Hellraiser (1987)





A man finds he is given more than he bargains for when he solves the puzzle of the Lament Configuration – a doorway to hell. But his ex-lover has found a way of bringing him back, and his niece, Kirsty Lawrence, finds herself bargaining with the Cenobites, angels to some, demons to others, whose greatest pleasure is the greatest pain.


I was originally going to review this film for the very first post on this site, but I decided against that, because it would have seemed too obvious for me to have done so. Hellraiser is an incredible slice of late 80’s gore and horror, from one of the Masters of the genre (in both film and literature) – Clive Barker.

My experience seeing this film at the cinema when it was released is nothing short or breathtaking. I was enthralled from the opening sequence where a man purchases a very nasty looking “box”, only to take it home and have it literally open up the gates of hell for him and reveal the most incredible icon of horror film in the last 40 years – Pinhead.

Barker’s creation is brought to the screen and director by him, and this is truly the only Hellraiser film you need to see – there are numerous sequels available, but this is the only one directed by Clive Barker.

When I first saw this film, I was young (very young), and more than 20 years later, the film still sticks in my mind as perhaps one of the modern day horror masterpieces of cinema, and it holds up (special effects-wise) even to some of today’s shit being produced and churned out by Hollywood.

Doug Bradley brings Pinhead to life in this, in perhaps one of the most menacing horror icons around, not to mention the other cenobite characters which have emerged from the genius mind of Clive Barker.

The Box itself also plays a major role in this film, opening the gates of hell, yet also answering all of your desires  – at a price. How far would you go to have your ultimate desire? Would you die or kill for it?

Many years ago, I purchased a replica of the box from one of those old online horror stores (most likely based in Asia somewhere), but I recall my disappointment when the box which I received was incredibly badly made, and did not even open! (hey, I was young!!)

Most secondary characters in the film actually do a superb job with what they are given too, with special mention going to Claire Higgins as Julia, Ashley Laurence as Kristy, and Oliver Smith as Frank the Monster.

Any self-confessed horror fan has already seen this film (along with it’s sequels), but if you have not (shame on you!) – stop reading now and go and pick this absolute classic up from wherever you can find it (there’s actually a very nice looking Bluray box-set out now, which I would like for Xmas!).


10 out of 10 – an instant classic, which has aged very nicely, like a fine wine.

Now somebody please buy me a real puzzle-box??

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