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While its reputation has been undeniably tainted by a slew of sequels of increasingly questionable quality, Clive Barker's original twisted tale of love, murder and interdimensional creatures still stands tall as one of the 1980's most unique horror films.

The film follows the Cotton family, as they are torn apart from the inside by dreadful secrets and supernatural terrors, all of which are tied to a mysterious, ornate puzzle-box that has the ability to open doors to another dimension... a dimension ruled by ruthless beings that are masters of pleasure... and pain.

Based on his own novella "The Hellbound Heart," Barker writes and directs this disturbing tale, and does so with a sense of class and deliberation. The film's structure is sound and effective, with information doled out exactly as needed, and a consistent sense of dread and urgency that grows throughout. And the general production, from the camerawork to the prosthetic makeup effects, is generally stirring and disgusting - disgusting in all the right ways, mind you.

The cast is also quite excellent, and all fit the material well. Of particular note is Clare Higgins in the movie's biggest part - a housewife who goes through a tremendous change and turns into a complete monster throughout the story. She's deliciously evil and does a fantastic job. I also will say that the adorable Ashley Laurence is well cast as what is more-or-less the film's main protagonist. She's instantly likable. And of course, there's not enough that can be said for Doug Bradley, who originates his iconic part of Pinhead in this film. There's a reason the character has become a horror icon. And Bradley eats up the part in a very strong performance.

If I were to say any negatives, it would be that the movie is sometimes flimsy, which honestly is to be expected from a film by a first-time director. There are a few directorial decisions that feel counter-intuitive, and a few sloppy moments peppered in. But they are not enough to detract from the film's overall quality.

"Hellraiser" is one of the 80's most ferociously unique and deliciously terrifying films. It's freakish. It's frightening. And it's definitely worth checking out. I'm giving it a very good 4.5 out of 5. (Rounding up to an even 5 for MovieMistakes).


Visible crew/equipment: When Ashley is running down the corridors before escaping back into her medical room, you can see the dolly that The Engineer chasing her is being pushed on. (01:04:50)

More mistakes in Hellraiser

Frank: Jesus wept.

More quotes from Hellraiser

Trivia: Pinhead is not named in this movie, and is simply credited as lead Cenobite.

More trivia for Hellraiser

Question: At the beginning of the film Frank was using the puzzle box, why did the cenobites arrange his face on the floor?

Answer: Letting the moviegoers know what happened to him, he was no longer human, but a piece of meat to be butchered.

More questions & answers from Hellraiser

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