Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Until a day or so ago the only thing I knew about the Hellraiser franchise of movies was the memorable appearance of the ‘pinhead’ character; a cenobite played (in most iterations of the series) by Doug Bradley. Before I decided to take on the task of watching and reviewing this movie and its many sequels I did a bit of googling. I found that this film shares a peculiar circumstance with a fairly well known Stephen King work: Children of the Corn. Like ‘CotC’, Hellraiser started as a short story written by Clive Barker. Well, actually it went something like short story to novella, finally extrapolated to its own 400-page novel, after the fact. That’s right though, at first it wasn’t even its own book. I’m making no critiques based on that fact alone, though. I’m ashamed to say that though I consider myself an avid Stephen King reader, I haven’t gotten to read or watch Children of the Corn yet. I know… some horror movie blogger, right? Anyway, if you’re like me you might wonder how, in both of these cases they managed to squeeze 7+ hours of cinema out of a ‘short’ story. I guess until I actually read this short-novella-story-novel and finish all the sequels I won’t know either. Anyway, enough philosophical, way-too-much-thought-into-it bullshit, I’ve got a few words to say about the first movie. Or, if you’re one of those fucktards… “Hellraiser 1”.
The movie starts us out with a guy paying what looks like a dickload of money for some odd-looking puzzle box sort of thing. Guy takes it home, finds out how to open it and bam! Hooks come out of every direction and tear the poor bastard to pieces. I assume then we’re seeing another dimension where all his pieces and parts end up and a deformed group of people peruse them. We’re then introduced to the handful of main characters that includes Larry, his wife Julia and his daughter Kirsty. (That last one is pronounced Keeersty, if you’re wondering.) Julia is Larry’s second wife and she seems rather disgusted with everything, including Larry. Oh, and her British accent ties in nicely with her shitty-pants attitude. We actually find out pretty quickly into the movie that Larry’s loving wife had had an affair or several with his scumbag brother in the past. Turns out, scumbag brother is the same dumbass at the beginning of the movie that paid way too much for a box that ultimately fucked his world up. At this point I’m hoping this bitch dies first... and I think that’s what they want us to hope for… because, of course, it doesn’t happen quite like that. Long story short, old Lar’ cuts his hand, drips blood onto the very floor where his brother’s pieces and parts got mysteriously sucked down into when that puzzle box got the better of him. Apparently fresh ‘live’ blood is just what the doctor ordered for reanimating exploded dead corpses. Julia is the first to discover that some of Frank has come back to life, not that anyone knew he was dead. He’s a shit-colored slimy skeleton dude. Interestingly enough, they used two different actors for alive-Frank and dead-Frank. Anyway, because she’s so hopelessly still in love with this guy, she begrudgingly agrees to bring him some more fresh blood. The limey old hag somehow seduces a few gentlemen callers over and when she gets them up to dead-Frank’s attic lair, she busts their heads open with a claw hammer. After either two or three of these pitiful, desperate assholes, Frank is almost back to alive-Frank status. As much as a guy who got torn into bits could be. It ends up that this frigid bitch actually cons her own husband into being the dessert for his own scumbag brother. You see, the skin that got ripped all to bits just wouldn’t go back together right. So, being that brothers share things (like bitchy old limey hags) Larry decided he had grown quite tired of being alive and having his own skin and decided to give it to Frank. Ahh, fuck it, we really need to fast forward this some more… Kirsty finds Uncle Frank, thinks that it’s really her father, finds out it’s not, manages to steal the puzzle box (I don’t know why either) and ends up in the fucked up dimension herself. Makes a deal with the lead Cenobite “Pinhead” that she can prove that her uncle managed to bring himself back to life… Cenobite Pinhead is pissed off and he seems to consider sparing her life if what she says is true. They somehow follow her back to the house and she cunningly gets Frank to reveal his true identity… she escapes just as they have the wires hooked up to him for the second time. Bam! Frank’s dead for good. Oh… almost forgot the best news of all. The hag finally dies, fittingly enough, at the hands of her own bad boy lover, Frank.
When I started writing this post I was going to say that I liked this movie because of its rather shitty, claymation-looking special effects and mild-to-medium gore. I still like those things, but I guess it’s just too painful to really synopsize a lot of the important plot details. I guess I was expecting to find out more about this Cenobite Pinhead and less about weird-ass dysfunctional families. To be honest I do look forward to watching the next couple movies and I’m hoping that the sequels to this movie explore this underworld a bit more. Maybe I should just try Children of the Corn…