Hellraiser (1987)


In a decade where cheesy slasher films ruled the big screen, a little unknown movie from an unknown writer/director appeared that jump started the genre. The film was Hellraiser and in it dawned the beginning of a new franchise and a fresh face that would forever remain as one of the greatest horror icons ever devised. His name was "the lead Cenobite", but was later dubbed "Pinhead". When Clive first did the film, he and the rest of the crew were unaware the demons known as "Cenobites" would make such an impact in the film. They (namely Pinhead) stole the show whenever they'd appear on screen. A year later a sequel was born, but we'll get into that in my next review. Clive did what many dreamed of doing and that was create a horror film that stood out on it's own and dared the audience to keep their eyes glued to the screen at all times. Of course there were times when they couldn't thanks to the excellent effects by Bob Keen (Waxwork).

For those of you who haven't seen the movie (how dare you!) the story is about a mysterious puzzle box that's said to open a gateway into a world of unknown pain and pleasures. Anyone who dares open it will face the wrath of "demons to some, angels to others" known as the Cenobites. They are tortured souls who were once human, but are now beings that thrive on pain and torture to the curious. We follow a couple as they move into an old family home, where the wife grows a dubious fascination with her husband's missing bad-boy brother after she finds an old pic of him in his room. Little do they know that the brother's curiosity got the best of him prior to them moving in as he got his hands on the box and met with the Cenobites. Now he's held prisoner in the other realm until he's set free when the husband cuts his hand on a nail, which led him to bleed on his brother's bedroom floor. It somehow brings forth the bro, who seduces the wife into luring unsuspecting men into the house so the brother can feed on their bodies in order to return to his normal human form. He attempts to do this before the Cenobites find out he’s escaped and come looking for him.

This movie has some crazy gore in it. I love the transformation scene in the beginning when the brother is born again; gross, but very cool. I think I actually like this film more now than I did in the past. I guess maybe it has to do with the fact that I got my hands on the uncut version from the limited 4-Disc puzzle box edition that Anchor Bay released in the UK (thanks to Xploited Cinema). Why the UK sometime gets better editions than the U.S. is beyond me, but I'm glad I have an all-region DVD player. The story is pretty slow in the beginning, mostly dealing with the wife luring men into the home and attempting to conceal the secret of the brother's return from her husband, but it picks up when the Cenobites are once again introduced in the film. Aside from this being Clive's feature film debut, it was also the debut of actress Ashley Laurence and Pinhead actor Doug Bradley, who originally considered having a small role as a moving-man instead of Pinhead, as he thought it was important for the viewers to see his face.

Yes, this is a movie that will forever remain in the horror history books as one of the most original and innovative films ever created and will always be a favorite among the genre. On the DVD Doug Bradley reveals that there is a missing scene that was shot, but never appeared on film, where it supposedly showed where the Cenobites would be held at before they were called into the real world when the box was open. Sadly we'll probably never see that missing scene.

A horror classic that every fan of the genre should see. Definitely recommended.
A horror classic that every fan of the genre should see. Definitely recommended.