Hellraiser (1987)


Alright guys, time to start working through the backlog of “collection reviews” that I’ve allowed to pile up. This one is definitely ranked among my favourites of all time. Lets get into it with the delightfully disgusting Hellraiser.

An unfaithful wife encounters the zombie of her dead lover; demons are pursuing him after he escaped their sadomasochistic underworld.

The movie is pretty simple, and has a the feel of a great little independent film. Most of it takes place in one location, and yet manages to create a pretty fantastic world. I really just love that about Clive Barker’s films, he is so great at building worlds, and mythology. You really get the sense from this that there is so much to explore in the pain-dimension, and with the Cenobites in general.


An interesting thing about this movie is that it’s most iconic character really doesn’t have that much to do in the movie. Going into it you might think that Pinhead is the main villain of the movie, but he really doesn’t turn up a whole lot. That being said, Doug Bradley commands the screen when he is there and it really makes sense that he has become such an iconic face in horror. The other actors also deliver pretty great performances from beginning to end. It’s the kind of movie that is just drenched in the 80s and delivers all of the things you want it to. The performances being one of those things.

Another hugely wonderful part of this movie is the visual effects. The use of stop motion, and the gore effects in this movie are absolutely fantastic. There are moments that genuinely make me feel just a little queasy. The way that the monsters are created, and slimed up, you can almost feel them through the screen.

Yes, she is going to suck on his fingers.

All around, Hellraiser is really just a fantastic 80s monster movie and really feels like required viewing for horror fans. There’s also something weirdly sexy about the overtones of BDSM and the huge sexualization of pain and pleasure. Of course, that might say more about me than it does about how sexy the movie actually is, so let’s just move on.

It did (of course) spawn 8 sequels, comics and even Barker has continued to expand the universe in his writing. Now, the sequels vary WILDLY in quality, and include on of my least favourite movies of ALL TIME, Hellraiser : Revelations. So, I’ll leave it to you to get through them if you want to. Regardless, you need to watch this one.



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