Hellraiser: The Toll

(3 customer reviews)


Hellraiser: The Toll tells the story of what happened between the 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).

3 reviews for Hellraiser: The Toll

  1. Alan Preece

    First things first: I received this free for an honest review.

    Mark Alan Miller’s Hellraiser: The Toll is a strange mixed bag.

    I’m really tempted to leave the review at that single line, as I genuinely think it sums up this book/audiobook as much as any review needs to; but I guess I’ll go on.

    Hellraiser: The Toll isn’t a book that bridges The Hellbound Heart and The Scarlet Gospels, regardless of what you might have heard. Its a strange melding of a sequel to both the novella itself and the movie that came from it and it is best read in such a light.

    Taken on its own merits, ignoring its strange lineage, it is still somewhat mixed up. It spends far too much time retelling the events in Hellaiser (the 1987 movie) apparently unaware that anyone reading a book called Hellraiser: The Toll would probably be very aware of what led us to this point. In itself this retelling isn’t a chore to sit through, and it does at least clarify which version of Pinhead we will eventually meet, but it literally takes up half the books length and reduces this new story to little more than a longish short story.

    When we do get to the story we find that we are in pure Hellbound: Hellraiser II (the 1988 sequel) territory in that a doctor enlists our hero, Kirsty’s, help to contact the Cenobite leader; this time in an attempt to defeat him. It all ends up being a little something-of-nothing storyline wise, and after finishing it I had a profound sense of missed opportunity. There are some good ideas lurking within this tale. Hints at earthly covens doing the Cenobites wishes and places of evil and depravity forming crossroads into their hellish world, but the story is too short and, once the recap is over with, seems to much in a rush to get to the end, leaving us with something that feels more like an outline to a longer work; or perhaps the synopsis to a movie script. So it wasn’t a surprise to me when I realised who the author was and his connection to Clive Barker, his films, and the recent comic book based on the Hellraiser franchise.

    Ultimately Hellraiser: The Toll reads like a rejected story arc from the Hellraiser comics, which in themselves feel like fan-fiction rather than anything truly connected to Barker’s universe; but after all this is said it doesn’t necessarily mean that Hellraiser: The Toll is actually “bad”.

    I know, sounds like I’m contradicting myself doesn’t it!

    I think a readers enjoyment of Hellraiser: The Toll greatly depends on what they are reading it for and what they might be expecting from the story. If you’re familiar with the movies more-so than the novella, or if you’re looking for a dip into Barkerville that’s not going to leave you breathless and looking over your shoulder than Hellraiser: The Toll will do the job just fine. However if you are a seasoned fan of Barker’s early works then your opinion might be a whole lot harsher, and you might spend the remaining day spitting and cursing under your breath.

    Personally I’m glad I took the time out for this story but I’ll almost certainly never revisit it. There were some nice ideas, unfortunately unexplored, and it was kind of nice to catch up with Kirsty after all these years; but I have to admit that it left behind more sadness than fear, sadness that the Hellraiser franchise was finally over.

  2. Tyler B

    Story was easy to follow and the different voices with audio effects was a nice touch. Not too familiar with the Hellraiser lore, but it was enough to keep me interested and wanting more. A short audiobook I recommended for listening.

  3. Sebastian Lopez-Pardo

    The story is good but the narrator’s performance is quite mediocre, it took me forever to finish the book.

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