Hellraiser: Directed by Clive Barker. With Andrew Robinson, Clare Higgins, Ashley Laurence, Sean Chapman. A woman discovers the newly resurrected, partially formed, body of her brother-in-law. She starts killing for him to revitalize his body so he can escape the demonic beings that are pursuing him after he escaped their sadistic underworld.
Every year for the last few years I pick a horror franchise that due to the parental limitations of my upbringing, I was never able to experience. This year I picked the Hellraiser series, even though it seems like it’s going to just be a torture porn series with limited cinematic value. After watching the first film on Amazon Prime, I’m here to tell you that’s exactly what it is with just buckets of gore and blood thrown around the screen and a very limited world built out. The basic premise is that this super hot and sweaty guy gets tired of sex and goes looking for a puzzle box that he’s heard will unlock unknown and unknowable pleasures and pain. Turns out that the pleasure part is just a myth, it’s all pain, because when he unlocks the box, some demons show up and rip him to literal pieces. A while later, through a series of impossibly silly actions, the guy’s brother moves into the house where all this happened and some blood is spilled on the spot where he died and this somehow resurrects him from the pits of hell that he was banished to. It doesn’t bring him all the way back, and I have to give them credit, the resurrection of his bloody skeleton was a horrifying and amazing scene to see. His half alive body then instructs a woman to kill more people to help bring him all the way back to life.
The house where all this is taking place is a real piece of work, with mold and blood on the walls, holes in the floor, and an exterior that looks like no one’s touched it in years. At one point they had been in the house for a while, but the mailbox was still sitting on a pile of bricks outside!
At the end of the day, this is just an adaption of an idea that’s been around for as long as demons have been around: demons enjoy torture and pain, and will come pull you into their world if you look too closely at them. The film’s one saving grace is how seriously it takes itself, so the film never falls into campiness.
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