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Hellraiser (1987)

Cult Movies and Horror movie

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You Opened The Box, So We Have Come...

  • Mar 24, 2009
Well... Because the box has been opened.
We have come to rip apart your soul.
(long silence)
So what's the deal with the pins in your head?

I have never seen this film before and only finally decided to check it out because I have been annoyed by a friend constantly going on at me to watch it. I didn't really enjoy it and although there was a lot of good to say about this film, there's also a few negative things I have to say about it which I'll touch upon later. The film itself is a typical 80s slasher film with a lot of blood and a holy hell of a lot of guts. Based upon the Clive Barker novel "The Hell bound Earth" this film may have missed a lot of detail out of the film that was in the book, making it all the more confusing to me.

The thing is primarily based around the plight of 3 main characters. Julia & Larry move into an old family home of his and are looking to settle in when Julia finds a zombie version of Larry's half brother, Frank who she once had an intimate moment with and has not forgotten about him since their encounter. At the start of the movie we see Frank with a mysterious puzzle box in his hands and as he's managed to activate it which opens a door to hell, releasing the fury torturous wrath of the Sadomasochistic Cenobites. Hooks shoot from the box and pull Frank apart and we see "Pinhead", one of the Cenobites, sorting the mess and closing the box. In order for Frank to fully regain his humanity and spend his life with Julia, she must offer human sacrifices to him so he can gain the needed parts of the sacrifice in order for him to reconstruct himself.

I think I got the basics of the plot correct so I will now touch upon what I think worked and what I think did not. The overall tone of the film was extremely creepy, there's no denying that, and in fact I felt like this film should have featured the Cenobites as the main protagonists rather than it feel like Julia as the main focus. That is in fact one of the worst things about the film. Clare Higgins, the actress playing Julia just appeared wooden and it was actually a bit of work to believe her character. The scene at which she first encounters Zombie Frank is one that should have played out with strong emotion and genuine fear. However, I felt myself just finding the whole scene drab and pointless. It was because of the lack of acting ability I couldn't become engaged in the terror that should have been that first moment.
Apart from that, there is sincerely a lot of good about the film. The tone of the entire film is very dark and really puts across the idea that the events taking place are because of the direct association with Hell. The initial rebirth of Frank is something that will go down in movie history as one of the most haunting and amazingly orchestrated zombie births ever. Before the days of CGI, everything had to be done for real with the use of clever animation techniques as the creature rises from under the floorboards and out of the ooze.

I would recommend it, but only for those who really like the gore fests. It's not a film with a huge amount of depth and in fact finishes with a lot unexplained and I still don't really get the whole Pinhead posse thing, especially the Cenobite cameos by Jabba the Hutt's younger, slimmer brother and the monster from Resident Evil. Their particular appearances seemed to go unexplained and just came across as freaky looking for the sake of it. Pinhead was pretty cool and I can fully understand why so many people remember him as a figurehead of the 80s horror movie.

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Steven Stewart ()
Ranked #95
Currently studying Law at University, my main interests revolve around Politics. I read quite a lot and love learning about History. Not just the history of a specific time, place and person, but I'm … more
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Having made his reputation as one of the most prolific and gifted horror writers of his generation (prompting Stephen King to call him "the future of horror"), Clive Barker made a natural transition to movies with this audacious directorial debut from 1987. Not only did Barker serve up a chilling tale of devilish originality, he also introduced new icons of horror that since have become as popular among genre connoisseurs as Frankenstein's monster and the Wolfman. Foremost among these frightful visions is the sadomasochistic demon affectionately named Pinhead (so named because his pale, bald head is a geometric pincushion and a symbol of eternal pain). Pinhead is the leader of the Cenobites, agents of evil who appear only when someone successfully "solves" the exotic puzzle box called the Lamont Configuration--a mysterious device that opens the door to Hell. The puzzle's latest victim is Frank (Sean Chapman), who now lives in a gelatinous skeletal state in an upstairs room of the British home just purchased by his newlywed half-brother (Andrew Robinson, best known as the villain fromDirty Harry), who has married one of Frank's former lovers (Claire Higgins). The latter is recruited to supply the cannibalistic Frank with fresh victims, enabling him to reconstitute his own flesh--but will Frank succeed in restoring himself completely? Will Pinhead continue to demonstrate the flesh-ripping pleasures of absolute agony? Your reaction to this description should tell you if you've ...
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DVD Release Date: September 26, 2000
Runtime: 94 minutes
Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay
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