As part of my “impending” Hellraiser / Cenobite profile for the Dr. Channard Cenobite, I read and wrote up a mazillion pages worth of notes and information on this junk. Unfortunately, there are TONS of glitches and contradictions throughout this series of movies. And if you throw in the original book, The Hellbound Heart, you’ll get about 50 more.
Sooooo… I took it upon myself, the dubious task of bashing, squishing, theorizin’ and postickulatin’ on the subject, in order to make a sweet, cohesive universe to play with. I’m aware that my actual writing sucks (can I say that ?) [Ed. – yes], but it’s mostly readable.
History, part one
Le Marchand’s Puzzle Box
(This part incorporates notes from various other sources.)
First built in 1784 by French toymaker Phillipe Le Marchand, on commission from the infamous Duc de l‘Isle, a great magician of dark intent.
Through his sorcery, de l’Isle was able to form a bond between any such specifically designed puzzle box, and the extradimensional world of the “demon” Leviathan. This dimension is believed, by some, to be a literal translation of “Hell”.
According to some accounts, Le Marchand is reputed to have built over 270 such puzzle boxes in his lifetime. These are almost certainly apocryphal accounts, considering his death occured at such a young age. Whether Le Marchand created the original “Lament Configuration” designs used for the boxes, or if they were provided by de l‘Isle, is unknown.
Solving the puzzle
Solving the intricate puzzle of the boxes opens a temporary portal between this world, and the dimension of Leviathan and his Cenobites. This allows the Cenobites to answer the “call” of whoever solves the puzzle box. Or, in some cases, whomever wished the box to be solved by another.
The summoned ones answer the desire. However, most times, the Cenobites aren’t very particular about who’s doing the solving.
Opening the puzzle box is suicidal. Any one who successfully does so, have only everlasting pain and torment ahead of them. Escape, although not unheard of, is nearly impossible.
It could be theorized that Leviathan, or some other demonic agency, may have foreseen a time when no one — or very few — would take enough interest in the Black Arts to “regularly” open portals, or summon demons, in the conventional way (witchcraft). And so, set into motion a more universal, systematic, and benign-looking method for achieving this same result.
Birth, Life, and Death of a Cenobite (part 1)
At certain times, Leviathan may “recruit” particular individuals to do his bidding, transforming them into Cenobites. The criterion on which this selection is based, is unknown.
In rare cases, Leviathan may choose to restructure the “order” of his Cenobites. For instance, to make his new recruit the leader of the other existing Cenobites.
This restucturing process, almost certainly, creates more chaos than order. But, this is also the very nature of Leviathan, and Hell. These restucturings invariably lead to infighting between various factions of Cenobite groups. Seemingly, Leviathan himself does not directly interfere in these confrontations. Instead, he allows them to resolve themselves as survival of the fittest.
It is unknown if a Cenobite can truly be killed by any conventional means. Pinhead, a group leader, had been shown to be destroyed on a number of occasions. Yet has returned repeatedly. On the other hand, other Cenobites, under his command, have not returned from their observed “deaths”.
Birth, Life, and Death of a Cenobite (part 2)
The greater question may be: given the extreme body modifications made to such beings at the time of their creations, are they even alive, in the conventional sense, to start with ? Such violent adjustments to a human body would most certainly kill even the healthiest of persons. Let alone the resulting infections from open wounds and insertions.
So, obviously, Cenobite physiology is far enough removed from that of a human, that such mutilations and exposures no longer pose a threat to their ongoing health.
It may also be acceptable to believe, that the Hell dimension, its tesseracts , and briefly-connected touch-down points on Earth, have some type of natural (or supernatural) enzyme, gas, or radiation present in the atmosphere which inhibits infection.
This might be a plausible explanation, as such immunity seems to extend to the bodies of the Cenobites’ victims as well. At least, during the time they still serve some use to them.
It may also be possible that this inhibitive element is introduced into the Cenobite’s systems at the time of their creation. And a similar version into their victims at first, which eventually wears off.
As extradimensionally created beings, the Cenobites do not age. Nor do they need to eat, sleep, or breathe (although they do draw breath in order to speak… if they can). Lastly, they cannot reproduce. For all intents, the Cenobites are essentially, the walking dead.
Birth, Life, and Death of a Cenobite (part 3)
Their only means of “species generation”, is by creation through the abduction and transformation of available human beings. This may be done by Leviathan, or other Cenobites possessing such skills. The selection process by Leviathan is a mystery. Selection by existing Cenobites seems to be fueled by mere necessity, victims taken by opportunity.
This physical transformation process involves the following:
- Binding the acquired victim.
- Replacing a majority of their bodily fluids with a concoction of strange blueish fluid. Some red blood does still seem to remain, although it mostly appears black.
- Horribly disfiguring their body in some unique and permanent fashion. This often involves the insertion of customized metal structures, or surgical clamps.
- And finally, Dressing them in a inspired variation of Inquisition / Fetish design clothing of a black leather or latex-type material . Each Cenobite is provided with access to a wide variety of surgical tools, and other such cutting / dissecting implements. The process, if conducted by Leviathan himself, takes under five minutes.
In addressing the psychological transformation:
In most cases, all of the memories of a former life are stripped away at the point of creation. All that remains is the psyche of a sadistic being, bent on the glorification of torture and the surgical modification of flesh. Especially the flesh of anyone foolish enough to summon them from their other-dimensional home.
Part Two: The Hell Dimension
Looking at the faces on the sides of Le Marchand’s Puzzle Box (the Lament Configuration in box form), one cannot help but to notice the similarities between these designs, and the central layout of Leviathan’s domain.
These similarities will continue, with the clockwise spin of Leviathan at the center of his domain, compared to the clockwise turning dial at the center of two faces on the Lament Box. Those final turns being the last needed to solve the puzzle, opening the rift to Leviathan’s Hell dimension.
Leviathan and Lamentation
Leviathan himself, appears to remain in the form of a Lament Box. He seems to reconfigure at times, reflecting the nearness of his (current) completed objectives.
A terrible beam of darkness, or negative light, continuously projects from Leviathan’s “eye”. This beam sweeps the entirety of his domain, once every revolution of his “body”; about every two minutes.
All who are shone upon, by this negative light, are immediately paralyzed. They are then forced to remember/relive a random series of traumatic, or painful, personal events. These memory flashbacks are in no particular order, and last only while the beam is shining directly on them. But, in terms of the mental perception of time, this may seem longer.
Physical structure and architecture in the Hell dimension, while looking ancient and undisturbed, is actually in a continuous state of change. Hell’s reality is absolutely subject to Leviathan’s will. It’s also quite probable that certain Cenobites, in authoritative positions, might have the ability to manipulate the matter of this reality as well.
Machines of hateful cruelty
Leviathan, ruling his own dimension, is an incredibly powerful and evil being. He is also a complete enigma, his origins shrouded in mystery.
Since he appears as an immense variation of the Lament Box, it’s possible that he is either, an avatar of some other more powerful demonic presence. Or perhaps an incredibly ancient machine, created by such a being and left to work in this being’s place.
The “machine theory” could explain many of the inconsistencies in the nature of this Hell dimension. Especially Leviathan’s own erratic and fickle behavior. If created, and left unattended, such an ancient “machine” may have programming which has degraded over time.
It may even be possible, that this activity is a direct result of it’s programming, and the machine is still functioning exactly as intended. The evidence to this may lie in the contradictions themselves.
Pinhead, a major central Cenobite, is clearly shown being destroyed with other Cenobites in his group. Yet he reappears, albeit within the confines of a “pillar of souls”. This may show that instead of being destroyed by a solved puzzle box (in the octahedron position), this may merely force Leviathan to “reset” itself.
This may then place all of Leviathan’s agents, functions, and functionaries in a resting state, until summoned. or “reactivated” again.
Bio-mechanical, part 1
The bio-mechanized nature to the workings of the Cenobite realm are undeniable. Many of the devices shown used for Cenobite creation have this quality, as do other Hell dimension artifacts, while the Cenobites themselves have a nearly “timeless” appearance in the modifications done to them.
This may suggest a machine attempting to fill the position of an organic (although supernatural) being.
It was the Cenobite Pinhead, under duress, who finally added portions of human technology to his quickly imagined Cenobite lieutenants on Earth. Created in haste, they were somewhat effective for their purpose. Once these subordinates were banished, however, they were no doubt destroyed, reconfigured, or altered back to their human forms to be tortured further.
Bio-mechanical, part 2
This “re-setting” concept may be reinforced a bit more with the following. When confronted with a newly solved puzzle box within it’s own realm, Leviathan (as the central octahedron shape within the city) altered it’s shape to match each configured stage of the puzzle box, until it achieved its own final “solved” form.
This caused massive quaking and atmospheric disturbances within Leviathan’s realm.
The transportive tentacle, which carried the newly created Channard Cenobite (more on him later), began to convulse, tearing Channard’s head from his body, “killing” him. Instead of self-destruction, Leviathan seemed to instead, more or less, close this realm, and itself, from the Earth dimension. Pinhead and his troupe were shown as having been destroyed by this point.
When Pinhead once again reappears, this may be a second stage of this re-setting process, or evidence of a temporal dissonance between Leviathan’s dimension and the Earth dimension. Again, more on this later.
If this is a re-setting of Leviathan’s realm, this might then suggest that Pinhead is a part of the Leviathan-machine’s original programming, but that his lieutenants were creations of his own, not Leviathan’s. And so, they would need to be recreated by Pinhead himself (if he remembers them).
It’s possible that Leviathan would only recreate it’s original set of agents, etc. within its program.
Time Correction, Insurrection & Resurrection
Hell Time vs. Earth Time (part 1)
In light of the mass of contradictory information in stories relating to Leviathan, the Lament Boxes, and a variety of Cenobite encounters, it’s important to note that ALL popular mythologies inspire a significant number of apocryphal tales. These do not necessarily mesh with the basic concepts of the original storylines.
These tales, and their relation to the greater whole, are purely subjective. Relying on the individual to determine what does, or does not, exist as a part within that greater whole.
In the case of the histories and origins of different Cenobites, contradictions may be puposely engineered. Or they may be a by-product found in dealing with beings who exist in a dimension where time may not be linear.
Therefore, someone may still have an encounter with Cenobites which have, in fact, been destroyed sometime in the past. But since time does not maintain a regular forward flow in the Hell dimension, many more encounters with “dead” Cenobites could still take place in the future.
The same principles hold true for encounters with Cenobites which have yet to be created. It may happen that a Cenobite could have an encounter with its own past human self. They may even be responsible for their own abduction and cenobite conversion.
Hell Time vs. Earth Time (part 2)
This latter scenario, although possible within such a context, would most probably be avoided. Even though all past human memories are erased (or at least strongly suppressed) in a Cenobite upon creation, residual memories might still be triggered during such a confrontation. This could conceivably cause untold, and unmanagable, repercussions.
In one recorded event, being confronted with evidence of his past human identity, led the Cenobite group leader Pinhead to act in open rebellion against the objectives of Leviathan. This then led to the loss of Pinhead, and three of the Cenobites under his command. Apparently, a strong mental link exists/existed between Pinhead and his subordinates.
When his decision was made to attempt such a rebellion against the newly-created “Channard Cenobite”, his lieutenants quickly joined him in his short-lived coup. Perhaps the attachment to their Cenobite personas may have been more tenuous than Pinhead’s own. Or perhaps Pinhead’s realization might have caused them to share such doubts.
On the other hand, it may very well be that Pinhead’s subordinates would have followed his lead whatever his disposition may have been. This would suggest a loyalty to him, over that of Leviathan. This remains unclear.
Escape and Revivification, part 1
Escaping the grasp of the Cenobites at the point of capture is nearly impossible. The difficulty of escape then increases exponentially afterwards. Since the portal/rift between dimensions stays open for only a brief time after being summoned, the victim is quickly taken back to the Hell dimension before the rift closes. This would be the first barrier to escape.
However, the second barrier is far more difficult to overcome. After a short time under the ministrations of the sadistic Cenobites, the victim may no longer possess a viable body to escape with. Repeated dissection and resection, by way of the Cenobities and their occult power, greatly limit escape scenarios. Especially while still under their attention.
Eventually, the torturers will lose interest in the victim. They will leave them to lie about in pieces, or feed them to a chatterer beast. Either will take place with the victim still alive, by supernatural means. With these hurdles to overcome, escape would seem a ridiculously difficult task. None the less, it has happened.
Escape and Revivification, part 2
Through sorcery, a victim might be near-fully resurrected. This is done by the spilling of fresh blood at the location of the victim’s departure from Earth through the dimensional rift. Either entire rooms, or single items which had been bled upon during abduction.
This process will only guarantee the return of the victim’s spirit to Earth, trapped in a body consisting of 8% to 12% of their original anatomy. At this time, the victim will be wholly dependent upon a second party to provide additional blood to regain (by transmutation) additional amounts of their anatomical components.
(The average adult human male of 160 lbs. has roughly 5 quarts of blood within his body. This is at sea-level. The same man, native to a much higher altitude (Himalayas) will have roughly 6 quarts.)
Complete recorporation of the victim’s body (sans skin) would take a quantity of 40 qts. (at 12% return rate) to 60qts. (at 8% return rate). This would be 8 to 12 individuals, of the average size mentioned above. These would need to be lured and “sacrificed”, in order to facilitate this resurrection.
Retrieval of the victim’s skin however, is another matter. Whether it would take a significant additional amout of blood, or is just impossible to regain in this manner, is unknown. Seemingly, it just doesn’t return to the victim.
Other than for practical or cosmetic reasons, skin is not especially important to a newly revivified victim, as the supernatural barrier to infection reains in place. At least, for a time.
Part Four: Rules, History, and Host Bodies
The introduction / release of any Cenobite into the Earth dimension would almost certainly spell destruction for an unlimited number of victims if not for a particular set of rules places on them by some greater authority. These rules are obeyed, for the most part. However, each has been somewhat circumvented through deception, or outright ignored, on more than one occasion.
Rules of engagement
A brief summary of these rules:
- A Cenobite may not take, handle, or use a Lament Box (puzzle box) on the Earthly plane unless it is given to them by the one who possesses it.
- A Cenobite follows the summons of any who wishes them to be summoned, by the solving of the Lament Box. This is not necessarily the one who has actually solved the puzzle itself.
- The tesseract gate from the Hell dimension may only be open for the amount of time taken to obtain the summoner of the Cenobites.
Again, all of these “rules” have been broken at one time or another. Adherance to them may also be reliant on the Cenobites having a “host body” to assist in a sort of “moral guidance” to rules (*more on this later).
Past and Present
The Cenobites present form of self-mutilating, embalmed, fetish-garbed, puzzle enthusiasts is shown to be only a fairly “recent” one (under 400 years !). Before this time, they claim to have been around, but in what form, is unknown.
In the case of Angelique (a Cenobite / Demon princess), it was necessary for the magician Duc de l’Isle to provide and prepare a suitable body for her to inhabit while within the Earthly plane. Once Angelique entered the fashioned body, it was then subject to her own skills and abilities as a demoness. These abilities were all supernatural in nature.
(In DC Heroes RPG terms: Self-manipulation (limited), Regeneration, Claws, Mind Probe, Telepathy. As well as Immortality, and above-human strength.)
With the next four hundred years of Angelique’s machinations, many more Lament Boxes were created and distributed across the world. This provided multiple opportunitites for demons, or Cenobites, to enter the Earthly realm for brief periods of time. The boxes had been forever linked to creating a rift between the Hell dimension and Earth.
Ye Olde Rvles
At the time of the creation of Angelique’s earthly incarnation, a different set of “rules” applied to Demons / Cenobites. The first of the Lament Boxes had only just been created, with Angelique’s summons. And so, summoning took an altogether different form. Old World mysticism and ritual had been needed to summon the Hell dimension.
A demon came only when summoned through sorcerous means. It needed a human host body to stay in the Earthly plane. This demon had to follow every command given to it by the summoner, as long as those commands did not interfere with, or contradict, the mandates given to it by Hell.
Of course, de l’Isle also knew the name “true” of the demon which he had summoned (Angelique). This is supposedly a necessity when summoning demons. In some lore, having a demons name provides the summoner certain influence of contacted demons, and so, this may be an extension of such lore.
(Leviathan, as he came to exist, may not have been present at this time. Nothing supports this, only speculation. His advent may have been part of this more ordered “restructuring” of Hell, as mentioned later by Pinhead.)
In later years, these “rules” changed with the greater restructuring of Hell itself. But, in the intervening years, some things may have remained essentially the same.
It’s very possible that the demons still needed to possess a human host body, in order to enter the Earthly realm. Whether they no longer possessed original bodies of their own, or never had physical bodies, remains unclear.
However, one thing seems to be clear. Each of the Cenobites depicted thus far, has had a human body which has been grossly altered to suit a Cenobite’s existence. Whether any of the humans has ever been a willing host / recipient is another matter altogether.
If the Cenobites are separate entities which do need to, or have chosen to, possess human bodies, this might explain the odd contradiction to Pinhead’s claim to have existed before the capture and conversion of his “host”, Elliot Spencer. Unless, of course, this would be better explained by the Hell / Earth time disparity mentioned earlier.
Part Five: Roots of Evil
Speculation on Separation, part 1
When the “Pillar of Souls” was sold to club owner J.P. Monroe (under the auspices of being little more than a disturbing piece of sculpture), it was depicted to be either a gateway into the Hell dimension, or an actual physical prison containing the Pinhead Cenobite.
The sculpture did also have a Lament Box imbedded into it’s surface. This box was removed, stolen, before the release of the Cenobite.
Pinhead’s release was first made possible by the accidental (?) spilling of Monroe’s blood across the surface of the Pillar. This is a common theme in dealing with the “physics” of the Cenobites.
Once this blood awoke Pinhead from his slumber, he immediately began to plot towards the acquisition of the additional blood necessary for his full release from the Pillar. It could be that this sculpture was a cocoon of sorts, created by Leviathan (or Pinhead himself) to maintain the Cenobite in a suspended state.
This would have allowed for remaining in the Earthly plane without the necessity of of being summoned with the use of a Lament Box.
Speculation on Separation, part 2
As he had been separated from his human host’s persona, the Pillar may have been the only means for him to remain on Earth in the first place. If so, a summons by use of the Lament Box would not have brought him about at this time. Evidence of this would be the hapless victim who stole, and opened, the Puzzle Box in the time before Pinhead’s release.
During the time that the personas of Spencer and Pinhead were separated, the Cenobite still maintained Spencer’s general form. Perhaps he continued to use Spencer’s form as a template. Or perhaps he regained control, made repairs, and continued to use the actual body of Spencer, after Spencer’s spirit was released to a different area of the Hell dimension.
According to the disembodied spirit of Elliot Spencer himself, without the influence of his human conscience upon the will of the Pinhead Cenobite, the demon’s psyche would remain absolutely lawless and impossible to banish back to the Hell dimension. Hence, his willingness to remerge with the awful Cenobite.
Given the past track record of the merged Pinhead/Spencer, this really doesn’t seem to mean much.
Speculation on Separation, part 3
Pinhead broke or bent nearly all of the, very few, “rules” which he was supposed to obey, save one. This single rule he also obeyed while separated from Spencer – he could not possess the Lament Box of his own accord, needing it to be given to him willingly, by own who did possess it.
This meant that Pinhead needed to resort to deception in order to gain the Lament Box from its holder, thus bending this last rule. Big surprise.
It’s more the case that, while Spencer wanted to be forgiven for his actions/sins in both his human lifetime. And during his time as part of the Cenobite, he desired returning to his sadistic ways even more. Perhaps he did truly believe that he could “soften” Pinhead to a certain degree. This theory doesn’t seem to bear out though.
Dr. Channard, part 1
In his all too brief time as a Cenobite (master?), Dr. Channard showed himself to have a great propensity for carnage and human suffering.
At his emergence from the Cenobite “Necrogenic Sarcophagus”, Channard was heard to say: “…and to think… I hesitated.” Of course, he was then promptly roto-skewered through the top of his head. He was then attached to an impossibly long tentacle, by his new master, Leviathan.
This tentacle would act as both a tether to the realm of Leviathan, and as a means of locomotion through this realm. The doctor’s feet never touched the ground afterwards.
In DC Heroes RPG terms, Channard’s new Cenobite abilities included:
- Matter Manipulation (creation of chains, hooks, “Snares”, etc.).
- Telekinesis (moving said created items through the air).
- Mind Probe (knowledge of the thoughts, and fears, of those around him).
- Sorcery (reversal of “Enchantment” and “Mutation” in other Cenobites).
- Aura of Fear.
- Projectile Weapons (the launching of “snake-like” spikes, similar to arrows, from his palms).
Dr. Channard, part 2
Channard maintained an average of six small, writhing, tentacles sprouting from the palms of his hands (three per hand). These snaking coils were used in place of his fingers/hands. Their shapes changed to accomodate Channard’s wishes (used mostly as blades and projectiles). These coils were instantly replaced by others, when launched – providing, possibly, limitless shots.
Other supernatural abilities may have also been provided by Leviathan, but not seen in their use. Quite possibly, he also would have acquired some of the same attributes as the Pinhead Cenobite, such as:
- Invulnerability to most forms of physical damage.
- Virtual immortality.
- The ability to create his own Cenobite subordinates (Enchantment, Mutation).
His pre-existing medical knowledge included psychology, psychiatry, neurology, pharmacy, general surgery, neurosurgery, and first aid. Furthermore, Channard had extensive knowledge of the occult. He had collected and studied many different occult references and artifacts, and had several Lament Boxes in his own collection.
This knowledge, both medical and mystical, may have been greatly supplemented by Leviathan as well. This would give Channard additional secrets about human and Cenobite physiology previously unknown to him.
By the time he was “recruited” by Julia (self professed agent of Leviathan), Channard was already teetering on the precipice of insanity. A brilliant neurosurgeon, he was also a horrible sadist dabbling in the occult. After conversion into his Cenobite form, Channard immediately reached the culmination of all of his efforts, a psychopath with demonic power.