I thought with the new Hellraiser coming out at the end of the week I would rewatch some of the original movies. I don’t know how many of them I will actually get through, but I will try for the first four. This is the first time I’ve watched the original Hellraiser in maybe five years. After rewatching all of Clive Barker’s directorial efforts within the last year I feel like Hollywood did him incredibly dirty.
This was Barker’s directorial debut, and it shows a mastery of the cinematic artform. He was able to make the movie have a dreamlike quality at certain points that almost feels like an art film. That fact that he adapted his own novella like this shows that he knew what would work cinematically and what wouldn’t. What he was able to accomplish in Hellraiser makes it such a rewatchable movie.
I always forget that Ashley Laurence got a introducing credit in Hellraiser. She puts in such an iconic performance and holds her own among other iconic performances. Clare Higgins as Julia is terrifying as she goes from mild mannered to pants shittingly unhinged. Andrew Robinson is yet another great performance but in a much different way. When he’s Larry he’s kind of a sad sack but near the end when he has to be Frank the performance is spot on compared to Sean Chapman’s performance. The cenobites are all iconic but Doug Bradley’s performance as the lead Cenobite who would become known as Pinhead is a standout among them. The voice he has for the character makes the performance.
The effects for the cenobites make them so iconic. The effects outside of the cenobites are just as amazing. The resurrection of Frank Cotton is one of the most iconic sequences. The early VFX used in the movie look so good. The music by Christopher Young has an almost church like quality to it.
Hellraiser is an iconic movie that isn’t nearly as horny as other works from Clive Barker. I only touched on how amazing the practical effects are in the movie, but they really are just amazing, even now 35 years on. I even plan on rereading the novella The Hellbound Heart before the end of the week/ before the new movie comes out. I watched Hellraiser on Prime Video even though its available on several other services. I give Hellraiser 10 puzzleboxes out of 10.