• Australia Hellraiser


Stephen King was once famously quoted as saying, "I have seen the future of horror...his name is Clive Barker". That future was realised in 1987 with the release of Barker's directorial debut Hellraiser. Based on his own novella "The Hellbound Heart", Barker's Hellraiser sees Larry (Andrew Robinson) and his wife Julia (Clare Higgins) move into their new home, unaware that something evil lurks beneath the floorboards of the dilapidated house - something that wants human blood. (Arrow Films)


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English The original Hellraiser undoubtedly has a very interesting mythology and actually quite a powerful atmosphere. It has a solid place among 80s cult films, and it's certainly worth pointing out that for that one million dollars, Clive Barker managed to make a decent (for its time) gore horror film with two-dimensional performances (that actually fit the hell out of it) and iconically nasty villains. As a trip to the late 80s, it still works beautifully today. [65%] ()


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English I really don’t know why I avoided Hellraiser for so long, but whatever the reason was, it was a mistake. The original story with an at times very good atmosphere is well supported by quality gore, and that, together with the demonically charming Cenobites, would be good enough reason for a five star rating. But I’m giving it “only” four stars due to the pretty bad special effects for today’s standards (especially by the end), the poor performances and the occasional naive dialogues. My ranking: H1, H5, H2, H7, H3, H4, H6, H8 ()



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English These hellraisers can be really scary and the debuting Clive Barker, especially in the opening, shows first-class direction based on time parallels. Even Stephen King may never have imagined such a disturbing house. Hellraiser may be set in a decade defined genre-wise by slime and mutations (the physical ones as much as the narrative ones), and some of the violence and make-up effects are delightfully naive, but it paces well for 90 minutes and doesn't overwhelm you with cheap attractions. It's a clear cult classic, of course, with everything so very 80s that if something similar had been made a decade later, it would have gone straight to video. I probably would have liked more ingenuity around the torture of the victims, which is admittedly ugly, but at least visually just physical and too straightforward – I was waiting for the title dudes to start making Rick and Morty-esque noises with needles in their faces and snapping teeth coming out of hell, occasionally just waving their arms around. The final tug-of-war with the rock, paper, scissors monster is downright funny, but I still can't give it less than 4* – a bit out of amusement, but still mainly for the lack of horror qualities and enthusiasm in today's work. 75 % ()


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English It's too bad that the filmmakers didn't keep the working title Sadomasochists From Beyond the Grave to distribute the film, as it's a much more eloquent description of what takes place in the film. There are incredible doses of splatter, and even though the ravages of time have bitten off a pretty solid slice, one can't help but smile deeply at the work of visual effects creator Bob Keen and especially director Clive Barker, who really doesn't spare any ideas and made the most of a simple script. Fortunately, the wooden actors were clearly outclassed by the "otherworldly" crew led by the demonic Pinhead, and whether it's the scene of Frank's resurrection or the close-up of the Cenobites' job description, everything is wrapped in a wonderfully eerie atmosphere, supported by Christopher Young's excellent score. "Beautiful" (maybe without the quotation marks). ()


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English From today's perspective, Hellraiser's effects might be criticized as weaker, but they were of good quality for their time. The concept and execution are commendable, and in terms of direction and acting, this film belongs in the horror hall of fame. Overall impression: 70%. It's a shame that the idea was diluted in later sequels, which squeezed out from the theme even what wasn't there. ()

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