Hellraiser (1987) – Clive Barker
Bordering on tasteless gore, Clive Barker’s Hellraiser (1987), based on his own book The Hell-Bound Heart, explores many facets of the nature of evil, while incorporating elements of extreme sadomasochism. In a nutshell, it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before. The catalyst for the film is a puzzle box (The Lament Configuration) that when solved opens the doorway to hell where the guardians, known as ‘The Cenobites,’ grant you your wildest concept of pleasure, balanced by your most extreme concept of pain. The ultimate reward is death and eternity in Hell. But when Frank Cotton (Sean Chapman & Oliver Smith, respectively) finds a way back, he enlists the help of Julia, his ex-lover and sister in-law, to bring him fresh blood to restore his own tissue. Stylistically, the film has a very dark, industrial, gothic, S&M feel to it. Coupled with the themes of adultery, murder, jealousy, pain, pleasure, good, and evil it is clear for the novice viewer that Clive Barker has “such sights to show you.”
Check back tomorrow for the next installment of the Horror Alphabet.