I own a Lament Configuration box. It doesn’t actually have any moving pieces and demons do not spawn from it when I try and solve it. However, it is a cool ass looking thing to have sitting in your living room. And that’s something you’ll notice when you watching Hellraiser, is that it’s been well designed. The box is cool looking, Pin Head is cool looking and the sets and sound design are all so friggin cool. Clive Barker may have a crazy imagination, but he knows what works on screen. That being said, I still wont watch this film with the box in view…because..well you know! It might open!
What’s in the box?
For the uninitiated, Hellraiser weaves the story of , the Lament Configuration puzzle box, which when solved opens up a door way to an extradimensional realm and its sadomasochistic rulers, the Cenobites. Written and Directed by Barker himself, the First film in a series of nine , Hellraiser is a tour de force of graphic violence and gore. It first hit the big screens back in 1987 and quickly found itself a cult following. Despite being silly at times, its a disturbing and creepy film that deserves more credit than it gets.
Come to Daddy!
Id like to say that Hellraiser is an intelligent film, compared to other films out at that time, it’s script is strong and it’s cast solid, with the Likes of Andrew Robinson, Ashley Laurence and Doug Bradley all performing exceptional well considering the genre. Hellraiser was release amongst a decade of tongue in cheek slasher movies and wink at the camera gore-fests. Barkers smart script set it apart.
Some people have said that Hellraiser takes itself a little too serious at times , I could not disagree more. Yes, it does have some very serious undertones dealing with seduction, punishment and redemption and it never really shy’s away from this, but at every other step its throwing over the top death scenes and blood bubbling up and exploding across the screen. It’s this careful balance between the two that help to keep the films tone even throughout.
He had to put on a brave face!
There’s lots of gore, the type you only see in films of it’s time. Modern Horrors rely far to heavily on CG to ever really have the punch that the 80’s had. I fear that there will be a Remake announced any day now, and you know that it will be filled with cgi chains whizzing around and poorly composited CGI blood squirts.
Amongst the horror and carnage is a fantastic score composed by Christopher Young,. The music creeps in and out at all the right times. It almost feels as if the music is coming out from the shadows at you. It’s haunting soundtrack filled with gentle violins and pianos sections…really creepy stuff.
Here’s looking at you kid!
Interestingly, the Hellraiser films are one of the lowest grossing of all the big franchise, but having only four of it’s nine hit the big screen, compared with Nightmare on elm street or Halloween that had all its films released at the cinema.
I believe Hellrasier to be one of the most visually significant films of the 80’s. Its a bloody and violent film tied up with a good cast and sprinkled with a great score. There a few films that stand the test of time, But I still enjoy watching this film just as much as I did when I was a kid. It’s dark, thrilling and disturbing, and I can’t get enough of it. It’ll tear your soul apart!
- Overall Score 71% 71%
The Geek Says…
- Andrew Robinson ad-libbed ,the line”Jesus wept.”, instead of using the “fuck you” line written in the script! It ended up having more impact and became the most quotable line in the film.
- All the Cenobites had dialogue in the original shooting script, but The Chatterer and Butterball Cenobites makeup made it impossible to hear. Rather than dub over, the lines were given to the other two Cenobites.
- In the Original Script refer to Pinhead as Priest. Barker hates the name Pinhead, which was coined by the crew whilst shooting. Doug Bradley was only credited as Lead Cenobite in the first film.