137 – The one about Hellraiser

Welcome to episode 137. Today, we talk about Hellraiser!

An unfaithful wife encounters the zombie of her dead lover, who’s being chased by demons after he escaped from their sado-masochistic Hell.

Join Scott, Randy, Brian and Brian Ibbott as they poke needles in your theories.


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19 thoughts on “137 – The one about Hellraiser

  1. Great Sack, great film.
    The location was very confusing, the train that went past was on old British Railways High Speed train, Original Frank, an English actor badly overdubbed.
    Filmed in England we know, but where were we supposed to be?

    • Hellraiser was originally supposed to be set in England, but New World Pictures imposed changes to Americanize it so that it would be more successful in the US. I believe Clive had already tried to Americanize the story somewhat by making Larry (formerly Rory) and Kirsty American, but apparently it wasn’t enough for New World. As a result, Frank, Steve, and several minor characters were dubbed (most likely the dinner guests and maybe one or two of Julia’s victims).

  2. Watched this for the first time two days ago. Found it to be more effective than I thought is was going to be. Make-up effects definitely hold up and without much analysis, found the plot to be disturbing on a visceral level. The lightning effects are totally laughable and the 80s-ness of it definitely takes one out of the story. Currently watching Hellbound: Hellraiser 2 with the hopes of piecing some things together…

  3. If you want to get the backstory of the box you should watch Hellraiser IV which is the story about the man who made the puzzle box. It was the last good Hellraiser movie in my opinion. But just for laughs you should also watch Hellraiser: Hellworld. Here is the netflix description.
    “In this eighth installment of Clive Barker’s film franchise, a group of Internet enthusiasts get sucked into a video game and soon score an invite to an exclusive and mysterious gathering, where the lines between cyberlife and reality are blurred. But when the soiree starts, the computer whizzes realize their host is none other than the maniacal Pinhead (Doug Bradley). And unfortunately for them, he knows how to throw a killer party.”
    Now there is a film sack movie.

    • I agree about Hellraiser IV. It’s my favorite, mainly because its very plot heavy where the other’s eschew plot for shock value.

      • I really have to disagree there. At the very least, Hellraiser and Hellraiser: Inferno are more plot heavy than Bloodline, and Bloodline has it’s share of shock value (basically the excessive number of kills for beings who are only supposed to be concerned with the person who summoned them).

  4. I agree with Randy to some degree but I don’t think every film needs to explain every little detail. Why do we need to know why the box is evil? It’s clearly a box that summons demons, we don’t really need to know WHY. Oh, and Frank said ‘come to daddy’ because he’s a pervert, not because he’s her actual dad. 🙂

    And I think American Beauty is very overrated…….

    • Oh, sorry, forgot- regarding Randy’s Twitter post, how do we know what Julia does is against her nature? Kirsty doesn’t like her for a reason……

      And you guys should watch Hellraiser 2 and 3, they are sort of watchable. And Face/Off is AWESOME!

  5. Instead of watching Hellraiser again to prep for this FilmSack, I read the original Clive Barker short “The Hellbound Heart.” It’s very similar, although Pinhead was female, Kirsty was Larry’s friend, not daughter, and ‘the box’ was solid black instead of the schnazzy movie version.
    Can the Hellraiser series really be the _lowest_ grossing horror franchise? Phantasm (awesome in its own way) was mentioned and I can’t believe that did better. What about Critters? Or Sleepaway Camp? Or dare I ask Tremors?

    • I really doubt Hellraiser’s the lowest of all time. It might be the lowest grossing of the well-known horror franchises. But compared to something like the Puppet Master series, I’m fairly confident that Hellraiser is more successful. Also, Phantasm went direct to video by the third installment so I doubt it grossed higher than Hellraiser.

  6. I think the key difference between Barker (80s Barker) and King at that time is that King is a ‘cleaner’ writer than Barker. While the Books of Blood largely wallow in violence, in equating sex with death, and examining a cavalcade of damaged characters, King doesn’t get down in the gutter that much. Sure, King can go for the gross out, but he does prefer to build suspense before hitting you with the shocks. And he is more optimistic – characters do tend to survive his stories, and they aren’t usually put through the meat grinder as much as Barker did. Plus his characters aren’t as damaged as Barker’s.

    Perhaps a future Film Sack movie would be Nightbreed, the adaptation of Barker’s novel Cabal?

  7. This movie is the only one that seemed to try make the cenobites (ceral? lol) as neutral players. “Angels to some. Demons to others.” has been their tag line. Pinhead briefly tries to explain that they are just explorers. I noticed that was abandoned very quickly in the following movies.
    Am I also the only one who thought the Kristi Cotton’s character had way too many daddy-issues going on?
    Totally agree with Randy’s assessment of the movie. Dirtiest. House. Ever.

    • The cenobites are portrayed mostly the same in Hellraiser II, with the possible exception of Channard. Even the first Hellraiser shows that the cenobites can be antagonistic, when they decide they want Kirsty’s soul in addition to Frank’s.

  8. The Hellraiser series is good up until the 3rd movie, after that it deviates from Barker original idea, I recommend watch the first 3 then skip to the new Boom! Studios comic series that is written by Clive Barker along with other writers, that is a brilliant comic, I highly recommend.
    The other Barker directed movie The Lord of Illusions is also worth watching, it has Scott Bakula in it.
    Both these series are related by the way, they occur in the same universe.

  9. A few thoughts

    Pinhead was never meant to be the main Cenobite – Clive Barker wanted to put much more emphasis on the Female Cenobite, but Pinhead just took off… they put more emphasis on the Female Cenobite in Hellraiser:Bloodlines, a sequel which I can actually recommend – they give a lot more information about the Lament Configuration and there are some damn good moments.

    To me the overall dirtiness – the town, the house, fingernails etc. was symbolic – showing that pretty much everything was “dirty,” unclean. Only Kirsty was not yet touched by the spiritual dirt which eventually leads to destruction and the Cenobites.

    To me Julia was drawn to Frank and obeyed him so willingly in his rebirth because they were the same underneath. Frank expressed his hedonism and self-degradation openly while Julia tried to hide it from herself and everyone else. That’s why she initially slept with him while engaged to Larry, why she was so prissy (fear of who she was underneath) and why she then so willingly gave herself over to Frank and to violence, deceit and murder. She had married Larry not out of love but because he suited her “mask,” ineffectual, conformist in all aspects and weakly good. Nothing that could challenge her. Frank on the other hand seduced her because he saw her how she truly was.

    As to not everything (almost everything!) not being explained – I kind of like that. Stephen King said something along the lines of the greatest horror is the one in your own head – not explaining things allows you to fill in thte gaps with the worst you can imagine.

    The sequels…. 2 is pretty good, 3 jumps the shark ( Cenobite that fires cds from his face, anyone?), 4 pulls it back and delivers pretty well and then it’s down to the basement as fast as they can fall. The 7th and 8th were adapted from unrelated scripts and just had the Hellraiser theme bolted on. Scott, if you want to get Hellraiser creepiness out of your system, definitely watch 3 – it’s so tacky that you will never be bothered by the franchise again ( except to bemoan the time lost watching 3.)

    • I’m willing to bet Clive Barker didn’t place that much importance on the cenobites as individual characters. They’re interchangeable in the book except for their appearance and gender. Making Pinhead the leader wasn’t a major deviation. And it was Clive who made Pinhead the leader in the first movie, before there was any hoopla over the character.

  10. Oh man, I’m bummed – Super Troopers isn’t streaming now :-/ I was looking forward to watching a Troopers double feature for Film Sack…oh well need to just get the dvd hehe 🙂

    I never was much of a Clive Barker fan, to be honest – I enjoyed watching this movie but…eh….his style of horror isn’t my thing. Absolutely loved the podcast tho – and man next week – one of my favorites! Can’t wait for the Clue episode!

  11. Talk about a coincidence.
    I watched almost all the Hellraiser movies during last week end.
    The good ones in the serie ares 1,2 and 4. you can forget the rest and actively avoid anything made after 2000.

  12. One thing on the Clive Barker vs Stephen King is that Hellraiser is Clive Barkers movie from start to finish. He wrote it (The Hellbound Hart) and then directed the movie, and I don’t think he is a great director, but he had a very clear and concise visual drive on the movie. Where I feel a lot of the stuff that Stephen King had a hand in movie wise feels more meandering.

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