The news that Clive Barker will be involved in a reboot of the Hellraiser franchise made me want to go back and revisit the original. After all, Hellraiser has shaped (and warped) minds like mine for more than 25 years. If it comes to pass – we all know how these things (somtimes don’t) go down – I wonder if Hellraiser will make me change my mind about remakes…
1987 was a good year for horror fans. It saw the release of Evil Dead II, The Lost Boys, Predator, The Prince of Darkness, in addition to a slew of sequels to popular films in the genre like the Nightmare on Elm Street and Howling franchises. For me, 1987 was solidified as an important year for the genre thanks to the release ofClive Barker‘s masterpiece, Hellraiser.
Imaginative, horrifying, visually spectacular, Hellraiser is everything a horror film is meant to be.
When a deviant, boundary-pushing young man named Frank (Sean Chapman) unwittingly opens a gateway to Hell, he unleashes the wrath of the Cenobites – demonlike creatures who appear from another realm intent on inflicting pain and pleasure on the person responsible for “solving” their puzzle box.
Starring Clare Higgins as Frank’s secret lover, Julia, and introducing the dark haired beauty, Ashley Laurence as Julia’s stepdaughter, Kirsty, Hellraiser is as terrifying as it is provocative and sexy.
Even after more than 25 years, the scene in which Frank’s decimated body begins to regenerate in an attic room of the family home remains true and artful, inspiring slews of “gross!” This is a lasting tribute to the vision of Clive Barker, who wrote and directed Hellraiser, and his ability to entangle elements of the mundane, the fantastic, the spiritual and religious with themes of an overtly sexual manner. Hellraiser is definitely a must-see experience for any horror fan.
What I enjoy about the works of Barker is that, in the end, someone always pays the price for their transgressions. Always. It is this seminal, Christian-anchored morality that makes Barker’s work as fundamentally terrifying as it is enjoyable. After all, isn’t it more fun when all the right people get it in the end?
The exciting thing to imagine in a potential series reboot are the extensive leaps in special effect technologies we’ve seen since the 1980s, Hellraiser still looks amazing, after all, but this is an area where the franchise could really push boundaries – and imaginations.
With lesser zeal, I try to imagine the casting process for Pinhead, Kirsty, and the pivotal roles of Julia and Frank. I’d love to see some lesser (or completely un-) known actors, especially in the role of Kirsty. The character is given to such a fresh innocence that is completely stripped away the moment she enters the storyline and things begin happening. It would be an amazing opportunity for any young actress. Who would you guys like to see in the roles?