Come to daddy. Frank
Hellraiser (1987) is the first adaptation of Clive Barker’s novella Hellbound Heart; he’s also responsible for the screenplay and direction of the film. The dark eroticism of this film and the original story is what draws me to this world. Once inside, the terror of what is happening kicks in, and I no longer want to be in the beautiful box. It’s too late, though, and I must accept my fate. (Gladly)
Christopher Young holds as much responsibility for how this movie feels as Clive. Without the chilling soundtrack to go along with the visuals, the film wouldn’t be as riveting. Each element intermingles, making me feel something extraordinary that I don’t often feel from movies. The effects are exceptional, everything from the blood seeping into the wood floor to the detail of the Lead Cenobite’s make-up (hold on, I’ll talk about that in a second).
Frank has this rough trade kind of sexual attraction to him while his brother Larry is opposite with his brutal blandness, which leaves the question of why Julia was interested in him at all; must have been money. Speaking of Julia, she’s the character that I love to hate. She’s a beast, no wonder Kirsty doesn’t want to live with them.
As the credits at the end roll, I see Lead Cenobite, Chattering Cenobite, Butterball Cenobite, and Female Cenobite, but no mention of Pinhead. There’s no reference to Pinhead in the novella either, but the Engineer is. And as I think on it, wasn’t the Cenobite with pins in their head female? Where exactly did the term Pinhead originate?
I give Hellraiser 5 out of 5 Stars.
It is not hands that call us. It is desire. Pinhead
Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988) opens with closing scene outtakes from Hellraiser, then moves to Captain Elliot Spencer opening the box to be transformed into “Pinhead.” The credits show Pinhead instead of Lead Cenobite, but having viewed the film again recently, no one calls him that. We are silly mortals. I’m not sure he likes being called that either. And that’s not the only strange thing in this sequel.
While Christopher Young provides the music for this episode, yes, it’s bizarre, but no, that’s not what I was referring. The first is Julia. I distinctly remember Frank sucking her dry on the stairs, but now she’s in a mattress with chains coming from it. Was it Julia’s corpse that held the box on the bed? I don’t know who was on the bed. To me it just looked like a decayed body.
Dr. Phillip Channard is a pompous ass, as much as Julia is a bitch, so they are a match made in hell. (I made a funny.) The progression of the story with them is creepy and disturbing, but I love his transformation into Cenobite the most. His biggest douche bag moment (for me anyway) is the fact that he doesn’t open the box himself and wants to be a voyeur.
The Escher like structure is so cool, I’ve always loved the way the backdrop of this world looks. I’d had thought, though, that the world would have more Cenobites. The dark beams coming from Leviathan have always been strange for me visually, but I couldn’t say what they could’ve done in 1988 to make it more appealing. I love the stop motion animation used with Cenobite Channard and in other parts of this film.
Channard killing the Cenobites is unreal and strange. Don’t get me wrong. I find it an interesting concept. At least with the ending, they gave the possibility of another sequel as the Pillar of Souls emerges from the mattress; someone needs to burn that fucking thing already.
Even with the hiccups, I felt with Hellbound: Hellraiser II, I give it 4.5 out of 5 Stars.
There is only flesh. Pinhead
Don’t worry kids, just because Cenobite Channard killed the other Cenobites in the last movie doesn’t mean that they are dead. Remember that thing that came out of the bloody mattress at the end, well yeah, it’s in Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth (1992). This one is sexier than the last, and I can’t tell you how happy that makes me since I’ve always thought Hellbound Heart a.k.a. Hellraiser was some of the best dark erotica I’ve ever witnessed.
The story changes from Kirsty Cotton and the other members of the Cotton family to a TV reporter, Joey, looking for a break. J.P. Monroe is a sexy beast, who owns a nightclub called The Boiler Room. Based on the name, I’d expect it to be more BDSM than it was. Well, anyway, he buys the Pillar of Souls from the creepy homeless dude from the first movie.
Joey has recurring dreams about the Viet Nam War and her father dying in battle before she was born; I don’t know why, but I guess we all have our crosses to bear. And that’s not all; Pinhead is now like Frank and Julia needing sustenance to return to flesh, which is an interesting point in Hellraiser lore. Of course, there’s always more to it.
Sometimes having multiple stories happening in one film can cause me to become disoriented, but the editing made this easy to consume without getting lost in the details. Captain Spencer’s backstory isn’t new at this point, but it’s interesting to see from a bit of a different angle. I enjoy what Pinhead is doing in the Boiler Room, unleashing hell, though I wonder why only a few were transformed into Cenobites. Speaking of, after all these years, I still don’t know how I feel about them.
Is it me or was Joey the first to call him Pinhead?
With the final fade in, we are transported to a building that is elaborately decorated with images of the box. Hold on, is that a reflection of Pinhead in the window near the revolving door?
I give Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth, 4.5 out of 5 Stars.