Hell Raiser: “A Classic Never Duplicated”

5 Mar

For the Uncensored!

What hasn’t there been said about a classic like Hell Raiser that the sequels never got right? To begin, Hell Raiser, released in 1987, from master horror writer, Clive Barker, and directed by the man himself, studies the case of a family, that is not quite right. Not quite right is an understatement. The wife, Julia (played exquisitely by Clare Higgins in a performance she has never reached since) is having difficulties in her marriage to her husband, Larry (played with a impish attitude by Andrew Robinson) and his daughter, from a previous marriage, Kirsty (played by Ashley Laurence, who still commands and steals each scene she is in, and also delivers such a captivating performance, with top notch energy and youth, as it was her first film) who is a young girl budding with sexual energy, and she stays with a boy, Steve (played by Robert Hines as he’s the dopey unaware love interest who doesn’t realize the horror taking place with Kirsty’s family) instead of living at the house.

            What turns into a family drama is then laced with lust, as Julia finds a picture of Frank, and she remembers a time when Frank and her have sex, and the expressions on Julia face bring us to the center of the story. As her husband, Larry, who complains of a cut, and his blood touches the floor in the room where his brother, Frank, squatted in. The blood disappears, and he is resurrected back to life. We realize Julia doesn’t love her husband, and when she investigates a sound, a man with no skin on appears, and he tells her, “It’s me Frank.” He was brought back to life from blood, as he needs victims to become whole again. Frank shows Julia what happened to him, as he is captured by demons, after opening a box to there dimension, and he needs to return back to his normal self through more sacrifices.

            There are some really scary scenes that still say so much about the film, without saying too little, but the violence and the emotional thrill is still there every time you watch it. The palpable emotions of a fucked up family, where then the most well-known characters, the Cenobites, with the most well-known character, Pinhead proclaims to Kirsty, “We are demons to some, angels to others.”

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbogOqTzyxY

            This line is paraphrased in Kentaro Miura’s seminal work, Berserk, in Vol. 13, where the Godhand say the same exact phrase. 

            After Julia brings home victim after victim, Frank starts to lust over Kirsty, and what ends is Kirsty having to close the box that Frank opened, as her father, Larry, now consumed by Frank, says before he explodes, as hooks are piercing his flesh, “Jesus wept.” You get from that scene alone of how Frank enjoys the pleasure he is taking in from the Cenobites. When Kirsty closes the box, she closes it and then makes her escape with the young fuck wit boyfriend Steve. 

            Upon thinking about Hell Raiser, there are so many things to talk about, but the bare bones plot seems to fill and create such a strong film that the various sequels have never seem to match or attain. Not even Jurassic Park sequels have the intensity that the first Jurassic Park had. It was complete and seemed to tell a whole story about lust and how achieving ultimate pleasure has consequences. 

            The same is said for the Hellraiser sequels. They seem like they are too preoccupied with following the trend the movie made, but never living up to the promise of making a story that compliments the first.

            The thing that stands out the most to me is that Hellraiser could be argued it was done cheaply, but Barker did what he could, and it still presents a unique admirable pleasure in watching a fun scary horror film that is inviting and delivers every single time. What people don’t know is that Alan Parker, who directed The Midnight Express, helped with Hell Raiser too.

            So, the fact is, Hell Raiser, in its form was way ahead of its time. I don’t consider the techniques Barker used for SFX cheap because it was 1987. It works fine still, and only the prudish would attack it, because maybe they are afraid to admit it’s scary, too. 

            While the film remains at a solid 7.0 on IMDB, it doesn’t represent the brutality and honesty the film presents, that no one is inescapable from Hell, and after all the years, Hell Raiser still is an original horror film that answers the question that Hell is real, and there are so many pleasures awaiting. 

Note from Louis: Thanks so much for reading my articles and being such a constant reader. I usually write two to three articles a day during the week, but one to two on the weekends. Also, I hate asking for help. I really do. But I want to stress that to keep my content ad free, please subscribe, donate, like my articles and comment, buy my books, leave a review. Sharing the article helps above all, too. All help is appreciated. If you do subscribe, you can have access to top tier articles and reviews, and also grow my page to help keep stay corporations mad all day.

-Louis Bruno is the author of more than 15 books, including, The Michael Project, The Michael Project: Book 2: The Lost Children of Eve, Thy Kingdom Come, The Disintegrating Bloodline, Apocalypse Soldier, Hierarchy of Dwindling Sheep. His books can be found on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Lulu. He can be found on Gab, https://gab.com/thereallouistbruno, Minds https://www.minds.com/lbruno8063/, and Parlerhttps://parler.com/profile/therealLouistbruno/posts. Instagram @lbrruno8063 and @louisbrunoofficialbook. He has written for the Intellectual Conservative and Ephemere. His latest, Come Home, Young One, a dark fantasy novel is out now at Lulu.com. Link is here: https://www.lulu.com/en/us/shop/louis-bruno/come-home-young-one/hardcover/product-pw8q7z.html?page=1&pageSize=4

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