Depraved sadism, exquisite levels of pain, and rusty hooks are synonymous with Cenobites, those demented Clive Barker creations populating Hellraiser mythology. Cenobites are High Priests of Hell, enforcers of the purest evil, the being Leviathan, and the god of flesh and desire. They are summoned when mortals solve a puzzle box known as Lemarchand's box, the most common form of which is the Lament Configuration, and are charged with bringing worthy souls to Hell and inflicting untold pain upon them. These Theologians of the Order of the Gash consider pain and pleasure to go hand-in-hand, which draws the most depraved mortals to seek them out, in order to writhe under the pulsing shower head of horrible Cenobite stories.
Mutilations, desecration, and carnage are just some of the things crazy Clive Barker Cenobites thrive on. Their ranks swell as more damaged souls seek the infinite pleasures only darkness can provide; nothing is sacred as they shred morality and the human condition like paper maché. While these keepers of Hell are suckling upon your soul, feast on some of the worst things Cenobites have done.
Alice is a human character who made an appearance in a Hellraiser anthology comic in 1989. She summons Mr. Soul, a Cenobite, using frequent thoughts of ending her life (210, to be exact) and raw meat, and enlists his help. Mr. Soul enters Alice's body to discover she's with child. It's against regulations for a Cenobite to take a fetus, so he aborts it into nothingness. The fledgling soul doesn't go to Heaven or Hell, but a metaphysical abyss.
As Alice writhes in pain, Mr. Soul has her continuously produce Cenobite fetuses, in an attempt to show her a worse fate.
A Cenobite is created when a mortal solves the Lament Configuration, endures the pain and torture of Hell, is deemed worthy to join the order, and is cast into the creation chamber, where they're agonizingly morphed into a new keeper of the sect. The Chatterer is one of the most well-known of the gash belonging to Hell Priest Pinhead. He has a mass of burnt flesh for a face and the skin around his mouth is peeled back and held in place by eight hooks.
Most mortals who become Cenobites are wicked people who seek the high of pain and torment. The Chatterer was an innocent German child named, somewhat confusingly, after Aztec God of the Dead Mictanleculti. As a boy, Mictanleculti stumbled upon the Lament Configuration while playing with his toys. He solved the puzzle box, and, when the schism to Hell opened, walked inside, unaware of the pain awaiting him. It is a truly horrific case of innocence lost.
As per Hellrasier mythology, in 1620, a European boy solved the Lament Configuration and, in pure desperation, his father pleaded with Cenobites to take he and his wife instead of their son. The Cenobites agreed, but mother and father fled to America. As punishment for their insolence, the souls of their entire line were to be harvested for all eternity by Hell's beekeeper, Aparius.
Aparius is covered in hundreds of bee stings and wounds that continually leak pus and blood, his bloated face masked in netting to prevent Cenobite bees from entering his passages. This ghoulish beekeeper imprisons the souls of the family in a tree, and drains them daily of a build-up of honey, pus, and blood deposited into their bodies by his bees.
The first Clive Barker nasty of the Hellbound Heart/Hellraiser world is not Cenobites, but greedy, vicious, human hedonist Frank Cotton. After solving the Lament Configuration in hopes of achieving more sin than the world can offer, Cotton is trapped in Lemarchand's box and tormented mercilessly by Cenobites. He finds a loophole and escapes his Hell, to wreak havoc on his brother's family until his niece alerts the Cenobites.
Though no one can contest that Cotton deserved every bit of pain brought his way, his demise remains one of the most viscerally jarring in the fabric of horror. He is strung up by chains while dozens of sharp hooks bury themselves in his body, piercing skin and muscle. The scene is made all the more stomach-churning when Cotton obscenely licks his lips thinking about his niece, and utters a haunting “Jesus Wept” before the hooks pull in different directions and tear him apart. The squelching of blood and the sound of twisting rubber are the icing on the slain-by-Cenobites cake.