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Horror - Demons

Hellraiser (1987)


Duration 1h 34m Rating (UK) 18
Source of story A screenplay developed from a novella by Barker “The Hellbound Heart”.
Director Clive Barker
Writers/Script Clive Barker
Starring Andrew Robinson, Clare Higgins, Ashley Laurence, Sean Chapman

Elevator Pitch: Larry and his wife move into the old family home which has been let go, but squatted in by Larry’s brother Frank. They find the remains of his occupation but not the man. However we are aware that Frank has had an affair with Julia, Larry’s wife, and has used an ancient puzzle box to summon cenobites, demons from an alternate reality who engage in the hellish torture of any who call them up.  When Larry is slightly injured during the move in and his blood drips on a bedroom floor, Frank is restored to life, but requires Julia to find further blood sactifices to be restored to full human form.

Content: Some pretty contained efforts to show that sex is taking place, or has taken place, but no nudity or exposed genitalia. However, there is a small pottery figurine of people having sex. People smoke and drink. Frank’s partly reconstructed body is seen a lot and is very gory. The cenobites are quite frightening, particularly when chasing Larry’s daughter who is involved in the plot towards the end. The victims who are invited into the house to have sex with Julia, but who actually are to provide the blood for Frank, are killed with a hammer.

A View: Apparently the sexual content of the film was limited by the censor and it shows. Even so, I thought the acting was terrible, but maybe suitable in a Hammer House of Horror sort of way. It is said to have cost $1 million and made quite a bit in 1987 terms. I admit to having subsequently looked up a bit of the cenobites back story, and it may be that “Pinhead” has spawned all eight of the Hellraiser films which followed. So this outing has not made me want to see any of the others, but if you are a splatter fan it might be essentual viewing.

Additional Info: Clive Barker was, and still is, an author who was, I think, disatisfied with comic book portrayals of his characters, hence his departure into film with this outing.

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels


One thought on “Hellraiser (1987)

  1. Nice review! I’ve seen this movie quite a long time ago and I remember enjoying it, ai should buy it in Bluray and give it another go…

    Posted by Sam Simon | December 4, 2019, 8:24 pm

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