Hellraiser (1987)

DailyView: Day 168, Movie 249

This October, the DailyView has been doing a series of horror/thriller movies in honor of the upcoming Halloween. However, most of the films have been little known horror movies from the Shudder channel. Tonight, I pulled up one of the classic horror movies from one of the most iconic writer/director of the genre, Clive Barker. The film, which spawned nine sequels, is called Hellraiser.

Hellraiser introduced into the world of horror monsters the character of Pinhead (Doug Bradley), although that nomenclature would not come into existence until the sequel.

Synopsis from Rotten Tomatoes: “Sexual deviant Frank (Sean Chapman) inadvertently opens a portal to hell when he tinkers with a box he bought while abroad. The act unleashes gruesome beings called Cenobites, who tear Frank’s body apart. When Frank’s brother Larry (Andrew Robinson) and his wife, Julia (Clare Higgins), move into Frank’s old house, they accidentally bring what is left of Frank back to life. Frank then convinces Julia, his one-time lover, to lure men back to the house so he can use their blood to reconstruct himself.

Although Pinhead would be the breakout character, he does not make too many appearances in Hellraiser. Our main villain is Frank and he is very freaky. When he began to wander around the house preying on the men lured into the trap by Julia, Frank becomes a true monster and is as frightening as any of the Cenobites.

The practical effects of the film are very effective, making it feel even more horrific than it would be with CGI. However, the third act horror-fest is a bit much to take.

I was not impressed with the acting of Hellraiser. Ashley Laurence, who played Larry’s daughter Kirsty, is so over-the-top that you do not buy her fear at all. All her facial expressions and screams did not make me feel fright for her. It nearly elicited laughter.

Certainly, the presence of Frank and the Cenobites are the stand out reasons to watch this movie. I was extremely engaged by these villainous monsters much more than I ever cared about Kristy.

Julia, on the other hand, and Larry were a fascinating pair and did carry their own in Hellraiser. Julia was confused and uncertain about what she was doing, but you could tell that she wanted to keep doing it. She was one of the most rotten characters in the film.

I can see where this movie could go to heights with the Pinhead character and the other Cenobites. Overall, Hellraiser was fine, weak acting, but solid scares and some A+ villains.

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