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Hellraiser: The Toll

Narrated by: Tom Holland
Length: 1 hr and 36 mins
3.6 out of 5 stars (28 ratings)

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Summary

Hellraiser: The Toll tells the story of what happened between Clive Barker's iconic works Hellraiser and its literary follow-up, The Scarlet Gospels. Written by Mark Alan Miller (Next Testament, The Steam Man), featuring narration by director Tom Holland (Child's Play, Fright Night); a full cast that includes Mali Elfman, Kasey Lansdale, Peter Atkins, Robert Parigi, Richard Ankles, Christian Francis, Joshua Holland, and Justin Vonderach; and original music by powerhouse composer Cris Velasco (God of War 1-3, Clive Barker's Jericho).   

Thirty years after Kirsty escaped from the clutches of the Hell Priest, Pinhead, and lived to fight another day, her life has never been the same. Every few years she fashions a new name, a new identity, and a new home for herself. She is a woman who is running from her past at all costs, which is why it comes as such a surprise when she receives a mysterious letter in the mail, addressed to the identity she's been running from over half her life.  

Answering the letter's query, she begins a descent down a rabbit hole to the ultimate confrontation. Her actions stir something unnameable in the ether and throw her into a game where nothing...not even what she sees in front of her very eyes...can be trusted.  

With equal parts economy and eloquence, author Mark Alan Miller brings to life the beginning of the end as The Toll expands the Hellraiser universe and shows that before Detective Harry D'Amour's adventures in The Scarlet Gospels, there was a first witness to Pinhead's infernal plan.

©2018 Mark Alan Miller (P)2018 Mark Alan Miller

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A Waste of Good Suffering

If you loved the Hellbound Heart novella, but were underwhelmed by the Scarlet Gospels, you might be looking optimistically at this addition to Cenobite lore with the hope that it may be the satisfying sequel that you've been eternally aching for. But like Frank Cotton fumbling at the invisible crevaces of Lamarchand's box in search of unfathomable pleasures... you were sorely mistaken. Firstly, this is NOT a sequel to the Hellbound Heart, it is a sequel to the movie Hellraiser. Clive Barker makes this decision in his own Scarlet Gospels, but in his case it feels very much like a humourously sardonic "Dear John" to the Hollywood distortion of his most famous creation. The Toll has no such subtext, and takes no joy in defaming the character, instead delivering awkward and occasionally cringeworthy references to the movie. Now the story has a wealth of interesting ideas, but fails to knit them together and there is never anything resembling a payoff. The events come and go, teasing you with the prospect of new insights and new developments, but these fail to materialise. Some of the voice acting is fun, but as much as I am a fan of the legendary Tom Holland, his delivery is that of a jaded old detective unemotively reading the summary off the back of a novel. It is mercifully short and it shows glimpses of promise, but it is less than poor fan-fiction when put in the context of Barker's genius.

5 people found this helpful

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Couldn’t finish.

Read in such a dull monotone fashion that I just couldn’t stick with it. Don’t buy.

3 people found this helpful

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Buy the book instead!

The story itself is good as youd expect from Clive barker but the guy doing the narration was terrible, slow raspy voice and the sound quality was ridiculously bad, I found myself straining to understand what the guy was saying except when the story characters voices said their parts they were loud and clear but the general narration was terrible, I found myself annoyed at how bad it was rather than enjoying the story itself and I wished I bought the book instead, I was so annoyed I was listening just to decipher the end of the book just to finish it so I could be done with it. If it was a normal sized book rather than the less that 2hr short story I would have gave up listening to it. I would not recommend to get this audible get a clearer sounding one it sounds like the guy done it at home with an old style cassette recorder.

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Nice cover, not so sure about the story...

First things first: I received this free for an honest review. Mark Alan Miller's Hellraiser: The Toll is a strange mixed bag. I'm really tempted to leave the review at that single line, as I genuinely think it sums up this book/audiobook as much as any review needs to; but I guess I'll go on. Hellraiser: The Toll isn't a book that bridges The Hellbound Heart and The Scarlet Gospels, regardless of what you might have heard. Its a strange melding of a sequel to both the novella itself and the movie that came from it and it is best read in such a light. Taken on its own merits, ignoring its strange lineage, it is still somewhat mixed up. It spends far too much time retelling the events in Hellaiser (the 1987 movie) apparently unaware that anyone reading a book called Hellraiser: The Toll would probably be very aware of what led us to this point. In itself this retelling isn't a chore to sit through, and it does at least clarify which version of Pinhead we will eventually meet, but it literally takes up half the books length and reduces this new story to little more than a longish short story. When we do get to the story we find that we are in pure Hellbound: Hellraiser II (the 1988 sequel) territory in that a doctor enlists our hero, Kirsty's, help to contact the Cenobite leader; this time in an attempt to defeat him. It all ends up being a little something-of-nothing storyline wise, and after finishing it I had a profound sense of missed opportunity. There are some good ideas lurking within this tale. Hints at earthly covens doing the Cenobites wishes and places of evil and depravity forming crossroads into their hellish world, but the story is too short and, once the recap is over with, seems to much in a rush to get to the end, leaving us with something that feels more like an outline to a longer work; or perhaps the synopsis to a movie script. So it wasn't a surprise to me when I realised who the author was and his connection to Clive Barker, his films, and the recent comic book based on the Hellraiser franchise. Ultimately Hellraiser: The Toll reads like a rejected story arc from the Hellraiser comics, which in themselves feel like fan-fiction rather than anything truly connected to Barker's universe; but after all this is said it doesn't necessarily mean that Hellraiser: The Toll is actually "bad". I know, sounds like I'm contradicting myself doesn't it! I think a readers enjoyment of Hellraiser: The Toll greatly depends on what they are reading it for and what they might be expecting from the story. If you're familiar with the movies more-so than the novella, or if you're looking for a dip into Barkerville that's not going to leave you breathless and looking over your shoulder than Hellraiser: The Toll will do the job just fine. However if you are a seasoned fan of Barker's early works then your opinion might be a whole lot harsher, and you might spend the remaining day spitting and cursing under your breath. Personally I'm glad I took the time out for this story but I'll almost certainly never revisit it. There were some nice ideas, unfortunately unexplored, and it was kind of nice to catch up with Kirsty after all these years; but I have to admit that it left behind more sadness than fear, sadness that the Hellraiser franchise was finally over.

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Not worth the read

I came across this book whilst searching for Hellraiser comics. The price of the book seemed really expensive so when I found it on Audible I immediately downloaded it. How disappointing. The narrator was good, the other readers were good too but the story is dire. For a Hellraiser novella it just doesn’t go anywhere. I felt very much short changed after this. It should have been much better.

1 person found this helpful

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  • G. Parlee
  • 02-10-19

wanted to like it

I really wanted to like this, but it fell quite short of my hopes. the audio quality was very poor and I'm not sure if that is what caused the narrator to sound drunk, but it did. The pacing also felt off. The story itself seemed a little rushed and basic. I think it could have been turned into a longer story successfully, but as it is felt rather unnecessary. For my tastes it was just too thin.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Miguel
  • 02-06-20

Noice

First off, the performance by Tom is lackluster to say the least. BUT the other VAs and the background music and sound effects are heat. Their performance was amazing and I'm glad it was cast in this way. I'm new to the Hellraiser stories, but I feel like this short story gave me enough information to experience this somewhat self contained. At the same time it leaves it vague(?) not sure if that's the correct way to describe it, but anyway it leaves me wanting more/wanting to know what happens after. Overall pretty noice.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Sully
  • 20-08-19

Narration is absolutely terrible

I’m not even sure if I’ll b able to finish this short novella because the voice narration is so, so utterly awful! I don’t understand why so many audio books are put out with bad narration, it’s like whoever produces them has no respect for the books themselves. I gave the story 3 stars because I’m not yet done with the book and I don’t know my true opinion of it,

2 people found this helpful

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  • Brock Merkwan
  • 12-01-19

The main reason is the main narrator sucks

The main narrator hurts the story so bad I almost stopped listening fire him!!! The other voice actors and sounds are great but the main guy is just awful and he should be ashamed

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 16-09-19

Just did not hold up.

This one did not hold up to either 'The Hellbound Heart' or 'The Scarlet Gospels.'

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Joseph Elam
  • 17-05-19

Tom Holland reads this with cotton in his mouth

terrible voice acting. thank God this is short. Tom Holland sounds like he was recorded in my bathroom while playing chubby bunny.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Todd Tieuli
  • 26-11-18

Terrible Narration.

The story itself was just okay, but I couldn't stand the performances. I love Tom Holland, but he sounded so bored.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • chedana lowery
  • 27-09-20

Too short for the listener

I wanted more into this game for souls between Christie and the coldman. What happens in the next encounter between the two? Who will be the victor

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • jmuccelli
  • 18-09-20

HR The Toll

I have always been a big fan of Clive Barker's work, whether it be on print, audio or work on TV/Film. This snippet is no exception, and Tom Holland does a great job narrating....I was gifted this audiobook and this is my voluntary unbiased review.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 16-09-20

Pretty good... but anti-climatic

This is a interesting story however, without context a lot of the references won’t vary any meaning for the listener. Should be read or listened to in tandem with the scarlet Gospels these stories are directly related