The Horror Honeys: I Have Such Sights To Show You...

I Have Such Sights To Show You...

A Head Honey Series Review

Hellraiser (I-X) 

A few months ago, I live tweeted the entire Hellraiser franchise over the course of a week. Why, you ask? Well, to echo my unofficial tagline for 2015, (which also seems to be the reasoning for some of these films) "Why The Fuck Not." Hellraiser is a seminal film for horror movie fans, who have usually at LEAST seen the first 3.  Adapted from the novella The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker, the Hellraiser series went through countless changes, issues, and drama queen-esque events before it finally was laid to rest after 8 sequels.  Yes, there are NINE Hellraiser films. NINE films, each with it's own issues and triumphs (even Deader) give a unique departure from traditional sequel story arcs. Several of the films were hasty adaptations of generic scripts re-worked to include a little taste of Hell, and some were straight to video releases, one of them even pissed off Barker off so badly that he flipped his shit on twitter about it.  My journey through ALL NINE films was more about discovering the depths of the Hellraiser series as a whole, and why it was that I loved it so damn much.

Creepy whispers and sounds in the attic?  Totally go investigate.  That never went wrong for anyone ever. #Hellraiser

Head Honey's Favorites (in order, of course):

Hellraiser (1987) - The original introduction to Hell.  The original introduction to Frank and his depravities.  No one can deny that the first time they heard Pinhead speak wasn't a seminal moment in their lives.  No horror fan can deny the pull of this film. Despite the dated wardrobe styling (Hello, 80's power mullet!) and awkward scripting, something about Hellraiser just won't die.  Maybe it's the innate Barker touch, seeing the cenobites and our petty gross world through HIS's magic.  Utter magic.  Now, let's be real about something, Frank is a HOT piece of 80's ass.  There, I said it.

Hello, tall, dark and slightly depraved...
Ok, so I might have a type. 
The makeup work in Hellraiser is a big deal for me; every film displays stunning makeup fx.  In the original Hellraiser, it's Frank's gooey rebirth, and there's just something about a smooshy corpse walking around in a business suit that makes me tingle in all the right ways. Is that weird?

It's totally not weird.  
It doesn't matter how much I love/enjoy the other films, Hellraiser will always be first in my dark heart. Always.

Wait...the hobo turns into a skeletal dragon?  How did I forget that part?? 
hahahaha wow #Hellraiser

Hellraiser 4: Bloodline (1996) - The last Hellraiser film to have a theatrical release, Bloodline has all of the budget and FX it deserves, and (what I'm always looking for) the makeup work is stunning.  My personal obsession with this film has two parts - one is Angelique. The other is my blind devotion to history and backstories, especially a backstory like this one.  In this case, it's the history of the Toymaker and his 'pliant fingers' that capture me.  I loved seeing the origins of the box, the beginnings of the sorrow and the pain, the beginning of the family curse of the Merchant family.  Who can deny the allure of being able to control a demon... especially a demon like Angelique.

Some people will whine about the file being set simultaneously in space and in the 90's, but hey...why the fuck not.  I actually LOVED the connection, despite some weird ideas about technology in the far-flung kind of Alien looking future, I'm ALWAYS down for a little death in space, there's nothing scarier in my opinion.  I also hope that the future of space travel is a little - cleaner - Lemarchand's ship is kind of super gross and not something I'd want to have space guests over at.

I know that I'm not alone in the fact that I consider the Lament Configuration a beautiful work of art - Simon Sayce created a haunting, instantly recognizable visual masterpiece and in no film is it used better than in Bloodline.  If there was ever a chance that I would be able to work in a building that featured it's artwork, consider me the crazy chick who shows up with a moving truck the next day.

The Elysium Configuration - did you know it was called that?

Hellraiser 5: Inferno (2000) - So, I'm the asshole who's like "If it's a Hellraiser film, it should be about Pinhead, and taking bad fuckers to Hell plus hooks and some other shit."  Sadly, as the sequels progressed, and the straight to video releases rolled out, the storyline dipped farther and farther away from the cenobites until they were really only an afterthought.  With Inferno, the Hellraiser franchise took it's first steps into some dangerous territory. Dimension Films (as with any film studio) is in possession of several generic scripts waiting around for some love - Inferno's original script was one of these building blocks.  Hefty and speedy re-writes to incorporate the cenobite mythos were made and then...well.  Minus a few obviously annoying things (some super annoying cop stereotypes, and the most offensive depiction of a piercing/tattoo shop I've ever seen), Inferno is the first script whose adaptation I enjoyed enough to be intrigued to see it on it's own. What this film could have been as a crime thriller might have been extremely interesting, and it's worth noting that director Scott Derrickson knows his way around crime thrillers. The makeup design in Inferno is also the best in the series thus far, which is why it's 3rd on my list. Those 'Wire Twins' - yes please.

Since this is a #Hellraiser sequel, I was hoping for a little more hell, and a little less NYPD: Blue #Hellraiser5

Hellraiser 6: Hellseeker (2002)- Hellseeker, another straight to video sequel was another film built off of a hastily rewritten script to include the cenobites and an all grown up Kirsty. Now, what I liked about Hellseeker had nothing whatsoever to do with the cenobites... at all. Another crime/murder mystery storyline, but with a bit of a supernatural twist to it, which again, I would have enjoyed seeing on it's own. I admit to having some HOLY SHIT moments, but sadly the boredom won out when it came to the execution of the story itself. The addition of some weird story devices that didn't quite pan out or weren't explained properly (Kirsty's inheritance, and some odd murder/insurance scam thing?) killed what could have been the best parts of this film. Hellseeker is 4th on my list for a mix of makeup FX brilliance (subtle veining like nobody's business) and the seedling of a really interesting supernatural thriller. 

"You're creeping me out, and I'm the coroner"

Those arms!!  
Hellraiser 3: Hell on Earth (1992)- Sigh. Hellraiser 3 - the one where they try to make Clive Barker not hate them anymore. Focusing on the backstory of the delicious Pinhead himself, who is somehow playing two sides of himself - beautifully terrifying monologue spewing Pinhead (my favorite) and the "I just want to help" khaki wearing Pinhead (kinda creepy actually). How this part of the story comes all back around to the reporter chick who is trying to break a story about a club owner, but maybe it's about the guy from the hospital, or maybe it's about the crazy relic/antique store that she broke into with her new best friend Tammi the club rat, or maybe it's about... I'm not sure what the fuck it was about.   Hellraiser 3 is my LEAST favorite film in terms of makeup execution. The cenobites are a joke, reduced to cheap gimmicks (CD head cenobite?  Did that actually happen?) EXCEPT for Tammi... but the tracheotomy cigarette just didn't do it for me.

Smoking *during* sex?  That's a new one.  Multitask win. #Hellraiser3

Hellbound: Hellraiser 2 (1988) - I feel kind of bad that Hellraiser 2 is so far down my list, but something about it just rubbed me the wrong way. Maybe it was the Pink Floyd album cover flashbacks, the weirdly out of place labyrinth, the Leviathan that made no sense, the wise-cracking Pinhead (REALLY? I know it was funny with Freddy, but just NO.)? Maybe it was the WTF comeback of Julia. I can't be sure. Any way you slice it, there are things that I loved about Hellbound, and things that I hated. Hasty re-writes to make up for the fact that Andrew Robinson (Larry Cotton from Hellraiser) refused to return to the sequel are obvious and add to the overall failure of the film which is mostly taken up with flashbacks to Hellraiser and some awkward CGI mixed into a strangely unnecessary side story about the girl who solves puzzles. As we learn later in the Hellraiser films, "it is not the hands that call us, it is the desire" - the girl who looks like Brad Pitt from Interview with the Vampire doesn't have any desire to open the box, and has no reason to be punished as any other box opener does, but it opens anyway. Sigh. Things I love about this film generally fall into the realm of makeup, because it's what I know, and it's what sells a story like this one. Julia's regeneration is utterly beautiful, and she looks almost as good in a suit as Frank does in Hellraiser.  Since Hellraiser and Hellbound were made in such quick succession, Clive Barker's aesthetic is still present in some form, which is a small saving grace.  I also LOVED the transformation of the cenobites to their original forms after they're "killed" by Channard - there's something painfully poignant about seeing Chatterer as a small boy.  

He's a little smurfy...and what's on his head?

Speaking from experience - Fake blood doesn't really work well when you're writing on the wall... #Hellraiser2

This is how I felt right around Hellraiser's 7-9

Hellraiser 8: Hellworld (2005) - Hellworld is an interesting film. Now, I'm not saying interesting as in "OMG I can't wait to watch it again!" because that's never happening; it's interesting in that it's a self-aware to the point of making fun of itself Hellraiser sequel. Reducing Pinhead, the cenobites and the Lament Configuration to props in the storyline of a computer game is an interesting premise, and then everything goes to shit as we're taken to a party for the players of this game. Having been to conventions FULL of the people who would have been involved in this game, I get the feeling that the writers have either a) never played a video game for longer than an hour at a stretch, or b) never been to a gaming convention or spoken to the level of gamer that these kids are supposed to be. Hellworld is also a revenge film and the majority of the action and death happens AS A RESULT OF AURAL SUGGESTION. Why? Well, why the fuck not.  The reason Hellworld is even this high on my list is because of Henry Cavill.

That's how I'd feel if this were on my imdb credits too.
Hellraiser 7: Deader (2005) - Filmed congruently with Hellworld, Deader is another Hellraiser sequel that was like "pffttt we don't need cenobites! Oh wait, I guess we do so we can use the name...shove them in at the end." Alas, such is the way of filmmaking.  Unfortunately for Deader, the original script might have been worth making into a real film instead of this nightmare. Another interesting premise is wasted on cheap gimmicks and the hasty addition of Pinhead and some chains thrown in for good measure. I watched this film with my eyebrows permanently planted in my hairline, and deep thankfulness in my heart that I've never had the ambition to work in the hotel industry.
Chains go in the face.  C'mooonnnn.


#Hellraiser7 - not really a #Hellraiser film until the last 10 minutes, and those 10 minutes were bullshit.

Hellraiser 9: Revelations (2011)- Ok...the last film in the Hellraiser series is also LAST on my list for a multitude of reasons. Chief among them is the fact that Doug Bradley refused to be involved.  The film was also released (straight to DVD) with some endorsement taglines that were NOT approved by Clive Barker, who promptly took to his twitter feed to spew some ultra hate for this movie.  Gary J Tunnicliffe, did double duty on Revelations as writer and makeup artist. I'm a big advocate of sticking to what you know, and I promise NEVER ever to write a screenplay. The makeup in Revelations is stunning, the addition of a female Chatterer is brilliant, as is the mini-Pinhead creation (Nailhead?). Revelations has about 2 good ideas, but overall is a jumbled mess that's wrapped around a poor replacement for Doug Bradley.  Neither chilling, nor awe inspiring, nor relatable, Revelations is last on my list and I'm never watching it ever again.


"Bring me a man so I can take his skin!"
I'd like to know how he knows this, he must have seen #Hellraiser.  #Hellraiser9

Someone needs to exfoliate...those pores are crazy.

"There is a secret song at the centre of the world, Joey, and it's sound is like razors through flesh..." #Hellraiser3

Oddly sexual...kinda awesome

She looks almost as pretty in that suit as Frank did.
White suits and skinless people - a great pairing.  #Hellraiser2

And now for this message from the Dental Council.

Pinhead's magic works well on the weak minded...he's like the Jedi Knight of Hell.

I enjoy the fact that #Hellraiser2 is teaching me just how rippable the human body is.  Like IKEA furniture.