Bad/awesome flixxx review: Hellraiser (1987)

"Come here, damn you, I want to touch you." - Frank Cotton

"Explorers in the further regions of experience. Demons to some. Angels to others. " - Pinhead

"No tears, please. It's a waste of good suffering." - Pinhead

Probably the number 4 best selling horror franchise of all time. I'm guessing that. The toss up for one and two would be NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET and FRIDAY THE 13TH, and I'd have to bet on HALLOWEEN being the 3rd biggest. No slouch in 4th place with a serious NINE sequels comes this piece of work from Clive Barker. His 1st feature written and directed by him based on one of his novellas. A pretty solid (arguably simple) plot with very effect special effects especially concerning the resurrection of Frank Cotton. Doug Bradley as the Cenobite Pinhead (although much like with Jason in FRIDAY THE 13TH not having a mask till later- they don't call him Pinhead till later in the series) in HELLRAISER!!!

Our story begins with a dude Frank buying a small puzzle box from some dealer in Morocco (?) or some such place and then proceeding to draw a pentagram on the floor and hang out naked in his house with candles in the dark playing with this thing like its some kind of porno rubix cube. Apparently he never heard the saying, "be careful what you wish for"- because on his search for eternal sexual enlightening he unlocks the puzzle and comes across the keepers of those secrets. The keepers are a quad of s&m sex monsters called cenobites that rip his skin off using hooked chains shooting out from the puzzle box. Cenobites are a gang of religious monks that hang out together in groups. These cenobites just so happen to be crazy sadomasochist sex monsters from Hell. CONGRATULATIONS.

So fast forward, and we have a couple moving into the dingy old house trying to repair their strained relationship. The marriage is the second for the husband Larry, who is moving back into this old house that's been in his family for years. Turns out his derelict half brother (Frank) has been squatting in the old house but has seemingly abandoned it. It ALSO turns out that right before they were married, Frank came to their old house during a storm and totally fucked Larry's (HIS BROTHERs) wife, and made her beg for it. He came in a just used her and made her act like the cheapest slut ever. It was pure lust and she is obviously haunted by this memory. Also moving to town is the dude's daughter (Kirsty) from his first marriage who kind of hates the new wife (Julia) anyway. But she has no plans to stay in that creepy house. So as they are moving in to the house, Larry cuts his hand on a nail pretty badly and drips blood on the floor in the attic, somehow conjuring up Frank's spirit, allowing him to SOMEHOW escape the Cenobite's realm. I call bullshit on this. It seems like EVERY movie I watch only need drip blood onto the ground or field or in the woods to somehow resurrect some evil shit that comes back to haunt them until they can quell it back into some Hellish depths (see ELVES). At one point there's this creepy homeless guy who eats a bunch of moths and creeps the shit out of Kirsty and anyone else who has eyeballs.

Oozing up out of the ground and reforming his exoskeleton, Frank calls out to Julia from the attic. Even as a half formed bloody monstrocity he somehow still makes her panties wet. So she agrees to go out and get him more blood. While Larry is at work, Julia goes out barhopping and brings home no less than four or five dudes with the promise of a good happy hour fuck and then smashes them in the head with a hammer while Frank then sucks them bone dry and hides the bodies in an upstairs guest bedroom! Julia obviously begins to go out of her mind all the while lusting for Frank to be whole again so they can be together. When Julia considers bailing on the whole thing after he keeps requiring more bodies, Frank explains the story of the puzzle box to her. Julia agrees to bring home one last dude, but gets busted by Kirsty who was coming to talk to Julia about acting strange at her father's behest.

Kirsty sneaks up the stairs and interrupts the murder. Frank tries to grab and kill her, but Kirsty is smart and grabs the puzzle box and slings it out the window. Frank freaks out and Kirsty splits out of the house and down the street, grabbing the box on the road, but its power makes her weak and she passes out, waking up in a hospital bed. The doctor gives her the box back and then she solves the puzzle and the cenobites come to get her. She barely escapes them and when Pinhead tells her she's gotta come with them, she says she knows that one of their subjects escaped and basically makes a deal that if she rats out where Frank is, they'll leave her alone. So she goes back to the house and sees her dad. He tells her not to worry because he had to kill Frank and he's knows all about everything. She doesn't believe him until he shows her the corpse. Then she freaks out because she realizes he's just Frank wearing LARRY'S SKIN!!! Frank tries to kill her and ends up killing Julia instead, but he doesn't care because he was just using her in the first place. DOH!! And then when he's about to kill Kirsty, he admits that he's Frank and then the Cenobites appear POOF! And then they rip him to shreds and decide to renege on their deal, but Kirsty somehow begins sending them back into the puzzle by solving it backwards. Yeah, I guess I'd try that before they started ripping me apart. Still a little hard to believe if you ask me. So her and her boyfriend manage to send them all back and they try to burn the box, but the creepy old bum grabs the box out of the fire and transforms into a winged dragon skeleton and flies away while they look on. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? They'd have to put me in the psycho tank after seeing all that shit. Somehow the box makes its way back to the original store and the dude is about to sell it again. The end. Should you see this? Absolutely. I can't vouch for its sequels, but this is class A horror right here.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Gerald Abernethy