THE HELLRAISER LEGACY: By Ross Hughes PART ONE





HELLRAISER

Wisely waiting for the memory of a fellow horror reviewer of this franchise films over on the now ceased Cult Of Cinema, to fade away into the distance.  Hellraiser arrives at HCF with a huge risk on my part.  Yes I knew I loved this film, but the fact I have not seen it for over 15 years, meant I was virtually playing this by memory.  For some reason while I had the film and its two sequels on VHS, when I swapped over to DVD, there never seemed a rush for me to get these films.  Maybe it was the memory of the ever dwindling sequels that put me off, but once I glanced over to those reviews by Dante, I knew I had to have them, so the money I was saving for The Wire went on the box set of this franchise, and while the review of the first film goes on this countdown, I will be reviewing the many sequels soon……

The first question I had to ask myself was I right holding this movie to such a high standard  Was it a memory that was playing tricks on me?  Yes, the myth was there that this was one of eighties greatest horrors, but is the reality more of a pain than pleasure.

Its quite ironic that I used those two words as Pain and Pleasure are the main ingredients throughout this film and its all thanks to a little Rubex cube, but not the one we fell in love with way back in the eighties.  This cube is a puzzle bender that when solved, gives the gamer either a suffering of, yes, those words again Pain or Pleasure, but where the pleasure comes from is a mystery all to itself.  What we see here, is suffering of the extreme and coming from the mind of Clive Barker then what do fans really expect.

For a start there is enough on show to really make me glad that I put this so high, maybe not at the position it is, there are films that I have watched from this era in the last few months that deserve to be higher than this, but then that is why this decade for me is probably the strongest.  There were too many question marks when rewatching this film that showed a certain degree of uncertainty in the script by Barker which frustrated me more, but I will get to them as I don’t want to really put a negative spin on this film.  Because for all its flaws, there is some really bold moments that set this horror on such a high level, and I have to say what Barker came up with, seems impossible to put on screen, the fact he done it and to such a wonderful effect is the most highest praise I can give to the man, if Suspria is the legacy of Argento then make no mistake, Hellraiser’s is Barkers.

Moral choices, adultery, murder, guilt, lust, fear, dread, sadomasochism, all key plot moments that somehow fit into a giant puzzle of the script and all managing to carry a certain degree of importance to the films last half hour.  All of these elements are all centred around the relationship of two people, a wife and her husbands brother.  The bad apple of the family who years before came knocking on his brothers door who was out and then seduced the wife who despite marrying the man she cheated on, could not forget the pleasure and ecstasy that this brief encounter gave her.

The man in question is Frank (Sean Chapman) who never forgotten the words Julia (Clare Higgins)whispered in his ear…..”I do anything for you!”. Its the words that would come back to haunt her.  For when we first see Frank, he is on his knees, holding a cube in his hands, and unlocking the gateways of pain! Chains fly out of the walls, a spinning box of mayhem, and creatures from another world, look on as Frank is virtually pulled apart from head to limb.

Its then we meet Julia, unhappy and bored with her wronged marriage to Larry (Andrew Robinson) who by moving to an old family home, hopes that she can forget about the man who she truly loves.  Its a hope that soon fades, as in the spare room in the huge gothic style house was where Frank met his death, but a hand wound from Larry, and the spil of his brothers blood that drops on the rotten floorboards, is a key for Frank to be reborn, and slowly he does.  A skeleton in need of flesh and when Julia discovers this thing her initial shock and horror is replaced by the knowledge that its the man who her heart desires and the promise she whispered on that dark and gloomy night comes into the play. Frank needs blood, if the drop of his brothers made his soul regenerate then why can’t a total stranger.  So the pact is made.  Julia will bring strange men back to the house on promise of sex, and Frank will feast on the blood they spill.  When then regenerated, Julia will get the life she desires and wants.

But things do not quite work out like that.  While at first Julia feels the guilt of killing these innocent men, Frank fails to tell her about the box, and the fact that he has done the impossible and escape the clutches of the Cenobites, a demon gang who thrive on the pain of whoever opens the cube.  Scared that he be found out and dragged back into the their world, he tries to keep it a secret, but when the step daughter Kristy (Ashley Laurence) uncovers the plan, and the box, soon the two worlds collide and everyone involved in this mess face a fight for their lives.

The strong pull of this film is the relationship between Julia and Frank.  Its the human factor that sets Hellraiser totally different to other horrors.  Also I have wrote so much already but not yet mentioned the franchise biggest pull…….Pinhead.  The reason for this and the biggest shock of the film is that, Pinhead a demon with pins in his head, and the head of the Cenobites are rarely in the film.  They are here for one reason and that is to play pivotal roles when required, they are not here to drive the story or for the sake of it, they are there for a purpose and it works in such a wonderful way it explains why many of the sequels that followed, failed!  Here they are effective because they are in the background, its Julia and Frank that are the demons here, totally lost in their own gains, that they have no remorse for those around them!

The star of the show for me, despite knowing that Doug Bradley as Pinhead would no doubt be the ironic figure, is Ashley Laurence, whose heroine Kristy is one of the strongest displays of the film, and papers over the many cracks of the film.

Yes, the flaws, well the effects at the end are quite atrocious now, the lights that shoot from the box, is quite laughable, but then I can forgive that as it was in the 80’s and Barker did have a low budget to deal with.  What I could not get my head around is the fact how Kristy manages to solve the puzzle of the box so simple.  If this was a mind bending puzzle, how did it take her a matter of minutes to do it, especially with the stress of these evil creatures all over her and set to kill her.  Also the hospital scene confused me.  Why when Kirsty collapsed outside and taken to hospital was she treated like a criminal?  The attitude of the nurse? the door being locked? what did she actually do wrong? especially when the mention of the police being called?

It seems Barker just had so much juices flowing when writing the script that he was left with so m
any sub plots that he himself got lost in the mix.  But then how the heck can I criticise him.  Here is a film that has so much ambition that its iimpossibe for horror fans to admire.  Yes it may annoy you at times, but there is so much good that it outweighs the bad.

Its so uneven that you feel frustrated and delight, or better still, pain and pleasure, and for a film that deals with these two elements, its a perfect way to feel as you actually get what these characters are going through

HELLBOUND / HELLRAISER II

When a horror film shows so much ambition and a need for originality, then its hard to criticise everyone involved.  Hellbound is probably one of the most hardest reviews I have ever had to write.  There is so much going on in the sequel to Clive Barker’s original, that at times it ends up getting lost in its own catacombs and the biggest crushing disappointment for me is that for 51 minutes of the running time, this is better than everything Hellraiser offered, but then things go wrong. A massive plot flaw that had me angry and it seemed just for a few moments that creativity was the main aspect, while all logic was disregarded to the frustration of the fans of the franchise like myself.  Then I calmed down, took a breather and realised that it got good again……

Hellbound starts off exactly where the original ended.  Kristy (Ashley Laurence) wakes up in a mental hospital after the events of the previous night with thank goodness no sign of her boyfriend who we are told has gone home but I am hoping that its a term for “gone for some serious acting lessons”.  Its here that her mad rant about a small little box that when opened releases creatures like Cenobites, who have a thirst for souls and mayhem. goes unnoticed to the frustrated police officers and the medics.  Apart from Dr Phillip Channard (Kenneth Cranham) who has spent all his working life, looking for the pleasure and pain that comes from the box, even some of his patients are there, because of his urge.  Tiffany (Imorgen Boorman) is the perfect example of this. a young mute girl whose passion and skill is solving puzzles, and someone who Dr. Channard will know could come in handy while searching for this pure evil force.  With news at what happened at Kirstys house, and all the bodies being discovered, the Dr asks the local police to bring the mattress they found full of blood in one of the bedrooms to his house.  The fact they do when they should tag and bag it, is one of the first hints that this film is all set to lose its way.  When the Dr hears the story of how Uncle Frank was reborn thanks to the blood of humans, he decides to do this with the blood soaked bed, in one of the films best moments.  Using a patient (Oliver Smith, who played the skinless Frank in the original) whose phobia of maggots all over him, results in him laying on the bed, holding a razor knife, and cutting himself to sheds to get rid of the imaginary maggots, and whose dripping blood, gives birth to Julia (a returning Clare Higgins) the step mom of Kirsty whose love for her husbands brother started off all this mess.

With Julia following the path of Frank, in restoring her body by sucking the blood of humans all under the watching eyes of the Dr, Kristy with the help of fellow doctor Kyle MacRae (Willaim Hope) escapes from the hospital, in hope to put an end to this nightmare.  So far so great, the film sort of carries on the tension created from the original and builds on it.  Its a perfect fit, Hellraiser had such a slow pace and a feeling of dread, that this which if watched back to back, works splendid.  The pace here is frantic and its a wonderful companion piece.  But for all that praise, here comes the negative.  When the Dr brings Tiffany into the equation and tells Julia “I helped you, now its my turn!” you mind goes all crazy.  Because if the Dr had Tiffany all along and the box, then why did he need Julia.  The story is telling us that he had Tiffany for many moons, locked in the clinic, and he had the box, so why did he not get here to solve the puzzle before.  It sorts of makes the character of Julia redundant, which is the shame of the franchise as up until that point, her character was the best thing of the franchise.

Interesting, Hellraiser and its franchise was all set to be about Julia.  The original idea was for her character to be the main stem of the stories, she was also marked for the already planned third film.  Even actress Clare herself wanted to carry on, but because of the image of Pinhead that was displayed on all the merchandise and film covers, the makers and Barker knew what would sell the most, and it was that character that became pivotal for the future.  This was not apparent until the end of the film shooting however which by then was to late to change any thing especially with such a low budget, reshoots were virtually impossible.  At the films release, the writers had severe hate mail over the shock scene involving Pinhead and what seems his apparent demise, which of course was intended but quickly rectified for the next sequel, leaving poor Higgins and the character of Julia, abandoned.

When Tiffany solves the puzzle box, the film sort of goes into the Rabbit hole and all Alice on us, with the gateway opened and the Dr, Julia, Tiffany and Kirsty, all in the depths of hell, running around their own nightmare, its here that all of what was little plot vanishes and the film goes all British Argento on us.  When Tiffany runs into her own hell, and all light colours appear and the music plays,the riff of Suspira is apparent and its here that fans of those films will find rejoice.  Imagery is the name of the game for the last half, everything and anything gets chucked at the screen, with a cenobite making machine the core of how crazy this whole concept is.  Even the brother Frank reappears to join in the fun but Larry her father fails to, with actor Andrew Robinson declining over a dispute over money.

Its a film set around a lunatic asylum and lunacy is all what we can only sum up is around us.  Its so bonkers and eye catching that its not hard to just forget about the massive plot holes and just go with the flow.  There is nothing else we could do.  The ambition of the film is way too much for what is on offer.  Now, here comes the confusing part, I loved it!  Its an horror that is totally different to what is out there.  Yes I have criticised the flaws, the illogic moments that made me shake my head, but the grand scope that this horror gives us, is so haunting and memorising that its hard to ignore.

The fact remains that if Bava or Argento came up with this, then there be overwhelming praise for such a bold and interesting new take on horror.

The fact its British and directed by a not a sexy name in Tony Randall, is an easier target, its because we are not supposed to do horror like the Italians, its supposed to be all cliche and dull.  When
it is is such a blast as this worthy sequel, then you have to at times applaud its effort, and that is what Hellbound requires, a standing ovation for being the total opposite to what is out there!

OVERALL: The film has its major flaws, to many flashbacks, some really bad plot devices, but the surreal imagery and quite wonderful visions make this an underrated sequel and one film that even Bava and co would be proud of…….

3.5 out of 5
HELLRAISER III- Hell on Earth

Is this a Hellraiser or A Nightmare On Elm Street flick?  I had to ask that question many times to myself as the predicament that the writers found themselves in with the popularity of the character of Pinhead, caused a massive problem that rears its ugly head for the second sequel of the franchise.

By turning Pinhead into the main thrust of the story, not only destroys the main dynamic of what made Hellraiser so good, but turns the character into a one trick pony.  He is not so scary when he just stands there and talk, and talk, and er..talk some more.  He is not even that interesting either, all dark and the figure of hell, becoming quite laughable, he is more less Freddy which would not be a bad thing if it was the Freddy of old, I am talking about the Freddy of parts 4,5 and 6 which back then the sole interest was to make viewers laugh and have him in every scene.  Pinhead is not that character.  The first two sequels had the cenobites in the background, they were not part of the story, the main focus was character driven or when that failed, the sole interest was for Argento effects of a dream like world that may seem shaky, but the ambition was there to be admired.  When you have neither of those aspects then you know the film is in trouble.  The truth is, the characters in Hell On Earth are so unlikeable that you simply can not care for them.  The fact that they have no background for us to get any sympathy for is a major negative, and as for the effects, well even though they have improved dramatically from the previous two, there is nothing to make you go WOW! Its scenes that we have seen many times before in better films, and its quite clear that the film is missing the touch of its creator Clive Barker whose original plan for this movie was sadly dropped.

The original concept had the film staged in the pyramids and more to do with the origin of the box that causes so much suffering.  Pinhead would have played more of a part, but not so much he ended up the main star, but the move from a British studio to an American one shows that the plan was to make this into a franchise slasher film, hence the hundreds of killings that engulf the movie.  There is more killings in one scene here that there was in the entire last two films and that goes to show how little thought went into this movie.

For plot, well its totally different to the last two.  The pillar that arose from the mattress at the end of Part two, is back, well I say its back but it looks totally different to what we last saw of it, you see with the move to a new studio, hence a bigger budget, so this pillar is all flashy and nice, ruining the ancient haunting look it once had.  Anyway it ends up in a second hand shop and this annoying character who walks around for most of the film half naked and truly loves himself buys it, simply because he thinks it looks good.  Why? who knows!  I mean its a huge pillar with freaky things and if you look close you can see a figure of a man with pins in his head.  See? where this is going?  Now how Pinhead is in this box is a huge mystery as far as we saw, he died for good in the climax of HellboundBUT!!!! I hear your cry, They always bring back the bogeyman, and so the explanation for this is that, the soul of Pinhead is spilt into two.  The good side is alone, stuck in a world of nowhere with just his memories, while the bad side is stuck in that box, just waiting for some dumb idiot to release him.  That is of course his new owner J.P. Monroe (Kevin Bernhardt) who after night of sex with a blonde, the pillar which is directly by the bed, sucks the girl in through a hole and her blood makes the pillar come alive and soon the face of Pinhead appears.  Carrying on the tradition of the series, Pinhead demands blood to regenerate his body but while this plot is a franchise must, the film totally disregards it as only one more body is needed and soon Pinhead is out, and free to walk the Earth.

Feeling all alone though with no cenobites for company, Pinhead decides to turn many humans into these creatures of the night, and because J.P owns The Boiler Room downstairs, a nightclub with hundreds of people dancing away, Pinhead does not need to look far, and the main set piece of the film, sees all these poor fools getting punished for dancing badly by getting killed weakly.  Yes I would love to say that this bloodbath is great for horror fans, but with all that blood being splashed around its quite hard to take it seriously and all this happening while Pinhead stands in the background laughing like a maniac.

So? Where is Kirsty?

Well the heroine of the franchise is here, warning all those that listen how dangerous the box is and who the cenobites are, you have to feel sorry for her as the frustration must be getting to her, but while she sits there, begging to be heard, if you wondering why she does not get off her arse and do something, its because she is behind a TV screen.  Yes the only character that the fans have an affinity for, is reduced to a cameo appearance on a video tape.  How? well, our new heroine, television reporter Joey Summerskill (Terry Farrell) is investigating the story of the mystery box, when she finds out about this woman called Kristy.  She breaks into an office and somehow manages to find everything she needed in one first look.  This leads her to the tapes of the Channard Institute, yes that of the second film, (oh the memories of when it was good) and this leads her to the brief appearance of Kristy.

Instead of doing the normal thing and just saying, “sod this shit!” she carries on investigating and starts to dream of her dead father, a solider in Vietnam, and of Elliot Spencer, the human form of Pinhead.  Its these scenes that are too close to that of Elm St and you half expect Joey to be called the Dream Master or something.

To makes things worse, we also have an actor that is even worse than that of the boyfriend from HellraiserKen Carpenter is atrocious as Doc, the cameraman.  His slow talking and stiff movement is cringe worthy and he only comes to life when he dies and is reborn as the Cameraman Cenobite, a creature that looks like he has just jumped off the Borg ship in Star TrekHell On Earth tries its best to build any tension and suspense, but it fails miserably.  For a franchise that felt dirty and cheap, its too polished for its own good.  The bigger budget actually making the film suffer as its just too slick for its own good.

The new cenobites are also a massive let down.  What is thought to be clever and wicked is totally off the pace, I do not find the jokes funny or flat, just a death line sounding when they appear.  The cenobite with Music cd’s engraved in his face because he used to be a DJ is not funny.  Doc having a camera in his eye socket because he used to be a cameraman is again not funny!  Its just too half arsed, this is not scary or remotely funny, its an actual insult to the fans who expect something big from the third chapter.

Of course, the climax arrives and all it does is end the suffering of the viewer, all coming down to that box again which makes you think, if the box is that hard to solve, then how do these girls manage to do it in a few seconds.  The finale coming down to a showdown between evil Pinhead and his true self.  The script mumbles something, Joey screams and then somehow calls this head cenobite Pinhead which shocked me, as I thought it was a fan name invented, but they somehow do call him this in this film, so when this evil force does go back to where he belongs, at least he can tell his friends he has a new nickname from those up above!

Hellraiser III is not an awful film, its just not that very good.  It will please the gore fans and those who just love to switch off and enjoy, but fans will be in despair, making Pinhead the main focus is a massive misstep, it has its moments, but they are just fleeting and serves a reminder at how good this franchise once was!

What I will say is the final image is the best of the film, a real eye opener that made the 4th which was going to be made, quite an interesting prospect, its a shame though that like part 3, they went in a total different direction!

OVERALL: A poor third that only mainstream horror fans will enjoy.  Its dumb but not fun, Hellraiser should be all about grotty sex and taboo subjects that after watching you are desperate in need for a bath, this is too much teen friendly and because of that loses its way and focus.  Lets hope the 4th manages to get back some sort of credibility……..

2 out of 5

HELLRAISER IV – BLOODLINE


Its amazing how full circle the franchise of Hellraiser has gone.  What was the strongest delight of the original is now the worst part of the 4th chapter in the saga, and what I am about to say will shock fans of the series.  I am talking about Pinhead, the character that all fans who watch the films want to see, but for me every time he appears in this chapter he brings the film to a low level.

Why? Well its all in the plot.  Don’t let the name of Alan Smithee put you off by the way.  Usually a death notice for “really bad film!” this is nowhere near has awful as the reputation it as gained.  If you ignore the fan based negativity surrounding this film and look deeper past the criticism then you will find something very much to like in this horror.  First of all the notorious tag of “Pinhead in space” is totally wrong and for newcomers who are expecting a kind of Critters 4 version will be in for one heck of a shock.  Yes, the film starts and ends on a space ship, but for the majority of the time it serves as a prequel, with events jumping from the 18th Century to the modern times of 1996.

Its in the 18th Century that this film shines.  There is something quite haunting and beautiful in those segments.  Think about it, its Hellraiser but done Hammer Horror, and for the first twenty minutes, the film is on such a high level that you hope that the whole film stays in this time zone.  Its on this stage that we see the origins of the puzzle box and how it came about.  Its also at this part that die hard fans will shake their heads because they know that in parts one and two, the box was established as Chinese origin, but here that notion is quickly dismissed.  Just remember, the franchise is now infamous for not listening to its own myth and rules, that if you find that plot logic a bit too much, then you are probably one of the many fans that should have given up at the end of part 2.  Yes, a lot of this movie if thought about, does not make much sense, the building that we see in 1996 seems to be the one that appears at the end of the number three, but that would not make much sense with the timing and date, but it seems that this story is trying to go back to basics, and its order is to give us the ambition and drive that made the original work and by doing this, ignoring all events of the previous film.

We start in the future, the big bold statement of this movie is that past, present and future will collide to finally end the terror of the cenobites, and to show us the makers mean business we start in space.  Now lets get the jokes out of the way.  Yes if you just walk into a room and see this playing on the background, you would be forgiven for thinking this is a Star Trek episode.  Yes, they do look like the Borg and yes you do expect Captain Picard to turn up any minute, but what confused me more is that they have a character called Rimmer which meant that I had Red Dwarf rattling up in my brain as well. We start with a man trying to open that puzzle box by using an extra from a Terminator movie and when he does, he is quickly arrested.  Its in a room when he is being questioned that he starts to tell the story of what he is doing, but to do that, he has to go back to 400 years ago………

A french toymaker Phiilip L’Merchent (Bruce Ramsey in three roles) is assigned by rich aristocrat Duc De L’Isle (Mickey Cottrell) to design and make the Lament Configuration, the friiggin box that as caused saw much suffering to those who play with it.  At first its just a simple toy, but in the hands of L’Isle it becomes a heck of lot more, as his practise of black magic opens the gate to another dimension.  A poor slave Angelique (Valentina Vargas) is caught in the mess, strangled and brutally skinned, then offered as a sacrifice, her body is then taken over by a demon
who must obey the aristocrat and his apprentice but obviously does not, and the pretty hot demon kills the man who summoned her before killing the toymaker who after realising what hell he has unleashed, tries to save the day but fails.

Because of some strange reason never explained though, because the toymaker created the box, only he can stop it and with all the magic involved its his Bloodline alone that can close the gate.  Not much help then that he is dead but hang on, his wife his pregnant, so that means his son/daughter carries his bloodline, so…..well you can see where this is going!  Angelique now released to walk the earth has one mission alone and that is to stop the Merchent family from ever ending the power within the box, and while she is free from the depths of darkness, she is always binded by this responsibility.

So far so good.  We have new characters that are quite interesting, a story that gives us a fresh angle of the Hellraiser myth and also a bit of tension.  You can not help but beg the film to stay in the year 1784 as it somehow gives the film a much different outlook, you want this evil Angelique to roam the moors, to hunt down the pregnant mother which of course would be the most obvious thing to do, kill the expected to be so there is no bloodline and she is free to walk the earth, why she does not think of this is beyond me, but hey I did not write this shit!

So to our despair, the film moves to the present, well I say present, actually 1996 the year the film was released and we back in that tall building that we glimpsed at the end of the third.  Images of the puzzle box are all over the walls and floor and we find that the owner and builder is none other John Merchent (Ramsey again). whose dreams of a mystery woman (guess who? begins with A?) plagues him.  Finding out where the bloodline has ended up, Angelique tracks him down to the building to finally put to end the myth of the Merchent family.

Then it all goes a bit silly.  This is a woman who has walked the Earth for over 400 years with no help or need, and is quite capable of being quite an evil bitch, but for some strange reason decides to call on help to kill just one man, and with the theme tune of Ghostbusters playing at the background who you gonna call?” yes he with the pins all in his head.  This is when the film goes flat, all the built up momentum wrecked in a single moment, because bowing to fan pressure by including the franchise spearhead. sorry pinhead….makes the film with nowhere to go.  It makes the two characters of evil, pointless and very redundant.  It seems that the writers had simply run out of ideas and it says a lot when you just wish that Angelique was the main focus, and Pinhead was just left in the box.  Its a criticism because Pinhead does nothing in this movie.  If you think he talked a lot in part 3 then wait until you see him in here.  His constant rambling goes on and on and finally you get to realise the pleasure and pain angle of the box.  The pain is listening to him go on and on at how he is going to make you suffer, and the pleasure is when he Finally does so you do not have to listen anymore to the crap he talks.  It is so bad that the innocent victims are really thick.  If they just used their heads they could run out of the door before being killed as Pinhead loves the sound of his voice so much, he probably would not notice they are gone.  Years ago BT had ET to advertise their phone service, if they really want to go down that route again then they should really consider this man, because he emphasis their term of “Its good to talk!”

For the majority of the time he is stuck in a basement, probably talking to himself and when he and Anqelique finally decide to get off their arse and do something, he comes up with such an original plan to “kidnap the son!”…..oh yes, the memory of the good old Hellraiser slowly fades into the background.  What used to be such a simple concept of “whoever opens the box, they come” as transcended into just a run of the mill horror with Pinhead the catalyst for jokes especially when he has a quite awful hell dog for company and his body jerk that signals the arrival of chains coming from behind him to kill some poor victim.  Constantly he moves his body back and foe with his eyes wide open which is a sign he is to kill someone and he does it so many times in this film that its quite annoying, especially when its followed by a loud evil laugh, and then by you guessed it, a long speech a how evil he is!

Finally we get to the finale where the future segment is in full display, with Pinhead and his bunch of cenobites running amok on a space craft.  Its here we discover that the man arrested at the beginning is none other than Paul Merchent (yes….its Ramsey again) who has built the station to finally end the curse of his family.  Its at this point of time that the film is nothing but silly with the slash genre in full swing.  Characters that we have never met, get killed while Pinhead stands around talking a lot and then it comes to the climatic battle that finally ends the terror of the cenobites and their master.  By the way that is not a spoiler.  If you think about it, the films that followed were all set in modern times, with this way in the future, this shows how this evil was stopped for good, and so in someway does bring closure to the franchise.  Who who would have thought that when we first encounter these creatures in a house in London, we would end up on a space craft.  But then that is how far removed this franchise has become.

I started by saying that this in not as bad as the reputation it has got.  Seriously, anyone expecting a terrible movie will be in for a shock.  There is something quite splendid for the opening half, the film showing enough freshness that it seems we are heading for something special.  I do not know if the studio interference that made director Kevin Yager walk, is the reason why the film ends up like it does, but its a rotten shame.  There is enough vibe around it that make it a much better film than Hell On Earth, but the need to please the fans is apparent.  There are death scenes that are not needed, gore that is not required, if they just stuck with the basic principle with what they had, a good story, then we may be looking at this in a total different light.  Instead it gets lost in its own confused mess, its not the Pinhead in Space angle that wrecks this film, its a need to sell out to horror cliche which is not what Hellraiser is about, the famous tagline of the film is that “It will tear your soul apart!” it did, but only to its own self. and that is the biggest shame of it all……

OVERALL: Much better than the 3rd, this shows enough drive and ambition in the early stages to wet the taste of Hellraiser fans, but then loses it all by giving in to fan power and the needs of the franchise, that brings out the cry of despair to those who were desperate for something different……

2 out of 5

Ross Hughes
About Ross Hughes 1725 Articles
Since my mother sat me down at the age of five years of age and watched a little called Halloween, I have been hooked on horror. There is no other genre that gets me excited and takes me to the edge of entertainment. I watch everything from old, new, to cheap and blockbusters, but I promise all my readers that I will always give an honest opinion, and I hope whoever reads this review section, will find a film that they too can love as much as I do! Have fun reading, and please DO HAVE NIGHTMARES!!!!!!

5 Comments

  1. Hughes me old chum, you seem to have missed a rating for Hellraiser. Llet me score it for you, a ten out of ten, or in your scoring system, a five out of five i do believe 😉

    • Reading these again and they are quite brilliant. I never watched the films after number four as I remember thinking that one was bloody awful. Still don’t have them on DVD either though I still watch my videos of the first three! Do you know it there’s a box set containing all films in the franchise or do I have to get all of the films after the first three [which are in a set] seperately?

  2. You can buy 1 to 7 from Amazon for about £30….The 8th film iyou have to buy seperate….

    As you know I am a huge fan of Hellraiser Inferno- its wonderfully dark and creepy!

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