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The Cinematic Katzenjammer: Oct 3: Hellraiser

Wednesday

Oct 3: Hellraiser

"An unfaithful wife encounters the zombie of her dead lover, who's being chased by demons after he escaped from their sado-masochistic Hell."
Directed by: Clive Barker, Rated: R, 94 minutes

Have you ever watched a movie for the first time, well after its release, and hated yourself for waiting so long to finally see it? Well, that happened with me today with Hellraiser, the Clive Barker horror classic that introduces Pinhead and the Cenobites, terrifying beings ripped from the depths of hell. By no means is this a perfect movie but with mind-blowing special effects, a f**ked up imagination from one of the greatest horror writers of our time, and more blood than you can imagine, Hellraiser is too much fun to hate.

 Even if you have never seen the movie, you know who this twisted piece of shit is. 

Julia (Clare Higgins) is an awful wife. Completely fallen out of love with her husband, Larry (Andrew Robinson), she continually fantasizes about his brother, Frank, with whom she had an affair with. After Julia and Larry move into an old house (one previously occupied by Frank), things begin to get weird. After a bad cut spills Larry's blood onto floor of an empty attic, a dead Frank is resurrected, feeding off of the blood. Frank has apparently escaped Hell and the evil beings known as the Cenobites, after a cursed box summoned them, putting Frank into an incredibly violent prison, as he's tortured over and over. What emerges from the attic floor is far from a human Frank, as he's mutilated and fleshy, covered in blood and goo. After Frank reveals his identity to Julia, she promises to do whatever it takes to make him human again, which in this case, is to give him gallons and gallons of blood. As her adulterous ways continue, she lures unsuspecting men to her home, where she "sacrifices" them for Frank, and he slowly regains his form, skin, and identity. After the Cenobites hear of Frank's escape from Hell, they begin their search for him as well, entrapping Julia and Larry's daughter, Kirsty (Ashley Laurence). 

This is one of the more PG-13 images of Frank. You can only imagine the rest. 

The best part of Hellraiser is the violence, blood, and special effects. There are many moments where you're blown away by what's unfolding on screen, both intrigued and disgusted. Frank's "resurrection" is a feat on both a technical and grotesque level, combing practical effects, gooey gore, and puppetry to an effect I have never seen. Seeing this man emerge from hell and slowly regain his body is the highlight of the film, and each time we see him (with a little more skin on his body) you marvel in the transformation. The Cenobites, who unfortunately don't make an appearance until the end of the film, are all twisted and f**ked up in their own ways. Pinhead, the leader and most recognized, is a man with needles coming out of his head and has a chest that's trying to hold itself together. The others are even more creative, with a teeth-chattering demon (creepy as hell), a goggled-eyed fatty, and a seemingly constantly moaning Cenobite bring the gang together. There's also plenty of creatures that share the screen with this baddies and each of them is just as messed up in their designs, but oh so glorious in the special effects.

Chatterbox is something pulled directly from your nightmares. It's what would happen if you combined an Alien with a little chattering teeth toy. 

As does any horror movie of the 80s, Hellraiser has really bad acting. It's cheesy and weak, but fits the genre in its own weird way. One of my biggest complaints of the film is the character of Julia, who's adulterous and supposed to be sexy, but Clare Higgins is far from attractive. She's the only one on screen who shows a little skin, and seeing this is a twisted horror/slasher film, I was hoping for some more "eye-appealing" nakedness. Her character is also incredibly unlikable (which I guess is the point), but when you have a movie that's so messed up, you really need a beacon of hope. Ashley Laurence does a decent job as the teenage horror queen, but she still leaves you wanting more. 

More as in.. you know

All in all, I am very excited I finally watched this movie. It's ingenious in its sick and sadistic ways, and it's really hard to believe something like this was ever even made. Clive Barker is a master of horror and Hellraiser is easily his greatest creation. Not only did he develop these characters in his head but he managed to bring them to life on the screen, in the way (I imagine), only their creator is able to do. I would highly recommend Hellraiser, but only to those who are not weak in the heart and can stomach some rather very disgusting moments. It's the perfect movie to get in the mood for Halloween and I actually can't wait to watch the sequels. 

The Good:
mind-blowing special effects that scream 80s horror, in the most glorious and over-the-top fashion... oh, and there's so much blood
The Bad:
really bad acting that distracts more than adds to the camp
The Ugly:
Clare Higgins... literally, she's ugly

Overall: 7.6/10

Trailer:

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17 Comments:

At October 3, 2012 at 6:42 PM , Blogger Jason Soto said...

As you undoubtedly know, I'm watching and reviewing all the Hellraiser movies at Man, I Love Films. I'm up to Part 4 and...yeah....wow.
-Jason

 
At October 3, 2012 at 6:47 PM , Blogger Nick said...

How good are the sequels? I've heard 2 is good, but I don't know about the others.

 
At October 3, 2012 at 6:56 PM , Blogger Jason Soto said...

Ummm.....to put it lightly: not good. At all.
-Jason

 
At October 3, 2012 at 7:25 PM , Blogger Nick said...

You like the first one though right? Feel free to link your reviews!

 
At October 3, 2012 at 7:43 PM , Blogger Jason Soto said...

Part 1: http://manilovefilms.com/reviews/2012/09/horror-thursday-hellraiser/
Part 2: http://manilovefilms.com/reviews/2012/09/horror-thursday-hellbound-hellraiser-2/
Part 3: http://manilovefilms.com/reviews/2012/09/horror-thursday-hellraiser-3-hell-on-earth/
Part 4 doesn't get posted until tomorrow.
-Jason

 
At October 4, 2012 at 11:21 AM , Blogger Sati. said...

Oh, its's such a sick movie and that tranformation is one of the most disgusting things I've seen. I saw this movie only once, 8 years ago and I still remember this one. However the sequels aren't good, unfrotunetly.

 
At October 4, 2012 at 3:11 PM , Blogger Two Tickets For... said...

We were at an Irish pub in Hartford the other day and the bartenders switched the biggest TV in the place Monday Night Football to a channel that was just starting to show Hellraiser completely uncut. Needless to say it was quite a shock to look up at the screen thinking you were going to see football and instead see a guy being ripped to pieces by hooks.

Needless to say all the women in the bar were like, "Yeah no. Let's go." So Sarah and I left, even though I actually kinda wanted to stay and watch. Great movie! Good review Nick! - Andrew

 
At October 4, 2012 at 4:52 PM , Anonymous Will said...

I saw this one for the first time about three years ago and felt exactly the same: "Why did I wait so long to watch this?" I loved it, and it made me start reading Barker's written works. Barker's imagination is wild and he is like no other, weaving dense, hard-to-read works that ultimately get inside your soul with some of the most intense imagery I've ever read.

I wish the sequels were better (I've seen through part 4), but even though they're mostly awful, I still find something to enjoy about them. The new cenobites that come up in part 3 are fun, but you have to really enjoy trashy movies to like that one. The second one is just mostly boring, and I remember almost nothing about part 4. Someday I'll do like Jason is doing and masochistically work my way through them all.

 
At October 4, 2012 at 5:09 PM , Blogger Nick said...

So I've heard... darn lol. This one's really good and yes that transformation scene is incredible.

 
At October 4, 2012 at 5:10 PM , Blogger Nick said...

That would have been awesome! lol.

 
At October 4, 2012 at 5:12 PM , Blogger Nick said...

Yeah, now after watching and enjoying part 1, I don't know if I should tackle the sequels. And seeing Jason do his little thing, I don't feel I should watch them all either.

 
At October 4, 2012 at 5:43 PM , Blogger Two Tickets For... said...

In theory yes, in action it was quite weird, lol

 
At October 4, 2012 at 5:44 PM , Blogger Nick said...

I would have love to see the faces of all the grossed out people lol. Quite the bar you two go to!

 
At October 5, 2012 at 7:33 AM , Blogger Dusty said...

I disagree. I actually watched every hellraiser sequel last year and I actually liked most of them. The last 3 are terrible. Especially revelations. I mean, at least you get Doug Bradley in number 7 and 8, but number 9 is just awful.

 
At October 5, 2012 at 3:09 PM , Blogger Nick said...

Well maybe I'll watch them sometime soon.

 
At October 5, 2012 at 6:03 PM , Blogger Stephanie Ward said...

Chatterbox is kind of awesome. ;-)

 
At October 5, 2012 at 6:32 PM , Blogger Nick said...

Awesome, yes. but very very twisted.

 

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