We’re bringing out the big boys now with Clive Barker’s 80s horror classic Hellraiser which introduced us to the legendary character of Pinhead and his fellow Cenobites. Over 30 years have passed in Hellraiser history (it originally started life as Barker’s 1986 novella The Hellbound Heart) and it still has such sights to show us.
It’s really, really scary. Naughty Frank (Sean Chapman) buys a mysterious puzzle box from a dealer in Morocco. Back home he tinkers with it, summoning the Cenobites who like to deal out a whole lot of pain – and extreme pleasure too, they claim. FAKE NEWS. Being torn apart doesn’t look that pleasurable to be honest. With Frank in pieces – literally – the box is closed and dormant, with Frank presumed AWOL.
Frank’s brother Larry (Andrew Robinson) and second wife Julia (a brilliant Clare Higgins) move into the same house and an accident causes Larry’s blood to fall onto the floorboards. Frank is brought back to life by the blood offering and lurks in the attic, asking for Julia’s help – who he was having a passionate affair with when he was, like, not just some tendons – to bring him further blood sacrifices. But they have to be careful as if the Cenobites discover that he is alive again, they’ll be back for him. TO TEAR HIS SOUL APART. Again.
Add into this Larry’s teenage daughter Kirsty (Ashleigh Laurence), all wide eyed and Suspiria-like, who suspects her wicked stepmother is up to tricks and her father is in danger. And then she has a run-in with Pinhead and his crew.
Hellraiser was very gory for 1987 and it still holds up now as being pretty gross. Some of the effects may be dated but this remains firmly one of the best 80s horror movies, and one of the best of all time.
GORE RATING: 5/5
Watch it for: The Cenobites are iconic horror characters
Watch out for: Jesus Wept
Next up – An American Werewolf in London (1981)