Clive Barker’s Hellraiser is a transgressive journey into a world where the lines between ecstasy, pain, heaven, and hell are blurred. It stands as a unique counterpoint to the one-note slashers of the 1980s.
Hellraiser is about a psycho sexual sadist named Frank that seeks out a personal pandora’s box. He believes that by opening the mysterious puzzle box, he will get everything he ever wanted in life. Turns out he was mistaken and he didn’t end up liking eternal pain in Hell. Whodathunk?
When Frank’s brother Larry and his wife Julia arrive at the family house that Frank mysteriously disappeared from, flashbacks reveal that Frank made his brother a cuckold by sleeping with Julia.
When Larry accidentally cuts his hand and bleed on the floor of the attic, he inadvertently helps Frank begin resurrecting himself.
When a mostly goo Frank is discovered by Julia, he recruits her to bring sacrificial singles in their area so that he can become a real boy.
The only thing standing in their way is Frank’s niece Kristy, and the hell-demon Cenobites that seek to recapture him.
Review of Hellraiser
This film is Clive Barker’s best film, and it is a unique mix of family dysfunction, sex, sadism, and gore.
At times it feels like a 50’s melodrama, other times like a nightmare, and sometimes like torture porn.
The tone that it sets is hard to put a finger on, but it is definitely dark and icky.
The surreal imagery and goopy special effects are really the best parts of the film.
The acting isn’t particularly great, but the imagery and themes of the film overwhelm any shortcomings it has.