Director: Clive Barker
Screenplay:  Clive Barker
Starring: Andrew Robinson, Clare Higgins, Ashley Laurence, Sean Chapman, Oliver Smith, Robert Hines
Producer: Christopher Figg
Country: UK
Running Time: 90 min
Year: 1987
BBFC Certificate: 18

“Jesus wept” this is a proper horror movie, Hellraiser filmed in late 1986 announced Clive Barker’s directorial arrival with this twisted British body horror shocker based on his novella The Hellbound Heart.

A strange box is bought in Morocco and on opening the box Frank (Sean Chapman) unlocks a portal to Hell and he is treated to a wondrous festival of skin ripping gore. Later Franks’ brother, Larry (Andrew Robinson) and Julia (Clare Higgins) move into the house where it all happened, while moving furniture Larry cuts his hand and blood drips through the floorboards to unleash a terrifying metamorphosis as the shredded remains of Frank come back to life. Unaware of the horrors lurking on the top floor, the couple hold a house warming party, Julia leaves the dinner party and discovers Frank is back from the dead and needs more blood.

Frank asks Julia to help him fully regenerate and the next day compliant Julia goes to a bar to pick up a man, he’s a nasty piece of work and gets what he deserves when he is bludgeoned to death for his blood. Unfortunately one victim is not enough, Frank is not satisfied and needs more blood, Julia brings back another scumbag and Frank’s nerves and body start to grow back. Larry’s daughter, Kirsty (Ashley Laurence) spots Julia bringing back victim number three and makes the mistake of following her into Hellraiser house, she gets a shock when partly re-generated Frank greets her disturbingly with “Kirsty its uncle Frank, Come to daddy”.

Kirsty manages to get the mysterious box from Frank and escapes, waking up in a discordantly sinister hospital ward but compounds the evenings disastrous events by opening the box and a gateway to hades were pleasure and pain is indivisible.  Kirsty tries to shut the box but Hell is seeping into our world and she gets the pleasure of meeting the rubber fetish clad Cenobites with the irresistible offer to “Taste our pleasures”. As the grisly climax approaches Frank announces “So much for the cat and mouse shit” and tries to reassure Kirsty with “Hush now everything’s alright, Frank is here”… but I don’t think anything is alright.

Hellraiser still stands up well, some  special effects have dated a bit but the Cenobites still look great and will make stomachs churn and you must decide, “What’s your pleasure?” This is a menacingly disturbing and intelligent film which deserves a peek. Hellraiser is a hair raiser, skinless Frank is sickening, Pinhead with his cenobites are hideous and back from the grave after a 30 year break, with this very special anniversary re-released Steelbook.  It’s just the thing if you want gruesome imagery dripping with blood, mucus and hooked metal torture, not to forget Christopher Young’s monumental sound track this is richly dark and frightening with elegance at the same time.

I reviewed the film download alone and cannot comment on the details of the supplementary material delights of this latest re-release.What a fitting day to re-release Hellraiser and judging by the number of people who tried to kill me on the road today, Friday the 13th is as blighted as always since Jacques de Molay uttered his diabolical curse. Hell is being raised in cinemas on Friday the 13th of October by Arrow Films and it’s on special edition Steelbook on the 30th of October from Arrow video.

Hellraiser 30th Anniversary
4.5Overall Score
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About The Author

Lives in a Dark Place on the edge of Sanity with his tormented family, chickens, cat and dead Tom.

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