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Review: Hellraiser – Hellworld

Hellraiser Reviews

hellworld 001

Look at this crude photoshop job with the head of Pinhead and the green Matrix text you can tell from the cover how much writing effort was put in

I don’t think I’d have bothered with this film if not to complete my reviews of all the Hellraiser films. It is the film that’s furthest from the original film, being little more than a slasher film tarted up in Hellraiser trappings and fused with a thin veneer of cliché computer gamer. The direction is okay, the acting variable but good enough but what really lets it down is the story. I never felt involved in the story because it never felt like a Hellraiser film and the Hellraiser trappings were a constant reminder of that.

The film opens with a teenager digging a hole in a cellar. This is Adam () and although he is central to the story we don’t get much insight into his character apart from flash backs to this scene where he kills himself by pouring petrol over himself and burning himself to death.

At Adam’s funeral we learn from his buddies that Adam killed himself because he was obsessed with a computer game called Hellworld. I have no idea how that is supposed to work but the film will not be exploring this deadly game in any way at all. Hellworld seems to be this film’s introduction the Hellraiser mythos, showing that film is flirting with fourth wall. Adam’s friends are the usual gang of five clichés of the genre: there’s the pretty jock Mike (Henry Cavill in a pre-Superman role), the perky punky Allison (Anna Tolputt), the cheerful asthmatic joker Derrick (Khary Payton), walking cloud of depression Jake (Christopher Jacot) and last of course Chelsea (Katheryn Winnick) the nice girl destined to be the last one standing. None of Adam’s family is present because his mother is in a mental hospital after finding his body while his father has never been around is constantly abroad on business. And that’s it for Adam’s backstory. The friends are all feeling guilty for not intervening to prevent Adam from killing himself but it’s difficult to justify blaming them even if they were all playing the Hellworld game too. Unfortunately the theme of guilt and blame are going to be central to the story. The funeral scene ends with Chelsea opening the coffin and getting grabbed by the corpse before waking up because she was having a nightmare.

Forward two years and Chelsea is studying in her when Mike comes to her door to try to scare her with a Cenobite mask. He’s really there to show her a Hellworld website with a game whose prize is an invitation to party at somewhere called Leviathan House, a reference so obvious it gets lampshaded by Chelsea rolling her eyes. Mike tries to talk Chelsea into going but she really doesn’t and remarks that Derrick and Allison wouldn’t be interested. Cut to Derrick and Allison who are eagerly playing the game at their computer to win themselves invitations. This means that only Chelsea doesn’t want to go but on the day of the party she shows up in her SUV to drive them up there.

They get to the very large Leviathan House and inside the party is in full swing. The place is decorated with Lament boxes and bright neon signs and there are several bars for the partygoers. By an amazing coincidence Jake arrives just behind them to open contempt from Allison and fake friendliness from the others.

The host of the party (Lance Henriksen) bursts out a pair of double doors and greets the five, identifying them as newbies and after seeing their invitations he invites them in for drinks and an introductory tour of the house. Only Jake and Chelsea turn down the offer of drink, Jake because he doesn’t drink and Chelsea because she’s driving. His office is full of Hellraiser paraphernalia and busy hands are soon picking things up and playing with them. Allison quickly regrets spraying herself with perfume from a bottle and Mike finds his fingers stained with ink from the Cenobite design tarot cards he plays with. There’s a sense of significance about these events.

As he takes them down to the basement he tells stories about the house’s past as a convent and then later as a mental hospital with the tragedies involved in both periods. The basement basically looks like a pathology lab with shelves full of specimens of deformed foetuses and body parts and surgical tools lying around. Allison, Mike and Derrick seem impressed but Chelsea needs a bit more than theatrical props to scare her. She gets it when the host grabs her arm and sticks a pin deep into it. Chelsea feels strange she has a sudden vision of Pinhead pulling the pin out. It only lasts for a moment then everything’s back to normal but she’s very wary of the host and tells him to stay away from her.

The host takes them back upstairs to enjoy the party and introduces them to some fairly pointless scheme where everyone has a numbered mask and a mobile phone and if you fancy someone you call their number. It sounds something from a middle class middle aged swingers party and not really something for college students. While on the subject of the party goers the whole thing seems very tame and vanilla and the crowd are a bit plain and boring despite the sex and gratuitous bare breasts. There is no difference between this crowd and that of any other nightclub and they don’t seem like Hellraiser fans. This might be justified by later revelations but it goes unnoticed by the friends.

They split up at the party so of course this is when they start dying off. Aliison sees a room with a large “Keep Out” sign on the door so she enters because she’s naughty. She finds a torture chair and sits on it and suddenly it locks her in place and a nasty looking pair of rotating saw blades lock in place in front of her face. The host appears and engages the motor for the blades which slowly come towards Allison’s throat and slices it open. Pinhead appears and tells her Adam was right

This is followed by a scene where Jake meets the host who gives him a puzzle box made by Adam. When Jake examines it nails spring out and pierce his fingers. This is a bit strange because it seems this scene should have come earlier.

Derrick is dancing with a woman when he loses in inhaler and it falls down a grate into the basement. He wheezes down stairs and recovers his inhaler in the pathology lab. He takes a puff and lies down to recover. Pinhead appears and chops off his head.

Mike got together with a woman who gives him a blowjob. Afterwards she takes him down to the basement with promises of more sex but when they get to pathology lab she locks him in and leaves. Mike tries to pretend he’s not freaked out by the props and by the headless corpse dressed in Derek’s clothes but they unsettle him then he sees Derrick’s head in a jar and freaks. A Cenobite enters the room an operates a winch that drives a huge hook into Mike’s back and drags him around until he dies and then Pinhead appears and tells us that it just beginning.

This just leaves Jake and Chelsea among the friends and the film changes pace. Jake goes to bar to try to get a drink but everyone ignores like he’s not there. He follows a woman into an upper gallery area and they make love but she turns out to be a ghost of a nun. Chelsea was following someone who looks like Adam and ended up locked in a room. She tries to call the police but when they arrive the host convinces them that one of his guests is drunk and playing joke. Chelsea tries calling them and telling them to look up at the window she is watching them from but they can’t see her and eventually leave.

I’ve talked about this long enough and this film’s last act has a fairly uninteresting series of chases and fake outs around the house by Chelsea and Jake as they figure out what’s going on. Jake realises that whole thing was set-up to get them there and what they are experiencing has stopped being real some time ago. Chelsea has discovered that their host is actually Adam’s father and he blames them for Adam’s death. The whole thing was a very elaborate murder plot but the host wanted to make them suffer using the Hellword he blames for the death of his son. He drugged them with some kind of magic drug that can somehow fully create a convincing reality with help of subliminal suggestions. All five have been buried in coffins since their visit to the basement and everything since was created by suggestions delivered through the phones left in the coffins. It just seems too elaborate and would only ever work because it is written that way in the script. Anyway Chelsea and Jake are both rescued by the police who got phone call from this place, probably from Adam’s ghost since the house is empty and the host has fled.

All the earlier appearances of Pinhead and the Cenobites in the film were just from the imagination of the victims, explaining their out of character behaviour but as the host sits in hotel examining the puzzle box he brought with him it turns out to the genuine article and it opens. Pinhead and the Cenobites arrive and introduce the host to hell with an impressive blade on a chain and one of those CGI effects of a body falling to bits after a cartoonish delay. It is far too little and far too late.

I think the problem with this film is that it was thrown together with a low-budget and a script that was barely more than an outline. It was made back-to-back with Deader but instead of incorporating the Romanian location into the script this tried to pretend it was somewhere in America.Overall is it is just a run-of-the-mill slasher film and Pinhead and the Cenobites are reduced to a mere cameo

Rating 5.0/10

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Posted by on September 28, 2013 in Entertainment, Film

 

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Review: Hellraiser – Hellseeker

This is the sixth Hellraiser film and just like Inferno it is pretty much a standalone film but it does have Ashley Laurence back as Kirsty Cotton but not as the main character. This is more like a mystery thriller where the main character has partial amnesia and real memories are mixed with fantastic elements. It is more straightforward than Inferno but not quite as good. While Inferno got a UK DVD release, Hellseeker can only be found on Netflix UK.

Kirsty and her husband Trevor (Dean Winters) are driving down a road approaching a bridge and they are fooling around affectionately and Trevor doesn’t notice he’s in the wrong lane and a truck is coming at them. He swerves the car off the bridge and into the river. They both struggle to get out of car and Trevor gets out but he can’t get Kirsty’s door open. Trevor gets to the surface and calls for help then dives under to try to get Kirsty’s door open but it’s too late and Kirsty stops moving.

The scene cuts to a hospital where Trevor is just coming round. This is weeks after the crash but Trevor is not aware of the passage of any time. He got a headache at work and arrived at emergency but the doctors think his reaction is not unusual this soon after the accident. He gets given an injection and suddenly he’s in a hellish hospital surgical theatre where the surgeons cut off the top of his skull and probe his brain to activate his memories. Just as abruptly Trevor is back at the normal hospital and a young junior doctor Alison is asking him if he’s okay. Trevor asks about his wife. Police Detective Lange (William S. Taylor) wants to talk to him about the crash because Kirsty is still missing. Trevor mentioned the door being locked but when they fished to car from the river the doors were open. On the bus ride home skinhead with loud music on ghetto blaster turns music up when Trevor asks him to turn it down. In apartment Trevor looks at photos remembers happy times with Kirsty

Trevor goes to work at Cubic, some anonymous office job with computers, numbers and cameras watching everyone all the time. One of his colleagues Brett (Trevor White) greets him with a snarky jibe but Trevor doesn’t seem to remember who he is or anything else about his job. He finds a tatty card pinned to his cubicle “All Problems Solved” and an address. He flashes back to going into some rundown industrial unit. Inside there are women  working on sewing machines, a large woman sitting wearing a leather outfit with conical tits and a full face mask and at the end is a counter. He sees objects displayed behind the glass of the counter. A large hairy man appears and says “I can see into your soul,” and Brett interrupts the memory.

Bret tells him he should get a snack beacuase some headaches are caused by low blood sugar. Gwen (Sarah-Jane Redmond) his supervisor comes in. She seems mad at Trevor but this turns out to be sex play and she kisses Trevor forcefully and he has another flashback, this time to having sex with Gwen. He pushes her off and she tells him she’ll see him later and to go get some work done. Back at his computer he gets a looping video of him making out with Gwen.

Lange calls and asks him to come to the station. Lange say there was no sign of an accident, no skidmarks on the road. Trevor’s story doesn’t make sense because it looks like the car was deliberately driven of the bridge. Lange wants to know if anything happened before the accident. Trevor flashes back to the accident and this time they were not smiling and playing before the accident but instead Kirsty looked very unhappy

Back at his apartment he sees a man in a mask hanging around outside. He looks out his window a sees the man in the window of the building across the street looking back at him. Then Trevor throws up a load of water and a large eel comes out of his mouth. There’s a knock on the door and its his neighbour Tawny (Jody Thompson) showing off her new tattoo just above her pubis. She’s coming on to him but he doesn’t respond so she goes back to her own apartment. Trevor finds a video of his 5th year wedding anniversary  where he gave Kirsty a gift and it’s the Lament puzzle box.

There’s another knock at the door no-one is there so he looks in the corridor then goes back to his apartment and Gwen is in there and she want sex. She strips and forces him into a chair. She wants the video camera, a normal part of their sex play so she sets it up but Trevor tells her to leave because he’s not interested. Gwen gets very angry and leaves. But the video keeps recording them having sex. Trevor tests it out and the recording is live. Then Cenobites put a plastic bag on Gwen’s head and kill her while Trevor watches in horror.

At work Brett is snarky again but gives Trevor address of a massage therapist acupuncturist called Sage (Kaaren de Zilva). She gives him the needles and leaves him to rest. He remembers back to the Hairy Guy who sells him a musical puzzle box but in the memory it is a sphere. He nods off on the therapy table and Pinhead (Doug Bradley) appears and shoves one of his own needles right through Trevor’s throat and asks if he prefers pain or pleasure

Detective Givens (Michael Rogers), Lange’s partner wants to talk to him about the fact that Kirsty was very wealthy with an inheritance from her father and Uncle Frank. This gives Trevor a motive for wanting Kirsty dead and Givens doesn’t trust him

Back at his apartment Tawny comes in and makes out with him and she strips wants to be tied up to a chair. Trevor doesn’t say no to this woman and they makes out but suddenly she turns into a Cenobite with the skin on her face stitched together and she screws a face mask onto Trevor’s mouth and pushes a plunger thing into his throat and he wakes in bed. Trevor finds Tawny tied to the chair dead. Trevor goes to wash the blood from his hands and Pinhead appears in the mirror and say “ All Problems Solved”. The blood disappears and the body is gone. Trevor goes to Tawny’ apartment and knocks on her door and  is relieved when she answers but she acts like she doesn’t know him and her husband comes to the door.

Lange calls again and down at the station he wants to know how Trevor knows Gwen Stevens since she’s gone missing. He sees Brett leaving the station and panics. He has another flashback to hairy guy selling him puzzle box and this time it’s the familiar cube.Trevor tries to pay for cube with money but the hairy man tells him that’s not the price which he will find out for himself later.

At work he wants to talk to Brett about what he said to the police. Lange is waiting in his cubicle asks him about the cube and what happened in the car. Trevor still claims it was an accident. In the break room Brett tells Trevor he’s leaving and mentions a plan they had to get their hands on Kirsty’s money. Trevor got the  puzzle box knowing it would drive Kirsty crazy

On a bus he gets headache and goes to a therapist and gets some special therapy with extra rogering and a happy ending or at least an icepick into the skull. Next he’s in an ambulance and turns out he fainted on the bus. Another flash and he’s in the hospital again and he asks for Dr Alison but no-one knows who she is. He goes to her office and its empty except for a janitor having a fly smoke. In corridor he finds Dr. Alison and tells her about dreams janitor asks who he is talking to and it turns out Dr. Alison is not there and Trevor is confused again. Back on the bus Trevor remembers Kirsty shouting at him about the cube, about his betrayal and she knew about his affairs

Trevor goes back to the industrial unit but it’s empty. Pinhead appears in the reflection in a puddle. He promises Trevor he’ll soon know what’s going on. Trevor thinks Pinhead is the killer but Pinhead just says “The killer is among us,” Outside he runs into Brett who has a gun and mentions their plan to kill Kirsty and make it look like a suicide  so they can get her money and split it between them. Since the plans is now all screwed up Brett uses the gun to shoot himself through the head

Trevor goes to Sage the therapist but she’s been killed and there’s the ice-pick in her head but I’m sure it’s nothing that a 100C dilution of stabby knives won’t cure. The police arrive at Sage’s led By Lange who arrests Trevor. Lange tells him they found a body in the river and are bringing it into the morgue but he doesn’t confirm that it’s Kirsty. Lange leaves and Givens comes in and wants him to tell the truth about everything that happened but Trevor sticks with his story of the accident.Tawny’s husband is in the station and he wants to kill Trevor. Lange takes Trevor down to basement past various people being tortured and he locks him in corridor. Then he reveals that Lange and Givens are really a two-headed freak, the two heads of one being.

In the morgue Pinhead confronts him for the final reveal. Pinhead wanted him to get to Kirsty but Kirsty offered them a deal: five souls in exchange for hers. She killed all his lovers and his partner Brett with his gun and shot him in the car causing the car to plunge off the bridge. Trevor only believes it when the body in morgue turns out to be his own and he’s the one who is dead, while Kirsty lived. The police and doctor are all really the emergency crew that were at the accident and Alison is a paramedic who talks to the dead as if they can hear her

This story is more straightforward than Inferno but it isn’t being told linearly so giving an impression of more depth than it really has. The acting was good enough but no-one really got pushed very much in their roles. The Hellraiser elements were integrated into the story quite well even if the Cenobites did seem peripheral to the story and the cube barely got used. I think the budget must have been limited because there wasn’t a lot of special effects and most of  the deaths weren’t very gory. It not the worst of the sequels but it isn’t really essential viewing either.

Rating 6.5/10

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Posted by on September 19, 2012 in Entertainment, Film

 

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Review: Hellbound – Hellraiser II

Hellraiser was such a monumental film for me that I was worried about what the sequel would do, especially as it did not have Clive Barker in the directors chair but director Tony Randel does a reasonable job with this sequel Hellbound – Hellraiser II. This film is set in the immediate aftermath of the original and has most of the main cast return in the same parts. This results in film that really does seem like a natural widening out of the story of the original and it is fairly successful.

In the opening we see a montage of Doug Bradley as  British army officer Captain Elliot solving the familiar puzzle box then being transformed by Cenobites into PInhead and taking his place bedside them. This clearly hints at the desire of the production company to create an iconic character on which they may be able to hang a series of sequels and for better or worse it worked.

Kirsty (Ashley Laurence) is in the Channard institute, a psychiatric hospital, being interviewed by a homicide detective about the events in her father’s house. This gives us a recap of the original film and then it cuts to cops who are at the scene and are uncovering horror after horror. When they come to the blood-soaked mattress that Julia died on an they relay this back to the detective interviewing Kirsty and she hears it and tells they must destroy the mattress. The young doctor present Kyle MacRae (William Hope) while the dectective leaves  The detective thinks she’s still crazy with shock and grief and doesn’t really pay attention to what she said but Dr Channard (Kenneth Cranham) was listening with interest. When the detective leaves Kirsty’s room he asks if he can have the mattress.

After Kirsty has calmed down Kyle takes her around the Institute, introducing her to another patient, Tiffany who doesn’t talk at all but loves sitting solving puzzles. The staff doesn’t actually know the girl’s name so it was them that named her Tiffany. It is significant that she is puzzle-solving savant and I’m surprised they didn’t have Kirsty be a bit freaked out by this. Later in her room Kyle gives Kirsty some sleeping pills. Kirsty wakes up in the night and sees a skinless figure writing in blood on the wall asking for help and she is sure it is her father. When Kyle points out that her father is dead she says that she knows that but he still needs help.

Channard goes to lower level of the Institute where they keep the Hammer Films lunatic asylum set and of course he has to look in each cell so we get different over-the-top displays of madness including the one who must be permanently stood right at the door ready to scream at the spyhole whenever it’s opened. He gets to the one he wants, a man in straitjacket screaming about bugs crawling all over him that only he can see. He has the men sent to his private quarters.

Channard talks to Kirsty about what she knows about the box and the Cenobites. Kirsty tells Channard about Julia bringing Frank back to life by killing men and feeding them to him, including her father. She tells him that the mattress was were Julia died after Frank killed her. Kirsty’s recall is amazingly detailed

Kyle had over heard Channard talking about having the mattress delivered to his house not the Institute. Kyle goes to Channard’s house and breaks in. He finds his office is a treasure trove of object related to the Cenobites, including notes and photograph of Captain Elliot. He also has a number of puzzle boxes and on the floor is a blood-stained mattress.

Kyle hears a noise outside the room and hides behind a curtain. Channard enters with the distressed guy with an insect delusion. He takes the strait jacket off and sits the man down on then mattress then gives him a cut-throat razor to take care of his insect problem. Right away the man starts hacking at his arms. His blood flows all over the mattress and red face appears. Julia (Claire Higgins) pulls herself out of the mattress and attack the man, draining him of blood. Kyle quietly escapes.

Julia is skinless and we get a few scenes of her,  first naked and dripping blood in Channard’s minimalist white sitting room, then she puts on a white suit, then finally Channard bandages her up like a mummy and she wears a dress and snogs Channard. She tells Channard that she needs skin. Channard takes her to room full of young women tied up and hanging from the ceiling. Once Julia has feasted on the women Channard removes her bandages and not only does she have her skin back she also has her make-up on and her hair has been given a blow-dry.

Kyle meanwhile has run back to the Institute to tell Kirsty what he’s seen, which confirms what Kirsty had been telling them all along. Kirsty wants to go to Channard’s house because she still wants to help her father but now she also want to send Julia back and she needs the puzzle box.

At Channard’s house Kirsty goes to Channard’s study leaving Kyle to look around the house. Kirsty finds all the journals and documents and is drawn the pages about Captain Elliot being changed into Pinhead. She pockets the photograph of Elliot. Upstairs Kyle is about to open the door where the bodies are hanging but Julia stops him, telling there is something terrible in there. Kyle doesn’t know that it’s Julia and when enters the room and sees the corpses he is too shocked to realise the danger he’s in. Julia kisses him and sucks the life out of him. Kirsty enters the room and is furious to see Julia back. Julia punches her and dares her to have a go but they are interrupted by Channard who has brought Tiffany along.

Channard and Julia hide behind a window and watch Tiffany working one of the puzzles. She solves it quickly and the walls crack open. The Cenobites enter and Butterball and Chatterer are ready to start on poor Tiffany but Pinhead stops them indicating the window and says it was Channard’s desire that opened the box using Tiffany’s hands

Julia and Channard slope off down one of the hell corridors that opened up, Kirsty also heads off down another way looking for her father and Tiffany heads of another way following a carnival sound which leads her to a hall of mirrors, each one showing her nightmares instead of reflections or herself

Kirsty meets her old friends the Cenobites who are very amused when she tries to use the puzzle box on them which can only banish them to hell and that’s where they already are. PInhead takes the puzzle and forms it into an elongated octahedral shape and tosses it away.

They all wander the corridors of hell seperately. Juila shows Channard some the sights of hells which turn out to be shockingly prosaic like the heaving bodies indulging in an orgy in one room. I have to be honest and say that it really does not match up to the Cenobites or hints of the place from the novel or the original film. This is slightly redeemed when Julia take Channard out to a ledge overlooking a labyrinth that stretches out to the horizon and looks a lot like the cover art from Blue Oyster Cult’s début album. Floating over the labyrinth is a giant elongated octahedron just like the shape Pinhead made the puzzle into. Julia introduces Channard to her god Leviathan. Shafts of black light shine out from it and as the black light finds Channard it reveals all his dark secrets and fears. A black box appears at the edge of the platform and Channard is forced into it. His head is pierced by a long tentacle and wires wrap tightly across his face. The box disappears and Julia leaves, her job done

Kirsty has found Tiffany and she gets no objection to the idea that they should stick together. That doesn’t last very long when they come to a replica of the Cotton House. Kirsty tells Tiffany to get out of the maze and get out of the hospital and she enters the house. Inside is not a replica but is instead a pretty cheesy hell chamber that has platforms with writhing female bodies under sheets that disappear when the sheets are removed. Uncle Frank is there and he grabs Kirsty glad to have real person instead of the phantom teases. It turns our that it was him who contacted Kirsty in the hospital, her father is not here.

Krsty pretends to go along with him but then Kirsty sets a sheet on fire and causes a conflagration that leaves Frank skinless again. Julia appears and Frank is happy to see her but that only lasts up until Julia rips his heart out for killing her.

Kirsty and Tiffany run away but they come to a tunnel with air blasting down it and Tiffany is in danger of getting blown away down the tunnel. Kirsty tries to reach her but Julia comes up the tunnel toward her and grabs the girl’s left hand. Kirsty grabs her right hand and pulls and as she pulls Tiffany out of Julia’s clutches Julia gets blown out of her skin and away down the tunnel.

The box with Channard rises up to the platform again and Channard has been transformed into a mad evil Cenobite with a line in medical puns and carried along by the tentacle on his head so it’s like he’s floating around the place.

Doug Bradley as Captain Elliott Spenser in Hel...

Tiffany and Kirsty try to find their way back to the hospital but they meet the Cenobites who are not really willing to listen to Kirsty’s excuses. Kirsty pulls out the photograph of Captain Elliot and gives it to Pinhead saying it proves they were once human and that they were not always here. This seems to confuse them. Channard enters and he wants the two girls but the Cenobites stand up to him. Channard kills them and they return to their human form but the struggle gives Tiffany and Kirsty the chance to escape.

Back at the hospital they discover that given out puzzle boxes to all his patients and they are all sitting solvin the puzzle boxes and the hospital is wide open to hell. Channard comes after Tiffany and Kirsty, casually slaughtering the other patients as he passes them.

Tiffany runs off back into hell with Kirsty following behind. She retrieves the original puzzle box, still in the octaherdal configuration She takes it to ledge over the labyrinth and starts working on solving it once more. Channard catches up with them. He smack Kirsty out of his way, focussed on getting to Tiffany.

Julia appears and approaches Channard wanting kiss him but this turn out to be a distraction and it gives Tiffany the seconds she need to solve the box. When she does the tentacle holding Channard by the head pulls the man apart and withdraws as hell starts to seal up again. Tiffany gets knocked off the ledge and is about to fall to her death but she is saved by Julia grabbing her hand. Then Julia’s skin starts to split and the arm skin falls off and is blasted apart as it enters the labyrinth. Julia peels off the skin of her face and it’s really Kirsty in Julia’s skin. Kirsty pulls Tiffany up and they run out of hell back to the hosiptal just before hell seals closed again.

The film finishes with a typical bit of sequel bait as the a workman clearing up the mess in Channard’s office is sucked into the mattress and killed and a column covered in living body part pokes up out of the mattress.

This not the film that watch I most often when in the mood for a Hellraiser film. Julia’s return does not match the visceral horror of Frank’s journey back to life and it all just seemed too easy, especially that big reveal scene with the perfect make up and hair when the bandages are removed. I also think hell is better hinted at than shown explicitly since it is impossible to create a place or of unimaginable suffering beyond human experience. I wasn”t too convinced by the heel face turn by the Cenobites when they sacrificed their lives to protect Tiffany and Kirsty from Channard. The Institute is pure horror film psychiatry at its cheesiest, especially that lower dungeon level. Despite these problems I still enjoy it a lot.

Rating 7/10

 
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Posted by on November 13, 2011 in Entertainment, Film

 

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Review: Hellraiser

This is one of my all-time favourite films so this will not be a very neutral review.What Clive Barker writes is so graphic and full of beautiful inhuman monsters. This film is that imagination made flesh and, as dated as some of the effects may be, there is no denying the power of the ideas and the imagery in this film

There is a puzzle box, the lament configuration created by an 18th century toy-maker Lemarchand which can open doorways to a world of experiences beyond pleasure and pain and acts beyond good and evil, under ministrations of the Cenobites of the Gash. Frank Cotton buys the box because he has become jaded with what the normal world has to offer. Frank prepares an attic room in his family home and sits down with the box. When he solves the box it tears a hole through to hell and the Cenobites come. These four Cenobites have been each been hideously mutilated and deformed, wearing their bleeding scars as a demonstration of their devotion to physical sensation. The head Cenobite has been nicknamed Pinhead (Doug Bradley) and he may be all that is known about this film by people who haven’t watched it. His name comes from the grid scarred into his shaven scalp with pins hammered into each intersection of scars. He and the other cenobites wield cutting tools and use hooked chains to tear into Franks flesh to provide him with the new experiences he thought he craved, eventually tearing him apart and torturing the pieces.

Some time later Frank’s brother Larry (Andrew Robinson) moves into the house with his wife Julia (Claire Higgins). Larry is much more normal than his brother and is trying to hold on to his marriage to Julia even though she seems to have grown cold on him. Julia looks round the house and finds signs that Frank was staying there and we find out that she had an affair with Frank when he came home to attend Larry and Julia’s wedding. Frank quickly grew bored and left but Julia can’t stop thinking about him.

Julia is drawn to the attic room where Frank died and where memories of her passionate affair with Frank are much stronger. Larry is downstairs trying get their new bed up the stairs into the bedroom and he rips his hand open on a nail. He runs up the stairs to Julia, nearly passing out at the sight of his own blood and needing her help to know what to do. His blood drips on to the floorboards and is sucked away unnoticed. Julia says they need to go to a hospital for stitches. Fortunately Larry’s daughter Kirsty (Ashley Lawrence) has just arrived and she drives them to hospital.

Meanwhile Frank’s remains in the attic have absorbed Larry’s blood and given him a way to escape from hell. Other effects in the film have dated but this scene is so well done and so disgustingly awful that its still very effective. CGI just doesn’t ooze realistically or evoke the visceral response you get from real fake goo and gore. Frank oozes out of the floor boards slowly and comes together as a half-dead revenant still more dead than alive.

That night after retuning from the hospital Larry is having a party drinking, chatting and joking with his friends and his daughter Kirsty. Julia slinks off upstairs early claiming to have a headache and she goes up to the attic room. There she discovers the barely-formed Frank and is horrified until Frank tells her who he is. Frank begs for her help, telling Julia that blood brought him back and more blood is needed to restore him. Later that night Julia returns to the attic and tells she agrees to help.

Next day Julia goes to a bar and picks up a guy. She takes him back to her house with the promise of sex and takes him up to the attic room. There she smashes his head in with a hammer. Frank crawls out of the shadows and hungrily devours the man’s blood while Julia leaves to clean herself up. Afterwards Frank is a bit more meaty but he still needs more blood meaning Julia has to find more victims. As she keeps going she stops being disgusted by what Frank makes her do and starts to enjoy it

Larry gets worried about Julia. He thinks that she never leaves the house and her mood is always off. He asks Kirsty to drop in on Julia, thinking that she might be feeling lonely. When Kirsty does drop by she sees Julia going into the house with a strange man. She watches a while longer then she hears the man’s screams from the attic room and rushes up the stairs. There she is greeted by shocking sight of the man partially drained and begging for help. Frank grabs the man back into the room and greets Kirsty lecherously. She does not recognise the skinless monster until he introduces himself as Uncle Frank. Frank approaches her menacingly but backs off as she clutches the puzzle box. Seeing the panic in Frank’s eyes she seizes her chance, throws the box out of the window and runs down the stairs and out of the house, then picks up the box keeps going. She keeps walking until shock hits her and she passes out in the street.

When Kirsty comes to she’s in a hospital bed.The doctor gives her the box, saying she was found clutching it outside and he leaves it with her. Kirsty examines the box then starts moving the parts causing it to play music.  The walls of her room rip open to reveal a long dark corridor. Kirsty tentatively explores the corridor , until she find the way blocked by a creature with huge teeth and large tail and a long lethal stinger which chases Kirsty back into her room. Four Cenobites appear to take Kirsty to hell for opening the box. Kirsty pleads ignorance but the Cenobites are not interested and have no mercy. It is only when she mentions Frank escaping them that they take an interest. She offers them a deal, if she can lead them to Frank they might let her go free.

Kirsty gets out of the hospital and goe back to house worried about what Frank and Julia might do to Larry. Unfortunately Julia and Frank have already killed Larry and Frank is now wearing Larry’s skin. They convince Kirsty that the body is Frank’s and that Larry had to kill him. The Cenobites appear in the attic and tell Kirsty that they want the murderer, which she thinks means her father Larry. Kirsty goes to warn ‘Larry’ and Julia that they must all leave then she realises that Larry is actually Frank. Frank stabs Julia and comes after Kirsty who has run up to attic where Larry’s body is. Frank gloats about what he’s done but Frank’s confession is what the Cenobites are waiting for. They capture him with hooks on chains and they rip him apart once again.

Kirsty flees but the Cenobites still want her too. Fortunately she still has the puzzle box. Each part of the puzzle that she solves banishes one of Cenobites to hell until she has it solved, while the house falls to pieces around her.

As I said above this is one my favourites films. I think that the story is just brilliant and is so original that I really cannot think of any films that similar to it. If you know any please let me know because I’d love to see them. I still get excited when I put this on to watch and that is not at all typical of me. I think this really demonstrates the ability of young inexperienced film-makers determined to get their ideas onto film with little concern for how things should be done or how things had been done in the past. It is a tribute the fantastic job the make-up people did to create the look of the Cenobites in this film that even though they are hardly in the film for more than few minutes it is the image of the Cenobites that lasts long after the film is over.

The main cast is all pretty good but Claire Higgins really did a great job with Julia as her character develops from frustrated housewife to serial killer and lover of a monster. Frank was played by three different actors. The pre-hell Frank was Sean Chapman and he’s okay. Much better was monster Frank played by Oliver Smith, a really creepy performance. Then when Franks puts on Larry’s skin he’s played by Andrew Robinson who plays Larry, and is even better and creepier.

Now bring on the sequels prequels and remakes

Rating 10/10

 
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Posted by on August 25, 2011 in Entertainment, Film

 

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