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Cenobite (Hellraiser)
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Hellraiser characters Cenobite.jpg Cenobites In-story information Race: Former humans Primary location: "The Labyrinth"/Hell Development information Creator: Clive Barker First appearance: The Hellbound Heart

The Cenobites are extradimensional beings who appear in the works of Clive Barker, including the novella The Hellbound Heart and the eight Hellraiser films. They are also mentioned, in passing, in the novel Weaveworld. They are mentioned by Immacolata, who calls them “The Surgeons from Beyond.”

They can reach Earth's reality only through a schism in time and space, which is opened and closed using certain unearthly artifacts. The most common form for these artifacts is that of an innocuous-looking Chinese-style puzzle box called the Lament Configuration.

The Cenobites vary in number, appearance, and motivations depending on the medium (film, comic book, etc.) in which they appear. The involvement of multiple parties in the production of Hellraiser films and comics (many eschewing the creative supervision of Clive Barker) have led to varying levels of consistency regarding the canonical aspects of their philosophies and abilities.

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[edit] Etymology

The term cenobite is a word meaning "a member of a communal religious order". They are also referred to as Hierophants.

[edit] Concept and design

After being disappointed with the way his material had been treated by producers in Underworld, Barker wrote The Hellbound Heart as his first step in directing a film by himself. After securing funding in early 1986, Barker and his producer Chris Figg assembled a team to design the cenobites. Among the team was Bob Keen and Geoff Portass at Image Animation and Jane Wildgoose, a costume designer who was requested to make a series of costumes for 4-5 'super-butchers' while refining the scarification designs with Image Animation.[1]

"My notes say that he wanted ‘1. areas of revealed flesh where some kind of torture has, or is occurring. 2. something associated with butchery involved’ and then here we have a very Clive turn of phrase, I’ve written down, ‘repulsive glamour.’ And the other notes that I made about what he wanted was that they should be ‘magnificent super-butchers’. There would be one or two of them with some ‘hangers on’ as he put it, and that there would be four or five altogether.”

—Jane Wildgoose on Resurrection, Documentary on the Anchor Bay Hellraiser DVD, 2000[1]

Barker drew inspiration for the cenobite designs from punk fashion, Catholicism and by the visits he took to S & M clubs in New York and Amsterdam.[1]

[edit] Description

The Cenobites all have horrific mutilations and/or body piercings, and wear fetishistic black leather clothing that often resembles butchery garments or religious vestments. The clothing also serves to support their piercings and tools.

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