. From blood stopping cold in the veins to the hopeless desperation to the stomach twisting revulsion fear, a person can experience a myriad of frights and the twenty one authors explore this wide range. At any rate this is not a book that people with weak psyches or bowels can stomach easily. It’s an anthology for the fans that love the gore, love the twisted stories and have had a long run with the genre.


Foreword: Clive Barker
Introduction: Raising Hell, Again by Stephen Jones

Prisoners of the Inferno by Peter Atkins
The Cold by Conrad Williams
The Confessor’s Tale by Sarah Pinborough


Hellbound Hollywood by Mick Garris
Mechanisms by Christopher Golden and Mike Mignola (illustrated by Mike Mignola)
Every Wrong Turn by Tim Lebbon

The Collector by Kelley Armstrong
Bulimia by Richard Christian Matheson
Orfeo the Damned by Nancy Holder
Our Lord of Quarters by Simon Clark
Wordsworth by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean
A Little Piece of Hell by Steve Niles
The Dark Materials Project by Sarah Langan
Demon’s Design by Nicholas Vince

Only The Blind Survive by Yvonne Navarro
Mother’s Ruin by Mark Morris
Sister Cilice by Barbie Wilde
Santos del Infierno by Jeffrey J. Mariotte
The Promise by Nancy Kilpatrick
However... by Gary A. Braunbeck and Lucy A. Snyder
‘Tis Pity He’s Ashore by Chaz Brenchley

Afterword by Doug Bradley
Special Bonus Material: Wordsworth Graphic short story Original Script by Neil Gaiman

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