Thursday, October 14, 2010
The Director: Clive Barker
The Cast: Andrew Robinson, Clare Higgins, Ashley Laurence
Release Date: September 18. 1987
After many viewings over many years, Hellraiser remains one of the most unsettling films I've ever seen. Though it's not as polished as most horror films with great reputations, Clive Barker's tale set a high bar for future torture films. The film follows a family who moves into the home where the husband's brother opened a gateway to hell, releasing a team of demons known as Cenobites into their home.
I've never found Hellraiser to be an entirely successful film, but once the Cenobites show up - led by Doug Bradley's Pinhead and his proclamation that they "will tear your soul apart" - the film becomes a total nightmare. The creature effects overcome some silly visual effects, and survivor girl Ashley Laurence (and her incomprehensible hair) does a fine job of carrying the film and helping the viewer relate. And, after more than 10 years since I first saw it, there are still moments of gore here that make me cover my eyes. That's a winner!