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July 2010

Hellraiser

cast: Andrew Robinson, Clare Higgins, Ashley Laurence, Sean Chapman, and Oliver Smith

director: Clive Barker

83 minutes (18) 1987
widescreen ratio 1.85:1
Starz blu-ray region B retail

RATING: 5/10
review by William N. Dyer

Hellraiser

Upfront, I am not an aficionado of horror. I like to be entertained or uplifted by a movie. Feel good or feel educated or be inspired. To be rendered free of excrement is not my idea of fun and it would be cheaper to buy a bottle of syrup of figs or senna pods and, in this case, they would be more effective than this film.

The movie is 23 years old and we have all been exposed to a lot of real horror on the TV news and documentaries as well as computer games and the Internet in the intervening period. We have become jaded and every new batch has to go one step further along the road of explicitness.

The film has an interesting story that is internally consistent: a magical puzzle box that takes the solver of the riddle to strange delights. In this case one such solver is resurrected one assumes by chance and the train of chilling events is set in motion. It uses normality to good effect and uses special effects in moderation but quite effectively and convincingly.

It's probably a child of its time and to me it has too many echoes of Psycho, which grabbed the suspenseful moments more effectively than Hellraiser. If I were into horror I'd probably rave on about this as being a classic and as a key movie in the horror cannon. But I'm not. And yet, it's not a bad film.

Special features: Fast Film Fact - a rather annoying slide on, slide off byte sized chunks of info about the film that comes onscreen every other minute or so. Keep it switched off on your first or only viewing. Also, a collection of featurettes, trailers and TV spots, and a stills gallery



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