The 13th Floor

R.I.P. Simon Sayce, Designer of the Original HELLRAISER Puzzle Box

It’s one of the most iconic and beautiful works of art in the history of horror cinema: The Lament Configuration — also known as “Lemarchand’s Box” — originally crafted for Clive Barker’s 1987 classic HELLRAISER by phenomenal artist, designer and effects expert Simon Sayce.

Regrettably, we must share the announcement that Sayce passed away earlier this week following a five-year battle with cancer.

Image Credit: Simon Sayce/Facebook

One of the initial founders of Image Imagination, the artist leaves behind an impressive legacy of unforgettable designs, many of which appeared in other Barker films — including David Cronenberg’s horrific “Old Button Eyes” mask for NIGHTBREED. His most recent work includes Anthony DiBlasio’s much-anticipated feature EXTREMITY [which we’ve covered in a previous column, and will continue to cover in the run-up to its release].

Image Credit: Simon Sayce/Facebook

Sayce’s work on the original HELLRAISER box was modified into various alternate forms by Gary Tunnicliffe for HELLBOUND: HELLRAISER 2 (these can be seen in Dr. Channard’s office in that film), but apart from those unique mods, Sayce’s initial vision has remained basically the same throughout the franchise.

Image Credit: New World Pictures

Barker’s original concept for the Lament Configuration in his novella “The Hellbound Heart” described a simpler, less detailed cube, but the ornately-etched version Sayce designed for the film (which includes minute details like genuine occult sigils, and tiny depictions of the faces from the box’s many victims) has become just as iconic as PHANTASM’s flying spheres or Leatherface’s handy chainsaw.