Hellraiser Cover There was a kid in my school who was a right hell raiser. Every second Tuesday of the month, he would stab a goat in the eye and then try to raise the dead with a mystical chant. But then again he did have a very bad stutter, so I could be mistaken don't you know. Unlike the Director of this film: Clive Barker; and Actors: Andrew Robinson, Clare Higgins, Ashley Laurence, and Sean Chapman. It was made in 1987, and lasts for 94 minutes.


Now what would you do for love? Would you be like goggle-eyed businessman, Larry Cotton (Andrew Robinson), and move into your derelict parental home with your second-wife, Julia (Clare Higgins)? Or would you be like Julia, and lure unsuspected lotharios back to your home, just so that your one-time lover -- plus Larry's brother -- Frank Cotton (Sean Chapman), can reanimate his dishevelled frame with their blood?

Yes. I am afraid to say this is one of those tales.

You see, Frank is what I would call a 'wild card' by nature. And, by whim of fate, he has tricked his way into hell with the use of a puzzle box, before tricking his way out again, with cunning and guile. However, now back on the mortal plane again, he is in dire need to become the man he once was. Therefore, Frank manages to persuade Julia to find a 'victim', take this 'victim' to where his is staying in his brother's attic, so that he can kill this 'victim' and replenish his precious bodily fluids and become a brand new guy. 

Wow! Pretty grizzly turn of event's, wouldn't you agree? Thank God that Charlie does know anything about it, huh? But I wished that I could say the same things for Charlie's daughter, Kirsty (Ashley Laurence), who stumbles onto this plot in a very big way.

Well, I suppose that is why what next transpires all kicks off when she gets her hands on Uncle Frank's box! As demons turn up in Medicare - teenagers want to pull out their hair - parental figures do yell - and a strange packed goes straight to hell. 

Now when I first watched 'Hellraiser' a long, long, time ago, it scared the living daylights out of me. For days on end I would wince whenever I saw a porcupine or an open wound upon the television screen. Because these visions compelled me to block out from my mind that I ever saw this flick at all. Heck, on one occasion I almost sh*t myself when I saw my older brother play with a Rubik's cube!

Thankfully, though, I am over all that now. I'm on the tablets. And I can honestly say that I can now appreciate this horror movie on a much more deeper and mythological level. Gone are the days that I would stick drawing pins into my A-Team action figures, and then try to set them on fire. Also, gone are the sleepless nights when I dreamt of being chased through a narrow passageway, by a piece of bubble gum and a set of chattering teeth.  

Clare in Hellraiser

Hellraiser Comics
Thank God for facts, huh? These filmic-facts: (1) This movie was based on the novella written by Clive Baker called "The Hellbound Heart". Clive only made two short films prior developing this project. It cost $1,000,000, and it earned about $20,000,000. (2) It took make-up artists approximately six hours to get Doug Bradley into his Cenobite prosthetic. (3) Clive did not like the nickname 'Pinhead' bestowed on his creation 'The Priest', who was ultimately called 'Lead Cenobite' in the script. He changed it back to 'The Priest' in the 'Hellraiser' comic book series that was produced by 'BOOM!' studios in 2011. (4) The MPAA forced Clive to make several cuts to the film before it was released. Such as: repetitive hammer blows, appendages entering flesh, S&M spanking, and 'thrusts' during the sex scene. (5) Apart from the attic set, Clive wished that the majority of this film was shot on a sound-stage instead of a real house, because this confining environment restricted his camera positioning. (6) The studios did not want this film to be named after the book it was based on, 'The Hellbound Heart' and decided that Clive should change the title. He offered "Sadomasochists from Beyond the Grave" which was quickly rejected. Only for a sixty-year-old female crew member to then offer "What a Woman Will do for a Good F*ck". (7) This film was officially released on DVD in 2011 by StudioCanal (then called Kinowelt). Most of the previous DVD releases were bootlegged German versions. (8) Clive blamed the poor quality of the special effects at the end of the film on budgetary constraints, plus that he and some 'Greek chap' cobbled them together whilst pissed over a long weekend. (9) The first thing shot in this film was the scene in which Frank was spun around and covered in blood. It was meant to be a test shot, but it made it into the final picture. (10) The concept behind 'The portal to hell' was expanded upon within the legend of 'The Devil's Toy Box'. Theoretically, any individual who entered this six-sided mirrored structure would undergo baroque premonitions, which would simultaneously damage their minds.

Larry in Hellraiser

Now apart from the facts, I suppose the real reason 'Hellraiser' got to me so much as a child, was because Ashley Laurence's character, Kirsty, reminded me of one of my cousins. You see, up until that point in the movie, I could not really say the same thing about Andrew Robinson and Clare Higgins characters. To me, Andrew was that 'bad guy' in 'Dirty Harry', who suddenly came across as well to do type of a chap. And as for Clare on the other hand? Well? Apart from looking like a sofa who wanted to shag a man that looked like a ration of streaky bacon, I could not really gauge her motivations all that much.

Please note, I am not trying to discredit there performances at all. Far from it. I am just trying to say that where association is concerned, there did not seem to be much of it to reinforce the overall plot.

Pin Face in Hellraiser

However, except for that little gripe, the rest of 'Hellraiser' is a right treat. The special effect weren't bad considering when it was made. The cast really enhanced a script that has a very simple through-line. Most of the time the screen was full of either stark or elegant images. Plus I have to mention the man himself. Clive Baker. For creating a classic slice of cinema that is both compelling and frightening at the same time. Agreed obligatory eighties featurette?

Say no more.


HELLRAISER HELLRAISER Reviewed by David Andrews on August 22, 2012 Rating: 5
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