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4.3 16
Director: Clive Barker

Cast: Andrew Robinson, Clare Higgins, Ashley Laurence


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The feature-film debut of multi-talented filmmaker Clive Barker, this grim and surreal project is based on the writer/director's own novella The Hell-Bound Heart. The film opens with a chilling prologue in which globe-trotting pervert Frank (Sean Chapman) -- a connoisseur of sexual depravity seeking the ultimate sensual experience -- purchases a small,


The feature-film debut of multi-talented filmmaker Clive Barker, this grim and surreal project is based on the writer/director's own novella The Hell-Bound Heart. The film opens with a chilling prologue in which globe-trotting pervert Frank (Sean Chapman) -- a connoisseur of sexual depravity seeking the ultimate sensual experience -- purchases a small, intricate puzzle box from an unseen dealer in an unspecified country. Upon solving the puzzle, Frank opens the door to a hellish alternate universe and is promptly torn to ribbons by a network of hooks and chains; his strewn body parts are subsequently collected by the Cenobites -- grotesque, S & M-clad denizens of hell. The story continues several years later, when Frank's brother, Larry (Andrew Robinson), moves into Frank's abandoned house with his daughter, Kirsty (Ashley Laurence), and his new wife, Julia (Clare Higgins). An accident causes some of Larry's blood to spill on the attic floor, which somehow triggers Frank's hideous resurrection. His body only half-composed, Frank seeks the tacit assistance of Julia -- with whom he had once had a torrid sexual liaison -- in restoring him to human form. Still secretly in love with Frank, Julia assists him by seducing men from the town and bringing them back to the house so her undead lover can drain their bodies of blood. Her increasingly furtive behavior arouses the suspicions of Kirsty, who had already moved to an apartment to get away from her despised stepmother. After following Julia and her next potential victim home, Kirsty comes face to face with the still-incomplete Frank, narrowly escaping with her life...and with the puzzle box. After losing consciousness, Kirsty awakens in the hospital, where she manages to solve the box's intricate mechanism and summon a trio of Cenobites -- including their apparent leader (played by Doug Bradley and dubbed "Pinhead" on subsequent sequels) -- who are prepared to claim her. In desperation, Kirsty offers them a bargain in which they agree to spare her soul if she leads them to Frank. Kirsty soon returns home to find Julia with her father...whose behavior has become disturbingly unnatural. Realizing that her father has become Frank's latest victim -- and that her uncle is now walking around in his brother's skin -- Kirsty hands Frank over to the Cenobites, who have particularly evil plans for their old friend.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble
Medieval tortures and edgy sexuality intermingle in Clive Barker's cult horror classic Hellraiser. The story follows sexy, young Kirsty (Ashley Laurence), her father (Andrew Robinson), and her stepmother (Clare Higgins) as they grapple with a quartet of bizarre demons called Cenobites who are summoned by a strange, cube-shaped puzzle box. Hellraiser features some top-notch gore, particularly the startling appearance of Kirsty's evil -- and skinless -- Uncle Frank. But the movie also creates a strange alternative universe -- about which it raises more questions than it answers, most notably concerning those demonic Cenobites, described by Barker as "ageless experts in the arts of refined pleasures and pain." The S/M-inspired look of these demons -- lead by a character known among fans as Pinhead -- is alone worth the price of admission. Anchor Bay's collectors-edition DVD includes audio commentary by the Barker and Ashley Laurence, a specially made featurette, and theatrical trailers.
All Movie Guide
Clive Barker's feature-directing debut is not only his strongest work as a filmmaker but one of the finest horror films of the 1980's. Barker's script is ambitious and carefully controlled all at once: the backstory weaves an elaborate mythology that is equal parts H.P. Lovecraft and S&M iconography but the author wisely roots these heady concepts in a scenario driven by a family unit of characters whose dysfunctional relationships give the viewer something to relate to. Barker the writer also works in a number of startling setpieces that allow Barker the director to show off a fully-formed set of filmmaking skills: highlights include the gruesome "rebirth" of Frank and the unnerving scene where reality folds in on itself as Kirsty unwittingly unleashes the Cenobites. Barker's stylish direction is aided immensely by slick lensing from Robin Vidgeon, who makes the film look much more expensive than its million-dollar budget, and the lush orchestral score by Christopher Young, which offsets the gruesome sights and sounds of the film with an almost romantic musical touch. Finally, and most importantly, the performances are fantastic: Clare Higgins is both sexy and scary as the unfaithful wife in thrall to the dark side while Sean Chapman exudes a sleazy charisma as Frank and Andy Robinson does a fine job cast against type as the nice-guy hubby caught in the middle. However, the heart of the film is Ashley Laurence's expressive turn as the daughter forced into fighting the film's evils: she does a fine job creating a character who is both sympathetic and resourceful (and she's also a great screamer). In short, Hellraiser is required viewing for fans of modern horror.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Starz / Anchor Bay
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]

Special Features

Mr. Cotton, I Presume?: an interview with star Andrew Robinson; Actress From Hell: an interview with star Ashley Laurence; Hellcomposer: an interview with composer Christopher Young; Hellraiser: Resurrection; Under the Skin: Doug Bradley on Hellraiser; Trailers; Audio commentary with writer/director Cliver Barker and Ashley Laurence, moderated by screenwriter Peter Atkins; TV spots; Storyboard gallery; Still gallery; Posters & advertising gallery; DVD-ROM: First draft screenplay; DVD-ROM: Final draft screenplay

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
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 Second Victim
Michael Cassidy Third Victim
Frank Baker Derelict
Kenneth Nelson Bill
Gay Baynes Evelyn
Niall Buggy Dinner Guest
Sharon Bower Nurse
Dave Atkins Moving Man
Oliver Parker Moving Man 2
Pamela Sholto Complaining Customer
Doug Bradley Lead Cenobite
Nicholas Vince Chattering Cenobite
Simon Bamford Butterball Cenobite
Grace Kirby Female Cenobite
Raul Newney Doctor

Technical Credits
Clive Barker Director,Screenwriter
Mark Armstrong Executive Producer
Michael Buchanan Production Designer
Jim Dowdall Stunts
Christopher Figg Producer
Jocelyn James Art Director
Joanna Johnston Costumes/Costume Designer
Bob Keen Special Effects
Richard Marden Editor
Selwyn Roberts Asst. Director
David Saunders Executive Producer
Sally Sutton Makeup
Robin Vidgeon Cinematographer
Christopher Webster Executive Producer
Francis Witt Musical Direction/Supervision
David Worley Cinematographer
Christopher Young Score Composer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Hellraiser [20th Anniversary Edition]
1. Main Titles [1:54]
2. The Puzzle Box [1:49]
3. Pinhead & the Cenobites [1:46]
4. Home, Sweet Home [5:38]
5. Moving Day [3:05]
6. Love Thy Brother [4:46]
7. Blood and Rebirth [3:41]
8. Noises in the Attic [6:06]
9. Desire [2:18]
10. Dream of Death [2:34]
11. Fatal Temptation [5:28]
12. Flesh and Bones [4:42]
13. An Unwelcome Visitor [2:40]
14. Heaven or Hell [1:50]
15. Close Shave [4:48]
16. Family Matters [3:52]
17. "It's Uncle Frank" [3:34]
18. Opening the Portal [3:40]
19. Demon [1:19]
20. From Hell They Came [3:00]
21. Unholy Betrayal [1:57]
22. The Awful Truth [6:00]
23. Cat and Mouse [3:46]
24. Ripped to Shreds [2:34]
25. Masters on Pleasure & Pain [2:51]
26. Wrath of the Demon [1:54]
27. Satan Revealed [2:21]
28. End Credits [3:09]


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Hellraiser 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
SleepDreamWrite More than 1 year ago
If you're a horror movie fan, then you'll like this. The character design and make up are probably the best part of the movie. The story is also really good. Heard there's a book too. Might read it.
BreakingDawnSucksForever More than 1 year ago
amazing movie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
a-b-a-n-k-s-c-a-l-e-b More than 1 year ago
what i wrote above this review pretty much spells out what i thought about it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the greatest movies of the eighties and is a horror classic. Pinhead is a villain legend. Almost just as great as the book. Clive Barker is a genius.
Guest More than 1 year ago
hellraiser was one of the best classic horror movies of it's time
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie is so awesome and so are the other movies. And since I love horror films I just loved it even more.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a classic horror flick. And the concept is one that is unique and grossly entertaining. I read the Hellbound Heart first, wich I recommend doing. A nice amount of gore for the horror fans, and a unique story for the movie buffs.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this movie was good. it really entertained me. But I like part 2 out of them all. and I think this movie was for us horror fanatics. so I suggest non horror fanatics don't watch.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this movie was so gross and stupid.Who ever wrote this absurd movie must have been on drugs.I did not know what the hell was going on.It did not make any sense. And did I mention very gross?