Clive Barker’s Hellraiser Omnibus is 500 pages of some of the best art I’ve seen all year, it really brings the feel of the movies to a book.
Unfortunately, I remembered that I don’t actually like the movies all that much. I really like the idea of them. That hell opens up when you unlock a puzzle box and demons are actually a bunch of weirdly sexy BDSM extremists who spend eternity inflicting an exquisite pain on the damned. I love puzzles!
But the movies, and this book, are kind of slow, kind of bogged down with a philosophy that isn’t fleshed out enough, and try to make the conflicts too large when a personal existential crisis is good enough for most of us.
When the book should focus on single characters and dive deep into their personal anguish it broadens out to a grand exploration of good and evil as a whole. It becomes a bit tiresome and harder to relate to.
There are two things though that I absolutely loved about Hellraiser Omnibus. First, the aforementioned art. It’s stunning. The colors, the designs, the spectacle. I would be proud to hang many of these pages on my walls. The digital download took my very out of date tablet an hour to download and I’m guessing the art had a lot to do with that.
Second, is that this book contained some reverse fridging that I got very excited about. If you are unfamiliar, I wrote about fridging as a literary trope a bit back. The gist is that a woman will get killed off as a way to kick start the hero into action. This book starts with our female hero, Kirsty Cotton, finally accepting her boyfriend’s proposal after he is brutally slaughtered.
I have to give huge credit to a book that breaks the trope by killing off the man instead. This book also has some much appreciated equal opportunity graphic nudity. It’s mostly women but there is a penis on proud display toward the end! If you’re gonna do nudity do it all the way!
The rest of the book falls prey to a common problem of the works of Clive Barker, he’s sexually progressive at the same time that he’s weighted down with religious guilt. Religious iconography should enhance a book about hell but it comes off as a confused author who hasn’t yet figured out his personal philosophy or overcome childhood catholic trauma.
There are definitely some positives about this Hellraiser Omnibus but overall I did not find the plot very engaging and kept going for the pretty pictures more than anything else.
3/5 happy demons 😈😈😈
If you like Hellraiser you may also like Colder.
in order to keep me up to my ears in books consider using the following amazon affiliate link to purchase this product. it’s at no extra cost to you and would really help me out, thank you and happy reading!
Buy it here: Clive Barker’s Hellraiser Omnibus Vol. 1 (1)