Scary Movie October: A review of Hellraiser

Scary Movie October: A review of Hellraiser

Frank Cotton: Jesus wept.

Three word review: Not enough Pinhead.

Hellraiser Poster

Hellraiser (1987)

Like, I cannot be the only person in this whole world who thought Hellraiser was about Pinhead, right? The tagline is “he’ll tear your soul apart” and it’s under a photo OF PINHEAD. What IS this, even?

Oh well.

I was excited to see Hellraiser because its director wrote the story of Candyman. And Candyman is some SERIOUSLY scary stuff. My dad started me on horror movies at an obscenely young age so I don’t get scared that easily, but Candyman always stuck with me. Even when passing by Cabrini-Green (before it was torn down), I would get goosebumps on my neck. It’s terrifying.

Hellraiser is decent, but not as terrifying. Basically, a dude finds a puzzle box (“WHAT’S IN THE BOX?”) and opens it, and all of these lights/demons/Pinheadies tear out his outsides. Some time later, the dude’s brother and sister-in-law (who is also his secret lover) move into the dude’s home for some reason. The sister-in-law/secret lover discovers that the main dude has, um, been turned into a weird corpse of sorts. In order to revive his body, he has to be fed blood. So S-I-L kills some guys and the dude’s corpse gets more and more alive. Cool story. As an aside, I don’t usually comment on the looks of ladies in movies but the S-I-L in this movie is really quite unattractive. This is only a point I need to make because she is some sexy sphinx of sorts who woos men into her home and then kills them. It’s a little unrealistic (whereas the skinless corpse is totally not). Yowzer. And so on and so on, the brother’s daughter figures everything out and saves the day, kind of. Oh and at some point you see Pinhead. Phew.

So, it’s not about Pinhead. It IS fairly gory and only ninety-ish minutes long, so it’s a decent quick-hit horror film. The acting is atrocious and all sorts of weird things happen without any explanation, potentially to make you think that the movie is super deep but, no, it isn’t. It isn’t bad, but it also isn’t amazing. And yes, there is a box.

RIYL: corpses, manly-looking women, nails, demons, boxes

2 comments

  • Hellraiser and Hellraiser II were both wasted opportunities. The look of Pinhead and the rest of the Cenobytes, along with the feel of the Hell-dimension were pretty amazing, in my opinion…but the acting and the plot were second-rate. Hellraiser II builds upon the first one and has some great moments….but again, the plot gets confusing, the acting is subpar. It cheapens the ending considerably. Subsequent films in the series are barely worthy anyone’s time at all.

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