You should be proud of me. Hellraiser has always been on my to watch list but I have never succeeded due to my aversion of horror films. After seeing Cabin in the Woods and witnessing one of the scariest moments in the film be contributed to Pinhead, I figured that now is the time to watch it. I feel like this is one of those iconic cult films that real horror aficionados praise and watch over and over again. If I am going to consider myself a horror expert (I won’t ever, this month has been torturous for me.) I have to buckle down and not be so afraid of one little film. Well I made it through. Just barely…
Hellraiser is about a husband and wife that moves into an old family home after it has been “empty” for some time. Come to find out the brother of the husband had recently been squatting in the home before they came. But he seems to have vanished into thin air. All of his stuff is all around. The wife seems very interested in the whereabouts of this mysterious brother….
Sadomasochism is the key word in describing this film. Every frame of this film is dripping with fetishism. Whether it is the obsession with blood, flesh, sex, pain, independence or alcohol, nobody is immune from their obsessions destroying them. These obsessions consume them and are subsequently ripped quite violently from their hands. I was actually surprised when I came to this conclusion. This film is more than just a monster movie. It is about the darker side of life and how people (or demons if you will) exploit these dark things for their own gain. Pinhead and the rest of the Cenobites exploiting the brother’s need for ever wild and increasing physical pleasure/pain is no different from the brother exploiting the wife’s need for a good orgasm.
One thing I do have to say that I found troubling in this film is the special effects. You can tell that the actual make up and the things they did on set were meticulously planned out and well executed, but the effects that were done after the production had wrapped were some of the worst I have ever seen. Maybe it is just the sign of the times but when the daughter closes the box those lightning strikes look so unbelievably horrible. It took me out of the film completely and I barely knew the film had ended. It was awful.
Although the film did not scare as much as I was afraid of, I still found the film well worth my time. I can see the influence that this film has had on several horror films I have watched that were more recent including but not limited to Cabin in the Woods. It was very well made for how restrictive the budget was and I would be inclined to (sometime in the distant future) watch it again. I can see how people could get obsessed with this film.