"What's your pleasure?"
"Uh, I'd kinda like to have my flesh pulled off by meathooks on retractable chains."
"Well, you're in luck."

I think my title says it all. I understand that the Cenobites have a different idea of pleasure than pretty much any human, but has there ever been a someone who actually got something good from the box? Or does hell/leviathan/the cenobites just prey on people's general ignorance?

  • 1
    It is really best not to assume that your desires are the general map for others' desires. You might want to spend some time walking on the wild side before you make claims about what "pretty much any human" would or would not desire physically. Seriously. Go visit the Folsom Street Fair in San Francisco. Then go to some of the after party/play parties. Spend some time with folks in the serious kink scenes. And then try to ask whether the lures of the Cenobites really require much in the way of suspension of disbelief.
    – Lexible
    Nov 2, 2015 at 2:54
  • Good point. Although, I do think there's a big difference between even the most extreme kink and complete mutilation. Then again, I should get out more. Your comment is a really good one - it was sloppy thinking of me to speak so broadly and without qualification.
    – johntreml
    Jun 9, 2016 at 21:41
  • I felt that my answer was pretty comprehensive given how closely the films mirror the source novel/s. Is there anything else you'd like to see before considering an acceptance?
    – Valorum
    Jul 1, 2016 at 22:34

1 Answer 1


In the original source novel; The Hellbound Heart, the text offers a number of reasons why someone would complete the puzzle box:

  • It's intellectually stimulating
  • The box makes a series of pleasant tones when each section is completed
  • The box offers a gateway to an alternate dimension where untold pleasures are promised

Systematically, she began to feel her way over the sides, testing her hypothesis by pushing and pulling once more. The cracks offered her a general geography of the toy; without them she might have wandered the six sides forever. But the options were significantly reduced by the clues she'd found; there were only so many ways the box could be made to come apart.

After a time, her patience was rewarded. A click, and suddenly one of the compartments was sliding out from beside its lacquered neighbors. Within, there was beauty. Polished surfaces which scintillated like the finest mother-of-pearl, colored shadows seeming to move in the gloss.

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.


"Oh yes. We know Frank."
"He solved the box too, am I right?"
"He wanted pleasure, until we gave it to him. Then he squirmed."


"You did it in ignorance," the visitor said. "Am I right?"
"It's happened before," came the reply. "But there's no help for it. No way to seal the Schism, until we take what's ours..."

  • 3
    I think you can add something about the people that seek out the box being hedonists, bored and jaded with earthly sensations and looking desperately for something more.
    – Joe L.
    Nov 1, 2015 at 13:52
  • I'm glad you referenced the book. I didn't know about that and it'll give me a new lens through which to consider the story. Your quotes contribute a lot.
    – johntreml
    Nov 1, 2015 at 17:19

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