Which Hellraiser movies are worth watching?

Having watched all nine Hellraiser movies (yes, nine) in an epic feat of procrastination, JWZ provides a helpful summary of which ones have held up, and which ones were never very good in the first place (top pick: Hellseeker, which I'd never heard of)

1. Hellraiser

Wow, is this movie dated! It's so 80s, with its giant shoulder pads and nuclear family and unfamiliarity with guys in gimp suits with lots of piercings. I remember this being a lot gorier and more shocking than it seems now. Some of the practical effects hold up reasonably well, but it's really not that great a movie.

The cube goes through the four basic moves, plus there's an impossible shape during the scuffle at the end. It looks like they broke two of the models and just glued them together randomly.

2. Hellbound

At the time, I remember thinking this wasn't as good as the first one, but now I think it's a lot better. The Channard and Tiffany characters are pretty interesting, and the whole Leviathan situation is pretty cool. There's really a lot more running and screaming than there needed to be.

Two new cube behaviors: the opening door, and the transformation into Leviathan. The Leviathan transformation annoys me because some of the pieces of the cube just fade away in a jump cut, and it doesn't even remotely conserve mass. But they are in a hell dimension at the time, so... ok. Also, they changed the orientation of the faces. I assume that was an accident.

Hellraiser [JWZ]

Notable Replies

  1. First Hellraiser is a stone-cold classic of vaguely high-brow schlock - of its time but not dated. Second Hellraiser is a weird mixture of brilliant, surrealistic horror and deeply silly shit. I stopped at 3.

  2. Hellbound had Julia seducing men even though she was dead and had no skin.. Those scenes were very creepy and they really captured Clive Barker's theme of sexuality and horror. In a lot of his stories, someone finds themselves under the spell of a horrible monster because the sex is so good.

  3. peterk says:

    I've got a soft spot for Bloodline as well (no need for a Leprechaun chaser).
    Liked origin story and the premise of a family over generations trying to right the mistake of their ancestor. Even liked the "In... Space..." bit.

    It did have a couple shortcomings though. As I recall, the transitions between time periods were jarringly arbitrary and abrupt.

  4. daneel says:

    What about Nightbreed? Okay, it's not Hellraiser, but whatever.

    I went to a Halloween party once as Dr Decker, nobody got the reference.

  5. Yep, you know a horror franchise is threading water when they have jumped literally all the sharks on planet earth! They should do one with Hannibal Lector: "In Space, Nobody can hear the Silence of the Lambs."

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