""I've seen the future of horror... and his name is Clive Barker"," said Stephen King in 1987. ""He may have seen the future of horror"," hit back critic Roger Ebert, ""but he's almost certainly not seen the dreary Hellraiser.""
Actually, both were wrong. Besides Hellraiser and Candyman (which he exec produced), novelist/director Barker's surreal sensibilities have never properly been translated to the screen. Ebert, meanwhile, was just being a mean-spirited pillock. Looking back on Hellraiser through the fog of seven sequels certainly lessens its impact. Its main attraction remains Doug Bradley's Pinhead - - as chief Cenobite, the demons summoned by the Lament Configuration Box, he was an instant icon. That he was surrounded by dreadful acting and crap monsters didn't matter when weighed against some of the goriest imagery of the '80s.
Hellbound: Hellraiser II has similar problems but at least it takes its protagonists to Hell. It's also even sicker, though don't be fooled: none of these versions are as "uncut" as claimed. Hellraiser III: Hell On Earth, the last, godawful entry here, turns Pinhead into a Freddy Krueger clone, all piss-poor one-liners and zero scares. It features two new Cenobites, one with a camera stuck in its head and another that kills people with CDs. Yes, it really is that bad.
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