“Hellraiser” Review ✦✦✦✦✧

27 September, 2017

Year of Release: 1987
Clive Barker
Clive Barker
Director of Photography: 
Robin Vidgeon
Sean Chapman, Ashley Laurence, Clare Higgins

Synopsis: Driven by the allure of infinite pleasure and pain, a man unlocks a puzzle box which opens the gates of Hell, leaving his body in tatters but destined to rise again upon the arrival of an old flame.

Hellraiser Review:

A cult favourite written purposefully to expand the midnight market, “Hellraiser” is a horror fan’s wet dream, playing out like a Halloween catwalk with suspended bodies, nailed craniums, and exposed nervous systems taking viewers beyond the limits of everyday cinema. While Clive Barker’s BDSM aesthetic hunts the pain to match the pleasure, the movie puts the ‘perfection’ in imperfection, laughing along with the fans at biting one-liners and oozing bodies, always on the hunt for clever ways to infer horror without throwing buckets of money down the drain.

Viewed predominantly as the original ‘Pinhead’ movie but misremembered in the same way that casual horror fans cite a mask-wearing Jason as the killer in “Friday the 13th,” “Hellraiser” has a unique villain hiding under its floorboards with an appearance far too unsightly to make it onto the poster. Luring victims into the horrors of his rat-infested man cave and feeding off their blood and bones, the movie presents its monster as a mere victim in the Cenobites’ game of torture; a lecherous man driven by a longing for the pleasures of the flesh who will do anything to recapture the essence of life.

Featuring one of the most unforgettable rebirth sequences in horror history, “Hellraiser” sees a lost soul reassemble himself in a mass of gore, depicting its antihero in pained stages as blood, sinew, and cartilage find their way back onto his body. Although the film hides its Phantom away from the light, finding a Lady Macbeth to become the black widow in his tragic story, it never strays from the glory of low budget heaven, utilising enough smoke, slime, and stop-motion to embellish a collection of slaughterhouse sets. Squeezing the juice out of every frame and shaping romance into an unrecognisable puddle of goop, “Hellraiser” leaves its characters skewed and twisted, disfigured by the skin rip after every thrust as their passion curdles into unbearable suffering.


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