"Wow! Wet and gory and dark and a real treat for horror fans"
A real modern classic. It features many things absent in most of my favorite horror films: Plot, atmosphere, acting, and a scary story. Novelist Clive Barker proves he can handle directing a movie, at least better than his buddy Stephen King.Larry and Julia are recently wed and move back to an old house belonging to his family. Unfortunately, Larry's dead brother's corpse has been rotting in the attic and all it takes is a steady flow of blood to regenerate his body. This wonderful skill is thanks to this cool little puzzle box, which also acts as a portal to an evil dimension. This dimension is home of the Cenobites, and Pinhead is their boss. So through the magic of flashbacks, we learn that Julia and Frank had a lot of "naked time" together in the past. Julia begins luring men up to the attic and killing them, since Frank needs the blood, you see.
Just this stuff would place Hellraiser in the upper plateau of recent horror movies. But when the Cenobites show up looking for Frank and terrrorizing Larry's daughter, Kirsty, things really get fun. There's lots of gore and chains ripping flesh and nasty women ramming hammers into some horny guy's head.
Hellraiser deserves a lot of praise for giving horror fans the goods without playing it cheap. It instills some real dread here, and dread is a compliment when describing a horror movie. For example, there's an early scene when Larry is pulling a couch up a flight of stairs. We are shown a nail on the banister and it's proximity to Larry's straining hand. It lingers, and we anticipate a nasty injury. It's a small scene but an intense one. Clive Barker is not half bad here. He obviously cares, since he's directing one of his own stories. He knows how to scare people, and restraint is an alien term to him. The scene when Frank regenerates himself is a real sloppy mess, and again, that's a compliment.You ever get the nervous feeling before you watch a horror movie with a nasty reputation? Yeah, I did until I was about 12, but it's a cool feeling. I dare some squeamish people to rent this, and I bet that not only will you like it, but you'll probably like horror movies a lot more. (Look for the unrated version.)