“Hellraiser” from 1987 stands out from the rest of the 1980’s popular horror films and icons due to its sheer brutality and intense weirdness. In a horror movie landscape that includes two masked seemingly supernatural slashers and a burn victim who kills kids in their dreams comes this group of alternate dimensional beings who are the universe’s ultimate sadomasochists. More gory, strange and involved than the other films of the era, “Hellraiser” doesn’t get the same kind of recognition and kudos as its contemporaries, and that is a shame because it is probably the scariest and most horrific of them all.
Most people think of the colloquially-named Pinhead character when thinking of this series of movies, but the initial “Hellraiser” only featured this character in a few scenes, and he was among of group of like-minded beings, all of whom were only into taking people and putting them in a terrible purgatory-like existence in which they inflict both extreme pleasure and extreme pain on these people, torturing them forever (or I guess until they get bored). But when one of these people somehow escapes back into the real world, he has to convince his ex-lover to kill people so that they can use the blood of the victims so he can reform himself and re-enter the world. Sound weird? Because it IS weird.
Featuring some really wet, goopy, gross looking special effects and some really intense violence, “Hellraiser” is not for the squeamish, or those who prefer their horror films to be campy and jokey. Instead everyone takes this thing very seriously, which lends an air of outright menace and hostility through the whole movie. “Hellraiser” is sweaty and grimy and disgusting and it has the perfect feel for such an over the top premise and movie.
Just check out the weirdness for yourself here on the Netflix Instant and definitely watch this movie with the lights off and, if possible, all by your lonesome.