Tag Archives: hellraiser

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: 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!

Tied up with string: January

What’s been tickling my fancy this month then?

A Song

Song of the month is Traktor by Wretch 32 featuring the ungoogleable “L”. Wretch says CHOO CHOO GO HARD GO FASTER in it, it’s made of an insanely good combination of beats, synth wooshes and surf guitar, and it’s stupidly addictive. I had it on repeat play ten times in a row at one point. Ahem.

An album

I already put it in my Top 20 of last year, but it’s only really come out in the UK this month, and it’s a big grower. Last Train to Paris by Diddy – Dirty Money is superb. It sounds to me like an electro-R&B sequel to Kraftwerk’s Trans-Europe Express, with a consistently hypnotic chug about it, a strange atmosphere of repressed minimalism, and some brilliant songwriting. Hear it on we7

SOME TELLY

How lovely was ‘Head Over Heels In Rats’? I am now broody for a rodent friend who isn’t my toy rat from Ikea.

A film

‘What about the King’s Speech?’ asked a colleague on the bus the other day, as I was confessing to my Black Swan addiction (I’ve seen it FOUR TIMES at time of writing). ‘Oh I couldn’t give a shit whether the King makes his speech or not,’ I replied. And I couldn’t.

I've been looking at you, you've been looking at me

I want 100 minutes of extreme close-ups, brilliant sound design (SO LOUD in the cinema!), paranoia, feathers, creepiness, crotch-grabbing, and mirrors, mirrors, mirrors. It’s Roman Polanski meets John Waters meets David Cronenberg and I can’t remember watching a film so obsessively and repeatedly since I got my hands on a VHS of Nightmare On Elm Street in the mid 80s. I suppose there’s my formula: give a girl an eccentric mother figure and throw her into a world where the boundaries of reality are always shifting, and I’ll love it for life (see also: Run Lola Run, Hellraiser).

Some adverts

I’m a big fan of the Which? advert with the ‘genuinely filthy dog’ in it. Why does it speak to me so much, this creature who starts out all clean and handsomely muzzled before going off to have adventures, lick tramps and rifle through bins? Who can say?

Genuinely filthy dog

I also admire Jedward’s well-judged self-mockery in the Money Supermarket ad; they’ve certainly managed to appear in the only watchable Money Supermarket ad I’ve ever seen.

And an honourable mention for holidaying in Jersey, not an amazing advert in itself, but I like that they’re now ‘The Warmest Place in the British Isles’. It’s a vast improvement on previous years’ Channel Islands campaigns which have proudly boasted ‘WHERE A POUND IS STILL A POUND’. That’s a revolting slogan which speaks only to the aspirations of Daily Express readers, who like the idea of going abroad but only if they don’t have to endure any foreign muck or funny money.

Animal of the month

Born to make you happy

And finally, a salute to the humble cochineal, whose pulverised remains are once more featuring in the ingredients lists of some of Britain’s favourite shop-bought cake slices. They went away for a while, but these days with ‘No Artificial Colours or Flavourings’ a big selling point, they’re back back back!

Thousands of these otherwise unloved beetles are dying every day to ensure that our cakes are just that little bit more red. WE WILL NOT FORGET.