Comic Book Review: Hellraiser – “At The Tolling of a Bell”

Hellraiser – “At The Tolling Of a Bell”
Written by Clive Barker with Christopher Monfette
Art by Leonardo Manco
Colors by Juan Manuel Tumbrú
Lettering by Johnny Lowe
Cover by Tim Bradstreet
Edited by Ian Brill

Clive Barker’s “The Hell Bound Heart” is without a doubt one of the best horror novels to come out of the 1980’s thus introducing the world to the sick, sadistic world of the Cenobites and also introducing a whole generation to the concept of extreme body modification. Barker would later revisit the novella with the 1987 adaptation: “Hellraiser” before handing the reigns over to others who would go on to produce horrid sequels (most of which went straight to video) and loosely based comic books further expanding on the Cenobite mythos.

A while back the internet community buzzed with reports of a remake/reboot which was to be based upon an updated 45 page treatment penned by Barker. Originally, the project was to be handled by French Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo but after Dimension Films rejected their script (and Barker praised it) the duo dropped the project. Following their departure, the Dimension brought Pascal Laugier  (Martyrs)  on board. Again, Barker praised the directors work much to the studios dismay thus resulting in the directors departure from the project. Now it seems that the film will be going scripted and filmed by the creative team behind  “My Bloody Valentine 3D” who sadly enough wish to film the movie in 3D. On an interesting side note Doug Bradley who portrays Pinhead in the movies as recently opted out of the role for the next picture, stating that is his not pleased with how the series is being handled. Though I’m sure he will return for the remake.

Clive Baker himself even expressed interest in returning to the world in which he had created with ’The Scarlet Gospels’

[Taken from the Scarlet Gospels wikipedia page]

“The story centers on two characters Barker has used in his previous work. The first is the private investigator Harry D’Amour, a character seen in several previous stories such as the novel Everville and the short story The Last Illusion later adapted into the film Lord of Illusions. The second, Harry’s adversary in The Scarlet Gospels, is known only as Pinhead, a member of The Order of the Gash, residing in a world bordering our own, devoted to exploring pleasure – at least, pleasure as they themselves define it. The first meeting between these two characters actually occurs in the past, when Harry is twelve or thirteen years old and in Catholic school, and this encounter with Pinhead is said to be a prime cause in Harry’s later disturbed demeanor.

“In the present day, a friend of Harry’s is taken hostage by Pinhead, and Harry, accompanied by four mismatched companions (including the blind medium Norma Paine, who has appeared in earlier Barker stories) and an animal, must track his friend down into the lowest levels of Hell. Roughly two thirds of the story will take place in Hell itself, and much is expected to be learned about the nature of Hell, its creator, its inhabitants, about the Order of Cenobites and Pinhead’s place within.”

Mr. Barker’s return to the world of the Cenobites won’t be limited to another novel but also comics! With BOOM! Studios releasing a new series written by Barker and Christopher Monfette that continues where the book and first film left off. However, that’s not what we’re looking at here today.

What I have is something that you all can read ASAP. It’s a free and serves as a prelude to the debut issue. The comic itself is beautifully illustrated by Leonardo Manco whose saturated colors (Juan Manuel Tumbrú) brings to mind the gritty tone that the original film presented.

The story begins in a penitentiary. Inmates in orange jumpsuits are loading into buses while the last prisoner is to be put to death. His executioner – a preacher.

The preacher places the  Lemarchand puzzle box in the inmates hands and tells him that if he can solve it than there may be help for him. One thing leads to another, the box is opened and flames erupt, burning the man, thus unleashing Pinhead upon the world.

I won’t go too much into detail since I am sure you’ll read it (should I remind you that it’s free?) so I don’t wish to give too much away. I will however say that this comic is a welcome for Pinhead and crew. Here, Pinhead is just as he was in the original novella – more animated, talkative, etc which in the end makes him more terrifying.

I look forward to seeing where this series will go.

Download link: Prelude to Hellraiser #1 PDF

[NOTE comic is not host through this blog and will open to another page when clicked]

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