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The following post is not for the squeamish, it's not gory visually, but there are certain concepts which, whilst not requiring a trigger warning (I don't think) deal with some of the less pleasant aspects of human behaviour.

Clive Barker's Hellraiser series has a lot of appeal to me, not the kinky aspects of it, that's usually way beyond my comfort zone (but that's what horror should be about of course), but because of the simplicity and complexity of it's "hook" (no pun intended), LeMarchand's Box, the Rubik's Cube from Hell itself.... The Lament Configuration.

As any good Hellraiser fan knows, the Lament Configuration appears to be a small, beautifully intricate puzzle box, an almost irresistible toy to play with, to try and solve, it's all but challenging you to open it to see what's inside....

Something the comics focussed on more than the movies (particularly the latter ones) was the notion of the obsession being the key to the puzzle, that it was the obsession which proved ones worth to, if you were lucky (and I use the term loosely), become a Cenobite yourself.

(Please ignore elements of the movies you might have seen, especially "Hellraiser: Bloodline" for the purposes of this posting, the comics did it better IMHO)

The comics also produced "Hellraiser: Book of the Damned", which sort of supplied a little bit of background to the Lament Configurations creation, and featured some "edited highlights" from the comics too, expanding on the concepts of the Cenobites processes.

The conceit of "Book of the Damned" #'1 (There ended up being 4) was that Clive Barker had had a bunch of papers delivered to him anonymously, and he was publishing them for our edifictation

The TRUE beauty of the Lament Configuration was not it's attractiveness as a fascinating looking puzzle box,  but that it's not enough to just try and open the box, it's the obsession that drives you to want to solve it, the all consuming fascination with it, the lengths you will go to, and the sacrifices (figurative and literal) you will make to get the thing open. THOSE are what call it's masters of the Configurations, the Cenobites, and their leader, one of the most memorable looking monsters of any movie in the last 30 years... Pinhead.

And yet, for all their powers, neither Pinhead, nor any other Cenobite, CREATED the Lament Configuration, that dubious honour belonged to another, a mortal, a genius, and like most geniuses, more than a little... unbalanced. 18th Century architect and craftsman (in the mode of Faberge), Philip LeMarchand.

You make like to listen to this, whilst reading the following, it's a track from "Hellbound: Hellraiser II", which has the right sort of queasy, "demented music box meets circus parade of the damned" sound to it IMHO.

Yup, he's someone I'd trust to deisgn kiddies toys and no mistake!

The pages of the book are more than a little disjointed, interrupting the narrative with what MIGHT be unconnected concepts, but which, taking everything else into account, are not...

If solving a puzzle box opens the gates of hell, why not another ordered sequence of movements and progressions?

(The reason I suggest ignoring the movies is that "Bloodlines" has it be impossible for LeMarchand to have created more puzzles after the Lament Configuration, the notion that he was prolific is far more disturbing IMHO.

Another case in point, this puzzle, The Genesis Revelation, appeared in one of the comic stories in "The Devil's Brigade"

This is, of course, deeply blasphemous to any Christian, but that's sort of the point.

Another, and perhaps the most disturbing is this one, which also featured in the comic...

That's just... ICK!

And the puzzles, in all their varieties

Hmm, something tells me Dr Strange may have some problems with the local buskers...

And the concept has certainly inspired creative types to make their own designs for "lost" LeMarchand puzzles...

An excellent site is that of art dealers; The Pyramid Gallery

And for some video creations of them, THIS is a terrific youtube account, with this as an example...

So next time you realised that the crossword puzzle you're working on has a lot of words like "Cenobite", "Leviathan" in it's answers, or that Sudoku you're working on just seems... wrong, even though you've filled in the numbers correctly, just remember that puzzles are fun, but any obsession take too far... that's a whole different type of "fun", and it might not even be a human one.

Happy Hallowe'en!

Date: 2011-11-02 01:37 am (UTC)
leikomgwtfbbq: (*teehee*)
From: [personal profile] leikomgwtfbbq
Honestly, darling, their fashion sense is simply barbaric! Their makeup is too grotesque! I could never join part in such a mass crime against fabulosity!

Date: 2011-11-02 03:09 am (UTC)
darkblade: (Default)
From: [personal profile] darkblade
The more I see of Rarity the more I want to see her team up with Edna from the Incredibles (and maybe Tim Gunn but he's not as important) to take apart bad costumes designs.


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