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October Horror Day 12

Horror Journal

Watching Clive Barker films gets addictive for me so tonight I’m going to watch a couple more adaptations of his Books of Blood stories.

Lord of Illusions

This is adapted from the story The Last Illusion. It’s the story of a private detective Harry D’Amour (Scott Bakula) who gets drageed into the middle of a battle between two magicians called a Swann (Kevin J. O’Connor) and Nix (Daniel von Bargen) and when I say magicians I mean in the casting spells and calling up demons kind. Nix taught Swann magic and gave him some of his power but Swann realised how evil Nix is and decided he had to stop him so with few friends he binds him with a magic iron mask then they bury him deep in the ground.

Nix won’t stay buried thank to the efforts of one of his loyal followers Butterfield (Barry Del Sherman) who has an undead skinhead with shark’s teeth helping him. Thirteen years have passed while Butterfield taught the himself the skills to resurrect his master. D’ Amour gets involved when he accidentally comes across Butterfield torturing and murdering one the people who helped Swann. Swann is now a very rich famous illusionist with a Criss-Angel-style show. Swann’s wife Dorothea (Famke Jansen) is worried when she reads of the man’s death and hires D’Amour to watch her husband but that job doesn’t last long when Swann appears to be killed in an accident on stage the next night. When D’Amour tries to investigate he comes up against the problem that no-one will tell him anything about Nix so he goes to the Magic Castle, the not very subtle illusionist club-house. There he finds out about Nix and his relationship to Swann

D’Amour discovers that what everyone thought they saw is another illusion and Swann is alive and faked his death trying to protect Dorothea from Nix’s vengeance. This is futile because Nix knows the truth and Butterfield has kidnapped Dorothea as a gift to Nix on his resurrection from the grave forcing, Swann and D’Amour to confront him for the last time.

This film is expanded quite a lot from the short story and Nix is a really great character. The special effects have not dated very well but the rest of the story is good enough to forgive them

Candyman

This film has grown to be one my favourite films and that is thanks to fantastic performances from Virginia Masden and Tony Todd, the score by Philip Glass and Bernard Rose’s direction that all make the film the hits well above the level of many other horror stories.

Helen Lyle is a graduate student who working on a PhD thesis with her friend Bernadette. Their subject is urban legends and they record a first year student telling a story about the Candyman – if you say his name into a mirror five times he appears and with his hook for a hand he rips you open. One of the cleaners hears it and gets her friend to tell Helen what she knows about Candyman. There was a woman called Ruthie Jean who was murdered in her apartment in Cabrini Green Projects by a killer who came through the walls but the locals all say it was the Candyman.

Helen manages to work out how the killer got into Ruthie Jean’s apartment and she goes to Cabrini Green with a terrified Bernadette to check it out. Cabrini Green looks like a genuinely dangerous place to visit but an even worse hell to live in. The local gangs mistake them for cops which has the benefit of making sure they are left alone to explore. In Ruthie Jean’s apartment Helen finds out that’s she’s right and the killer came through the bathroom wall through a medicine cabinet connected to the empty apartment next door.

Helen and Bernadette meet one of the locals Anne-Marie who is a single mother with a baby and a huge Rottweiler. Helen comes back to Cabrini Green alone to visit Anne-Marie but she’s out so she asks a boy called Jake about the Candyman. Jake shows her a disgusting public toilet where a young boy was killed. Helen goes inside to take pictures and is attacked by a thug carrying a hook who has his gang with him. The police response to Helen’s attack is to sweep the block which contrasts starkly with the lack of response to Ruthie Jean’s murder but the cop says it’s Helen’s willingness to testify that makes the difference.

Once Helen has recovered and is feeling good about putting the thug in jail she gets a visit from the real Candyman, the vengeful spirit of a murdered artist who exists on the stories told about him “I am the whisper in the classroom, the writing on the wall,”  Candyman’s existence is threatened because Helen has damaged their faith in him and now he must take terrible action to resurrect his legend. Candyman wants Helen to choose to be his victim and promises that she too will live on in legend. Helen doesn’t accept his offer and isn’t even sure he’s real.

Helen wakes as if from a dream but what she wakes up to is a nightmare: lying on a kitchen floor covered in blood with a beheaded dog next to her and the sound of a desperate woman screaming for help. She is in Anne-Marie’s apartment next to her dead dog and the baby is missing from his bloody cot. Helen is arrested and quickly discovers that the police are much less pleasant to a suspected child killer than to a mugging victim. She gets released because there’s no trace of the baby yet.

Helen’s freedom doesn’t last long because when Candyman kills Bernadette in front of her and she tries to tell the police who did it she gets admitted to a psychiatric hospital. After a couple more appearances Candyman has left Helen nothing except him and she accepts his deal in exchange for freeing the baby. Candyman betrays her and she dies rescuing the baby from the flames of a bonfire. Her heroism has made her a legend just as Candyman promised and her unfaithful husband gets his comeuppance at the end.

 

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Posted by on October 12, 2013 in Entertainment, Film

 

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October Horror Day 7

Horror Journal

The theme for tonight is adaptations of the stories of Clive Barker. I’m a big fan of his writing and especially the short story collections called the Books of Blood with its strange mixture of supernatural tales, some comic, some gruesome and others both gruesome and comic

Midnight Meat Train

This story is definitely one of the gruesome tales and this adaptation has gallons of the fake red stuff both physically and unfortunately CGI The story is fleshed out quite a bit from the short story, giving its protagonist Leon (Bradley Cooper) a job, a fiancé and some friends.

Leon is a struggling photographer who gets told by an art dealer that his work isn’t quite gritty enough and he‘s told to get deeper and stay longer when trying to capture the dark heart of city life. He photographs a bunch of thug who are about to rape a young woman in the subway and frightens of the attackers. The woman gets on a train and is murdered by Mahagony (Vinnie Jones) a silent killer who hunts for his prey on the late night trains. His weapon of choice is a huge meat tenderiser

Next day in the newspaper Leon reads that the woman has gone missing and tries informing the police who don’t seem interested his evidence. Leon seems constantly drawn to subway and to Mahogany and starts following the man and eventually witnesses him in the act of butchering another passenger. And that is literal as he prepares the bodies for consumption and hangs them on meat hook ready for consumption by something strange and bestial hidden down a disused art of the subway.

This film really revels in the gore and there’s a lot of it sloshing around when Mahogany butchers people with CGI eye flying at the screen from Ted Raimi’s head and somehow a hammer manages to take someone’s head clean off. This is the main point of the film and the plot that gets the characters involved was passable but wasn’t very convincing and there was only hint of an explanation of who the C.H.U.D.s were and why Mahogany fed them.

Book of Blood

This low-budget adaptation looks like it was filmed around my home city of Glasgow in the area of Glasgow University. The story is expanded a bit from the original and is framed inside an adaptation of the related story On Jerusalem Street. It works well and this film is kind of growing on me. It has a slow build to really neat climax that succeeds creating the tone of the Clive Barker story.

Mary Florescu (Sophie Ward) is some sort of academic working in the woo woo field of ghosts and has written books al about it but has never found verifiable evidence of the paranormal making all her study nothing more than a collection of strange anecdotes. She leases a house that has a grisly reputation thank to at least two nasty deaths apparently at the hands of ghosts who had written “Don’t mock us,” on the wall of the attic room. The earlier dead the was a fake medium called Tollington (Doug Bradley) and then there was the girl who dabbled in seances with her friends and get her face torn off for her offence.

One of her students is Simon MacNeal (Jonas Armstrong) who was said to have psychic powers as child. She wants him to spend time in attic room to see if they can get verifiable contact with the spirits. She believes Simon is the real thing but her assistant Reg Fuller (Paul Blair) never trusts him and is jealous that Mary is attracted to Simon.

It turns out that Simon is a fake but by the time Mary finds that out Simon is experiencing the ghosts for real and he can’t get Mary and Reg to believe him. He tries to contact them one more time and this time they make their presence felt. The house is an intersection between a highway of the dead and the living world and the dead are angry at the fraudsters that stop people listening to their stories. They decide to carve their stories in Simon’s skin so that Mary can translate them and put them into her books.

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2013 in Entertainment, Film

 

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Review: Candyman

October Horror Month

I am a big fan of Clive Barker and though not all his stories have been adapted to film very well this one stands out as a great success. It has a great script from director Bernard Rose, some excellent performances from Virginia Masden and Tony Todd and a wonderful score from Phillip Glass.The Cabrini Green location feels just like pits I lived in, high density housing estates abandoned to decay by a city that would rather forget that they exist

Helen Lyle (Virginia Madsen) is a graduate student working on her social science thesis with research into urban legends with her friend and research partner Bernadette Walsh (Kasi Lemmons).They interview some freshmen and get the typical grisly “friend of a friend,“ tales. This includes a typical Candyman story where a babysitter invites a bad boy Billy (Ted Raimi, a very bad boy indeed) round for sex. She tells him about Candyman and dares him to say his name five times into a mirror. Bad boy Billy gets to four and stops but later when she’s on her own the babysitter says Candyman’s name for the fifth time and Candyman appears. He rips her open from navel to gullet with the hook he has jammed into the bloody stump where his right hand used to be. Bad Boy Billy goes upstairs and finds her body and his hair instantly turns white from shock like in all the best urban legends.

Helen goes to see her husband Trevor (Xander Berkeley) who is giving a lecture. Helen is not happy to discover that the subject of his lecture is urban legends which means his entire class is now contaminated as far her research is concerned. Trevor apologises but says that their education is more important. Helen accepts his apology and goes back the classroom she used for interviews to work on transcribing the interviews onto her computer. A cleaner comes in to clean the room and she hears the student on the tape mention Candyman. She’s heard of Candyman but her friend knows more. The other cleaner believes he lives in a housing project called Cabrini Green where he murdered a woman called Ruthie Jean. Ruthie Jean called the police to report the sound of someone breaking through walls but no police came and she was later found dead

Helen investigates the murder and looks into the Cabrini Green housing project. She has discovered that her middle class high rent apartment block used to be part of the same housing project as Cabrini Green but they got re-modelled as apartments instead. The apartments still have the same cheap design and Helen shows Bernadette that when she removes her bathroom cabinet all that’s there behind it is the rear of the bathroom cabinet in the apartment next door. The killer got into Ruthie Jean’s apartment by climbing in through the walls.

Next day Helen and Bernadette head for Cabrini Green to look at the place for themselves. Bernadette is not very happy about it because the place is a notorious crime-ridden dump run by drug gangs. The bleak concrete buildings are covered in brightly coloured graffiti that only makes them look even bleaker. The two conservatively dressed women really do look out-of-place and the local gangs get very restless and try to intimidate them into showing weakness but Helen just brushes past them. The gang suspects they are police and a warning call goes out around the block. Helen thinks that‘s probably better for them since they’re not likely to be followed upstairs by the charming young men hanging about at the entrance.

Helen takes picture of the graffiti around on the floor where Ruthie Jean was murdered. In Ruthie Jean’s apartment Helen goes to the bathroom cabinet and just as she suspected someone has knocked a hole through from next door. Helen climbs through but there’s no way Bernadette is going so she waits. The apartment is a tip with rubbish lying around all over the place and holes knocked through the walls. Helen climbs though another hole and finds that the hole is the mouth of a giant face painted on the wall adthe words “Sweets to the sweet.” Helen wants to take more pictures but she’s run out of film so to Bernadette’s relief they have to leave. One of the tenants Anne-Marie McCoy (Vanessa Williams) wants to know what they are doing snooping around. She’s suspicious of middle class white folk coming round with their judgemental attitudes to the people living in Cabrini Green but Helen assures her that’s not why they are there. Anne-Marie tells them about the night Ruthie Jean was killed, she heard the screams through the walls and called the police but no-one came.

That night Helen and Bernadette are at dinner in a restaurant with Trevor and his research associate Archie Walsh (Bernard Rose) (Is he married to Bernadette? It never makes that clear). Helen is being very arrogant about what they’ve discovered but when Archie finds out that they’re researching Candyman without knowing his full story he’s very dismissive and he them gives them a potted history. Daniel Robitaille was the son of a former slave who had got rich. Daniel was educated and became a competent popular artist. One client hired him to paint his daughter and they fell in love. The woman got pregnant and her father got angry and hired a bunch of thugs to take care of Daniel. The sawed off his right hand and stuck a hook into the stump. Then they broke open nearby beehives and covered Daniel in honey so the bees attacked him and stung him to death. They then burnt his body and scattered his ashes across Cabrini Green.

Next day Helen returns to Cabrini Green alone with fresh film to take more photographs of the apartment next to Ruthie Jean’s. She knocks on Anne-Marie’s door but a young boy tells her that Anne Marie is out. Helen decides to ask the boy Jake some questions about Ruthie Jean and Candyman but though the boy puts on a front of not being scared he is afraid of Candyman. He leads Helen outside to a public toilet where he says that young boy was castrated by Candyman. Helen asks him to wait for her and she goes inside. The graffiti in here look like it’s written in excrement and again its the words “Sweets to the sweet.” The place is so filthy you could almost taste its rank odour in the back of the throat. The end toilet turns out to be full of bees. Several young men enter, led by a man in three-quarter length leather coat and carrying a nasty looking hook .He says something like “I hear you looking for the Candyman bitch,” and clobbers her over the head with the hook. They beat her up and she is found afterwards by Jake.

The police may do very little when a poor black woman gets killed but when a wealthy white woman gets beat up they lock the place down and flush out everyone in their hunt for the culprit and they have him in a line up waiting for Helen to identify him which she does. The police are sure he also killed Ruthie Jean and the boy Jake spoke about. The poloice knew all about him but Helen is the first witness they have had that is willling to testify and get him put away. Helen gets the detective to promise they won’t need Jake to testify then she tells Jake that Candyman is just a story that was used by a bad man to frighten people.

Sometime later Helen goes to the university and Bernadette tells her that they saved the film from her camera which got damaged in the attack. Because Helen made the news there is a lot of interest in their thesis. Helen goes to car park to get her car and there she encounters the real Candyman with long coat and a hook stuck in the bloody stump of his right arm. Helen has damaged his legend he says in a seductive voice right inside her head. She has made his believers doubt him. Candyman lives on in the legends and now because of Helen he will have to take an innocent life to make them believe in him again. Candyman is casting some kind of a spell over Helen and he asks her to be his victim so they will live on together in legend. Helen refuses but Candyman promises she will come to him and then Helen passes out.

When Helen comes round she’s in a room covered in blood and a woman is screaming and wailing in the next room. Helen is in Anne-Marie’s apartment and in the room with her is Anne-Marie’s Rottweiler with its head cut off. Helen is covered in the dog’s blood. Helen goes into the next room where Anne-Marie is crying over the blood covered crib where her baby son was. She attacks Helen demanding that she tells her where her son is. Helen picks up something to hit Anne Marie to defend herself not realising it’s a meat cleaver. The police break through the door and pull off the hysterical Anne Marie then they arrest Helen. At the station Helen’s treatment as a suspect is very different from her treatment as a victim. She has to strip out of her bloody clothes which are now evidence. The same detective who was sympathetic when she got attacked is now taking no crap from her. He reads Helen her rights with heavy emphasis on her right to remain silent. She asks for a phone call and calls Trevor but no-one answers so she leaves a message.

Trevor eventually shows up in the morning with a lawyer. They leave through a media mob but fortunately when they report it on TV they don’t mention Helen by name. After the lawyer leaves Helen takes a bath while Trevor goes back to the university to get papers he needs for work. Helen finishes her bath and is doing something in the cabinet when Candyman’s hook bursts through. Helen runs out into the hall and Candyman is there and again he asks Helen to be his victim and his presence Helen feel dazed and weak. She hears Bernadette at the door of the apartment and tries to warn her not to come in but it’s no use. When Barnadette comes in Candyman is right there waiting for her. With his hook for a hand he rips her open from her navel to her gullet. Trevor comes in to find Helen passed out on the floor and Bernadette dead.

When Helen comes round this time she’s in handcuffs. She gets taken to psychiatric hospital and gets strapped to the table in an observation room. Candyman appears and floats above her while she calls him murderer, struggling against the straps and calling for help. Candyman float downs under the bed just as two of the nursing staff come in and sedate her. Some time later Helen wakes and she gets taken to see Dr Burke, a psychiatrist working for her lawyer who has to assess her fitness to stand trial. She’s been in the hospital for a month under sedation. The video footage of her ranting and raving at someone who wasn’t there is pretty good evidence that she’s not really sane. Helen wants to prove to Burke that she’s not delusional so she calls Candyman five times. At first it looks nothing is going to happen and Helen is insane but then Burke starts spitting blood because Candyman has just shoved his hook right through him. Candyman says she belongs to him now and says that he will give his believers a miracle that will ensure they will live on in legend. He frees her from her straps and vanishes.

Helen escapes by stealing a nurse’s uniform from the nurse who was wearing it. She goes back to her apartment to find Stacey, one of Trevor’s students in the middle of redecorating. Stacey freaks when she sees Helen. Trevor comes in and Helen is really pissed at how quickly Trevor has abandoned her to that psychiatric hospital. Feeling rejected and alone Helen goes to Cabrini Green to the one person still who wants her. Candyman has let her know that he‘s keeping Anne Marie’s baby alive but if Helen does not gives herself to Candyman he will kill the child. Helen agrees and Candyman open his coat revealing that his body is made almost entirely of bees and bones. With his mouth full of bees he kisses her and she passes out.

When she comes round Candyman is gone. She hears the baby crying and realises the sound is coming from the middle of the bonfire that has been getting built by the locals. She climbs in to find the baby using a hook she had picked up earlier in Candyman’s lair. As she goes inside the heap of rubbish all young Jake sees is the hook she is using and right away assumes it’s Candyman. He runs of to alert everyone.

Helen reaches the baby but Candyman is there too talking about how great it is to live on in stories without having to exist. The locals light the fire and everyone gathers to watch it burn. Helen struggles with Candyman who wants her stay and die with him but she stabs his with some burning wood and escapes through the fire with the baby. She emerges with her head on fire but miraculously the baby is unharmed. Helen dies from her injuries and Jake sees Candyman burning in the flames.

At Helen’s funeral there are only a few mourners until a long procession of people from Cabrini Green arrive, led by Anne-Marie and Jake, to pay tribute to Helen. That night back in his apartment Trevor is locked away in the bathroom thinking about Helen. He says her name over and over and suddenly she appears behind him with Candyman’s hook and she rips him open.

The film finishes with a mural done on a wall in Cabrini Green that shows Helen as a saintly figure with hair made of flames

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Posted by on October 5, 2012 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: 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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