Why I love it:
- It’s based on Hellraiser director Clive Barker’s short story (The Hellbound Heart) which is about a man named Frank who buys a puzzle box that provides doors to a hellish dimension. Frank is a hedonist in search of his next thrill.
- This movie is full of gore. The make up and special effects are top notch. If you like blood and guts this is the movie for you.
- It touches on dark psychological themes including debauchery, immorality, obsession and sexual taboos (i.e. sadomasochism). This film is basically about how far one is willing to go to fulfill his deepest, darkest desires for pleasure and pain.
- A woman is one of the villains. Female villains are still not that common in Hollywood. They picked the perfect actress to fulfill the role of Julia, the cold-blooded, adulterous wife of Larry and lover of his brother Frank. This woman just exudes evil on screen. She helps Frank regain his bodily form by murdering men in exchange for the promise of more sex with him once he is fully back in the flesh.
- The Cenobites: some of the most frightening characters to be conjured up through film. Pinhead is the leader of the demonic clique and despite the lack of grotesque make up, save some pins and black eye contacts, he is by far the most imposing.
- Some of the memorable lines uttered by Pinhead such as “We’ll tear your soul apart”, “Oh, no tears please. It is a waste of good suffering”, and “We have such sights to show you!”
- The scene where Frank is able to absorb his brother’s blood from the floor and his tissues, blood vessels and organs start to rebuild. The special effects during this scene are some of the best for this time period.
- The trailer scared the crap out of me when I first saw it at the tender age of 11, but I was so intrigued that I knew it was a must see. I think I saw it for the first time a couple of years later.
- The movie is filmed in Great Britain which for an American adds a creepy layer of icing on the already devilish cake.
- The way the box moved to create various patterns and puzzles was absolutely genius.
- Kirsty, the protagonist and the daughter of Larry is hardcore in her determination to battle Frank and the Cenobites. She’s tough and doesn’t pussyfoot around. “You want it??!”, she yells as she is confronted by Frank about the box. She hurls the box out the window so that Frank cannot get it. She then runs outside, picks up the box and runs off. Bad ass chick.
- The sequel, Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988), is very good and it provides a nice transition from the 1st installment. Julia comes back from hell and a psychopathic psychiatrist becomes the new beholder of the box. Hellraiser II is even gorier than the original and the special effects transport you into another dimension.