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Overall Rating

Awesome: 31.94%
Worth A Look33.33%
Average: 1.39%
Pretty Bad: 8.33%
Total Crap: 25%

3 reviews, 54 user ratings

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Hellraiser: Inferno
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by the Grinch

"One of the best Hellraiser movies and NOT to be considered a sequel"
4 stars

Ok, so it doesn't have a freakin Motorhead video with Doug Bradley in a mosh pit at the end (I kid you not). What it does have is a fresh new script that takes the Hellraiser mythos and throws it in a badly needed new direction. If you like films like Jacob's Ladder, check this out.

Let's be realistic here, the first Hellraiser movie was a cheap, sensationalistic B grade movie at best. Is it any wonder that things soon degenerated into Cenobites with monickers like "ToasterHead" and "Juice-Weasel Face", not to mention that they killed off the Pinhead character in Part 2, then bring him back as a major player in the series with absolutely no explanation. The Hellraiser films were terminally stuck in the 80's, even in the 90's! Until now...

Hellraiser: Inferno pretty much washes its hands of all this nonsense without even saying such, and manages to tap into the largely unrealized possibilities of Barker's world. If you forget about all the other Hellraiser movies and only think of Inferno as another story, another lost soul, another personal hell, then you should get alot of enjoyment from it...and if you were a fan of Barker's novella "The Hellbound Heart" and Marvel/EPIC's brilliantly illustrated Hellraiser based comics, and you have enough patience to follow a suspenseful, thoughtful script (read:ADD-) then I think this straight to video offering will have you hooked. Get it?! Hellraiser, hooks, errr....

While it's true that Doug Bradley (Pinhead) is only in the movie for a few minutes, the Pinhead character does play a pivotal role in the film. Instead of focusing on the freakishly fetishistic Cenobites, which seemed to be the modus operandi in most of the other films, the focus is more on the characters and the story. The Cenobites were never intended to be the focus in the Hellraiser world, insatiable desire was the focus...nor are they the monsters, just the messengers...people like Frank and Julia from the first film are the true monsters. Scott Harrison and Paul Boardman have developed an excellent script inspired largely by Dante's concept of the 9 circles of hell. This is the type of smart horror you don't see much anymore, because it's largely unappreciated...horror flicks are apparently supposed to be disposable pulp, superlative blood and guts, the mad stalker waiting to cut Naomi Campbell's nipples off with a cheese-cutter. God forbid if someone puts some humanity, spiritual relevance, and true psychological horror in their films.

(possible spoilers ahead)

The story isn't overly complex, but it's simplicity is probably one of its strong points. Harrison's film noirish tale features a character from the book called "The Engineer", who was contracted by Leviathan to construct the many levels and labyrinthes of hell. The only other film appearance of The Engineer was in Hellraiser 2, and since they denigrated him into Hell's Hall Monitor, a shitty looking puppet reject from BasketCase, let's pretend that never happened, ok?

The acting in this was the best in the series...I mean, who was in the previous movies? The chick from Baywatch Nights, that's who. Craig Sheffer does a decent job as a corrupt police detective obsessed with finding a missing child held by a seedy, underworld character (ahem). Doug Bradley seems rejuvenated to finally be in a Hellraiser movie that doesn't play like bad vaudeville. While he only gets a few lines of dialog, trust me, these are some of his best lines yet, the choice CUTS...heheh, Damn, need to stop reading those Tales From the Crypt comics. There's a few bad actors in this film, to be sure, but the veteran actors like Sheffer and the emotively-eyed Nicholas Turturro (NYPD Blue) pick up the slack. The real star of Hellraiser: Inferno, though, is Scott Derrickson's direction. Through the use of odd editing cuts and turned cameras, Derrickson creates a very confusing and disorienting environment for the viewer that adds to the psychological horror in the film. The final scene with Pinhead is most notable, with exquisitely rendered lighting and choreographed placement of actors.

My only real beef with Inferno is the musical score. While it's certainly sufficient, it's nowhere near the majestic score that Chris Young contributed to Hellraiser and Hellbound. But I think this was the producers' intent, to distance the film from the other movies as much as possible.

Clive Barker was apparently none too happy with this movie, but I think maybe it's understandable bitterness because the studio didn't want him involved. Barker's a great writer, but he can sure as hell sink a movie...Rawhead Rex, anyone? Lord of Illusions come to mind? The yawnfest Candyman 2? Don't believe me? Then go down to the Vidshack and remind yourself, or go read an issue of the EctoKid comic...suck city. Although he's credited appropriately, this is someone else's intrepretation of the story, not Barker's.

Speaking of which, it kind of irks me that this is listed as Hellraiser 5, and considered a sequel by so many people. LISTEN CLOSELY: IT'S NOT CALLED HELLRAISER 5. It's in no way sequential. The box clearly says HELLRAISER: INFERNO, and this was intentionally done to set it apart from the horridly mundane and idiotic sequels. Hellraiser: Inferno probably has more in common with films like 'Jacob's Ladder' than it does with the other members of the Hellraiser family.

It may not have a theatrical release, it may not have a large budget, it may not be a special effects splatterfest (though the FX it does have are top-notch), but Hellraiser: Inferno is just what this series and the Horror genre in general need...a double helping of style AND substance.

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originally posted: 11/25/00 19:08:31
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User Comments

9/22/17 morris campbell the only good hellraiser sequel is the scarlet gosphels 1 stars
6/29/14 dmfnyce this movie gets the finger 2 stars
10/02/10 archont Inferno eschews fake blood and latex for a frightenning psychological trip. Very ambitious. 4 stars
9/15/10 Chris McGinnis Doesn't really follow the Hellraiser serious, but still awesome! 5 stars
12/04/08 Shaun Wallner Awesome Story! 5 stars
3/08/08 Donald D If I want to see "Jacob's Ladder"'ll just go watch "Jacob's Ladder." 1 stars
10/20/07 chistianmonk As a born again christian, this movie should be the #2 movie behind THE PASSION OF CHRIST 5 stars
12/20/06 Matthew Little This movie is fantastic..."A" 5 stars
11/11/06 cody Different is always the best , the film had good effects and acting, it had to many endings 2 stars
10/14/06 hells angels this was the best hellraiser movie! i do not care what any 1 else says about it............ 5 stars
10/09/06 K.Sear Wow! A much needed breath of fresh air. 5 stars
10/04/06 Sugarfoot Turns Pinhead into morality tale, it's still better than #4 but still... 2 stars
10/03/05 Biz-e Boooooooooooorrrrrrrrrrrrriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnngggggggggggggggg!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1 stars
9/30/05 ShabbaRanks Lame, dull, stupid, bad acting, cheesy effects, lifeless to no Pinhead. Turd. 1 stars
9/29/05 Jakub Definitely, without a doubt, the most BORING of the series. At least Chatterer is back! 2 stars
8/05/05 John Earl A worthy addition to the Hellraiser saga 4 stars
3/04/05 the pixi not perfect but a good new direction closer to the book 4 stars
8/31/04 Tuomo Haatainen Nice movie, it was actually a bit scary at times, unlike any other hellraiser movie. 4 stars
7/30/04 Josh Standlee Very entertaining, but it needed more Pinhead. 4 stars
5/14/04 Metathrom Excellent, surreal movie with a clever plot. I wanted better cenobites though. :( 4 stars
4/10/04 Fayme Awesome movie 4 stars
3/18/04 Umbrella Corporation. 1979... He came home, 1987 the puzzle is solved... 2004, MICHAEL MYERS VS. PINHEAD!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
3/17/04 PAYNE_KillerZ Pinhead may've not been in it for long but, a character's descent into MADNESS... Yes!!!!!! 5 stars
2/08/04 Atrophy666 Hey I liked it Scott 5 stars
12/22/03 the Grinch Hey Lou, at least I can SPELL! Who the fuck are you, PRINCE? 4 stars
11/02/03 American Slasher Goddess Hellraiser meets NYPD Blue. Pinhead makes a five minute cameo. Truely bad. 1 stars
9/25/03 moira didn't make any bloody sense, also confusing 1 stars
8/02/03 Double G Great 5 stars
5/18/03 lou safire ok film but the best is no 1 , u are an inadequte critic , an it shows 4 stars
4/04/03 someone - 5 stars
2/25/03 smelliemellie ROCKS!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
10/14/02 FoRo This movie was fucking cool. and suck ass is you. lol 5 stars
8/28/02 Bob MacBryce Agree with the Grinch completely. Although i really liked the ambient music too. 5 stars
4/27/02 maximal01 Yeah yeah. (Almost) makes up for that abomination that was "Hellraiser 4: Bloodlines". 4 stars
4/09/02 Bob MacBryce Seen them all. This one rules. Learn to live with the fact that the eighties are over. 5 stars
3/07/02 Alan Smithee Not as bad as I was expecting, but still a far cry from the first film. 3 stars
2/10/02 B. Kwon It was very different from the others, but strangley enough I really enjoyed It!!!!!!!!!! 4 stars
1/12/02 Andrew Carden At This Point The Series Had Gone On 3 Too Many Sequels. 1 stars
1/11/02 deimos420 too fucking cool for words 5 stars
11/03/01 Dave W This movie was awesome....I don't know what you're talking about 5 stars
9/18/01 Tony the tiger with commentary by Steven the snake A surprise 5 stars
8/25/01 JesseL Liked every Hellraiser a lot, but this one stinks. 1 stars
8/21/01 ice werewolf great movie! kept me interrested from start to finish, and what an ending! 5 stars
8/06/01 E-Funk I was surprised to say the least. Interesting way to further the series, but S-To-Video!!!! 4 stars
8/02/01 Elgyn Good idea - bad execution (no pun intended). Dull. 2 stars
7/29/01 the Grinch You loved the first four? Well...that says it all, doesn't it? 5 stars
5/16/01 Rampage Those horror movies are staring to piss me off. Time for a new trend! 1 stars
5/10/01 Shawn Lawrence Maybe it would be good if they didn't cling to the hellraiser name. nah... 1 stars
4/26/01 Basil A lot better than I thought it would be. 5 stars
3/11/01 Hollister Fracus This was a total piece of shit! I loved the first four, but this sucked. 1 stars
3/05/01 Suzie Q Pretty gross. I mean, getting my back ripped off with little hooks isn't my idea of fun! 5 stars
1/26/01 Diego Romero Who comes up with this shit?A guy with a brain 5 stars
1/03/01 AaronZombie Good effects, and a good atmosphere, but boring, and bad acting. Skip it. 2 stars
11/12/00 Ground Zero who comes up with this shit?! 1 stars
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  03-Oct-2000 (R)
  DVD: 19-Apr-2011

  11-Feb-2002 (18)

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