A blog about my favourite movies, music, and TV.

08 August 2009

Hellraiser (1987)

This is my first ever Blu Ray review! Yes, I have joined 2007! 1987's Hellraiser is one movie that certainly needed a bit of an overhaul, I remember buying a budget release of it when I first got a DVD player and it looked abysmal! The print was faded, dirty, and completely let down the whole movie. Fast-forward 6 years (or so) and here it is all polished up and looking fantastic! Full colours, great sound, it looks like new!

If you've never seen it, it's about a middle age couple, Larry and Julia who move into Larry's childhood home, Larry's brother Frank has also been there and opened the door to another dimension where pleasure and pain are synonymous and the kinky Pinhead and his fellow Cenobites spend eternity torturing curious perverts in all manner of twisted (and painful!) ways. Frank escapes and enlists Julia to help him regenerate his body which has been torn apart by the Cenobites.

(picture from SD version)

I loved watching this again, perhaps more so than ever before because it's been cleaned up so well. There is some grain on the picture which is evident in the scenes that rely on back lighting, especially the scenes in the loft of the house, but it's still extremely well done. The the gore is especially sharp and vile! Some of the effects are a bit past it, but I think that adds a certain camp appeal, and lets not forget this was made in 1986 for New World Pictures, the then home of cheap movies!

Speaking of which, there are distinct hints of melodrama scattered throughout the movie, mostly involving the character of Julia who is just is fantastic. Masterfully portrayed by Clare Higgins, who gives what must be one of 80's horror's best performances. It's great to see such a complex character in a movie like this, and don't even get me started on the outfits! Think high-end 80's department store, which really helps the movie stay fresh as people still wear that stuff, her bouffant mullet and pink eyeshadow are a dead giveaway though.

Anyone with an interest in horror should check this out. It's also an excellent example of how effective a small budget can be. With decent actors and an original concept Hellraiser really raised the bar. I thoroughly recommend it. I can't wait for Hellbound: Hellraiser II to make it's Blu Ray debut, I haven't seen it for years! I can't remember much about the other sequels, but I think I've seen most of them over the years, a remake is currently in the works.

Special features are apparently from a recent DVD release, but are quite interesting if you don't know anything about the movies.

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