Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Clive Barker|
|Produced by||Christopher Figg|
|Written by||Clive Barker|
|Music by||Christopher Young|
|Editing by||Richard Marden
|Studio||Cinemarque Entertainment BV
|Distributed by||New World Pictures|
|Running time||94 minutes|
Hellraiser (also known as Clive Barker's Hellraiser) is a 1987 British horror film written and directed by Clive Barker, based upon his own novella The Hellbound Heart. The film spawned a series of sequels. A remake was announced and might be presented in 3D. Hellraiser was number 19 on the cable channel Bravo's list of the 100 Scariest Movie Moments.
Somewhere in Morocco, Frank Cotton (Sean Chapman) buys an antique puzzle box from a dealer. Back in the attic of his house in London, Frank solves the puzzle box, prompting hooked chains to emerge from it and tear deep into his flesh. Black robed, horribly mutilated humanoids appear and tear him into pieces. Their leader Pinhead (Doug Bradley), picks up the box and twists it back into its original state, taking Frank's dissected physical remnants back to their realm with them and restoring the room to normal.
Sometime later, Frank's brother Larry (Andrew Robinson) arrives at the house along with his second wife, Julia (Clare Higgins), who previously had an affair with Frank. The pair know Frank as an avowed hedonist and petty criminal, and, presuming that he is in jail in some exotic location, decide to move in. Larry's teenage daughter, Kirsty Cotton (Ashley Laurence), chooses not to live with her stepmother and moves into her own place. While moving into the house, Larry cuts his hand on a nail, and drips blood on the attic floor. The blood somehow reaches Frank in his prison in the humanoids' realm, partially restoring his body and allowing him to escape to the attic.
That night, Julia finds Frank (now portrayed by Oliver Smith) in the attic; still obsessed with him after their affair, she agrees to harvest blood for him so that he can fully restore his body and they can run away together. The next day, Julia begins picking up men in bars and bringing them back to the house, where she murders them with a hammer; Frank then consumes their blood and internal organs, progressively regenerating his own body. Once he has regained enough strength, Frank explains to Julia that he had exhausted all sensory experiences and sought out the puzzle box on the promise that it would open a portal to a realm of new carnal pleasures. Instead, it opened up a portal to the realm of the "Cenobites," who have since taken Frank as their prisoner and subjected him to extreme, sadomasochistic torture.
Meanwhile, Kirsty spies Julia bringing men to the house and, believing her to be having an affair, follows her to the attic one afternoon, where she interrupts a murder. Frank attacks her, but panics when Kirsty grabs the puzzle box. Kirsty throws the box out the window, creating enough of a distraction for her to escape. Outside the house, she retrieves the puzzle box and runs away, but collapses from exhaustion shortly thereafter. After being taken to the hospital, Kirsty solves the puzzle box, summoning the Cenobites. Their leader explains that while the Cenobites have been perceived as angels and demons, they are simply "explorers" of carnal experience, practicing a form of sadomasochism so extreme that it transcends the boundary between pain and pleasure. Although they initially attempt to force Kirsty to return with them to their realm, the Leader becomes indignant at the suggestion one of their "subjects" has escaped, and agrees to consider freeing Kirsty in exchange for taking them to Frank.
Kirsty returns home, where Larry tells her that he has confronted and killed Frank. Julia shows her a flayed corpse in the attic, and shortly after the Cenobites show up. Kirsty attempts to escape with Larry, but his language and mannerisms ultimately lead Kirsty to realize that Frank (now portrayed by Andrew Robinson) has in fact killed her father, and is wearing his skin. Frank pursues Kirsty through the house with a knife, inadvertently killing Julia in the process. He eventually corners Kirsty in the attic, where he brags about having killed his brother. The admission summons up the Cenobites, who ensnare him with chains and tear him to pieces. They then attempt to renege on their deal with Kirsty and take her back to their realm. Kirsty's boyfriend, Steve, arrives and looks for Kirsty. Kirsty defeats the Cenobites by reversing the motions needed to open the puzzle box, sending them back to their realm. Kirsty and Steve leave the house together.
Afterwards, Kirsty tries to burn the box in a garbage dump. A vagrant enters the flames and retrieves the box before transforming into a winged creature and flying away. The box ends back in the hands of the merchant who sold it to Frank, asking another prospective customer, "What's your pleasure, sir?".
- Andrew Robinson as Larry Cotton / Frank Cotton (Disguised in Larry's skin)
- Clare Higgins as Julia Cotton
- Sean Chapman as Frank Cotton
- Ashley Laurence as Kirsty Cotton
- Oliver Smith as "Skinless" Frank / Frank the Monster
- Doug Bradley as Lead Cenobite (Pinhead)
- Nicholas Vince as Chattering Cenobite
- Simon Bamford as Butterball
- Grace Kirby as Female Cenobite
- Robert Hines as Steve
- Anthony Allen as Victim #1
- Leon Davis as Victim #2
- Michael Cassidy as Sykes (Victim #3)
- Frank Baker as Derelict
- Kenneth Nelson as Bill
- Gay Baynes as Evelyn
- Niall Buggy as Dinner Guest
- Dave Atkins as Moving Man #1
- Oliver Parker as Moving Man #2
- Pamela Sholto as Complaining Customer
- Sharon Bower as Nurse
- Raul Newney as Doctor Joey Baxter
- Zach Duncan as Perverted Janitor
Clive Barker originally commissioned a soundtrack for Hellraiser from the industrial band Coil. The music they supplied was rejected, and Christopher Young provided a more traditional orchestral score for the finished movie. Coil's score, which was apparently described by Barker in a complimentary manner as being "bowel churning", has been released in isolation as The Unreleased Themes for Hellraiser and as part of the compilation Unnatural History II (CD) (1995).
Coil's original theme was later covered by the Italian black metal band Aborym on their debut album Kali Yuga Bizarre.
Christopher Young went on to contribute the soundtrack to the first sequel, Hellbound: Hellraiser II, for which he won a Saturn Award for Best Music. Subsequent movies in the series used music by different composers.
American Progressive/Thrash band Wrathchild America uses a sample from Hellraiser II, "We have such sights to show you." and the song titled "What's Your Pleasure?" is also completely about Hellbound.
UK black metal band Anaal Nathrakh sampled Frank Cotton's final words and used in the track "Tractatus Alogico Misanthropicus". Canadian band Skinny Puppy also sampled "Jesus Wept" in the track "Fascist Jock Itch", as did Belgian Industrial act Suicide Commando for their track "Jesus Wept" on their Mindstrip album. More recently, the EBM group "Project Rotten" sampled Pinhead's line "Oh, no tears please, it's a waste of good suffering!" in their track "Confessions of a Killer".
Various extreme metal bands have used audio from the film in sampling and as introductions to songs. The most common and famous sample is Pinhead's line "We'll tear your soul apart".
- Track listing
- "Hellraiser" – 1:43
- "Resurrection" – 2:32
- "Hellbound Heart" – 5:05
- "The Lament Configuration" – 3:31
- "Reunion" – 3:11
- "A Quick Death" – 1:16
- "Seduction and Pursuit" – 3:01
- "In Love's Name" – 2:56
- "The Cenobites" – 4:13
- "The Rat Race Slice Quartet" – 3:15
- "Re-Resurrection" – 2:34
- "Uncle Frank" – 2:59
- "Brought on by Night" – 2:18
- "Another Puzzle" – 4:06
- Total length: 42:40
Released in the United Kingdom and United States in September 1987. It grossed $14,564,000 the United States and Canada. Critically, the film received mixed reviews. The UK press championed the picture upon its release.[examples needed] Stephen King hailed Barker, and is quoted as saying "I have seen the future of horror and his name is Clive Barker."
However, critic Roger Ebert was less than enthusiastic, commenting "This is a movie without wit, style or reason, and the true horror is that actors were made to portray, and technicians to realize, its bankruptcy of imagination. Maybe Stephen King was thinking of a different Clive Barker."
Home Media releases 
In North America, Hellraiser has been released by Anchor Bay three times, all of which are the original 93 minute version of the film (this is the only version to ever be released on DVD). The original DVD release was a "bare-bones" release and is now out of print. It was re-issued in 2000 with a new 5.1 mix mastered in THX. Finally, it was packaged along with Hellbound: Hellraiser II in a Limited Edition tin case which included a 48-page colour booklet and a reproduction theatrical poster for both films. Anchor Bay released the film on Blu-ray in 2009. This version retains all of the special features found on the 20th anniversary special edition DVD. In 2011, the film was re-released on Blu-ray by Image Entertainment under the "Midnight Madness" series label. This version contains no special features.
Dimension Films' remake of Hellraiser was announced in November 2006. French director Pascal Laugier was set to direct the film but was later taken off the project due to creative differences with the producers; Laugier wanted his film to be a very serious take whereas the producers wanted the film to be more commercial and appeal to a teen audience.
On October 20, 2010, it was officially announced that Patrick Lussier and Todd Farmer were to direct and write, respectively, the reboot of the Hellraiser franchise. The film's story would differ from the original film, as Lussier and Farmer did not want to retell the original story out of respect for Clive Barker's work. The film was to instead focus on the world and function of the puzzle box. However in 2011, Farmer confirmed that both he and Lussier were no longer attached to the project.
Comic books 
- Hellraiser, Box Office Information. The Numbers. Retrieved September 22, 2012.
- "Hellraiser". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved May 14, 2011.
- The Official Clive Barker Resource - Revelations - Exclusive Interviews 15
- Hellraiser: Hellworld, Hellraiser. "100 Scariest Movie Moments: 100 Scariest Moments in Movie History". Bravo. Archived from the original on 2007-10-30. Retrieved 2007-10-24.
- Industrial::Music::Library: Coil: An Interview
- SoundtrackNet : Hellraiser Soundtrack
- "Hellraiser". Chicago Sun-Times.
- "Hellraiser at Rotten Tomatoes". Retrieved 2012-12-14.
- Rewind @ www.dvdcompare.net - Hellraiser AKA Clive Barker's Hellraiser (1987)
- The Hellbound Web | Collectibles | Video Recordings
- "Hellraiser back from dead". Variety. November 8, 2006.
- Darren Rea (17). "Pascal Laugier (Director / Writer) - Martyrs". Review Graveyard. Review Graveyard. Retrieved 8 July 2012.
- "EXCL: Barker Praises Laugier, Talks Pinhead Design". shocktillyoudrop.com. 2009-02-13. Retrieved 2009-08-13.
- "Saint Ange". Moria - The science fiction, horror and fantasy movie review site. 2009-06-07. Retrieved 2009-08-13.
- "Clive Barker Says Pascal Laugier is Off the Hellraiser Remake". Firstshowing.net. 2009-06-04. Retrieved 2009-08-13.
- "AICN HORROR talks with writer/director Pascal Laugier about MARTYRS, the HELLRAISER remake, and his new film THE TALL MAN!!!". Ain't It Cool News.
- "Exclusive: Hellraiser Remake & Halloween 3D Updates". Horror-Movies.ca.
- "'Hellraiser' Remake Is Stalling Again". ShockTillYouDrop.
- Hellraiser digital comics from Devil's Due Digital
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