Intro to Hellraiser
We'll Tear Your Soul With Farts...
So, if you are new to Hellraiser, welcome! If not, enjoy me explaining it with lots of jokes and memes.
For those that are new, however, I realize that it can seem like a bit of a tricky thing to get into. Despite the iconic status of the franchise, most people only know it has some dude with nails in his face that wears a BDSM dress. Nails. In his face. Nail. Face. Nail face.
Pinhead. Ya, that'll work.
The franchise is based on the book The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker. Well, the first two movies are. Kinda. Loosely. A bit tighter in the first film, the others just take bits and pieces and roll with them. Clive Barker is a dude that writes books. He's an author, which means he writes books. I know, it's confusing. He has written many horror movies with mixed success, but the Hellraiser franchise is arguably his biggest success. It's also the one that's given him the most trouble, because it was owned and financed by something far scarier than anything you could legally put in a movie:
Anyways, that's a bit of background. Onto the show.
I won't go too heavily into spoiler territory, but I will do my best to give you a basic idea of things. The first movie is about a family that just moved into an old house owned by Larry, the daddly dad dude. His wife is Julia, and her primary archetype is Snobby Step Mom Woman Person. His daughter is Kirsty. She's pretty okay. So, they move into the old family home of Larry, and it turns out his brother, Filthy Frank, has been there previously. Turns out he's still there, but not all there. Whole family fun ensues. and Kirsty ends up with a cool new toy.
That is the Lament Configuration. The name means it's dark and cool. Or it configures lament. Or it's a configuration of lament. I mean, it sounds better than Spooky Hell Box, so just go with it.
She plays with it, and summons some pretty nice people that want to... hold on... tear her soul apart. Taste their pleasures. Get some Taco Bell. It's pretty brutal stuff. She says "Nah bruh" and brings them back to her place for a house party. Papa Franku says something about bible tears and she closes the box, ending the movie.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN
So, the big thing here is that Hellraiser has some interesting twists compared to other slasher films. It's not really a slasher film in the traditional sense. Frank and Julia are really the bad guys in the movie, while the Cenobites are more like the ALL ENCOMPASSING DARK POWER that everyone fears. Despite this, they operate within a set of rules, and don't really go out of their way to hurt the "innocent". Furthermore, they represent the "fate worse than death", which is not something often seen in horror movies. You don't die once they have you. You live in eternal agony. Save up your Good Boy Points, and you might even become one of them. They primarily target people that are KINDA SORTA MAYBE seeking them out in the first place, but don't know it. Tiffany Buttstuff at Starbucks isn't generally going to find the box and open it, because she doesn't yearn for CARNAL DESIRES THE WORLD CANNOT PROVIDE HER. Or maybe she does. Someone get her number for me.
WE HAVE ETERNITY TO KNOW YOUR FLESH
Actually, REALLY, it's just one more movie. Eternities don't last like they used to.
The second movie essentially picks up right after the first, or right after enough. Kirsty goes to an asylum because movies think asylums are still a thing. Derp. She chills there, and Doctor Channard is there to help her. Also, there is a mute girl that is pretty good with Rubix Cubes.
You can see where this is going.
Channard has this awesome new thing all the kids are doing, a box gets opened, and everyone goes on a field trip in the magical schoolbus OF HELL.
Forgot to mention, Angry Notmom Julia is back as well, and she does stuff. It's a thing. So they go into hell, meet the Mayor of Butt Town, fool around a bit, and find Frank there. He's mad cuz his painful eternity is a boner he can't touch. Boyoyoyoyoing. Kirsty and mute girl go all Teenage Mutant Ninja GETMEOUTOFHERE and manage to make their escape, but not before a new Cenobite shows up. The old Cenobites decide they want to vibe check him, and things go down. They donnybrook, and the movie eventually ends.
Okay, what was all that?
This movie mostly dives into the lore of the franchise. This is incredibly important for understanding the second movie. What, you thought the rest of the franchise would actually use their established lore? HAHAHAHA no. That said, it brings up a really cool idea that these raisers of Hell are actually just a small part of a much bigger picture. The comics and books really use this movie as a jumping off point to go totally ham, and it works very well for them.
ALL GOOD THINGS DIE IN THREES
There was a third movie. It's not that great. Pinhead chews the scenery a lot, though, so it's nice if you want lots of him being pretty charismatic. If you REALLY need to know, he comes back from his donnybrook in pretty bad shape, so uses some jerk with bad hair to massage his clapped cheeks back to life. Then he goes and does chainhook buttstuff to everyone. Then he goes away.
This movie didn't do much, but it didn't outright ignore the rest of the franchise thus far, so it gets a pass.
And then, there was nothing. 7 more times.
Next came Hellraiser Bloodlines, which was really just a stop-gap to keep the rights while either a reboot or proper sequel could be made. As such, it is Hellraiser. In space. And before space. It's not good. Pinhead went into space before Jason did.
Then came 4 movies where the scripts weren't even Hellraiser scripts. They were REALLY BAD thrillers that were slated to be held for their titles and reworkings, but were turned into Hellraiser movies by writing "And then a skeleton in a leather thong popped up" randomly throughout their pages. Hellraiser spent about 20 years doing this. All of this was to keep the rights for Hellraiser, as the Weinsteins thought they could turn it into the Marvel Cinematic Universe of BDSM. Or something.
Two more movies came out after those, which were barebones scripts written to be Hellraiser films. They were written by the make up artist for the Hellraiser films, and it shows. The mascara was running. A lot.
Then Weinstein became Weinstein, and Hellraiser ended up in legal battles for a while.
Now we are in today. Which is the day after yesterday but before tomorrow. Today happened this week.
Hellraiser is a franchise that has inspired many within the horror genre since it came out. Warhammer has both the Dark Eldar and Slaanesh, which are basically Cenobites IN SPAAAAAAAAAACE. The concept of evil that tortures their victims for eternity has become a well known trope, and Hellraiser helped codify this trope with its themes. It also introduced villains that operate less on a Black and White mentality, but rather Blue and Orange. To them, they are not evil, they are doing their thing, and they aren't really bad guys for doing it. You're just the dummy that asked for their advice on what to wear and they have different tastes than you do. Hellraiser also legitimately used BDSM has an aesthetic for the Cenobites, which was fairly new at the time. Now, we take it for granted, but that was not the norm when it came out. The "villains" were far more sophisticated than other movie monsters, with a regality to them. Hellraiser has shaped many properties that came after it, with most people being none-the-wiser that it had happened.
I hope you enjoyed this. I didn't. I spent a while writing this. What am I doing with my life? What possesses a man to do this? Is there more? Can I find something beyond what I already have? Oh hey check out my new unboxing video on youtube where I show you this thing that arrived and uhdiuWHJAIWHEoiNDiowajhODIWJHWIWDHniWDO