THE SCARLET GOSPELS by Clive Barker (2015)

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I’d like this blog to be a positive place, where we can celebrate horror in it’s many forms. I take no pleasure in deriding a piece of work, and certainly do not enjoy knocking a master of the art.

What I’m saying is…let’s keep this brief.

The Scarlet Gospels is a disaster.

Is that too brief? I guess so. Let’s grab a Lament Configuration box and dive right in.

The Scarlet Gospels is Clive Barker’s attempt to reclaim Pinhead from the murk of the Hellraiser movies. Frequent Barker hero Harry D’Amour journeys into Hell itself to face the malevolent Hell Priest, who is planning to take over Hell and then…THE WORLD. I think.

Full disclosure – I read 350 pages and then gave up. That’s right, I skipped the last 50. Life’s too short, man.

It just all feels so lightweight. Harry is more of a bystander than protagonist, and spends the entire dramatic climax hiding in a corner. He begins the story remembering a traumatic incident from his past where he was forced to watch his friend being murdered, and ends the story just as helplessly. Not a satisfying arc!

And since when did ol’ Clive have such a tin ear for dialogue? Get a load of this exchange –

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Shut up indeed.

I am a sucker for stories that take place in Hell, and here Barker doesn’t disappoint, envisioning Hell as a sort of Ancient Rome as designed by Lovecraft, and Pinhead gets a couple of good scenes here and there.

But coming from the man who gave us The Books of Blood, The Scarlet Gospels can only be seen as a disappointment.

SIDENOTE – The tagline for this book is

HELLRAISER IS BACK

Take a moment guys, let that sink in. Not Pinhead is back, but Hellraiser is back. Hellraiser, like that’s his goddamn name or somethin’. It just about sums the whole lazy endeavour up.

WHAT BORIS THE PUG THOUGHT: Boris is unable to walk past a door without trying to go through it, so he enjoyed the aspect of the configuration box opening a door to Hell. He was then saddened to discover that his paws would prevent him from unlocking the box’s deadly secrets.

OVERALL: 2 paws out of 5

THIS EDITION: Pan Books, 2016

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2 Responses to THE SCARLET GOSPELS by Clive Barker (2015)

  1. Oh, I was so looking forward to this…it’s a bit disheartening. However, your review is not the first I’ve read saying this is a weak story.

    Like

  2. It’s such a shame! I haven’t read anything Barker has done since Cabal, so this drop in quality came as quite a shock to me.

    Like

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