Check out my The Hellbound Heart book summary and review that I created to help you understand the basics of this great book The Hellbound Heart is a short horror novel by English author Clive Barker, first published in November 1986 by Dark Harvest Publishing House in the third volume of the ethnographic series Night Vision.

It inspired the 1987 movie Hellerizer, the first in a successful series. Following the film's success, it was re-released at home in single volume by HarperCollins in 1988 and Sonzogno in 1991 in Italy.

The Hellbound Heart

This is an example of the Macbrey and Bloody style introduced by Barker in his collection of short stories Blood Books. The story focuses on a supernatural puzzle and the horrors expressed in a family that has the misfortune of reading into it.

The Hellbound Heart book summary :

Frank Cotton is a hedonist who has dedicated his life to the most extreme sensitivity to selfishness and determination. Believing that he has enjoyed all the pleasures of the world, Frank feels dissatisfied and eager for something more thorough. He listens to Lemarchand's cube, a puzzle box that will be the gateway to an extra-dimensional world of boundless sexual pleasure.

 Finding its owner in Dেলsseldorf, Frank receives the box by doing him a "little favor" and returns to his late grandmother's home in England. Frank prepares offerings of conduct for the inhabitants of the state: the supplicant, a member of a religious order dedicated to the ultimate sensual experience.

After opening the box, Frank finds himself confused and terrified when the supplicant, instead of the beautiful women, turns into a disgusting perverted creature whose bodies have been changed to the point where they look asexual. Nevertheless, Frank eagerly accepts the offer of their experience, which has never happened before, despite their repeated warnings that it may not be what he expected and that he will not be able to withdraw from the contract.

Frank then becomes the last "test" of the supplicant, who puts him under such a sensitive overload that he realizes that the supplicant's devotion to sadomasochism is so extreme that they no longer distinguish between pain and pleasure. Frank is sucked into a world of oppression, where he realizes that he will be tortured for eternity (as people understand it).

Shortly afterwards, Frank's brother, Larry Cotton, told Rory that he had gone home with his wife, Julia. Unbeknownst to Rory, Julia had an affair with Frank a week before their wedding, and spent the entire time of the marriage with Frank only wanting to be with her husband in financial need. While moving, Rory accidentally cuts himself off and drops of blood fall to the spot where Frank was picked up by the supplicant.

 The blood, mixed with the semen that Frank ejaculated on the floor, opens another dimensional gap through which Frank escapes. However, as a result of torture, his body turned into a dry corpse. Julia finds him and promises to replenish her body so they can save their relationship again.

While Rory is working, Julia persuades the men to the bar and takes them to the attic, where she kills them and then offers to Frank, whose body slowly begins to regenerate. Kirsty, a friend of Rory's who secretly loves her, suspects that Julia has a boyfriend and tries to seduce him, but instead meets Frank, who tries his life.

Kirsty stole the box and fled the house, exhausted and fell on the street. He is taken to the hospital, where he solves the puzzle and inadvertently calls the supplicant. They try to take Kirsty with them first, so he doesn’t talk to their Frank; Doubtful that one of their tests might have escaped, the supplicant agreed not to touch Kirsty in exchange for Frank's return.

Kirsty takes the torture to Frank, who is now wearing Rory's skin, freshly flayed. Another quarrel ensued, during which Diehard Frank inadvertently killed Julia. Aware of Frank's identity, the supplicant appears and breaks down with a large number of hooks to bring Frank back to their kingdom. Below, Kirsty sees Julia’s severed head asking for help, a request that seems to have failed, introducing herself as the bright head of an animal, the engineer also seems to be taking his cheating wife.

When he leaves the house, Kirsty bumps into the engineer, who asks him to take care of the box until another subordinate finds him. Looking at its varnished surface, Kirsty imagines that it reflects the faces of Julia and Frank, but not Rory. He then wonders if there is any other puzzle through which he can reach Rory to open the gates of heaven for him.

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