Clive’s Five: The Five Best Moments from the Scarlet Gospels

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For this edition of Clive’s Five, I picked out my five favorite moments from The Scarlet Gospels. It wasn’t easy since the book is filled with so many memorable passages.


1. The Opening Prologue:

An opening to a novel is what sets the tone for the reader so they get a sense of what to expect from the rest of the book. The Scarlet Gospels has one of the best prologues I’ve read in a long time. I was more than happy to see that Clive hadn’t lost his touch to gross his readers out. Clive Barker has stated that he wanted the entire book to a “kick to the gut.”, but the opening alone did that. I’d describe the rest of the book as a beating to the to the human condition.

2. The Hell Priest’s death:

I was really concerned how Clive would kill off the Hell Priest. I was afraid it would be something over the top and silly. Thankfully, being the literally genius that he is, Clive took the classic route. The Hell Priest’s death is a rather quiet and somber one which I really enjoyed. After all the nastiness he had done throughout the story I still felt sympathy for this “monster” as he died. This was the perfect ending to this horror icon. .

3. The Hell Priest Unleashes Origami Cranes in Hell:

After being banished from his Order to the place known as “the trenches”, the Hell Priest goes to the Channel Houses (a slaughter house for the damned) and performs a magic spell that conjures up an army of origami cranes to destroy the city. I really enjoyed this moment because it showed how powerful the Hell Priest had become with magic and it was the ultimate “fuck you” to the powers that be. He was taking over.

4. Harry D’Amour and The Hell Priest’s first encounter :

The first confrontation between Harry and the Hell Priest was everything I wanted it to be. It’s funny, the passage actually came off just like I envisioned it all those years ago when I first heard that Clive was writing a story where D’Amour and Pinhead would face off. It lived up to the hype that’s for sure.

5. When the Hell Priest puts on Lucifer’s Armor:

This was a powerful moment for the Hell Priest because it showed the reader how far he was willing to go too get what he wanted. His lust for power had no limits as he continuously sliced flesh from his body so the armor of Lucifer would fit him. Clive’s descriptions during these moments are some of the most violent and beautifully written images that he’s ever put to paper.

Let us know what your favorite parts of the book are in the comments section below.

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  1. Kate

    I’m very late coming to the Hellraiser fandom, but now I’m avid. I just finished reading the Scarlet Gospels twice and I’m sure I’ll be reading it again. This is a great article and all the moments you mentioned were memorable. My favorite part of the book was the Hell Priest’s preparation for donning Lucifer’s armor. I also loved the physical description of the Abbot. Overall, it was fascinating to get into the Hell Priest’s head throughout the book. It’s supposed to be an end, but it left me wanting more. I felt like I just started getting to know him and he’s gone.
    Like you said about feeling sympathy for the monster, I also couldn’t help feeling for the Hell Priest when the devil gave him his due. Not sure if that was the intent because he absolutely deserved it, but it’s how I felt.

  2. Rob Ridenour

    Thanks Kate,

    I’m glad you enjoyed the article and even more that you enjoyed The Scarlet Gospels. A lot of fans have been mixed on it, but I really enjoyed it. I need to revisit it soon. But again thanks for the kind words.

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