Hellbound Heart Recap

A great read!

The novella’s plot was not a new writing concept.  It held the ever popular subjects of sex, money, murder and the occult.  I was repulsed by what I was reading in Barker’s story, yet so engrossed, I couldn’t set the book down.  The main character was Frank Cotton, “a sex
obsessed thrill seeker” who stops by to see Julia, his future sister-in-law for the first time.  This was the day before her wedding to Rory Cotton.  Frank and Julia felt an instant spark and fucked like wild animals.  Frank disappears, just like he appeared and Julie never sees him again.  Rory and Julia get married and about 8 years later move into Rory and Frank’s parent’s vacant house.

Rory was a bit of a “tool” because he never realized his wife had “jumped his brother” the way she had.  He adored “the whore” who in turn couldn’t get over her lust for his sexy, tight-bodied, brother.  Frank was at the house, waiting for the opportunity to once again make use his up-tight sister-in-law.  He had left his sperm in an explosive orgasm,
made possible by The Cenobites. The Cenobites were part of the “Theologians of the Order of the Gash” a sadistic cult of former humans.

Frank is “ripped to hell” with two meanings.  Literally torn to pieces by a sadomasochistic tower of bloody hooks and figuratively sent to hell to suffer for eternity.  Frank is a character you instantly hate.  He is greedy, evil and willing to risk his own life and others for his own sexual pleasure. His brother Rory is a character you love.  He was a good guy, worked hard and loved his wife.

It was Rory’s blood that ignited the very possibility of Frank returning to human form.  When his chisel slipped working in a back bedroom window, he gashed his hand open and bled heavily.  Frank’s sperm he had long ago deposited, absorbed the blood through the floor boards.  It gave him enough strength to whisper one word, “Julia.“

This takes place about halfway through Barker’s novella.  Julia is driven by her
sexual desire of Frank to hunt down men and murder them.  It was after Frank’s absorption of Julia’s victim that Kirsty becomes an important character of the plot.  Kirsty was a long friend of Rory’s, who appreciated his friendship but was deeply in love with him secretly.  Kirsty hated Julia with a passion, viewing her as a snob that never deserved Rory.  Kirsty interrupted Julia and Frank during their blood fest.  She was convinced by Julia to leave and believed Julia was cheating on Rory.

The next day, Kirsty spied on Julia and discovered the secret of Frank, now covered in blood and bandages, in the attic.  She had met Rory’s brother once before and remembered him when he said his name.  Frank tries to kill Kirsty but she escapes by
throwing the puzzle box through a window.  She wakes the next day in a hospital.

The puzzle box is given back to her and she begins solving it while in her room.  She accidentally summons the Cenobites and now is faced with certain death.  Kirsty
cried and begged for her life and the Lead Cenobite replied, “No tears, please.  It’s a waste of good suffering.” (Barker p. 136)  This was possibly the best line in the entire movie.  Kirsty manages to make a deal with the Cenobites to take them to Frank who had escaped hell.

The Cenobites “magically take” Kirsty to the Cotton residence.  There she encountered her friend Rory in terrible condition.  He tried to explain that he was injured in a horrible fight with Frank.  Trying to reassure her that all was well he said, “Come to Daddy.” (Barker,
p.151) and Kirsty realized it was Frank in Rory’s skin.  She gets Frank to admit his name and the Cenobites immediately set their hooks into his body.  The Cenobites tear his flesh to pieces as Kirsty is ordered to leave the house.  She hears Franks head hit the door as she exited. Kirsty survived her encounter with the Cenobites and keeps the wooden puzzle box, just in case she might need to use it someday.

Go ahead...take a swing. I'll duck and listen.

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