Hellraiser Movie Review:
Welcome to the seventh annual Halloween special. I’m so happy to be talking about horror movies again this year. As I mentioned in my review for The Addams family I’m going to be talking about various horror films.
Hellraiser is obviously a film that I did not see when I was young. It’s very violence and a lot of the violence is sexual in nature so of course, this movie was a big no-no but it was the cover of this film that I saw everywhere every time I went to blockbuster or Hollywood video that VHS tape. Scare the shit of me. Pinhead, as he became known in subsequent films much to Clive Barker’s this may, is one creepy-looking bastard and there was a lot of hype surrounding this movie for me as a young kid because I always heard so much about it.
how terrifying and gory it is. And how inappropriate it is and it’s 18 plus and all of the stuff that really made me scared to watch it. But of course as an adult, I had to eventually watch hellraiser and I was really pleased to discover that this movie is a lot more than the things my parents were always concerned about me seeing. Yes it’s very violent and yes it’s sadomasochistic and all of the things my parents were worried about. But it’s also a deeply felt human story and that’s not something I expected.
The film Story:
The film was written and directed by Clive Barker from his novel the Hellbound heart and this film has an interest in its human characters. In this film, a husband and father is moving into a new house. His brother has been long gone apparently his brother goes on a lot of benders. Disappears for a long period of time sometimes winds up in jail. His daughter is there as well, but the woman he’s with is not her mother. So I medically there’s a lot of family tension from this. When the dad is trying to move a. The mattress he cuts his hand and some of that blood gets on the floorboards in the attic.
And out of the floorboards sprouts, this wonder of practical effects and pretty soon this thing forms into this guy’s brother. Except its just muscle and flesh. And you learn that he had an affair with his brother’s wife and she is ridiculously infatuated with him .so infatuated she will kill random men just so he can feed off of them. So that he can get his flashback.
My opinion of the plot:
This is really great for a plot. I adore this idea because it doesn’t just have the gore and the effects. It hits its characters in psychologically disturbing situations forcing them to do things they would never want to do. All in the name of good sex.
I remember what surprised me the most about this film when I first watched it. That was that 10 head was not presented as this cultural icon as I had always heard him to be. He was just this really creepy thing that came out of the walls basically with all of this SNM thing.
And shot hooks into your body and ripped you in half. In fact I was more scared by the chatter was must have inspired the creative team behind the silent hill. But that’s kind of how it goes with these horror movie icons, isn’t it? I mean when you think of J. sent and then go back and watch the first Friday the thirteenth. The J. send that we know just really isn’t there. Save for Michael Myers in the first Halloween found a lot of times these horror movie villains become culturally impactful because we decide they are.
Sometimes these guys don’t even have names in the movie. we just make up their names as horror fans and that becomes part of the canon. I mention those practical effects they are beautiful. I love when I’m watching a film and during the opening credits, a credit is given specifically for the practical effects. Whenever I see that before the movie even starts. I know I’m in for something cool. If they take the time to credit that person in the main titles it’s gonna be really awesome.
This wasn’t a massive budget movie. I believe it was just $1000000. Which sure spread a little bit farther in 1987 but that still wasn’t that much. And the fact they shot mostly in 1 house. This film is actually really inspiring from a lower budget horror perspective. Everything they were able to get out of this increasingly disturbing story as the film goes along.
But they show this guy quite a bit on screen. As he’s getting more flesh on his body and it’s awesome. They keep mostly in shadow which is very wise. But the light that they do let hit him reflects off of him makes him look shiny.
And I guess this is mild spoilers so if you’ve never seen hellraiser I’m just going to warn you. I’m going to give a little bit away here. I like how the film chooses its victims constantly. Sometimes people are the main character and sometimes they just fodder for the bad guys. Because Claire Higgins in the film at first is sort of our twisted protagonist. As she’s finding these guys for him to kill. But later on in the film, there’s a turn in the daughter Kirstie is now who were rooting for.
And I love how the film is able to set that up throughout. Its different acts interestingly the late great Roger Ebert to still remains my favorite film critic of all time hated this movie. Famously he loathed this hopefully and it’s funny I really like it but this just shows how good of Critic Evert wise because he actually goes back and read his review.
It’s difficult to dispute anything he says. All of his points are very clear everything makes sense. And that’s just how great of a critic. He was even when you’re not on the same page with him with a film like a hellraiser you can read his review and be like you know what I see where he’s coming from and that’ll segue me nicely into some of my issues with the movie. Most of them are budgetary which I understand. Especially from an indie horror perspective at those things happen a lot the effects towards the last 5 minutes are very poor and this isn’t just because we’re looking back on a movie from 1987 for films of that era. They’re poor.
And from what I understand that’s because they didn’t have much time to achieve these effects. And kind of rush them and it’s very obvious when you watch the movie. Gratefully though those types of effects are few and far between most of the effects are all practical. Some of them are shown a little too much in winds. There’s this creature chasing Kirstie through a hallway. Sometimes you see it a little too close and you start to see the artificiality of it.
Some of that is also due to the high definition transfer it now you can look at things and see them a lot better than you could back in the day when you pop in the VHS tape. But all these years later Hellraiser still works. Because the violence is fine. It has great effects. But the reason the movie works as well as it does is because of its human characters. You understand their plight and you feel for them everyone feels well realized. Some of the performances don’t always work there’s a few sequences that are a little bit hammy.
But because the human characters are as well written as they are. You actually give a shit when people are being ripped apart by meat hooks. I’m a give hellraiser a B+.
Well guys that’s the first video in our seventh annual Halloween special. look forward to many more coming very soon. I have a lot of fun stuff. I want to talk about this Halloween and I’m really excited to do so.
Thank you guys so much as always for continuing to read my reviews. Wait for my new movie review as soon as possible.