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Publisher's Summary

Hellraiser: The Toll tells the story of what happened between Clive Barker's iconic works Hellraiser and its literary follow-up, The Scarlet Gospels. Written by Mark Alan Miller (Next Testament, The Steam Man), featuring narration by director Tom Holland (Child's Play, Fright Night); a full cast that includes Mali Elfman, Kasey Lansdale, Peter Atkins, Robert Parigi, Richard Ankles, Christian Francis, Joshua Holland, and Justin Vonderach; and original music by powerhouse composer Cris Velasco (God of War 1-3, Clive Barker's Jericho).   

Thirty years after Kirsty escaped from the clutches of the Hell Priest, Pinhead, and lived to fight another day, her life has never been the same. Every few years she fashions a new name, a new identity, and a new home for herself. She is a woman who is running from her past at all costs, which is why it comes as such a surprise when she receives a mysterious letter in the mail, addressed to the identity she's been running from over half her life.  

Answering the letter's query, she begins a descent down a rabbit hole to the ultimate confrontation. Her actions stir something unnameable in the ether and throw her into a game where nothing...not even what she sees in front of her very eyes...can be trusted.  

With equal parts economy and eloquence, author Mark Alan Miller brings to life the beginning of the end as The Toll expands the Hellraiser universe and shows that before Detective Harry D'Amour's adventures in The Scarlet Gospels, there was a first witness to Pinhead's infernal plan.

©2018 Mark Alan Miller (P)2018 Mark Alan Miller

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  • hoverdose
  • 11-07-18

A Waste of Good Suffering

If you loved the Hellbound Heart novella, but were underwhelmed by the Scarlet Gospels, you might be looking optimistically at this addition to Cenobite lore with the hope that it may be the satisfying sequel that you've been eternally aching for.

But like Frank Cotton fumbling at the invisible crevaces of Lamarchand's box in search of unfathomable pleasures... you were sorely mistaken.

Firstly, this is NOT a sequel to the Hellbound Heart, it is a sequel to the movie Hellraiser. Clive Barker makes this decision in his own Scarlet Gospels, but in his case it feels very much like a humourously sardonic "Dear John" to the Hollywood distortion of his most famous creation. The Toll has no such subtext, and takes no joy in defaming the character, instead delivering awkward and occasionally cringeworthy references to the movie.

Now the story has a wealth of interesting ideas, but fails to knit them together and there is never anything resembling a payoff. The events come and go, teasing you with the prospect of new insights and new developments, but these fail to materialise.

Some of the voice acting is fun, but as much as I am a fan of the legendary Tom Holland, his delivery is that of a jaded old detective unemotively reading the summary off the back of a novel.

It is mercifully short and it shows glimpses of promise, but it is less than poor fan-fiction when put in the context of Barker's genius.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful