The Scarlet Gospels

The Scarlet GospelsI was disappointed I m not sure what I was expecting but this wasn t it Clive Barker often blends urban fantasy in with his horror but this time the horror was almost completely overshadowed by the urban fantasy aspect There was blood, and hooks, and hell, but I can t remember any moments that compare to the uncomfortable horror of The Hellbound Heart My friend, Gregor, called it cartoonish and I think he nailed it.I had two major complaints The setting in hell didn t work for me I thought Hellraiser II was the cheesiest of the original trilogy because it took place in a literal hell and Scarlet Gospels does the same thing In The Hellbound Heart, the cenobites are distinctly alien, beyond our understanding of heaven and hell, pain and pleasure When asked their identity, a cenobite famously replies angels to some, demons to others They are unknown and that s what makes them awesome.Here we have such a literal translation of hell and its occupants that Lucifer himself becomes a main character It all got a bit silly by this point and I couldn t take it seriously The mystery was gone It became the same hell I ve read about in everything from The Bible to Paradise Lost It s been done I got bored.I also didn t care for the use of the name Pinhead In Hellraiser, that dude was cast as lead cenobite Fans later gave him the name Pinhead It works for fans who want to use cute humor It doesn t in the actual horror story Super cheesy Not scary It pulls me out of the story and that s never fun.If you want to see Gregor s thoughts on the book you can check it out here can t guarantee he ll ever finish reading it, though Neither of us is exactly bursting with enthusiasm. Had I never read Clive Barker, and if I was not a huge fan of his work, I might have enjoyed this novel However, being a huge fan of Barker s, The Scarlet Gospels was a major disappointment.The Scarlet Gospels lacks passion and depth The characters are not well developed and we re dependent on prior knowledge to provide any background It s hollow It s like a movie sequel, deficient the complexity of the original It feels as if Barker handed off an outline to a ghostwriter and then signed his name to the project The writing level, plotting and characterization are just not there I know he can do better Compare this to the recent attempt by Stephen King to unearth previous cinematographic glories They both sucked With Dr Sleep the maestro of the macabre tried to inject some life into the story of The Shining , which seemed to everyone me especially pretty much a closed case But not so Also, the Pinhead Hellraiser resurrection seemed to be a safe bet at the time, it ALMOST was The descent into hell is scrumptious, true the descriptions are as indispensable as anything the British Monarch of Gore ever wrote But let s remember that Barker has already written the BEST horror collection of ALL TIME The Books of Blood Vol 1 through 3 the best children s fable gone phantasmagorical, this side of Bradbury s Something Wicked This Way Comes with The Thief of Always AND the most brilliant horror short EVER The Forbidden upon which the Candyman movie s based So he has nothing to prove It DOES feel good to have one of his tomes in your grubby hands But, c mon dude The end of the Hell Priest A battle royale to rival anything in any of the Castlevania videogames Even the tepid Mister B Gone inspiresgrotesque tableaus than this one Aww, shucks, I feel really bad for Pinhead The Scarlet Gospels sees the long awaited return and a crusade to the heart of purgatory for two of Clive Barkers most powerful and resolute characters.The Cenobite Hell priest infamously known as Pinhead, although he s none too fond of that nickname and anyone using it will experience his knowledge of pain and its mechanisms, usually via the odd hook and chain attachment And occult private investigator Harry D Amour, a man tattooed to within an inch of life with elaborate warning and protective glyphs.The story starts of course with the Hell priest and the last remnants of an order of magic that has moved behind the shades of civilisation for centuries Five magicians bring one of their brethren back from the dead only to be interrupted in brutally gruesome fashion as our favourite priest literally takes them apart in his search for the last magical secrets to bolster his arsenal He looked like a creature that had lived to long, his eyes set in bruised pools, his gait steady but slow But the tools that hung from his belt an amputation saw, a trepanning drill, a small chisel and three silver syringes were, like the abattoir workers chain mail apron he wore Wet with blood confirmation that his weariness did not apparently keep him from taking a personnel hand in the practicalities of agony Harry and his partner, the blind medium Norma Paine investigate the final wishes of the dead, a new case comes in and he jumps straight into a setup He finds a Lament configuration box, a puzzle box hiding its darker intentions behind gifts of pleasure and reassurance This box opens a gateway to Hell itself and its Pinhead with his mutilated assistant waiting on the other side A brutal fight ensues and Harry survives by the skin of his teethThe Hell priest is desperate to get the intrepid investigator into purgatory and Harry with his band of collaborators are forced into taking action when his friend is kidnapped Pinhead has a plan, one that s now ready for fruition, Hell itself will be his and Harry D Amour will bear witness The Scarlet Gospels will be written.The story bounces between the two journeys, Pinhead travels to the outer reaches of hell, to Lucifer s Cathedral and his captive ensures the Harrowers follow the Harrowers is the nickname Harry and his band are given along the way, reminded me a little too much of the borrowers and was never explained His group contains a hard as nails female named Lana and two gay males that engage in countless innuendo laden dialogue As a group they lean toward unconvincing which comes from them appearing almost out of nowhere and yet being instrumental to the story Maybe if they d come with a bitdetail and depth I would have beencomfortable with them but it wasthe unfeeling savagery around the Hell priest that captured my attention The wold building of Hell was another highlight, the hierarchy of the order and the Mourning Star, Lucifer himself God s favourite son and Pinhead, intense in his desire to show reverence at the feet of his lord, the devil himself There are many merciless horrors in this world as you would expect but the taking of Hell starts with the most innocuous of creatures Paper birds, origami cranes, caged and inscribed with execution writs of cindered scale, when it found its intended victim only eight or nine heartbeats were left Once the writs reached their victims, they reconfigured in a matter of seconds the organization of their innards, That pretty much says it, and this is all stems from the knowledge gained from the many magicians of earth in their last moments, believing that telling everything would spare their lives The Scarlet Gospels has finally been released as a heavily edited version and it certainly felt like it, over half the original text was cut, missing many of the excerpts he leaked in the 20 years it s taken for it to see daylight Jesus of Nazareth, whose crucifixion on Golgotha was excluded along with any mention of Joseph of Arimathea, Pinhead s genuine Cenobitic name and the origins of the Cenobites were not explored as Barker hinted at A shame really but there is still much of the Barker we know and love However at times and as a result the story felt somewhat rushed and incomplete Whether the full version of Clive Barkers epic tale ever sees the light of day, I don t know but I for one would love to read it It s still an enjoyably graphic depiction of Hell, there s plenty of barbarity described in the way Clive Barker excels at, the scenes at Lucifer s Cathedral were riveting and completed the final third of the book but you can t help thinking the rest could have been better It s at this point that you realise the story is primarily about Pinhead not his human counterparts, maybe a finale scribed in blood as should the Scarlet Gospels be written If you were expecting a battle between the two iconic characters then you ll be disappointed, Harry is a witness and just along for Pinheads ride Not everyone lives of course, some are changed forever and the door has been left fractionally ajar for another visit to these characters, we can but hope Pinhead rocks and this is well worth 4 big ones.Also posted at THE SCARLET GOSPELSExpectations are a funny thing They leave you all excited and giddy They have you impatiently waiting for the big day to arrive and when it does it very rarely lives up to the expectation We all do it, we all big up the one thing we are most looking forward to and then feel empty and disappointed once we have consumed it The life of a reviewer isn t so much like a box of chocolates, it islike a box of chocolates where someone has stolen all the coffee creams The Scarlet Gospels to many people, this reviewer included, is the horror event of the decade Finally after all these years two of Clive Barker s greatest creations go head to head in an all out battle that was promised to be the horror showdown to end all horror showdowns Harry D amour verses everyone s favorite hardware store enhanced baddie Pinhead It s a pity this battle for the ages, between two of horror s heavyweights turned to out be a showdown that made even Freddy V s Jason seem like a good idea..Of course there is no way The Scarlet Gospels could ever have lived up to the hype and expectations surrounding it Not only did it signal the return of a master of the horror genre, it also brought together two of horror s most beloved characters, and promised to tell us the final chapter in Pinhead s story For any book to live up to that it would have to be amazing Initially all the signs were looking good In the prologue we are introduced to the last of the Earth s great sorcerers, who have all fled to a sanctuary with the hopes of bringing one of their order back from the dead so he can help them battle Pinhead Is pretty near to perfection Crisp dialogue, hints at hidden worlds, ancient Cabals of sorcerers, mystical sexuality, brutal violence and ballet like choreography all told with a poetic narrative would have had you believing that the master had returned The prologue to The Scarlet Gospels was as close to perfection as we could hope for Cinematic in its execution, from the slow and steady introduction of Pinhead as he strips away the giant blocks of stone that stand between him and the Cabal cannot help but raise the hairs on the back of your neck However it is when he finally interacts with them that the bar is raised to lofty heights The Pinhead presented here is not the same as the Pinhead we see in the rest of the novel A majestic and proud figure, tinged with a layer of sadness and resignation He is still our beautiful Prince of Pain His insults and actions here are a wonder to witness The brutality and utter lack of compassion he shows as he literally rips apart the Sorcerers and degrades them is a perverted joy to read Barker has always known how to present graphic violence in such away that it never feels as though we are just witnessing violence of violence sake There are scenes here that will have even the most hardened horror fan wincing in sympathetic pain, and yet they ever played out for titillation, the brutality is a symphonic overture of pain And yet the the greatest part of the prologue is the reaction of Pinhead to being called Pinhead For years we have been led to believe that this was a name he carried with pride, instead we learn that the name elicits a response akin to calling the overweight kid in your school Fatty This is a stroke of genius from Barker, it is a quantum shift in the way we perceive him, no longer is he just an avatar of pain He is now a shown as a creature with feelings and his own desires Desires that will become all too clear as the book unfolds When you compare the prologue to the rest the of the book you are left wondering what happened Where did all the Majesty and sense of awe and wonder go Where is the pleasure and pain that we have come to know from his work gone It is as though two different writers wrote the book To be fair the book holds up until the point were our two heroes met and the game really starts D amour s introduction is a bourbon soaked piece of classic PI storytelling When we first meet him, he is almost a cliched New Orleans PI, all boozed up, smoked up and burnt out You can picture him all unshaven, collar undone, back of the shirt covered in sweat with crystal tumbler of neat bourbon swirling in his hand as he attempts to chat up a washed out blues singer in some low down bar Yet despite this Barker manages to avoid all the usual potholes of such a character and leaves the reader with a big grin on their face Harry is back, and we are happy Harry s visit to the secret house of a deceased debauched sorcerer to retrieve some damaging items is again another piece of classic Barker writing It is a tense encounter with some magical imagery that only Barker is capable of Pinhead s attack dog is a glorious creation The broken apart and rebuilt body of one of the sorcerers from the prologue is a worthy addition to legions of cenobites even though he isn t a cenobite.So we have our two fighters in their respective corners they have had their warm up round and they are ready to go head to head, toe to toe, in what should have been the battle of the decade It s such a pity that it all goes to hell in a hand basket from this point Why The Scarlet Gospels took such a change in tone andimportantly style I will never know, but is certainly made a change From this point on all sense of awe and wonder is lost The narrative is stripped back to the bare bones, bereft of all of Barkers usual wondrous imagery The Scarlet Gospels is turned into a basic almost hard boiled pulpy follow the leader crime story Which in itself wouldn t be a problem, but the fact that the whole book shifts in tone is a concern A writer should never write for his fans and this isn t a case of a fan wanting something and not getting it I would have been happy for the whole book to have been a hardboiled noir, with a stripped down narrative and structure In fact I think that could have been a good thing This however feels as if The Scarlet Gospels is a product of a book being stripped of writing rather than being written that way But the style and tone of the book is not the only the problem There are deep flaws in logic, the biggest being the fact the fact that Harry has absolutely nothing to to in the book other than to be a witness to Pinhead s schemes Something which Pinhead mentions that he wants Harry to do Which again would be fair enough if it wasn t for the fact that Harry doesn t witness most of his schemes first hand, he is always following in the wake of Pinhead, and without a CSI Bones team of boffins to recreate the crimes, Harry can only have a best guess at what just happened Harry had absolutely no part to play in the book, he may as well not have been there And this for me is the biggest failure of the book What a total waste of a character,and opportunity D amour is worthy of something much better Which brings us to the The Harrowers Just how did they get the name Have we missed some important points as to exactly what our intrepid band of motley heroes has gone through to gain that name Who and what did the Harrowing, or did they all to to public school in Harrow It may seem like a minor point but again it alludes to a much larger novel As for the members of the group, I get what Barker was trying to do with the characters and using humor as a means to defuse the tension, but what a misjudged step I thought double entendres went out with Frankie Howard Do we really need terrible puns about pulling ones staff in a book like this, especially when they were so badly written It got to the point where I wanted that character to face a very painful death As for Pinhead credit must be given to Barker for taking Pinhead in the brave and inspired direction that he did For years we have been led to believe that Pinhead was name, and for Barker to turn this on its head and to use it as an insult to the demon is an ingeniously fiendish move Who would have thought that it would be so easy to taunt and anger Hell s very own master of pain But that is just the start of Pinhead s transformation I m not sure if it is response to Doug Bradley s ever impressive performance as Pinhead, and a move to recapture Pinhead for his himself, but this is not the Pinhead from the films He is a muchdown and dirty evil force There is one very brutal scene in particular that was magnificent It is a scene where Pinhead acts in way that you would never have thought And yet it works perfectly, it s a pity the book didn t havescenes like this Ones that take a risk and play with our expectations of the story and characters Another problem with the book is the Hell setting, if you are expecting a Barker inspired vision of hell and it s denizens then you will be sadly disappointed Barker has elected to go for a basic Christian view of hell with a few added extras such as a massive sea serpent Even the scenes were we cross a vast hell ocean lack Barker s usual vision and flare This is a Hell of castes but rather than being some exotic thing like Cabal, it all just feels like a night down at the local council offices, with leaders pontificating about their latest project Yes the final battle between Pinhead and a certain someone was epic, but it just had a sterile feel to it, it wasakin to watching Iron Man battle Ultron in the new Avengers film, all flash and bang with no depth The Scarlet Gospels is, for this reviewer, a great disappointment There were times during the reading where I wasn t sure if Barker had just decided to rehash The Wizard of Oz, and whether or not it was Harry or Pinhead who was playing the part of Dorothy I couldn t quite decide Was it Pinhead and his quest for the Wizard behind the curtain, or was it Harry and his We re not in Kansas any band of followers I half expected Pinhead to click his heels together and say There s no place like home It felt as though this once brilliant writer was running on fumes or suffering from a huge lack of conviction of his own talents as a writer Should you read The Scarlet Gospels Yes you should, it is decent enough story, it is just not a great story, A Barker lite novel that hints at a much better story but never stretches either the writers gift for storytelling or the readers imagination A huge missed opportunity and a rather depressing finale for Pinhead This was just my opinion of the book, and it would be a great disservice to only print my review so please stay tuned for some other reviews of The Scarlet Gospels from other members of the Ginger Nuts of Horror Team And if you haven t already read some of the great accompanying articles from the Ginger Nuts Team to celebrate the release of the book follow the link below for the landing page for all the articles Check out our Scarlet Gospels Special at Ginger Nuts of Horror Bless Clive Barker, but this book is red hot molten shit.Alright, so, real talk Hellbound Heart is a good book It is an exquisitely intimate description of grand desires In it, Barker already showcases two things 1 He does not know when to stop The opening chapter where Frank winds up masturbating on the floor is so sleazy It s a shame because 2 Barker is a tight as hell writer The first half of any given chapter in his books is a solid gold brick He s as uncompromising a writer as his monsters are in their cruelty So here we have The Scarlet Gospels, his decades in the making story where he returns to the character Pinhead from Hellbound Heart, intent on killing him off once and for all.The opening chapter is about Pinhead dispatching a group of magicians who resurrected their dead friend to save them from Pinhead s fury That doesn t work out too well For dozens of pages, Pinhead tears these people apart, makes the woman pregnant and give birth, leave the child to rot, make a dude lick some mommy milk from the ground, engulf a dude in flesh eating tiny worms andAs the book goes on this amount of pain and destruction becomes miniscule Around the halfway point our heroes duke it out with a group of demons Barker spends pages describing One has a vagina that extends from groin to neck, and she uses her flabby wings, prepared for any beating the world is willing to dish out and it s just soooooo bad.In his attempt to create his ultimate vision of depraved violence and monstrosities he has forgotten that fear isn t born out of the existence of millions of monsters It comes from the possible existence of a single entity This focus of placing numbers before quality also clashes with basically making Pinhead the second lead of the book And it hurts him as a character His arc is he s a dick and becomes a bigger dick His aspirations are uninteresting and clear within the first chapters of the book The rest is just execution as he destroys Hell to take it over And man, I know Barker probably has no love for the Hellraiser films aside from the first, but he really should have taken some cues from the hell displayed in Hellbound, because his own version of it is absolute trash It s a bureaucratic landscape with working class people and forms to fill out There is no mysticism to any of it because it s just our world with different looking buildings and people I don t give a fuck about very hastily set up governmental constructs in this fictional creation.I think it says a lot about Barker s efficiency as a writer that easily the best part of the book is a brief sequence during which our lead battles Pinhead s minion in a crumbling house It s tiny It has action rather than Barker s long winded descriptions of how pretty Pinhead s hell armor is The whole book just feels so trite It reminds me of the awful 90s shock gore anime films Wicked City, you know the stuff But it s in book form and so long In the way it seems to lack grand themes and proper motivations for it s characters it feels like badly written fanfic Eager to showcase familiar characters in extreme and sick locations while bearing no mind to the overall picture.In short I m just really fucking bummed out about this book because it was coming for so long and it just disappoints In all the ways. 3.31.16 I was so excited when I saw this audiobook ready to download from my local library s catalog Then I was so disappointed when I started listening to it I m not sure if it was the narrator, if Clive Barker is no longer my thing, or if it s just not the right time for me to be listening to this book I guess it doesn t matter because the end result is the same DNF with no rating. The Scarlet Gospels Takes Readers Back Many Years To The Early Days Of Two Of Barker S Most Iconic Characters In A Battle Of Good And Evil As Old As Time The Long Beleaguered Detective Harry D Amour, Investigator Of All Supernatural, Magical, And Malevolent Crimes Faces Off Against His Formidable, And Intensely Evil Rival, Pinhead, The Priest Of Hell Barker Devotees Have Been Waiting For The Scarlet Gospels With Bated Breath For Years, And It S Everything They Ve Begged For And Bloody, Terrifying, And Brilliantly Complex, Fans And Newcomers Alike Will Not Be Disappointed By The Epic, Visionary Tale That Is The Scarlet Gospels Barker S Horror Will Make Your Worst Nightmares Seem Like Bedtime Stories The Gospels Are Coming Are You Ready This is a panacea for my horror starved heart.You know these two movies I still continue to love Lord of Illusions and Hellraiser I gushed blood over these two gems for many years So what could make my day complete You got it a pale scarlet horse comes riding up to my doorstep to hand me this gorgeous little tome featuring Harry D Amour and Pinhead performing an intricate dance around one another filling me up with a horrid rooting fascination for anything that Pinhead tries to accomplish, or clean up and sick pity for the genuinely good man in Harry that is always eventually drawn to hell.First of all, let me say that Harry is well and truly out of his league for almost the entire novel He is so hopelessly outclassed that I m forced into a situation where I, the reader, am left as a victim of irresistible bondange to the novel as I, like Harry, get to witness Pinhead s ascension in hell.Sure, this novel mostly takes place in the bowels of hell, but instead of Mr Barker trying to goad our increased tolerance of blood and gore, he successfully introduces a kingdom of wonder and awe That s really hard when it comes to novels about hell, in my experience There was acknowledgement of an infinity of suffering, and some truly inspiring sights, creatures, and events, but underneath it all was the deep sense of magic and learning and discovery.Yes I m talking about Hell as a place to learn and grow, and never once did I feel like I was being punked.It continued the same kinds of themes that Pinhead has always been known for I will show you exquisite suffering shiver And then it blew my mind with his ultimate scope and ambition And then there were a few scenes in the book where I had to put it down and jabber excitedly at my poor uninterested family members about how damn cool the scene was I am not going to ruin it for anyone, but yeah, they were fucking cool.As for Harry, I learnedabout him and his past in a really excellent urban fantasy setting, got to know his good friends, and learned that the lot of them are all damn crazy If a really good friend gets dragged off to hell by a cenobite, I m sorry, but I m just going to have to beg off the question about going after them First of all, it s PINHEAD Second of all, it s Hell I know that they were all going to do the same for Harry after he stupidly played with the box, and how he got out of that was freaking funny, but still Barker pulls it off He pulls it all off It runs cinematically It s never boring I kept thinking that this might might might make a good miniseries Maybe I don t know I just want to see all the love and detail brought to my tv the same way that I ve enjoyed these guys all my life.As for Mr Barker, I just want to say Thank you You ve been out of circulation for a bit, but what an awesome way to jump back in Thank You Fanboy is very pleased If you do continue the adventures of L and choose to incorporate Harry, then I m already drooling I want to revisit everywhere It doesn t matter I want anything you ve got, Mr Barker Warning to the wise The horror market has unfortunately fallen to the wayside to make room for an endless supply of snark and rehashed vamp were magic that is reaching a nearly intolerably glut in the market This is not one of those newfangled novels, although it has some elements of the new breeds.This novel is epic in scope and quick in execution As I was reading it, I kept saying to myself, This is how it s done Sure, I have a few issues with the characters, in that they have a bit of a lack of interpersonal conflict, but that s easily ignored because they are, after all, in Hell As I was reading, I kept thinking about another tidbit I d heard from another reviewer that said that Barker had written this as a straight up showdown between Harry and Pinhead, and it was well over twice the final length What we got was a mute witness, and it worked very well, but I can t help but wish that I could see that other version.If Harry was a fly, he d be picking a fight with a nuclear explosion It s definitely not fair, and I swear it could never turn out well, but I can t help but want to read it anyway.Here s for hoping that another version gets released someday for those diehard fans.I could spend the next week trying to devise a plot and resolution, myself, but I fear that I d probably go mad.The novel is going to keep me up and wondering for some time I love it for that. Holy hell does Clive Barker ever know how to write one hell of a sequel If you thought The Hellbound Heart was good, prepare yourself to be utterly and totally floored and amazed Because The Scarlet Gospels is everything that book is and MORE It is absolutely flawless, I couldn t find anything wrong with it even if I tried my very hardest It s gruesome and gory and sexual, everything you expect from Barker andI could go on and on but I ll leave it there and just do yourself a favour, read this bloody, gory gem of a book and revel in every second of it like I did

Clive Barker was born in Liverpool, England, the son of Joan Rubie n e Revill , a painter and school welfare officer, and Leonard Barker, a personnel director for an industrial relations firm Educated at Dovedale Primary School and Quarry Bank High School, he studied English and Philosophy at Liverpool University and his picture now hangs in the entrance hallway to the Philosophy Department It

[BOOKS] ⚦ The Scarlet Gospels By Clive Barker –
  • Hardcover
  • 361 pages
  • The Scarlet Gospels
  • Clive Barker
  • English
  • 26 January 2018
  • 9781250055804

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