Hellraiser: The Scarlet Box Limited Edition Trilogy (Blu-ray)

THE FILMS:

Clive Barker’s 1987 British horror film Hellraiser is bloody, bizarre and entertaining, and introduced the globe to one particular of the most memorable second-tier horror villains, Pinhead. Like poor Drew Barrymore in Scream, who misidentified the villain in Friday the 13th, you could be surprised to understand that Pinhead has very small screen time in Hellraiser, and, while he and the Cenobites are present, the accurate villains are human. The violence is usually over-the-prime repulsive, as hooks, chains and clamps tear the flesh from bones, and the mystery of Frank Cotton, his lover and her stepdaughter carries the film. Hellraiser is fashionable, even though not totally logical, and remains an efficient blend of fantasy and horror. Practically twenty years after the film Roger Ebert named a “bankruptcy of imagination” was released, Hellraiser nonetheless frightens.

Cotton (Sean Chapman) has exhausted the carnal and drug-assisted thrills of reality, and opens a mystical puzzle box in hopes of reaching a new higher. What he finds is a fast, painful death at the hands of dimension-traveling Cenobites, ritually mutilated humanoids who can no longer inform the distinction amongst pleasure and pain. The man’s brother, Larry Cotton (Andrew Robinson), moves into identical home exactly where Frank Cotton died, and brings with him wife Julia (Clare Higgins). Semi-estranged daughter Kirsty (Ashley Laurence) lives close by but dislikes stepmother Julia, who was sleeping with Frank. When Larry cuts his hand and drops of blood spill onto the attic floor, Frank is awakened and re-animated. The skinless terror then convinces Julia to murder men so he can feed on their flesh and total his transformation. Kirsty discovers what Julia is doing, and realizes that she and her father are in grave danger.

The majority of Hellraiser concerns Julia and Kirsty, and Higgins knocks it out of the park as the cold-as-ice enabler. The relationship in between Julia and Frank is strange and off-placing, but it drives the narrative. Julia is initially frightened of Frank, but swiftly becomes a true femme fatale, luring men back to the home just before killing them for her undead lover. Larry becomes entangled in the mess, and Kirsty re-opens the puzzle box to make a deal with Pinhead (Doug Bradley) and his minions to save her personal life in exchange for delivering them Frank. The Cenobites are creepy, the practical gore effects appropriately disgusting, and the overall mystery is compelling. Barker developed a memorable fantasy globe with this 1st film, and Hellraiser goes to unexpected areas. The pacing in the initial hour is a bit sluggish, but when the film finds its footing, it by no means lets up. Hellraiser: **** (out of *****).

The sequel came a year later, and picks up straight following the events of the initial film. If nothing else, Hellbound: Hellraiser II feels like a Clive Barker film, even though Barker turned the director’s chair more than to Tony Randel. Right here, Kirsty is haunted by visions of her dead father, who she fears is trapped in hell. 1 of her psychiatrists, Dr. Channard (Kenneth Cranham), searches for the Lament Configuration puzzle box, and convinces a mentally ill patient to spill blood on the mattress exactly where Julia died. This awakens the woman, who seduces Channard and kills far more of his sufferers to enhance her strength. Channard’s sins arouse the Cenobites, and Kirsty ends up in their dimension, trailed by Julia, and runs into a really angry Frank. This loved ones reunion in Hell is plagued by low cost sets and dodgy visual effects, but delivers a quicker pace and much more action than its predecessor.

There is a lot going on in Hellbound, and it’s apparent the quick turnaround did not enable Barker and screenwriter Peter Atkins to do a lot polishing of the script. Even so, the film expands the Hellraiser mythology nicely, and Higgins and Laurence once again give efficient performances. I like that Barker and firm took the story in a distinct direction whilst utilizing the original’s important players. Pinhead again requires a backseat to Julia, Kirsty and Frank, but we find out a bit far more about the Cenobites’ origins and the laws of their universe. Some scenes are scantily developed, and the film feels a lot more like a wild chase in its climax than horror. The greatest of the several sequels, Hellbound is a nice companion to the very first. Hellbound: Hellraiser II: ***1/2 (out of *****).

The Dimension Films logo at the starting of Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth tells you a lot about what is coming. This second sequel, directed by Anthony Hickox, feels significantly less like a Hellraiser film than one of the studio’s several generic horror films released in the 1990s. Nevertheless, Hellraiser III is not without having its charms. Pinhead finally gets center stage right here, even though it borders on the standup-comedy-Freddy Krueger territory of later Nightmare on Elm Street films. Element three even has a stylish sex scene set to rock music, so you know it is 1992. I actually like a single core element of this story: Pinhead’s soul, or id, or one thing is split in two. There’s the WWI British Army Captain Elliot Spencer and his evil counterpart, present in Pinhead kind. Spencer gets stuck in limbo, and Pinhead is trapped on the Pillar of Souls seen briefly at the finish of the earlier film. A douchey nightclub owner (Kevin Bernhardt) buys the pillar, unaware of its origin, and awakens Pinhead, who forces the man to bring him souls.

The protagonist right here is a young reporter, Joey Summerskill (Terry Farrell), who witnesses a Pinhead victim get ripped apart in a hospital emergency room. With the support of the victim’s friend, Terri (Paul Marshall), Summerskill begins rooting about the nightclub, which becomes the scene of a violent massacre. Hellraiser III floats the concept that this Pinhead is breaking the rules of the Cenobite universe with no the humanity of Spencer to hold him in verify. That is fine, but I’m not certain the filmmakers even saw the preceding films if they think that Pinhead was some law-abiding Cenobite. This entry is also full of undesirable acting and over-the-best kills, which both aids and hurts the film’s entertainment worth. This is a silly film that feels out of place in the original trilogy, but it is responsible for bringing us leading-man Pinhead. Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth: **1/2 (out of *****).

THE BLU-RAY COLLECTION:

Picture AND SOUND:

Horror fans waited numerous years for Arrow to release its Hellraiser box set in America. Released in both elaborate “Scarlet Box Restricted Edition” and standard trilogy variants in the UK, the trilogy initially receives only the much more elaborate release in America. Sadly, Arrow Video only provided verify discs for overview, hence I can not comment on the ultimate good quality of the image and sound. Nevertheless, even these screeners offer exceptional technical presentations, so I assume the final item is impressive. If I obtain a retail version in the future I will update this review.

PACKAGING AND EXTRAS:

Even though I did not obtain the retail version, fans need to appreciate the elaborately packaged set, which includes all 3 movies on separate discs, a Blu-ray bonus disc and many physical extras, such as art cards, a booklet and poster. I can comment on the on-disc content material, which is excellent. On the Hellraiser disc you get Interviews with Sean Chapman, Stephen Thrower and Doug Bradley (26:24, 18:11 and 12:31, respectively) an substantial documentary, Leviathan: The Story of Hellraiser (1:29:18) an Image Gallery, Television spots, Trailers, an Original EPK Featurette (5:58), a vintage featurette, Hellraiser: Resurrection (24:26) a Commentary with Writer/Director Clive Barker and a Commentary with Clive Barker and Ashley Laurence.

On the second disc you get a Commentary with Director Tony Randel and Writer Peter Atkins a Commentary with Tony Randel, Peter Atkins and Ashley Laurence Leviathan: The Story of Hellbound: Hellraiser II (two:00:46) Interviews with Sean Chapman and Doug Bradley (11:35 and 10:53, respectively) an excised Surgeon Scene (4:49) a Lost in the Labyrinth featurette (17:03) an On-Set Interview with Clive Barker (3:18), On-Set Interviews with the Cast and Crew (four:45) Behind-the-Scenes Footage (1:51) Storyboards Tv Spots and Trailers.

On disc 3 you get an Alternate Unrated Version (96:38) a Commentary with Writer Peter Atkins a Commentary with Director Anthony Hickox and Doug Bradley Hell on Earth: The Story of Hellraiser III (32:01) Interviews with Paul Marshall, Anthony Hickox and Doug Bradley (14:55, 14:00 and 13:46, respectively) SFX Dailies (23:49) an EPK featurette (five:12) the Theatrical Trailer and an Image Gallery.

The fourth disc is the Clive Barker Legacy bonus material. It contains featurette Books of Blood and Beyond (19:25) documentary Hellraiser: Evolutions (48:17) and 3 Short Films (31:40, 18:29 and 42:59, respectively).

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Fans of the Hellraiser series will want to speedily order this Limited Edition Scarlet Box Trilogy before it sells out. Though a normal Blu-ray trilogy is likely on the horizon, this version is reasonably priced and handsomely packaged. Clive Barker’s original film is daring, bloody and unique, and the two integrated sequels offer their own thrills. If the final solution mirrors the screener discs sent to DVD Talk, the technical presentations should impress, and the set includes a daunting quantity of bonus characteristics. Extremely Advisable for horror fans.

William lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, and appears forward to a Friday-afternoon matinee.

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