I have an… odd relationship with the Hellraiser franchise. I appreciate Clive Barker a lot, and I really enjoy a few of the movies. However, I also live in a sort of denial about them, where the 80s cheese in my mind overcomes how dark and messed up I find these movies. The end result is every time I decide to rewatch Hellraiser, I end up forgetting, “oh, this movie really messes with me.”
Hellraiser is a good movie, it has a lot of insane visuals, and the tone is on point. It is overwhelming in its bleakness at times, and the concept is truly terrifying. One mistake and one messed up relative, and Kirsty is looking at an eternity of torment and suffering. That is… oof. Also, for all the 80s cheese of it, the gore actually really gets to me. I find myself turning away a lot every time I watch this movie. A few of the moments don’t land as hard as I imagine they used to, but largely this movie gives me that feeling of being unable to sit still and just watch, both in its gore and what the content is about.
I am stuck in sort of a weird place with this movie. Stepping back, I objectively think it’s good, great even. I also feel a bit of love for it and its place in the larger world of the genre. I also, once again, appreciate the hell (heh) out of Clive Barker. But I think I kind of hate this movie? But love it? I honestly have a hard time trying to define it.
A great movie that makes me feel awful, but in a way that horror movies almost sort of should? It was an interesting inclusion, to say the least.