You'd be forgiven for thinking this sordid little S&M-fest wasn't
British at all, despite its impeccable pedigree and all-round Gothicness
(is that a word? It is now).
In fact, take away the copious blood-letting and kinky death/sex stuff
and what you're left with is a Hammer film, to all intents and purposes
(monster in the attic, woman luring men into said attic with promise of
sex etc). Yet when you watch it, it positively reeks of our American cousins.
Why? Because for some reason in the late 80s, if it wasn't American, it
didn't sell, that's why.
Now I'm not some kind of little Englander with a huge chip on my shoulder,
but this seems a bit strange. The film was made in Britain, with a British
cast and British setting, yet it was then dubbed with American voices
and given a kind of Mid-Atlantic feel. And yet these days, when you think
of Gothic horror, you think of these shores. How things change.
Ah, well. Anyway, back to the film. Yes, Hellraiser is as British as cricket
and Big Ben - after all, there's nothing we like better than a quick rub-down
with some barbed wire before having all our skin ripped off and nails
banged into our skulls, is there? Except possibly a cup of tea, that is.
Hellraiser is all of these things and more. From its beginning, when Uncle
Frank makes the mistake of taking on an Oriental Rubik's Cube (this was
the eighties, after all) and gets ripped to pieces for his trouble (still
nasty, after all this time) to the ending when his niece frantically tries
to solve the puzzle to send hell's emmissaries back to where they came
from, it's a nasty, blood-soaked thrill-a-minute which has the power to
shock and offend, more than a decade after it was made.
Forget the baffling sequels and ignore the
occasionally dodgy effects - Hellraiser, with its iconic baddies
and bizarre imagery, is one of the few worthy successors to the golden
age of British horror cinema. When Pinhead says: "We have such sights
to show you
" he's not kidding.
Director: Clive Barker Writer(s): Clive Barker (also novel The Hellbound
Cast: Andrew Robinson - Larry Cotton, Clare Higgins - Julia Cotton, Ashley
Laurence - Kirsty Cotton, Sean Chapman - Frank Cotton, Oliver Smith - Frank
the Monster, Robert Hines - Steve, Antony Allen - 1st Victim, Leon Davis - 2nd
Victim, Michael Cassidy - 3rd Victim, Frank Baker - Derelict, Kenneth Nelson
- Bill, Gay Baynes - Evelyn, Niall Buggy - Dinner Guest, Dave Atkins - Moving
Man 1, Oliver Parker - Moving Man 2, Pamela Sholto - Complaining Customer, Doug
Bradley - Lead Cenobite (Pinhead), Nicholas Vince - Chattering Cenobite, Simon
Bamford - 'Butterball' Cenobite, Grace Kirby - Female Cenobite, Sharon Bower
- Nurse, Raul Newney - Doctor