AWOB92: Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth

Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth. Anthony Hickox. 1992. ☆☆★★★★

After two movies that have a quite homey feel to them, this seems more… professional. I’m guessing it was made in the US? It has that American feel to it. Grips and best boys that are in the union.

The first two Hellraiser movies may not have been, like, good, but they had something going for them. This is a bog-standard early-90s horror movie, with unremarkable (but professional) actors and all.

On the documentary about the first movie, one wit said “no teenagers were hurt during the making of this film”. This one is all about killing off teenagers, so it reverts to horror clichés there, too.

It’s not very scary, either.

This bluray version is odd. Random scenes are super-blurry, as if they had been sourced from… well, I don’t know. It doesn’t look like VHS, but it’s blurry enough to be VHS. I guess they lost some of the film footage?

This post is part of the A Weekend of Blood blog series.

AWOB88: Hellbound: Hellraiser II

Hellbound: Hellraiser II. Tony Randel. 1988. ☆☆☆☆★★

Well, that’s an odd way to start a sequel: We get a very… intense… recap of the first movie! Before the titles! All the famous one-liners and excerpts from the most gruesome scenes.

I don’t think I’ve seen it done that blatantly before.

And then we’re off: Several actors return, like Ashley Laurence and Clare Higgins, and, of course, the guy that does Pinhead.

It’s like… “what if there was more?” So we get some of the background on the monsters, and we get to visit hell (which, it turns out, consists of two corridors and some matte painting).

It’s… more.

The filmmakers pretending that these movies are set in the US is even more amusing this time out, what with unconvincing police uniforms and everything.

So is it scary? Yes. But Tony Randel isn’t as good a director as Clive Barker. So many scenes are without nerve and look, frankly, rather cheap.

But the actors are better. Even the ones that were already good in the first one are even better here. In some ways this is a better movie than the first one, but it’s gone some interminable scenes.

Heh heh::

It is simply a series of ugly and bloody episodes strung together one after another like a demo tape by a perverted special-effects man.

This post is part of the A Weekend of Blood blog series.

AWOB87: Hellraiser

Hellraiser. Clive Barker. 1987. ☆☆☆☆★★

This is pretty scary right from the get go. It’s an original way to introduce the audience to the horrors, too: Give us glimpses of the fantastic, and drench it in blood. Barker is of the Carpenter school of horror movies: Show it all; don’t hint at it.

And then the story starts.

The guy who plays Larry delivers as awkward a performance as I remember. Basically none of the male actors are… good? Barker’s friends, perhaps?

Pinhead’s OK, and Clare Higgins’s fun, though.

Huh. I knew that this movie had a small budget, but I thought it was a major box office smash. It had a budget of about 1M (which is 2.2M in today’s money), and it had a box office of $15M (i.e., 33M now). I mean, that’s a large wad of cash, but it’s less than, say, A Nightmare on Elm Street (which did 25M at the time).

Which makes it slightly more strange that the rights holders go to such extreme lengths to avoid losing the rights.

It looks a lot more expensive than $2.2M. Barker must have had a lot of talented friends to do all the special effects.

I had forgotten how simple a story it is: Most of it takes place in a very small location and little happens, really.

And watching it now, I’m more grossed out at the latex and KY jelly than scared.

I mean, I’m scared, but…

This post is part of the A Weekend of Blood blog series.

A Weekend of Blood

Last year, I re-read a bunch of 80s comics published by Eclipse Comics, and among these were a a bunch of adaptations of Clive Barker short stories as well as a couple of fannish books about him.

I quite enjoyed reading his Books of Blood at the time: They were something new and fresh in the horror genre. Every story in those collections were shocking. But as he started writing novels, I lost interest, because he didn’t really seem to have that much more to offer, I felt at the time.

And boy, reading those Eclipse books about him really brought that vague feeling home: He’s obviously the smartest and most talented person in his clique, but that doesn’t mean that he’s, well, you know, that smart, really.

So what hellish impulse made me buy the ten (10) Hellraiser movies you can see on the picture above? Most of them in 2K bluray, even?

I used to be a horror movie fan, but I’ve grown squeamish. And these movies are not, as far as I can recall, very bloody indeed.

But I’m just curious. One factor here is that when I saw the two original movies, I saw them in Norwegian VHS censored versions: You’d see a guy walking into a room, tense music rising, and then abruptly he’d be dead and the music is gone. If I remember correctly, they cut something like 15 minutes from both movies to make it acceptable. So they were very odd artefacts, really.

The other thing that makes me curious is how this movie series apparently has devolved, with the rights owners making movies just because they have to keep from losing the rights. Most of these are straight-to-video releases, and one of them was apparently only released in the Japanese market.

Here’s Wikipedia on the ninth movie:

In 2011, a ninth film was released to a single theater in California for a crew showing that was ostensibly open to the public. Hellraiser: Revelations is the first film not to feature Doug Bradley as Pinhead and was shot in two weeks for $300,000. It was suggested by Bloody Disgusting that the film was only shot so that The Weinstein Company would not lose its filming rights before it could produce a remake of the original.

I just find this irresistible! It’s got at 2.8/10 at imdb! How awful can it be!? I just have to find out.

Besides, it’s a great way to lose weight! I won’t be eating while watching these movies.

So over the next three days I’m going to be watching all ten Hellraiser movies. Join me for…