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Welcome to Franchise hell ... Hellraiser 1-3

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Posted 24th April 2009 at 06:54 PM by Sam@Cult Labs


Clive Barker's seminal horror movie Hellraiser, is a gore drenched yarn about a man, Frank, who becomes trapped in a hell dimension of perfect pain when he messes around with a cursed mechanical box. On solving the puzzle of the cube he his dragged into the realm of the Cenobites, a race of S&M demons who pierce and tear at his flesh with spiked chains, torturing him to a state of agonizing ecstasy. Our violent anti-hero returns to the earthly realm when his brother moves into a creaky old house and the box is re-opened. Now Frank's brother's corrupt wife is seducing unsuspecting men to the attic in order to feed their blood to the skinless Frank, putting new flesh onto his mortal remains...

An incredibly sick and bloody fantasy that has aged very well over the last twenty years, this is an essential for any horror collection and also a stylistic masterclass for aspiring cybergoths.

Hellbound: Hellraiser 2

Following the gory demise of her father and perverted stepmother at the hands of the loathsome Cenobites, Kirsty, Frank's Niece, winds up in a psychiatric unit. No believes her outlandish claims about hell demons, sadism and curious puzzle boxes so she is sent to the institute where she receives care from the deeply odd Dr. Channard, a seeker of a key to other dimensions of experience.

Channard uses the information given to him by Kirsty to resurrect he wicked stepmother, who looks particularly heinous without any skin. Luckily for her, the crazed doctor is happy to bring her his patients so she can feed from their life blood. She's soon back to her old self! She helps Channard as he tries to bring the Cenobites back to earth but Kirsty has other ideas.

This is a lot more over the top then the first movie which is a remarkably subtle and nuanced film for a movie about being pierced with hooked chains and tortured till your mind snaps... Hellraiser 2 throws caution to the wind and is a delirious, trippy nightmare of a movie; full of horror and pain. A decent follow up to a genuine classic.

Hell on Earth: Helraiser 3

After the terrible inconvenience of being trapped in a large stone block with the cursed puzzle box at the conclusion of Hellraiser 2: Hellbound, Pinhead get lucky when a dim witted young playboy buys the block thinking it's a piece of modern sculpture, a decision that we all know he's going to live to regret.

Pinhead starts warping the rich kids mind, making him bring victims to his presence so he can use their blood to get free from his prison. Now released, he quests to destroy the box so he and his Cenobite friends need never return to the hell dimension from whence they came... Can a plucky female reporter assigned to the murder cases stop him?

The franchise took a downward turn into the realm of trash with this second sequel to the 80s classic, but fun is still to be had. The gore scenes look great; very creative and gruesome. Some new Cenobites will cause titters, particularly the one with the Camcorder lodged in his head, quite why they chose to make these most amazing of horror monsters so tacky is a question that need answering! Still, for cheap horror laughs and the still commanding presence of Doug Bradley as Pinhead, this is still worth shelling out for...

Please no requests for reviews of the rest of franchise, which is one of the more extreme examples of a film series declining from salubrious beginnings.

I'd rather string myself up with spiky chains...
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  1. Old Comment
    KPWNINJA's Avatar
    Great reviews Sam! Now review the rest of the series! Hehehe!
    Honestly I didn't think the forth in the series was too bad... Then again it has been a while since I last watched Hellraiser: Bloodlines. Hmmmm...
    Comment with Quote permalink
    Posted 24th April 2009 at 07:10 PM by KPWNINJA KPWNINJA is offline
  2. Old Comment
    Sam@Cult Labs's Avatar
    Some franchises just become too depressing.

    I really the Phantasm films because, even though their cheap and very silly, at least the crew behind them clearly love what they produced and attempted to come up with interesting ideas, even though the results could be shaky.

    Too many rolling horror series' become tragic exercises in flogging a dead horse.
    Comment with Quote permalink
    Posted 24th April 2009 at 07:13 PM by Sam@Cult Labs Sam@Cult Labs is offline
  3. Old Comment
    Pete's Avatar
    I like the first three Hellraiser films, with #2 being my fave.
    Comment with Quote permalink
    Posted 30th April 2009 at 12:50 PM by Pete Pete is offline
  4. Old Comment
    Sam@Cult Labs's Avatar
    Two is a bit more crazed isn't it. I think the first is more dour and realistic, if that makes any sense. The second seems to been influenced by the success of the Elm Street movies, which is no bad thing.
    Comment with Quote permalink
    Posted 30th April 2009 at 04:11 PM by Sam@Cult Labs Sam@Cult Labs is offline
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