Hellraiser is one of the rare horror franchises that I have next to no knowledge about. I know Pinhead is there obviously, hell probably plays a role, there’s a cube thing, and Pinhead is way into chains. That’s about it. Also there’s like eight of the damn things, and of course there’s a remake of the original in the works. I’ve actually owned the first movie on Bluray for about two years now and had never even removed the wrapping so I really have no excuse to not watch this movie. So I did.
Going into this movie essentially knowing there’s Pinhead and there’s chains actually led me to be very surprised when it turns out, neither of those things are really in this movie that much. You get some chains up front but then you gotta wait a while for them to make their return. You do get plenty of time spent with a skinless uncle hanging around the attic, asking his sister-in-law/ex-lover (ew, I didn’t connect until right now the whole we’re kinda related thing) to bring him people so he can eat their skin and generally being a real dick about it too. You see this guy was captured by the cenobites (that’s what Pinhead and his buddies are called) in the opening scene and is resurrected by blood, because horror movie logic, and comes back as this skinless dude who becomes more and more human as he consumes people. So he has the wife go out to bars and bring dudes back to the house so she can hit them with a hammer and allow this guy to eat them.
The first time she does this is actually pretty unsettling. You figure the worst thing that happens if you go home with a woman is you know, maybe you get an STD or she turns out to be crazy or maybe you can’t perform, etc. Skinless dude appearing to eat you would be bottom 10 probably. So that whole scenario is pretty nightmarish.
Eventually the husband with skin’s daughter figures out that her step-mom is feeding people to her dead uncle and tries to stop it. Then Pinhead shows up, says a few things, this dude with teeth for a face chatters them at people and a woman with a vagina neck is there too. It’s unique, I’ll definitely give it that.
I know it’s unfair to judge this movie based on my expectations, but not only was it not the film I was expecting, I was actually a little bored by it. Parts are certainly creepy but there are long stretches where it’s just this asshole with no skin demanding more bodies. The insanity meter jumps up to 11 in the last act though, so stick around. Also, the girl’s boyfriend has the most non-chalant reaction to insane spiky hell demons running around. He’s surprised sure, but not what I could call scared or even upset. He doesn’t react in the same “Holy shit jesus what!?” way us normal people would. He seems as though the whole thing is just an inconvenience at most.
Hellraiser intrigued me just enough to want to continue on with the series. It’s got some very goopy gore, a unique concept, and some cool ideas, but next time it needs a little less jackass with no skin and a little more of the craziness of the final act. Also why in the fuck were three guys having so much trouble lifting a mattress up the stairs? A mattress!! They were all pouring sweat and struggling like they were lifting, oh I don’t know, basically any piece of furniture besides a mattress! I assume everything else just got left outside because there’s no way these fuckers are carrying a couch or a chair. Pinhead demons and magic boxes I accept, but it’s not that hard to move a mattress Hellraiser, don’t you pull that on me.