Back of the box...
“From beyond the Outer Darkness. From the blackest corners of a family’s past. From the nightmarish realm of the imagination comes Hellraiser.
An old family home holds untold mysteries. . . and horrors for Larry Cotton and his wife, Julia. Floorboards that rattle. Rooms that absorb blood. The heavy and haunting air of things long past and better left forgotten. All fueled by the fugitive spirit of Larry’s brother, Frank—who hovers halfway between this world and the next, between extreme pleasure and excruciating pain. And between family devotion and a deadly instinct for survival.
Slowly, the old family home begins to swaller the Cottons. And there is no escape. . . for secret alliances and murderous seductions have been made which will propel the Cotton family into the horrifying and shocking conclusion of Hellraiser.”
Director: Clive Barker
Starring: Andrew Robinson, Clare Higgins, Ashley Laurence, Doug Bradley
Watch the Trailer
After his disappointment with the 1986 film Rawhead Rex, and having had experience directing for the stage, Clive Barker decided that he couldn’t do much worse on his own. He chose his novella, The Hellbound Heart, for his directorial debut and enlisted the help of his theater buddies which included a then unknown Doug Bradley. After nine weeks of trial and error filmmaking, Clive Barker created one of our all-time favorite horror movies, Hellraiser!
The movie introduced the world to a new iconic horror villain (Bradley) who would later become known as Pinhead. Bradley is credited as “Lead Cenobite” in Hellraiser and the name Pinhead was apparently given to him by the makeup crew on set but it doesn’t actually get used until the third film. Barker was never a fan of the nickname, which took on a life of it’s own, but he was able to express his dislike of the moniker through his final exploration of the character in his novel The Scarlet Gospel.
Needless to say, Barker stumbled onto something big, whether he liked it or not. Fortunately for fans such as ourselves, production on part two was already underway when Pinhead’s popularity became clear and the Hell Priest wouldn’t be exploited as a slasher-style villain until the third installment. No offense to slasher movies intended, what we mean is that the Cenobites are better as neutral secondary characters and when you try to turn them into Michael Myers or Jason Voorhees, their weight and mystery fall by the wayside. They are “explorers in the further regions of experience, demons to some, angels to others” and that’s all we need to know. While parts one through four are technically canon and all nine films are fun to watch, we reserve a special place for the first two.
Now the hard part, the story. It’s very straightforward but not easily summed up so if you’ve already seen the movie—yes, we’re leaving lots out. After opening the puzzle box, Frank Cotton is taken by the Cenobites, only to later escape. Now he needs blood to regain his human form which he harvests from victims lured into his old family home.
Hellraiser, like we already mentioned, is one of our all-time favorite horror movies and if you haven’t seen it, we can’t think of a better time to watch it than on Halloween. From the story, to the monster designs, to gore effects, everything about this movie is creepy, grotesque, creative, and interesting.