The Lament Configuration
Object information

Phillipe Lemarchand


18th Century in France


To open a portal to Hell



Unfinished Hellraiser

The Lament Configuration, also known as the LeMarchand Configuration is one of the most notorious puzzle boxes in the world as it held the power to open a gate way to a domain of Pain, mostly referred as Hell. Once this gate is opened, the Cenobites come to claim their prize and drags the unfortunate victim to hell. The puzzle box is a key element in the Hellraiser series.


The box was created by Phillipe Lemarchand in the 18th century.[1][2]

The Lament configuration has two origin stories. The first tells the story of a French Toymaker, named Phillipe LeMarchand. LeMarchand was a morbid libertine mass murderer who crafted boxes, using human fat and bone. [3] According to this story, he had built over 270 boxes [4], this with the help of unknown cenobite, only known as Baron. This story was first mentioned in the novel: The Hellbound Heart and later completed in the Hellraiser Epic Comic series. The existence of more boxes beside the Lament Configuration has proven true as in both Hellraiser: Hellbound and Hellraiser: Hellworld, we see several boxes besides the Lament Configuration.

Hellraiser: Bloodline Act 1Edit

This story was retconned in Hellraiser: Bloodline. In Bloodline, LeMarchand was simple but gifted toymaker who was one day visited by a rich aristocrat. He ordered the creation of a puzzle box like no one ever had seen. Price was no objection. Foolishly he agreed and made the box. The aristocrat, Duc de l'Isle, then used the box to summon the demon Angelique, letting her posses the body of garroted girl. Lemerchand discovered what he had done, how he cursed his bloodline by creating a portal to hell. He created a sketch for the Elysium Configuration but was killed by Angelique before he could made it.

Due to the horrors of Battle of Flanders, in 1914, many soldiers have become desillusioned[5]. Searching their pleasures in hedonic lifestyles, captain Elliot Spencer is no exception. In the late 1920, he had found the Lament Configuration but as he opened the box, it transformed him into the Lead Cenobite, Pinhead.

Hellraiser/The Hellbound HeartEdit

The box appeared in 1987 (in 1984 in the novel) at a flee market in Morroco [6]. The box was in possession of a merchant who offered the box to Frank Cotton, a man who believed to have explored every pleasure that the world has to offered. With a simple positive answer on the question: what is your pleasure, sir?, the box changed hands. Frank solved the puzzle, only to discover it's dark pleasures. After killing him, the Lead Cenobite closed the box and takes his leave. The box is later stolen by the niece of Frank Cotton, Kristy. After being hospitalized, she accidentally solved the box and opened a portal, leading to a corridor. In her curiosity, she investigate this strange corridor, only the be hunted by the predatory Engineer. It is as she entered the room again, she finally discovered what she had done. In the room, four mutilated creature were waiting. One of the human-like creatures, grabbed her and put his fingers in her mouth to prevent her from screaming. The Lead Cenobite explained to her what she had done and what they are. But before they can claim her soul, she stroke a bargain with them. She will bring them the escaped Frank Cotton, in exchange for her own soul. Eventually the cenobites agreed, but if she would trick them, she would pay dearly.

At home, she discovered that Frank have killed her father. Eventually she tricked him in revealing himself to the cenobites who quickly claims him. It is only now that Kristy realized that the cenobites didn't care for their deal. She had opened the box, her soul was theirs to take. But she was able to dispose herself the cenobites by solving the box again and again as they closed in on her. In an attempt to destroy them for good, she burned down the house but the merchant reappeared. Unharmed by the fire, he picked up the box from the burning rumble and disappeared in the night in the form of a skeletal dragon. The movie end with the merchant offering the box to new person.

Hellbound: Hellraiser IIEdit

At an unknown point in time, Dr. Philip Channard got his hands on the configuration. After meeting Kristy Cotton and hearing the testimony of the horrors that unravelled in the first movie, he gave the box to Tiffany, an autistic girl with a compulsive disorder. She solved the box but isn't claimed. As Kristy end up in hell and saved Tiffany who is wandering the labyrinth of Hell, they finally meet up with the Channard Cenobite and Leviathan himself. The duo managed to escape them by solving the Lament Configuration in Hell, causing Leviathan to go into a dormant state (cube form), killing Channard in the process. What became of the box remained unknown.

Hellraiser III: Hell on EarthEdit

In 1992, the Box is found by J.P. Monroe, the club owner of the Boiler Room. He found the box after buying the Pillar of Souls, in which Pinhead was trapped. To due to unknown means, the box is later obtained by a clubgoeer who ended up killed in the emergency room as he's torn apart. The box changes hands one more, now in possesion of Joey Summerskil who investigate the death the clubgoeer.

After being freed from the Pillar, Pinhead, stripped of his human half, massacred the clubgoeers of the Boiler Room before luring Joey to him. As his intentions became clear as well as the fact that the box might be her only change on survival she fleed from. When pinned down at a construction site by Pinhead's new Gash, she opened a portal to Hell and tried to send them all back. For a moment, this appears to be successfull and she met her father in the afterlife. But Pinhead used the memories of her father to manipulate her in forfeiting the box. With the help of Pinhead's human half, Captain Elliot Spencer (who fused with Pinhead to become one again), she manage to survive and stabbed him in the heart with Leviathan form of the box. He returned to Hell and she buried the puzzle in concrete. Ironically, the box is buried in the concrete of the newest building of Merchant, the latest descendants of Lemarchand. The motives of the box are used to decorate it halls.

Hellraiser: Bloodline Act 2Edit

Angelique and Jacques are still alive in 1994. After discovering a news article on John Merchant, who gives a party to celebrate the opening of his newest building (the building from the previous movie), she took her leave to America. Jacques tried to convince her other wise, only to end up getting killed. She attend the party but after failing to seduce John, she headed for the basement, luring a party guest with her. In the basement of the building, she uncovered the box and ordered the man to solve it. As he succeeded he's pulled into Hell and Pinhead takes his place. Pinhead tries to create a permanent gate to Hell as Angelique tried to close it forever, to sever her ties with Hell. This attempt eventually failed as the Elysium Configuration malfunction due to in completion. Pinhead kills Merchant but this gives his wife the change to open the box once more and sent them back to Hell, both Angelique and Pinhead.

Hellraiser: InfernoEdit

In 2000, the box was used in an occult ritual that ended up with murder. While investigating the crime scene, Joseph Thorne found the box and took it with him, only to solve it later. But from the moment he solves the box, he starts to see strange things and got to deal with a new serial killer, The Engineer. He only later discover that he in fact had opened the box and that all what he have seen, is due to the fact he's trapped in Hell. Pinhead informs him that his actions has lead him to his punishment, to live an eternal loop in Limbo.

Hellraiser: HellseekerEdit

In 2002, the box found it's way again to Kristy Cotton. Trevor Gooden got, through unknown ways, obtained the box. In an attempt to take in her heritage, he gave the box as a present. This in the hope that she would disappear. Unlucky for him, she stroke a new deal with the Cenobites, one that was taken by the Cenobites. Her freedom in exchange as 5 souls to take place. Three place were reserved for Trevor's mistresses and one for a friend of Trevor who conspired against her as well. The last soul was his... She killed him the car, leading to crash he believed to have survived. Just as Joseph Thorne, Trevor spent eternity in Limbo.

Hellraiser: DeaderEdit

As Amy Klein investigated a cult, the Deaders, in Bucharest, she found the box in possesion of a dead girl. After solving it, Pinhead warns her that her life might be in danger. Unknowingly to her, he planned on using her to end the reign of Winter Lemarchand, one remaining member of the Lemarchand clan. Winter's goal was to find someone who would be able to open a portal to Hell, what he considered his birth right. He killed her and brought her back with the use of the box and necromancy. 

This turned out to be his downfall as Amy eventually opened the box in the presence of the Deaders. The Cenobites weren't pleased with the chaos they had wrought and killed all of them by impaling, sparing Winter and Amy Klein from this fate . Winter's fate wass far worse, as he was torn apart of his arrogance. After dealing with Winter and his followers, Pinhead reminded her that she had opened the box and her soul belonged to them. But rather than being claimed, she committed to suicide. As their dealings are done, the cenobites are forced back to Hell as the box closed itself.

Hellraiser: RevelationsEdit

The Lament Configuration is offered to two friends, Nico (surname unmentioned) and Steven Craven by a vagrant as Nico has been found 'worthy' of possessing the item. Their discovery quickly turned to horror as Nico solved and got his soul claimed. A videotape that documented their escapades and the box were the only thing found. The video also featured the box which made Emma Craven, Steven's sister curious. This curiosity leaded her to accidentally solving the box after which she summoned 'Steven'. The box has a certain effect on Emma, and causes irrational and impulsive sexual arousal.

It is later revealed that that Nico has tried to return after his soul being claimed and even drove Steven so far to kill a prostitute by bashing her skull with the puzzle. The blood on the box freed Nico but he was in a similar state like Frank Cotton. In the end it is revealed he even stole Steven's skin and took his place before forcing Emma to open the portal, in hopes her soul will be taken. But Cenobites don't do bussiness like this. Ready to take Nico, Ross intervened and killed Nico. But as it weren't his hands that summoned them, they wouldn't leave. Instead, they punished Ross from his vengeful behavior by claiming his wife instead. After they left, telling Emma that if she desired to join them, they would be waiting, Ross died. The movie ends with Emma reaching out for the box once more.

Hellraiser: JudgmentEdit


Hellraiser: Bloodline Act 3Edit

The third act of the movie is the future in a spaceship, the movie begins with a drone trying to solve the Lament Configuration but ended up destroyed. Unbeknownst of what have happened in the test chamber, a guard entered the room only to find the Lament Configuration. He quickly learned that the destroyed drone was succesful in it's experiment and opened the portal. But since the Cenobites had no one to take with them, they weren't forced to leave. After taking care of the guard, Pinhead leaded a full assault on the people on the spaceship, in order to prevent Merchant (the last descendant) from succeeding the creation of the Elysium Configuration. In the end, Merchant succeed, destroyed the Lament Configuration, killed Pinhead and close the portal to Hell forever.


Hellraiser: HellworldEdit

Hellworld is a meta film in which the Lament configuration is a item of fiction as the rest of the Hellraiser series. It was even featured in a mmorpg named Hellworld. Hellworld is extremely popular but eventually led to the suicide of a boy named Adam, obsessed by the game and the ideas. The box is featured throught the movie but all are either replicas or hallucinations. The real box eventually appears at the end. After taking his revenge on the friends of Adam for negligence, the father of Adam finds himself in a motel, going through the old possessions of his son. To his anger, he finds what he presumed is yet another replica of the Lament Configuration. Unbeknownst to him, his son got his hands on the real thing and he accidentally summoned Pinhead and his latest Gash: Chatterer III and Bound II, who gave him a rough wake-up call before disappearing.


"It is not hands that call is desire"


By solving the puzzle, the victim summons a gash of Cenobites (mostly Pinhead's Gash). They will see if the victim is worthy to become a Cenobite. If he or she is worthy, they will be sent to hell and given to the Engineer. If not worthy, they will be trapped in Hell for eternity or simply vanished. That last happens especially to people who try to cheat on them. There are a few ways to escape this fate. It has been shown that the box can be opened by something else the humans but if it lack the ability to feel emotion, to feel anything it will be simply destroyed. [7]

  • Make a bargain with the cenobite: one can escape their unfortunate fate at hands of the cenobites by offering information [8][9] or offering (multiple souls) in exchange for their own.[10] This have appeared to be a huge risk, since if the cenobites find a soul already belonging to them, they might get back on their dealings.[11] There is also a change that the Cenobite aren't interested to begin with. [12]
  • Resolve the Lament Configuration: many survivors of the cenobites escaped by resolving the box.[13]In most cases, the cenobites will prevent this from happening by immobilizing the summoner. [14]
  • Form the Leviathan-shape (Diamond form) with Lament Configuration: Stabbing the cenobite leader appears to be able to sent them back to hell. [15]
  • Commit Suicide before they can take you to hell: When committing suicide, the soul of the person disappears and leaves them empty-handed. Doing this, most will end their dealings and forced them back to Hell. [16]
  • Being completely devote of curiosity: Tiffany solved the box but was left unharmed. Due to her autism, she had no desire to open the portal but she had a compulsive need to solve puzzles.[17]





  • Epic Comic: Hellraiser


  • The configuration opened
  • Solved


  • The Bloodline version of the origin story was never mentioned again in the series. More likely, they returned to the original story. This hinted at in Hellraiser: Deader, as Pinhead mentioned that evil really runs in the 'family' as he speaks to Winter Lemerchand.
  • In Hellbound: Hellraiser II, it indicated by the great collection of Channard, the Lament Configuration isn't the only box of it's kind.
    • This is revealed to be true in the comics
  • The polar opposite of the Lament Configuration is the Elysium Configuration, a puzzle designed to close the gates of Hell forever. A drawing was made an several descendants of Lemarchand have tried to create the box, of which most failed.
    • The Elysium Configuration was finally made in 2172, appearing like a satelite at first. [18]

Related PagesEdit


  1. Hellraiser: Bloodline
  3. Epic Comics: Hellraiser
  5. Told by Captain Elliot Spencer in both Hellraiser II: Hellbound and Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth
  6. The book was released in 1984, the movie in 1987
  7. In Hellraiser: Bloodline, Paul Merchant tries to solve the box with a robot, but after completion it was destroyed. According to Pinhead, it was insatiable.
  8. In Hellraiser, Kristy Cotton informed them about Frank, so they let her go (temporary)
  9. In Hellraiser II: Hellbound, she revealed to the cenobites they were once human, stopping their attempts to capture her.
  10. In Hellraiser: Hellseeker, Kristy offered Pinhead, 5 souls in exchange for her own.
  11. Hellraiser
  12. In Hellraiser: Revelations, Nico tried to give the cenobites Emma's soul instead of his. The Cenobites refused, as they already had the right to claim his soul and believed that Emma would join them eventually.
  13. Kristy Cotton used this technique twice, in Hellraiser and Hellraiser II: Hellbound.
  14. Shown with Frank Cotton, Hellraiser and Winter LeMarchand, Hellraiser: Deader. Attempted with Joey Summerskil, Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth.
  15. As demonstrated by Joey Summerskil in Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth
  16. Amy Klein committed suicide before Pinhead could claim her soul in Hellraiser: Deader.
  17. Explained by Pinhead, she lacked any desire, in Hellraiser II: Hellbound
  18. Hellraiser: Bloodline

External LinksEdit

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