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In Clive Barker's novella The Hellbound Heart (and later, in the Hellraiser movies), the Cenobites offer experiences which are far beyond that which this world can provide. They can bring about "...conditions of the nerve endings the like of which one's imagination, however fevered, could not hope to evoke." They make no distinction between pleasure and pain. They were once human, and in their desire to experience more than the reality they knew they chose to open the box, eager for the journey to hell. Scars cover every inch of their flesh which is "...cosmetically punctured and sliced and infibulated, then dusted down with ash." They smell of vanilla and are invisible and inaudible to people who have not solved the Box.

They must be summoned by a device such as Lemarchand's Box to cross the Schism into this world. They cannot reseal the Schism until they take someone back with them (only blood and flesh can bring humans across it). Other ways to summon the Cenobites can be found "...in the vaults of the Vatican, hidden in code in a theological work unread since the Reformation." or "...in the form of an origami exercise, that was reported to have been in the possession of the Marquis de Sade, who used it, while imprisoned in the Bastille, to barter with a guard for paper on which to write The 120 Days of Sodom."

Also known as: The Gash, the hierophants, Theologians of the Order of the Gash

The Cenobites from Hellraiser*:
  • Pinhead: Leader of the Cenobites. He has a grid on his bald head in which large pins are driven into the intersections.
  • Female Cenobite: She has a nail through her nose and a wire though her cheeks pulling apart a split in her neck which makes her speak in a raspy whisper. She's the only Cenobite with hair; she has two fine hairs stretching horizontally from her head.
  • Butterball: Mute Cenobite. He's very fat and his ears have been cut off. He wears blind man's glasses which hide his sewn-shut eyelids. He constantly fingers the wound in his belly and licks his lips.
  • Chatterer: A¬†yellowish-colored, mute Cenobite. He clicks his teeth together constantly because the skin around his mouth is held open by four hooks connected to wires that stretch around his head. His ears are cut off and his eyes and nostrils are covered because of the scarring on his face. Was a stand-up comedian and starred in over 30 movies during his human life (this last tidbit comes from a story called "Look, see..." by Nicholas Vance - the actor who played the Chatterer in the movies. Unfortunately, this conflicts with the view of the Chatterer as a young boy that is shown in Hellbound: Hellraiser II).
  • The Engineer: A guardian of Hell. Appears in many forms including a salamander-like, yellowish demon with four arms and a sharp tail. The hind arms hold itself up and propel it along. Not really a cenobite, but it constructs the torture devices the Cenobites use in Hell. It also acts as the protector of the Box.
* This is only a partial list of all the cenobites that appeared in the films (in the book, they are only referred to by number), but they appear to be the most popular ones.
Sources: The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker, and the Hellraiser films. A good source of information for this is called The Hellbound Web, located here: http://www.cenobite.com/

Cen"o*bite (?), n. [L. coenobita, fr. Gr. koino`bios; koino`s common + bi`os life: cf. F. cénobite.]

One of a religious order, dwelling in a convent, or a community, in opposition to an anchoret, or hermit, who lives in solitude. Gibbon.


© Webster 1913

Cœn"o*bite (? or ?), n.

See Cenobite.


© Webster 1913

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