Director: Clive Barker
Stars: Ashley Laurence, Doug Bradley, Claire Higgins, Andrew Robinson, Sean Chapman, Nicholas Vince, Simon Bamford, Grace Kirby
It's the classic that officially ushered British genre master Clive Barker into Hollywood, and, boy, is it one hell of an introduction. Throughout the author's many works of fiction (namely his Books of Blood short story collections), Barker routinely covers terror of the sexually disturbed, bodily revolting, and fantastically nightmarish varieties; Hellraiser, bless its cinematic soul, falls into all of those categories, sometimes in one given scene.
At the center of Hellraiser are the Cenobites. Adorned with body piercings, clad in sliced-up S&M black leather outfits, and cursed with inhuman faces, the Cenobites torture and kill through disgustingly hedonistic means. The only purveyor of sadomasochistic pain worthy of running their show is Pinhead (Doug Bradley). As the story goes, he was once British captain Elliot Spenser, who shunned God, wandered the land practicing sadistic hedonism, and ultimately became Hellraiser's villain identified by the nails sticking out of his head. Not to mention, his penchant for mutilating victims by summoning hooks and chains to rip their bodies apart.
For Pinhead, pain is pleasure. The same can be said for Hellraiser's viewers. —MB