Tag Archives: cenobites

5 things I learned from The Power of Three

1. The Power of Ninety (miles a second, so it’s reckoned)

The Doctor’s heartfelt speech to Amy offering perspective on ‘one corner of one country in one continent on one planet that’s a corner of the galaxy that’s a corner of the universe that is forever growing… ‘ as they sat looking at the stars reminded me very much of Eric Idle’s lovely song in Monty Python’s The Meaning Of Life.

2. The Power of Pertwee

I really liked this story and the way it balanced a vibe reaching back through various Torchwood scenarios to the feel of the global invasions in Russell T Davies’ Doctor Who all the way back to the nostalgic glow of the Pertwee era. Mind you I mean the good Pertwee era of my childhood imagination – the one based on the Target novelisations and what we were told by the guidebooks and magazines, where everything was cosy and action-packed at the same time and it felt like a family – before the videos started coming out and it turned out the Third Doctor was really just a horrible thankless old bully.

3. The Power of other mobile networks are available apart from Three

4. The Power of KIRSty

Implacable cubes make great enemies, from Dungeons & Dragons‘ Gelatinous Cubes to the Borg, the world of the film Cube and those remorseless advancing blocks in the old PlayStation game Kurushi. There’s something about geometric perfection that inspires unease, even when they’re not blaring out The Birdie Song. And I wouldn’t go so far as to ask Is Doctor Who’s The Power of Three a Shot-For-Shot Remake of Hellraiser?, but you know –

There’s this girl who can make the cubes work

And the wall in the hospital turns into a dimensional portal

And the cube reconfigures itself on its own

And who the FUCK’s this?

– and this is all very welcome to me.

5. The Power of Poultry

Could they be alien eggs? asks Brian. Oh Brian. If only they were.

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Monsters at Home: Cthulhu

Cthulhu! The green, sticky spawn from the stars is HP Lovecraft’s most famous creation, a monstrous entity the mere awareness of whose existence can drive a man mad. Let’s have a look at what it gets up to in its spare time.

What does it eat?

‘A mountain walked or stumbled… a gelatinous green immensity’, writes Lovecraft. You don’t get to Cthulhu’s size on a fad diet. But how’s it been getting any food, shut away in slimy stone for untold epochs? Well the Great Old Ones aren’t composed purely of flesh and blood, we learn. Their shapes are ‘not made of matter’. So it could be absorbing all manner of other-dimensional sustenance down there in sunken R’lyeh. Preternatural French Fancies. Gibbous goujons. Daemoniac crispy pancakes.

How does it socialise

Cthulhu and its kin slumber in ‘great Cyclopean cities of Titan blocks and sky-flung monoliths, all dripping with green ooze and sinister with latent horror… They could only lie awake in the dark and think whilst uncounted millions of years rolled by. They knew all that was occurring in the universe, for Their mode of speech was transmitted thought. Even now They talked in Their tombs.’ The ability to slump immobile at home and yet still be updated second-by-second on everything that’s going on everywhere else has only reached humanity in the last few years with the advent of Twitter. It seems  the Great Old Ones invented it untold aeons of years early.

What does it drink?

‘There was a bursting as of an exploding bladder, a slushy nastiness as of a cloven sunfish, a stench as of a thousand opened graves, and a sound that the chronicler could not put on paper. For an instant the ship was befouled by an acrid and blinding green cloud, and then there was only a venomous seething astern.’

I don’t know about you but that sounds a lot like me if I start on the Guinness with an empty stomach.

What does it watch on telly?

Cthulhu’s home, the dread sunken city of R’lyeh, is renowned for its impossible geometry – angles that don’t meet up as they should; perspective and the known physical laws defied, that sort of thing. For that reason it stays glued to Coronation Street – a street in which, in case you’ve never noticed, the Rovers Return toilets can only possibly exist if they’re in the same physical space as the Barlows’ living room.

What does it do for fun?

‘Mankind would have become as the Great Old Ones; free and wild and beyond good and evil, with laws and morals thrown aside and all men shouting and killing and revelling in joy. Then the liberated Old Ones would teach them new ways to shout and kill and revel and enjoy themselves, and all the earth would flame with a holocaust of ecstasy and freedom.’

Zumba, basically.

How does it reproduce?

We hear in At The Mountains Of Madness about Cthulhu’s prehuman spawn, a race of cosmic octopi who filtered down from infinity and waged war with the starfish-headed people of the Antarctic. I was watching a nice documentary about octopi on Discovery the other night. Their little eggs were lovely. Cthulhu’s spawning would probably be on the grim side though – with Lovecraft everything’s Stygian, or unnameable, or noisome. So I draw a veil. Just don’t Google Image search ‘octopus sex’ as I just did. Really. Don’t.

Monsters at Home: The Cenobites

They’re explorers in the further regions of experience!  Demons to some, but angels to others! Or, as Wikipedia puts it a little less poetically, they’re ‘extradimensional sadomasochists’. But how do Hellraiser‘s scourges pass the time when they’re not reaping souls and refashioning flesh?

Not shown: Choc ices

WHAT DO THEY EAT When the Cenobites first appear in the novella The Hellbound Heart, we’re told that they smell of vanilla. So I tend to imagine they’ve just been scoffing a box of Asda choc ices. At 8 for £1 (at time of writing) they’re not exactly a luxury treat, so it’s the perfect conflicted experience for beings who like to blur the line between pain and pleasure. Butterball, the fat Cenobite, probably gets taunted and comes off worst. Like most fat characters in films he’s portrayed as always hungry, as we can see from his gaping stomach wound and constant lip-licking. I bet the others just give him the stick to sniff once they’ve eaten.

HOW DO THEY SOCIALISE With those costumes that evoke the S&M scene AND the priesthood AND butchers’ leather aprons, we can say with some confidence that the Cenobites spend quite a lot of time shopping for clothing and grooming products. So Saturdays find them ambling through the retail district of Hell’s labyrinth, stopping in at their own versions of Debenhams for some underwear (“We Have Such Tights To Show You!”) and Timpson’s to get their boots repaired (“We’ll Tear Your Sole Apart!”).

WHAT DO THEY DRINK The Female Cenobite (yes I know, sorry, that’s how she’s credited) unfortunately has the front of her throat held open by wires so it’s unlikely she gets to enjoy any drinks very much at all past an initial taste. And with Chatterer’s teeth clattering away constantly he doesn’t get much down his gullet either. Still it means there’s always someone to get Pinhead and Butterball home safely after they’ve got slaughtered on cocktails with Leviathan.

WHAT DO THEY WATCH ON TELLY As two of the Cenobites seem to be effectively both blind and deaf, this is probably something of a sore point. But still, the others have found themselves drawn to ITV1 on Saturday nights where hapless humans attempt to solve the challenges of a mysterious Cube which acts as a gateway to pain or pleasure. “Tears are a waste of good suffering!” barks Pinhead at the screen as a hapless estate agent from Billericay slumps defeated amidst a pile of brightly coloured ping-pong balls.

WHAT DO THEY DO FOR FUN We know that they can only reach our world through the solving of puzzles (and not just the Lament Configuration box – we learn from the book that origami can be used to summon them) and so they keep a close eye on new mental and physical challenges. The Sudoku fad left them unimpressed but they’ve had a great time recently sketching hooked chains and bloody foetuses on Draw Something.

HOW DO THEY REPRODUCE Well the dull answer is that they convert other people into Cenobites. It seems they retain some memory of their human pasts though, enough for a confused recollection that intimate fun can involve the insertion of appendages into orifices. But as we can see in this picture of Chatterer and Kirsty, this leads to all sorts of hilarious misunderstandings. Better luck next time!