Based on the 1986 Clive Barker novella, The Hellbound Heart, the original Hellraiser movie came out in 1987 (and was written and directed by Barker himself). The story was based on Barker’s time as a sex worker in the ’70s, and, according to critic Brett Callwood, the film was (and remains) a masterpiece. Callwood further notes that the original film and its immediate sequel, “offered a believable glimpse into hell, where pain and pleasure are one and the same,” adding, “after Hellraiser II came eight more sequels which were generally good fun but ranged in quality from B-movie to Z-movie.”
The latest iteration is less a remake than a reboot. The demonic cenobites got their original look from the attendees at S&M clubs that Barker would frequent, with the mix of pleasure and pain “referred to by lead cenobite the Priest (usually known as Pinhead) as ‘sensation.’ The hooks and chains tearing flash, the leather and latex—it was chillingly stylish and grotesque, made all the worse by the fact that the victims sought out their eternally unthinkable fate while trying to find ultimate pleasure.”
Although males played the Priest in all of the previous sequels, the new film features actress Jamie Clayton sporting the pins, and, as Callwood points out, “that gender switch has been met with accusations of ‘wokeness and virtue signaling’ from clueless fuckwits.”
Alas, though, the film doesn’t achieve the edge of the original. You can read Callwood’s full review and see the trailer here. —VV editors
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