January 31, 2022

hellraiser (1987)

This is a movie without wit, style or reason, and the true horror is that actors were made to portray, and technicians to realize, its bankruptcy of imagination.
- from a 1987 Roger Ebert review

I wish I was living in whatever phantasmagoria Roger Ebert was living in 1987, because my mind is boggled by his assessment. I found Hellraiser absolutely overflowing with outrageous yet coherent, bold ideas. These days, A24 is churning out artfilm+horror-formula, all of the 90s/2000s TV shows are getting reboots, and everything else is based on the latest bestselling novel*. Compared against the content mill of today and even the really fun, original movies of the 80s, Hellraiser begs the questions: how the hell did a person think of this, create these images and characters, evolve concepts around pain and pleasure, literally, how did a human being have the imagination??
*side note: Hellraiser was first a book, but the director of the movie was also the author of the book that came the auteur imagination is still intact/continuous here

Sooo, I disrespectfully disagree with Roger Ebert's assessment in 1987. See some bits for yourself: 

the box 

Julia, the stepmother

the hand-drawn special effects

the simple, the creepy, the beautiful

and, the cenobites. notably, pinhead !!!