Hellraiser Review

Lowlife Frank (Chapman) thinks he's stolen a valuable piece of jewellery, but gets more than he bargained for - it's the key for a portal to hell. His body is left behind, before being awakened by a drop of blood. He's found a way back at the expense of h

by William Thomas |
Published on
Release Date:

11 Sep 1987



Original Title:


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. But then they were already through the box office doors with the tagline - "He'll tear your soul apart."

After a bravura inroductory sequence showing the creation of the aptly named and destined-to-be-horror-icon 'Pinhead', it's onto the depraved, nasty little sod, Frank. Having stolen the key to hell, he promptly opens it, and his soul takes up residence in the company of the 'Cenobites' (S&M demons every bit as painful as they sound). Several years pass before his corpse is awakened by a drop of blood, and he's found a way back to this world. He finds an accomplice in his former mistress - his femme fatale sister-in-law, who is still married to his nice, normal, but in their eyes, dull brother Larry. Before you can say "behind you", Larry's taken Frank's place, and it's up to his daughter to discover a way to rescue him.

The sheer weirdness makes this, for the most part, fly by. One for fans who like their horror messy, this has more hooks than an angling superstore, and is not for the squeamish. But then, how many horror fans are?

A slicky edited, white knuckle ride to the depths of depravity. It's a shame that Barker has never really fulfilled the potential he showed here.
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