movie hits very close to home for me. No, I'm not into pain, although a
good spanking every so often isn't bad (HA-HA). Actually, "Hellraiser"
gives me a better understanding of where I will be spending my afterlife .
. . in the depths of HELL. That's alright, because life was meant to be
on a serious side (if there is such a thing here in the House of Horrors),
"Hellraiser" is a film that tremendously changed the face of
horror as we know it. In the years prior to its release, the "slasher"
genre had been running out of control. Everyone and his mother was making
a "slasher" film. We had
Michael Myers, who would return the
year following "Hellraiser" after a short hiatus in a mental
wardÊ (where he should have stayed). Horror was in dire need of a new
direction (sure could use a little of this injected into horror today).
The original "Nightmare on Elm Street"
looked like it could take on this challenge, but its sequels threw the
series back into the "slasher" rut. I am not saying that this is
a bad thing. In fact, looking at the films featured in The Vault, you can
definitely see a very strong "slasher" presence. But with the
stench of the never-ending body count and plethora of sequels, horror was
heading in a downward spiral.
was one of the films that stopped the descent, at least for a while.
Actually, 1987 was a very good year for horror. Classics such as "Evil
Dead II," "Bad Taste,"
"Near Dark," "Nekromantik,"
and "Prince of Darkness" (just to name a few) were released. Too
bad the rest of the decade kinda sucked for the genre, except for the 1988
release of "Hellraiser II," which was as equally impressive as
that of its predecessor.
elevated our fascination (well, at least mine) with the dark abyss of Hell
to an entirely different level. Prior to its release, most films dealing
with the netherworld focused on either demonic possession (“The
Exorcist”) or demonic children ("The Omen" and
"Rosemary's Baby". . . both coming soon to the HOH).
“Hellraiser” introduced us to new cinematic monsters who rule
throughout the depths of Hell, the "Cenobites." Described as
"demons to some and angels to others," these purveyors of pain
and pleasure will "rip your soul apart" and leave you begging
Barker truly succeeds in his directorial debut, not by making the
the focal point of the story, but through his eerie use of atmosphere
shrouding the darkness of the Cenobites' pending arrival. This
atmospheric veil, intermingled with Frank's monstrous race to cheat death,
drives the film toward its exquisite climax. The special effects (Bob
Keen) were extremely well done for a film with only a million-dollar
budget. Christopher Young provided us with one of the better horror scores
in the past 20 years. This film succeeds on so many levels for me and is
definitely in my Top 10 Horror Films of All Time.
following year saw the release of "Hellbound: Hellraiser II," a
tremendous sequel and IMHO almost matches the power of the original. The
last two films in the series ("Hell on Earth" and
"Bloodline") strayed from the formula of success that Clive
Barker and Tony Randel (no, not from “The Odd Couple,” but rather the
director of “Hellbound: Hellraiser II”) had so firmly established.
Pinhead had been transformed from the methodical "Lord of the Dark
Realm" to a one-lining "Freddy-like" incarnation. If
there is a Part V (and I'm sure there will be), let it be like the first
two movies and not the last two.
as always, if you have anything you can add to help improve this page or
if you have any comments, criticisms, and/or suggestions, please