Hellraiser (1987)

Hellraiser (1987) - Ashley Laurence

Taglines: We have such sights to show you

Clive Barker’s feature directing debut graphically depicts the tale of a man and wife who move into an old house and discover a hideous creature – the man’s half-brother, who is also the woman’s former lover – hiding upstairs. Having lost his earthly body to a trio of S&M demons, the Cenobites, he is brought back into existence by a drop of blood on the floor. He soon forces his former mistress to bring him his necessary human sacrifices to complete his body… but the Cenobites won’t be happy about this.

Hellraiser is a 1987 British supernatural body horror film written and directed by Clive Barker, and produced by Christopher Figg, based on Barker’s novella The Hellbound Heart. The film was Barker’s directorial debut. The film involves the resurrection of Frank (Sean Chapman), who had opened the door to an alternate dimension and had his body torn to pieces by creatures known as Cenobites.

Hellraiser (1987)

Years later, Frank’s brother Larry (Andrew Robinson) moves into Frank’s abandoned house with new wife, Julia (Clare Higgins). An accident causes some of Larry’s blood to spill on the attic floor, which somehow triggers Frank’s resurrection. To complete his resurrection, he requires more blood which Julia provides while Kirsty (Ashley Laurence), Larry’s daughter, discovers Frank’s puzzlebox which leads her to meet with the Cenobites.

Hellraiser was filmed in late 1986. Barker originally wanted the electronic music group Coil to perform the music for the film, but on insistence from producers the film was re-scored by Christopher Young. Some of Coil’s themes were reworked by Young into the final score. Hellraiser had its first public showing at the Prince Charles Cinema on 10 September 1987.

About the Story

In Morocco, Frank Cotton buys a puzzle box from a dealer. In a bare attic, when Frank solves the puzzle, hooked chains emerge and tear him apart. Later, the room is filled with swinging chains and covered with the remnants of his body. A black-robed figure picks up the box and returns it to its original state, restoring the room to normal.

Hellraiser (1987)

Some time afterward, Frank’s brother Larry moves into the house to rebuild his strained relationship with his second wife, Julia, who had an affair with Frank shortly after their marriage. Larry’s teenage daughter, Kirsty, has chosen not to live with them and moves into her own place. Larry cuts his hand carrying a bed up the stairs, and lets his blood drip on the attic floor. The blood resurrects Frank as a skinless corpse, who is soon found by Julia.

Still obsessed with Frank, she agrees to harvest blood for him so that he can be fully restored, and they can run away together. Julia begins picking up men in bars and bringing them back to the house, where she murders them. Frank consumes their blood, regenerating his body. Frank explains to Julia that he had exhausted all sensory experiences and sought out the puzzle box, with the promise that it would open a portal to a realm of new carnal pleasures. When solved, the “Cenobites” came to subject him to the extremes of sadomasochism.

Kirsty spies Julia bringing men to the house; believing her to be having an affair, she follows her to the attic, where she interrupts Frank’s latest feeding. Frank attacks her, but Kirsty throws the puzzle box out the window, creating a distraction and allowing her to escape. Kirsty retrieves the box and flees, but collapses shortly thereafter. Awakening in a hospital, Kirsty solves the box, summoning the Cenobites and a two-headed monster, which Kirsty narrowly escapes from.

The Cenobites’ leader, Pinhead, explains that although the Cenobites have been perceived as both angels and demons, they are simply “explorers” from another dimension seeking carnal experiences, and they can no longer differentiate between pain and pleasure. Although they attempt to force Kirsty to return to their realm with them, she informs Pinhead that Frank has escaped. The Cenobites agree to take Frank back and, in exchange, say they will consider giving Kirsty her freedom.

Hellraiser Movie Poster (1987)

Hellraiser (1987)

Directed by: Clive Barker
Starring: Andrew Robinson, Clare Higgins, Ashley Laurence, Sean Chapman, Oliver Smith, Robert Hines, Anthony Allen, Michael Cassidy, Frank Baker
Screenplay by: Clive Barker
Production Design by: Michael Buchanan
Cinematography by: Robin Vidgeon
Film Editing by: Richard Marden, Tony Randel
Costume Design by: Joanna Johnston
Art Direction by: Jocelyn James
Music by: Christopher Young
Distributed by: New World Pictures
Release Date: September 18, 1987