The "Hellraiser" Franchise Oct 11, 2016 16:32:07 GMT -5
Post by StevePulaski on Oct 11, 2016 16:32:07 GMT -5
Directed by: Clive Barker
Directed by: Clive Barker
It's in the ostensibly endless and inconceivable ways writer/director Clive Barker is willing to take the boundaries of a horror film and test its ability to house mystery, supernatural mystique, and visual ugliness all in one film that barely cracks ninety minutes. Hellraiser is as gruesome as it is disturbing, and quite frequently, a troubling watch with its variety of "Cenobites" - ugly creatures with distinctive deformities accessed through a strange, cube-shaped puzzle - and gory acts carried out in explicit detail. It's the kind of film some unsuspecting viewers might need to remind themselves is indeed just a movie.
The film opens with a man purchasing the aforementioned puzzle box from a shady dealer in Morocco. Upon solving the puzzle, hooks emerge from the box and proceed to tear apart his flesh, and a mysterious figure is seen retrieving the box to take back to his own land.
Soon enough, the man's brother Larry (Andrew Robinson) moves into his late sibling's home, along with his wife Julia (Clare Higgins) and their daughter, Kirsty (Ashley Laurence). When an accident causes some of Larry's blood to spill on the floor, it effectively resurrects his deceased brother, who, in turn, needs blood to complete his total transformation back into a man. He now lives amongst a gang of Cenobites, who engage in strange, sadomasochistic acts of violence and depravity.
Kirsty finally becomes the lucky one who gets thrust into the world of the Cenobites, governed and led by Pinhead (Doug Bradley), a tall figure with pins impaling his skull. Pinhead explains to Kirsty that rather than black-or-white "angels" or "demons," Cenobites are simply seekers of carnal experiences through alternate universes, almost serving as a commentary for bondage and S&M relationships in a sense. With that, she finds her prime objective becomes trying to stay alive in such a hazardous world with grave dangers everywhere.
Clive Barker and a tireless special effects' team have crafted a film erected on the very principles of providing scares via visuals and unique costumes. Such few horror films do this, even going back as far as the Universal monster films and the Hammer Films, and this one does a nice job not only taking the more challenging route, but also echoing what made films like Tod Browning's masterful Freaks so effective in tone and look. The human imagination is so vast and limitless that when you create a horror film based on what can be summoned from the bowels of one's deepest, most sinister thoughts, you could very well have one scary film on your hands.
And Barker's Hellraiser is one scary film, disguising its relative cheapness and admittedly sterile moments of acting with strange bodies and uncomfortable moments of peril. It's a concept that lends itself to a lot of fluidity, but even in its most basic sense, as seen here, there's a great deal of discomfort summoned just from the sheer depravity of the film's content.
Starring: Andrew Robinson, Ashley Laurence, Doug Bradley, and Clare Higgins. Directed by: Clive Barker.