Hellraiser: The “Lemarchand Box” was originally a Clive Barker novella, and it was natural to keep the mysterious puzzle box with the film adaptation of The Hellbound Heart (1987). The box was renamed “The Lament Configuration” in the film adaptation. It has a long and mysterious past and a sinister purpose.
After the puzzle is solved, it opens a portal to another dimension. Most notably, the realm of Leviathan. This Hell is home to the Cenobites, the souls of the damned, and many other twists and turns.
This configuration was seen in almost every iteration of the long-running Hellraiser franchise. It doesn’t seem to have any agency in most cases, especially in later sequels. A character solves the box; the Cenobites arrive and dole out pain. Finally, the box returns to its original condition.
Sometimes, the solution to the problem is reversed to allow the Cenobites to be sent packing. This was evident in the original film, thanks to Kirsty Cotton ( Ashley Laurence). The configuration doesn’t have much personality aside from occasional McGuffins to advance the plot. Its origins are explained in movies such as Hellraiser IV: Bloodline (1996). While the concept of the “Elysium Configuration,” a box that can be used to create any number of forms, is intriguing, the box still functions as a tool.
David Bruckner’s controversial take on Hellraiser, but this version’s puzzle box almost acts as an antagonist. The Lament Configuration’s various forms are not only more complicated than they look but also serve a purpose. The box can fulfill its owner’s wishes, according to this film. Each form provides something: Life, Knowledge, Love, Sensation, and Resurrection. The Lord of the Labyrinth grants an audience to the box’s bearer of Power (the Leviathan Configuration).
The elaborate puzzle box is exchanged several times during this Hellraiser adaptation. A new feature in the box allows it to eject a blade from its holder and cut it, marking them and allowing the Cenobites to chase them down and collect them. It can even be used by antagonists like Roland Voight ( Goran Visnjic) to mark the film’s characters to be captured by the otherworldly sadomasochists. The Cenobites, their master, demand that their victims be sacrificed. The box is the primary method to identify the targets.
Hellraiser2022, sometimes the box takes on an autonomous life, changing its configurations entirely by itself. Its autonomous capabilities and the fact it designs targets for the Cenobites or Leviathan might lead one to believe that the Lament Configuration is a character in itself. Although the dangers of Hell and its underlings are undoubtedly real, Leviathan’s plan cannot be fulfilled without victims being selected by the configuration.
The Lament Configuration has been a sign of an opening to Hell and all the bloodshed and gore that goes with it, but this one is even more sinister. Although it’s a trap, the most curious must enter it. For those who want to explore the deeper depths of experience, the lure of satisfying desires like Love, Pleasure, and Power is too tempting to ignore. The box’s antique was enough to make it a popular choice.
It promised vague pleasures but no idea what the next step would bring. Most people who saw the box thought it was a ticket to Hell or the life of a Cenobite for Captain Elliot Spencer ( Doug Bradley). The box will be available in 2022 with more specific rewards that speak to our primal desires.
The configuration, however, is a Faustian Bargain at the core and cannot be rescinded. To Voight, Jamie Clayton‘s Pinhead/Hell Priest said to Voight towards the film’s end that “there is no retreat once you have crossed the threshold.” You cannot exchange gifts; they can only be given. Once you have accepted a puzzle box, you cannot return it. You can only bargain for another one from Leviathan or the Cenobites.
This is why the Lament Configuration 2022 becomes an antagonist. The appeal of wish-granting it has is more defined than any Hellraiseroutings before, which drives the forces of greediness and wickedness to pursue this. There is always a cost, which is why innocents and the unwary are often killed when the configuration is discovered.
Despite their intentions, Voight ( Odessa Odessa ) and Riley ( Odessa ) are drawn into the circle of sacrifices marked with the box. This makes it an integral character and one that promises great rewards, even if they lose their lives. The configuration is the core of Hellraiser2022’s story. Without it, Leviathan, and the Cenobites, are kept away.
The Lament Configuration was a key piece of Hellraiser history and Clive Barker’s fiction. This new configuration, however, is almost living and will fulfill its purpose no matter what. It is the key to both the narrative and the gates of Hell. Although the box might have been overlooked in previous Hellraiser outings, it is back and even more dangerous for those who find it. The box has been made a central part of a franchise that is often ignored in its sequels.