Monday, April 6, 2009

Hellraiser Who?

On my blog, I always promise upon promise that I'll bring you the most spoOoOoOoOktacular stuff around...and for the most part, I really do try to be fair and objective...but I've realized that my blatant favoritism of Jason and the Friday the 13th franchise has hindered this a bit.

So I'm going to take a step back from my Voorhees obsession for a few minutes and take you on a little trip... Hell(raiser).
Hellraiser Pictures, Images and Photos

Hellraiser is a 1987 British horror film written and directed by Clive Barker (who also did Candyman and a whole slew of other horror related things).

Since the original, there have been 7 sequels, and there is a remake in the works for 2011. The movie is basically centered around the evils of overindulgence in things, such as sexual fantasies, and especially Sadomasochism. An evil man named Frank buys a strange box (kind of like a fancy rubix cube) from a merchant and solves the puzzle, becomes corrupt, loses his skin, kills people in the attic, and then his niece, Kirsty, falls into the madness and has to sacrifice people to save her own soul.

Seriously, I own this movie and I have seen it maybe 3 times...and I'm still moderately confused. This movie is one of the most bizarre horror movies I've ever seen. I'm actually researching it to write about this because I don't feel comfortable in my Hellraiser knowledge enough to do it from memory.

Anyway, more about this "box"...:
hellraiser Pictures, Images and Photos
(thank you photobucket, you hit the jackpot with this graphic for me.) called a "Lemarchand's box" or Lament Configuration. Here's a scene that shows how it works (from the beginning of the movie):

It is basically a Chinese-style box that, when configured, unleashes a "schism", or an opening to another dimension, and the Cenobites can come into our world...and raise Hell! Get it?!

So Cenobites, in case you were wondering, are these demonic beings who live in another dimension and can only cross paths with our world through that box. They are all covered with mutilations and piercings, the most famous being Pinhead (Doug Bradley).
Honestly, I never thought a horror movie with a main villain named "Pinhead" would be taken even mildly seriously, but here I am, proven wrong.
Hellraiser Pictures, Images and Photos
*Fun Fact! In the movie, his actual name isn't "Pinhead", but "Lead Cenobite"...his nickname was coined by his makeup artists. Special thanks to Wikipedia for that one.

Pinhead's character is actually a departure from other horror movie villains in the sense that he doesn't kill merely for revenge or for the Hell(raiser) of it (sorry, I had to). He is much more calculated and surprisingly, is willing to make deals with the victims. I love the way Wikipedia describes his character, because he truly was unique, in the first Hellraiser film, from other villains...especially for the 80's...this guy was revolutionary!

The deaths in the first film are fairly gruesome...lots of hammer deaths and skin ripping off and pulling:
a Pictures, Images and Photos
What I don't get about this particular picture, which shows Frank wearing his deceased brother's skin and being re-captured by the Cenobites after escaping them, is that his last words, before basically being ripped completely apart, are "Jesus Wept". Jim informed me that his original last words were "F-you" (except he really said the entire F may read this!), but that didn't fly with the movie folks, and was changed. I think the "F- you" would've been more fitting and appropriate.

The basic theme of the movie is that if you're an evil person, and you're greedy and get into some weird stuff, you're going to be punished in the most gruesome ways possible when the other dimension collides with us and they'll "tear your soul apart" (Pinhead '87).

**Update** In researching this movie, I decided to watch it AGAIN the other day. Let me just say that there were a few things that really jumped out to me. First, there's a scene where Frank cuts a rat in half at the foot of the bed while Julia and Larry are going at it. W...T....F.

Then, there's this homeless guy who is following around Kirsty, the niece. This really confused me, he looked like a mix between Rob Zombie:
Rob is the Shit Pictures, Images and Photos
and Mick Foley:
Mick Foley Pictures, Images and Photos
The name of his character in the credits is "Derelect", but according to Wikipedia, he's the puzzle guardian. Either way, this guy is a total weirdo, following Kirsty around and at the end, turns into a dragon.

Moving along, the special effects in this movie are kind of terrible. Bright neon lights = zaps of electricity coming from the box. It kind of looked like a bad 80's music video. BUT, the amount of gore, maggots, rats being nailed to walls/cut in half, blood, guts, and Frank eating victims definitely makes up for the lack of cool effects.

What else....

Wikipedia gives alot of great info on the plot and differences between the novella (The Hellbound Heart) and the movie. Also, there's an official Hellraiser website, Hellraiser: Online for all you Cenobite lovers out there. Here's a website that has some great movie stills and more info about the film. Not good enough? They even have the draft of the original script by Clive Barker online for you to read! If that doesn't quench your 'Raiser thirst, I don't know what will.


Peggy, Nora, and Jules said...

It's funny that you write about "Hellraiser" because Chris & I were going to watch it last night. Chris loves those movies. We ended up watching a documentary on wolves, but I would still be interested in this series.

Monster Bash Blog said...

A documentary about wolves?!! Werewolves or regular wolves? I have not seen much of the other Hellraiser movies, mainly just the first one...I think I did see bits and pieces of either the 2nd or third one (the one with the police officer who has a "naughty streak")...not sure which one that is...the cop guy narrates it like a bad crime drama...ask Chris which one his fave is...I'll have to check it out!

Anonymous said...

I like Hellraiser, but I LOVE Candyman.

Clive Barker is so great.

Monster Bash Blog said...

Candyman is so close to Bloody Mary in the sense of saying the name 3 times or whatever that the idea alone terrifies me. I don't get the bees though. Weren't there bees? What were the bees there for? I missed something.