Thursday, March 29, 2012

HELLRAISER movie review


Starring: Andrew Robinson, Clare Higgins, Ashley Laurence, Sean Chapman

Running time: 94 minutes

Year: 1987

Directed By: Clive Barker

Written By: Clive Barker

I remember the first time I saw the poster for this film. It was in a friend's bedroom and it had the scariest looking person plastered across the middle of it. This person was the notorious Pinhead. Written underneath his white, bald, nail impaled head was the title Hellraiser. I decided then that this was a film I would never dare watch. Recently however I decided that I should give this a chance as it is classed as a horror classic. I have to say I wish I had stuck to my original instinct and never actually watched this film. Not because it's scary but because it is dreadful.

The film follows four characters. To start with we see Frank (Chapman), a pleasure seeker who obtains a box. Once he solves the puzzle on the box he is transported to hell where he is put through ultimate pain by the Cybernites. After his pain he manages to escape and ends up being imbedded in the floor boards of his old family home.

Next we see couple Larry and Julia. Larry is Frank's brother and Julia is his girlfriend who once had an affair with Frank, something she can't stop fantasising about. The couple decide to move into this now abandoned house and whilst there Larry cuts himself, spilling the blood on the floorboards in the attic. The blood brings Frank back to life, but not completely human, just enough to be seen. As Frank begins to be reformed Julia notices him and her arousal towards him comes rushing back despite the state he is in. Soon it becomes clear that the more blood Frank receives, the more he re-forms. Due to Julia's infatuation with him she brings men back to the house with the promise of sex, only to kill them and allow Frank to take the blood.

The final character is Larry's daughter Kirsty, who dislikes her new mother-in-law Julia and stumbles across her Uncle Frank as he is regenerating. We get some feeling from his intimidation towards her that perhaps he raped her or fathered her, either way he forces her to run away with the box, and accidentally call the Cybernites. Pinhead then turns up trying to take her away to inflict some pain but she tries to strike a deal with them and deliver Frank back to them.

Each part of the film seems to follow a different character and to be fair I didn't care about any of them what so ever. I think half of the problem with that was the considerably terrible acting that was on show. It really was bad. Each character also seems to be really miserable, with no joy in their lives at all, meaning they were so one dimensional it wasn't believable.

The horror of it was also non-existent. Now I'm not saying horrors are particularly realistic but this one was beyond stupid. Fair enough Freddy Kruger and Michael Myers are not realistic, but I bought into their world and they were frightening. Here we got monsters that looked like puppets, and Cybernites that were nowhere near as scary as I was expecting them to be. The poster of them was far scarier. This film, considering the puppet like monsters and Ashley Laurence's striking resemblance to Winona Ryder, was like watching Beetlejuice, without the comedy of course.

I'll move onto Pinhead, whose image alone was the sole reason I watched this film. Let me tell you now Pinhead is barely in it. The fact that he has become a horror icon because of this is ridiculous because he isn't scary, has no screen time, pops up at strange moments when the story felt it needed something scary, and has an actor playing him so poorly that his lines would have been delivered better by the talking clock. Pinhead does not deserve to be an icon due to this movie.

Everything about this film is bad. It isn't a patch on Halloween, Friday the 13th, A Nightmare On Elm Street or, to an extent, Candyman. And they were all made before this and done everything horror films should do. Maybe they were trying to do something different here but it purely did not work. Horror fans love this movie, and for some reason put it on a pedestal but I can't understand why. This was certainly not the scary horror movie, with the scary horror icon that I was expecting.

1 / 5


Next film to be reviewed: THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES

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