The Full Wiki

Lemarchand's box: Wikis

Advertisements
  

Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Encyclopedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Lament Configuration, as shown in Hellraiser

Lemarchand's box is a fictional lock puzzle or puzzle box appearing in horror stories by Clive Barker, or in works based on his original stories. The best known of these boxes is the Lament Configuration, which features prominently throughout the Hellraiser movie series. A Lemarchand box is a mystical/mechanical device that acts as a door — or a key to a door — to another dimension or plane of existence. The solution of the puzzle creates a bridge through which beings may travel in either direction across this "Schism". The inhabitants of these other realms may seem demonic to humans. An ongoing debate in the film series is whether the realm accessed by the Lament Configuration is intended to be the Christian version of Hell, or simply a generic dimension of endless pain and suffering.

Contents

Philip Lemarchand

The boxes were created by Philip Lemarchand, who is mentioned in The Hellbound Heart (the novella upon which the movie Hellraiser was based) as a maker of mechanical singing birds.

He first appeared as a character in the Epic Hellraiser comics series and was portrayed as an older man, though still a creator of toys and singing birds. This version, created with the support of Clive Barker, was a mass murderer who used human fat and bone in the construction of his boxes. He was aided by a material given to him by the Cenobite known as Baron.

The film Hellraiser: Bloodline, written several years later, portrays the character as much less morally reprehensible. In this version, Lemarchand is a young ingenious toymaker known for his intricate mechanical designs. The character Paul Merchant says in the film that the Lament Configuration was commissioned from Lemarchand by the Duc de l'Isle in 1784.

The Lament Configuration

The Lemarchand box that has become known in the film series as the Lament Configuration was introduced in The Hellbound Heart as "the Lemarchand Configuration". It appeared as an antique black lacquered cube, stylistically patterned after ancient Chinese puzzle boxes, of unparalleled workmanship. A clever individual with a passion for solving the puzzle might spend the better part of a day loosening the first piece. As described by Barker on the first page of the novella,

The interior surfaces were brilliantly polished. Frank's reflection — distorted, fragmented — skated across the lacquer.... Lemarchand, who had been in his time a maker of singing birds, had constructed the box so that opening it tripped a musical mechanism, which began to tinkle a short rondo of sublime banality.

The tune continues to evolve as each additional piece is moved:

And there was music too; a simple tune emerged from the box, played on a mechanism that she could not yet see. Enchanted, she delved further. Though one piece had been removed, the rest did not come readily. Each segment presented a fresh challenge to fingers and mind, the victories rewarded with a further filigree added to the tune.

The puzzle draws the player onward until suddenly the puzzle is solved and the gateway is opened. As the puzzle is nearly completed, the sound of a large bell can be heard tolling mournfully. The sound comes from the realm of the Cenobites, and announces their impending arrival. Once the gate is opened, the box begins reassembling itself.

An important difference between the book and film versions — aside from the name — is that the film version of the box is merely twisted into new alignments or shapes, whereas the version in the novella is completely disassembled and reassembled. The film version is also trimmed in brass or gold, and appears to have arcane symbols etched on its surface. The novella version is completely smooth and has no obvious designs save for an almost imperceptible etching along the seams between the pieces, but seems to display the faces of its victims in the reflection of light over its surfaces.

Other boxes

Other Lemarchand boxes appear throughout the Hellraiser film series. Dr. Channard is depicted as a collector in Hellbound: Hellraiser II; he has several on display in his study. The demon princess Angelique is narrated to have created several in Hellraiser: Bloodline. The Host in Hellraiser: Hellworld also possesses several. Most of the boxes seen in the films are not named or used onscreen, so their powers — if any — are unknown. They may simply be fakes.

At the end of The Hellbound Heart, Kirsty wonders if there are other puzzles that might offer access to paradise instead of hell.

External links

Advertisements

Advertisements






Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address
Message