Clive Barker’s Hellraiser – 20th
Anniversary Edition (Anchor Bay
C+ Sound: C+ Extras: C Film: C
Clive Barker’s Hellraiser arrived,
it was a hit, a film people talked about and made Barker a cause celebre, but
20 years later, the film can be seen as the end of the 1980s “slice & dice”
cycle, a transitional work to the “torture porn” we have today and nowhere as
important a film as many were saying at the time. Sure, some of its look resurfaced in other
films (most memorably in The Cell,
though Barker did not invent the style by any means) and the rest is history.
centers on the poor people who find a strange cube (not unlike the one in Transformers, or the Borg Planet in the
Star Trek franchise) and when they
fool with it (Aladdin’s Lamp style, but guess that is too simple?) awaken evil
spirits from another world (ala Phantasm)
and hell literally ensues with Pinhead and his gang with their British
accents. What was shocking at the time
seems lame now as far as its graphic nature is co0ncerned versus uglier, dumber
films and the like since. However, the
film has its fans and this disc is designed to keep them happy.
the anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image is soft and the print looks aged,
needing some work, with poor depth, detail and some color issues. Maybe the Blu-ray Anchor Bay eventually will
issue will correct this, but who knows.
The problematic performance also cuts into the effectiveness of the most
graphic scenes. The Dolby A-type analog
theatrical sound has been upgraded to Dolby Digital 5.1 and it is simply not
that good, showing the age of the materials and if these are second generation,
also not helping the film. Christopher
Young’s score helps the film, but the dialogue recording sounds dated.
are many and include DVD-ROM accessible versions of the first and final
screenplays, stills (including posters & advertising) sections, storyboard
gallery, TV spots, trailers, five featurettes and an audio commentary by Barker
& lead actress Ashley Laurence moderated by Peter Atkins.
to say, the sequels that were made were exceptionally lamer and some of the
most unnecessary since the turkeys that followed The Howling, but as the sequels are dead and Hollywood is in high
recycling mode, we may see this film remade soon and you can expect it to be
nothing but slaughter. Many compared the
final antagonist to Event Horizon
(reviewed elsewhere on this site) to Pinhead, but that was a much better film
with a point. The only point here is to
be uniquely terrifying. In that respect,
it always was hit and miss.
- Nicholas Sheffo