Critic Consensus: Elevated by writer-director Clive Barker's fiendishly unique vision, Hellraiser offers a disquieting - and sadistically smart - alternative to mindless gore.
Watch it now
as Frank Cotton
as Julia Cotton
as Larry Cotton
as Kirsty Cotton
as Frank the Monster
as 2nd Victim
as 1st Victim
as 3rd Victim
as Dinner Guest
as Moving Man
as Moving Man
as Complaining Customer
as Lead Cenobite
as Chattering Cenobite
as `Butterball' Cenobite
as Female Cenobite
as 1st Victim
News & Interviews for Hellraiser
Critic Reviews for Hellraiser
The conclusion is pat and predictable, an amateurish effort at showing the advantages of good over evil.
The reason the movie works as well as it does is because of its human characters.
Horror is at its best when it's relentless. Clive Barker knows this, and his debut feature as director is so gleefully vicious, so relentlessly grim that it's going to be very hard for fans of the genre not to like it.
With Hellraiser, Clive Barker created one of the most genuinely disturbing movies of the last 20 years.
Utterly bizarre and entirely ridiculous - and yet effective, an imaginative guignol festival, like the goriest of soap operas, in which one wrong move opens a portal to hell.
Barker's vision cribs equally from the mythos of vampires and zombies, but Hellraiser's overriding ridiculousness (and nagging budgetary shortcomings) can't disguise the fact that the movie is at least unwittingly a product of the AIDS crisis.
Audience Reviews for Hellraiser
A gory, trashy cult classic of the genre with an interesting (and very disturbing) idea, fascinating villains and a great makeup that stands out above all else, yet on the other hand the poor special effects and cheesy moments make it feel like a second-rate horror movie.
People are pretty split on whether they find this film to be the start of the new frontier of horror, and the beginning of the horror porn manifestation we see today, or it's an easily forgotten flick that tries too hard. Whatever people say, Clive Barker is gross in the best kind of way, and this is definitely something never before seen. Fusing together sadomasochism and the limits of physical pleasure with the terrifying machinations of pain was never truly explored before in mainstream horror. In the indie market this was a palatable formula, but here there's also concern for gore, humiliation, and positing the female victim with the male monster. Frank (Chapman) is, by all accounts, a giant pervert, who travels the world, doing inappropriate things and people. He buys a mystical box from a market in Eastern Asia, which is supposed to bring him unbridled pleasure and pain. He figures out the mechanism, and opens it, experiencing the pain of meat hooks, demons, and Pinhead, the enduring figure for the many sequels spawned from this film. Frank's body reforms at his childhood home thanks to the blood of his brother being spilt. The transformation from blood and guts, to muscle and cartilage, was the most gruesome thing I have seen onscreen, and it has the most staying power of any scene throughout the film. There's more blood, more sexual tension, and sabotage sprinkled throughout, but most of the plot concerns Frank and Julia's (Higgins) relationship, as she kills people for the lothario to feast upon. It's a bit cut and dry with its story, but it packs on the gore and bloodlust with aplomb, and it's all you can do not to marvel at the effects, which are almost thirty years old. That and the bonds made between two pivotal humane experiences that are so often thought to be counterintuitive of one another, really make for an interesting and uncomfortable watch.
|Frank the Monster:||It's me! Uncle Frank! Come to daddy!|
|Kirsty Cotton:||You can go to Hell!|
|Female Cenobite:||We can't. Not alone.|
|Lead Cenobite:||Explorers in the further regions of experience. Demons to some. Angels to others.|
|Lead Cenobite:||Pain has a face. Allow me to show it to you|
|Lead Cenobite:||Pain has a face. Allow me to show it to you.|