The Scarlet Gospels review

The Scarlet Gospels - Clive Barker

It's been a long time since I read anything by Clive Barker and after reading The Scarlet Gospels, I cannot help but wonder if my memories of what I read as a teenager are largely rendered through rose coloured glasses.

To be fair, I thoroughly enjoyed the first quarter of this book. Having "Pinhead"/High Priest hit a gaggle of magicians like a freight train was delightfully gory and over-the-top. I thought, at that stage, I was in for something special - other reviews be (heh) damned! Even the next section, re-introducing the reader to Harry D'Amour and detailing his run-in with same High Priest had me thoroughly hooked (I'll stop now, I promise). But then a whole bunch of barely sketched in characters were introduced, Barker seemed to decide urban fantasy was more his bag than gore-laced horror, and everything started to go down hill.

By the time D'Amour is chasing Pinhead through hell, it all became too bombastically silly for me to take even remotely seriously. Thing seemed to keep happening around Harry and crew, but nothing was happening because of them. In the end, they may as well have not been there.

Though I appreciated the scope of Barker's imagination, it eventually felt like he was simply trying to one-up himself with the next unimaginable structure, or debased sexual act, or crappy double entendre within the dialogue. In short, it all became a bit ridiculous, and by the end, I had long since ceased to care about any of the characters.

All that said, it was still better than every single Hellraiser movie sequel after the third one. For the record.

2 Second Sights for The Scarlet Gospels