Hellraiser Movie Review


It will tear your soul apart
Hellraiser Picture


Andrew Robinson, Clare Higgins, Ashley Lawrence, Sean Chapman

Douglas Bradley, Ashley Laurence, Oliver Smith, Robert Hines, Anthony Allen, Leon Davis, Michael Cassidy, Frank Baker (III), Kenneth Nelson, Gay Baynes, Niall Buggy, Dave Atkins, Oliver Parker, Pamela Sholto, Doug Bradley, Nicholas Vince, Simon Bamford, Grace Kirby Update Cast

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Douglas Bradley was given the choice to either play one of the movers or the lead cenobite. He thought that it would be important as a new actor that people see his face and he almost turned down the Pinhead role.

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Hellraiser, a truly outstanding film in the world of horror cinema. During a decade of pointless and inane slasher sequels, Hellraiser brought us a refreshing new direction in the genre.

Frank Cotton is a man who has lived his life in search of the ultimate experience in pleasure. After purchasing a curious little box while travelling in foreign lands, he believes he may have found it. The box delivers what it promises, but at a price, for after opening it he is killed and his soul is sent to hell.

Some time later Frank’s brother, Larry, is moving in to his house, the house where he died, with his wife Julia. Unbeknownst to Larry, Julia had been romantically involved with Frank and considered him her true love. When Larry’s blood is spilled on the place where Frank died, Frank is resurrected, although he is somewhat less than whole. To fully regenerate himself he needs more human blood. So he has Julia seduce men and bring them home for him, so that he will be whole again before the Cenobites come to take him back to hell. Now, it’s up to Larry’s daughter, Kirsty, to stop Frank and Julia from killing any more people.

When I first saw this movie, several sequels had already been made. I saw them, lined up in the video store, with the cenobite ‘Pinhead’ on all the covers and I decided to rent only the first one, because I assumed that it was just another slasher movie that spawned numerous, increasingly terrible sequels. However, when I did watch it, I found that it was innovative - I feel guilty to even call it a slasher, because many people would immediately associate it with slasher sequels. This movie, unlike other slashers of the 80's, is not just an excuse to show people being brutally murdered for seemingly no reason at all.

Besides offering a new direction for slasher movies, It also offered a new type of movie that concerns people's perception of hell and the afterlife. While most movies that pre-date this one, with the same theme, are quite often about demonic possession (the Exorcist) and sometimes about the children of the Devil (the Omen). This movie seems to point the focus more on the fear of going to hell, which, at least on the minds of religious people, is a very real fear.

Another aspect of this movie, which I personally appreciated, is that the title character which, when I first saw him on the box cover looked like a character that couldn’t be taken seriously (a notion that was proven wrong when I actually watched it), was not the focal point of this movie, more of a supportive element to generate fear amongst the viewing audience. I think that the character that truly steals the show is Julia Cotton (Clare Higgins), her character is detestable, she defies the morals that make up the very fabric of society and yet, if you look closely enough, you can see reason to her madness.

This movie is terrific, well-acted, superbly written and directed by Clive Barker. For a film with a relatively low budget, it has terrific set pieces and special effects. It is gory, but doesn’t take it to an objectionable extreme. Definitely one of the most definitive horror movies of the 80's.

Author: Wen C BaileyUpdate This Review


It’s innovative and frightening, definitely a must-see for all horror and non-horror movie fans alike.

The most original slasher films of the 80's. Has a plot with depth and is well-paced.
Some of the lesser supporting characters are not terribley well acted, and some of Kirsty's (Ashley Lawrence) verbal outbursts are a tad silly.

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The Movie Data

Key Crew

Director: Clive Barker
Writer: Clive Barker
Producers: Mark Armstrong, Christopher Figg, Selwyn Roberts, David Saunders, Christopher Webster
Locations Manager: Jane Studd

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Release Date: 18 Sep 1987
MPAA Rating: R
Studio: New World Pictures
Production: Cinemarque Entertainment BV, Film Futures, Rivdel Films
Genre: Horror / Occult

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The Movie Trailer
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1987 New World Pictures
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