Archive for the 'Cult Film' Category

Aug

Comments Off on Unfriended

Welcome to another review, folks! Now, I’ve covered a lot of different kind of horror movies in my reviews, so it makes me kind of proud to say that this is a first in this genre: Cybernatural. Now, I’m not saying anyone else on this wonderful site hasn’t done it, just me. As I’ve said before, anything can be a scary movie, just add the right elements. And in this review we have all the right elements to give us a pretty interesting setup. Let’s get to Unfriended.

This movie begins with a Skype call between two teenage kids, a boy and girl, of course, sharing some intimacies that will make you uncomfortable. I mean, seriously, I’m aware that countless other horror movies have used naked teenagers in them, but this is borderline voyeurism. Why is it so intimate? Because the movies perspective is from the laptop screen of one of the teens. We find out that this is the anniversary of the suicide of a friend, caused by cyberbullying. After we see the appropriate video, detailing the events that happened prior to this setup, all of the couples friends are suddenly summoned to the private moment. Mood killer, I know.

They all begin to question why they’re there, like the rest of us, and begin to converse, only to notice there’s a user in the Skype call that is not registered. Mystery begins! This setup, thus far, is pretty boring, I know, but stick with me, folks, this ride gets bumpy. Once the user is attempted to be hung up on, removed, deleted, and all but given to the Spanish Inquisition, the mystery steps up a notch. I have to warn you, though, as you watch this movie you will be tempted to close all the tabs and windows the character has open, searching for your mouse the whole time. And while annoying, it does give a very real feel to the movie, and I like that.

Soon after they begin to poke and prod the mysterious presence equally mysterious messages begin to appear, everyone in the chat thinking that the others are sending them. A scene from the trailers makes its way in and then things start to get weird. The disembodied chatter wants to start playing games. I think the folks that wrote this watched Saw a few too many times. But not before pictures, that were previously unpublished, make their way to several of their Facebook pages, exposing one girl and her partying ways. Tempers flare, words are exchanged, and here’s where the tension begins to build.

The incriminating pictures are removed from one account, only to appear on another. More tempers! More words! More incoherent shouting! And the game begins. No, there’s no Jigsaw voice employed. I’m disappointed, too. Seems the person terrorizing our little group of teens doesn’t like being hung up on. The nerd of the group finds a program to remove the user and the infected files they believe is causing the anomaly, freeing them. Though the fix is just temporary. Our resident nerd is now on the chopping block.

Now that the threat has been established as real the rest of the gang is now all on board with playing the malevolent being’s series of games. The ghost must be a teenager, as it favors the game ‘Never have I ever’. Another teen is offed in the process as the tension in the movie begins to build. This, I have to say, is probably the highlight of these young actors. The scenes and their behaviors are all very, very genuine, and easy to believe. I was very impressed with the fact that they were able to make ME feel on edge with their performances.

As we learned earlier in the movie, but I have yet to detail, the reason for the grizzly deaths and the haunting, is the dead teen wants to find out who shot and uploaded the video that pushed her to meet the business end of a handgun. The fact that the perspective is limited to just one laptop is very helpful to convey the genuine terror that is going on for the other teens, each with their own fates shown through a Skype window. The ghost begins to force secrets out of each of the callers, exposing them, for what she believed, to be their true colors.

We tackle everything from cheating, to betrayal, and even rape. The remaining teens begin to oust each other, either in an emotional tirade, or to circumvent their own demise. Either way it doesn’t end well for any of them. As our number of participants in the ghosts game begin to dwindle we reach the last scenes of the movie. No spoilers, folks, but I can at least say: They didn’t go into the woods.

Unfriended is a title, I believe, that has brought a new breath of life to the Cybernatural genre. Though some of the deaths could’ve been done better, or been elaborated on more, the few that we got clear shots of were pretty interesting. I love the social commentary about cyberbullying, and its consequences. The ending can be either fantastic, or a let down, depending on your view of the movie. But the rest is certainly a ride that most viewers should take. Thanks for reading, folks! Stay tuned.

roadside attractions

  • Salsa in the bedroom.
  • What’s that bottle for?
  • Have these kids never seen Saw?
  • Unrealistic idea of Chatroulette.
  • What happens if your wifi fails?
totals

5

blood

BLOOD

There isn’t a lot of gore, but rather some interesting ways to die.

0

blood

BREASTS

There are none. There’s a preview. That’s it.

4

beast

BEASTS

It’s a ghost. So not much. Malevolent intent, however, is good.

7.0 OVERALL
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May

Comments Off on I Drink Your Blood

I Drink Your Blood
1970 – X – 83 Minutes – Grindhouse Releasing
Starring Bhaskar, Lynn Lowry, Jadin Wong – Directed by David E. Durston

If there are two problems tearing this country apart, it’s definitely rabies and LSD. And satanic hippie cults. Okay, so three things. And hippies, can’t forget them. But, who is going to inform us about these evils and the destruction they cause, leaving people’s lives in shambles? Who? I’ll tell you who! Director David Durston with his film I Drink Your Blood, although there is no blood drinking, except for the chicken’s at the beginning, but nothing that would imply “yours”. The title was actually thought up by the film’s producer in order to sell it as a double feature, as it played alongside I Eat Your Skin. I guess something like “I Accidentally Drank Rabid Dog’s Blood and Now I Have Rabies” isn’t nearly as catchy.

It’s a film that seemingly takes those things seriously during an era when we weren’t quite informed on what they are nor really had any scientific idea what they were, so it comes off as rather… hysterical. This is only reinforced by how absolutely bonkers things get throughout the movie as hippies and construction workers run amok, all because of tainted meat pies. I always knew that those would somehow be responsible for an outbreak resulting in many deaths. Never trusted a meat pie as far as I could throw it and believe me, I can throw one pretty dang far.

idyb_2A satanic hippie cult, led by the almost Cesar Romero-Joker-esque quality Horace Bones, who call themselves “SADOS (short for Sons and Daughters of Satan),” have to hole up in a Podunk little town with a tiny population to avoid any detection from the fuzz, you dig? You see, one night during the group’s little get together for one of their little rituals, which they do totally butt nekkid, local girl Sylvia is spotted watching the festivity. However, locals aren’t allowed on the scene and she is beaten (to which her new-found friend of the group, Andy, seems a little too casual about this). While trying to leave this little town, their van breaks down and they do the next logical thing, which is buy meat pies from the local bakery run by Mildred, who tells them that most of the town is abandoned and awaiting demolition. Ah, good thing they decided to get some food from the Exposition Bakery! The group decides to whole up in a hotel indefinitely.

Let’s talk about the group for a minute. As I mentioned, the group is led by the Native American Horace Bones. Andy is the sensitive one, who isn’t happy with the group. Then you have Rollo, the angry black man. Shelley is the questionable member, never sure what his intentions are. There is also Sue-Lin, the group’s mystical Asian woman, there is also a promiscuous groovy chick (whose name I forget) and then you have Molly, the overweight woman who is pregnant with Horace’s spawn and the cute mute Carrie, played by an uncredited Lynn Lowry in her screen debut! It’s a diverse group and everyone is here to stereo-typically represent everyone!

Sylvia’s brother Pete, who steals the show with his “gee-golly-educational film” performance, is rather unsettled by them and knows they are up to something… probably because Horace is a cackling madman and the group isn’t exactly subtle, even though the townspeople never really catch on to this. Pete’s grandfather, the veterinarian (don’t worry, this will make sense in a moment), decides to take action against Sylvia’s abusers, but his plan is easily foiled by Horace who just simply takes his shotgun away from him. Good going, pops. The old man is beaten and drugged with LSD and trips serious balls in one of the most laughable scenes to follow.

idyb_3So what is LSD? Well, don’t worry. The film seemingly pauses for a moment and switches over to ‘Educational Film Mode’ and lets Pete be the voice of the audience to ask what is that L.S… whatever you call it stuff and Sylvia explains what it is and the dangers it holds. Trust me when I say it’s going to take you out of the movie for a moment, but it’s going to leave you chuckling. And the best part is, the film hasn’t even kicked into high gear!

That night, a rabid dog is strolling around and making noise, so Pete puts the thing down with his granddad’s double barrel and devises genius plan. It’s so genius, I’m sure there are some twisted, evil kid tendencies with Pete that the film unfortunately doesn’t go into, but his family may want to have him checked out: He sneaks out with his granddad’s veterinary kit and uses a syringe to siphon the dog’s infected blood, injecting them into the meat pies the Sons and Daughters of Satan of been buying. Seriously, out of all the evil revenge plans in every movie ever, is that not one of the best? It’s unclear if Pete’s intentions were to kill them, make them sick or maybe he didn’t know what would happen, but you can definitely say he got more than what he bargained for!

The members of SADOS fall ill that night, sweating and gripping their stomachs in pain, until they start foaming out the mouth and becoming violent, even toward each other. Rollo severs the foot off another member with an axe and runs off, chasing the groovy chick after being thwarted by Horace and his sword, Molly and Carrie bolt and Andy heads off to hide at Sylvia’s since he was the only one who didn’t eat the meat pies. He takes shelter there and along with her, and no worries, Pete is there too to get in the way and do whatever it is that Pete does. Whatever is though is sure to make you laugh.

idyb_4Having a group of rabid, Satan worshiping hippies is bad enough to unleash on an unsuspecting town, but the groovy chick offers herself to all of the construction workers (yes… ALL twenty or thirty of them) in order to feel protected, but unbeknownst to her, she infects all of them! Every rabies infected psychopath sets their eyes on Sylvia, Pete, Mildred, Andy and even grandpa and the most bat-sh#t crazy finale ensues, accompanied by some outstanding, hectic psycho music to play along to enhance the chaos. The survivors try to defend themselves and survive as the town runs rabid, quite literally, and all kinds of violence ensues including an epic sword fight, a decapitation and plenty of shotgun blasts… and of course a PSA about rabies in the guise of an exploitation film that’s gone completely bonkers.

Now the film does end with an open question, one that will be blindingly obvious, so I recommend checking out the deleted ending that not only ties that loose end up, but also ends the film on a very dark and grim, but fitting, note.

I Drink Your Blood
If you were to ask me what an exploitation film is, I would point you to I Drink Your Blood as the prime example. This is without a doubt my favorite movie of all time. Everything about it is honest, meaning that it comes from a place of love for what it is. The filmmakers clearly loved horror films and wanted to tell an amazing story, no matter how wild or seemingly unreal things got it. It has that certain type of genuine feel to it that all of these movies that homage films of the 70’s and 80’s claim to have. Everything about this film works, right down from the comic-book bright red blood, the idea of a new disease and how little they knew about it at the time, making it more frightening, the groovy score mixed with some good old fashioned 70’s Satanic hippie cult fun, it’s not only educational, but it’s a pure bloody good time.

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • SADOS; Sons and Daughters of Dumb.
  • Hippies! Hippies everywhere!
  • Rat hunt.
  • L.S… whatever you call it stuff.
  • Rabies Pie.
  • Need a “hand” making that sandwich?
  • Andy’s only trying to get a-head.
totals

8

blood

BLOOD

Blood and rabies go together like peanut butter and ladies.

6

blood

BREASTS

Plenty of dirty hippie boobs. And Lynn Lowry’s.

10

beast

BEASTS

Satanic Hippies!? Rabid psychopaths?! Rabid Satanic hippie psychopaths!

8 OVERALL
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May

Comments Off on WolfCop

Welcome back, folks. Know those instances when the stars align and all the good things in the universe let forth a movie to satisfy your most inner B-movie aficionado? Well. Look no further than today’s review! It has everything you could ever want in, not only a horror movie, but a raunchy comedy, a bad superhero flick, and lastly, a gore-fest. Oh, yeah. This movie has all of that, and more! So let’s dive right in.

The movie begins in a backwater port town filled with degenerates and law breakers on almost every conceivable corner. No, really, it’s illustrated often enough. Our main character, whose name is irrelevant, because all you’ll call him is ‘Wolf Cop’, wakes up, hungover and late for work. As a sheriff. The next few minutes are spent with him as we watch his drive to work, passing by several crimes on the way, ranging from assault to public intoxication. The next scene or two establishes something we’ve already figured out: The town sucks, the three person police force sucks, and our main guy is an alcoholic. Yup. I think they hammered that nail home hard enough.

Well, after several scenes of continuing alcohol libation and police work that makes a school crossing guard look like the entire SWAT team, we come to the first plot point of the movie: a murder, most foul! And our less than sober hero was involved. With badly shot flashbacks plaguing him, and a new scar, that seems more decorative than menacing, and a hangover to match it all; we begin another day with our hero. This is the first time anything is actually being let on about the supernatural aspect of this movie. Yeah, I know, this is slow going, but trust me when I say it’s worth it. Behold the second plot point! The town’s drink and shoot event is mysteriously canceled! Oh…no?

All the commotion and ‘who-dun-it’ type questions that keep coming up get our main character to actually do something about it! What’s surprising is that this is supposed to be a horror comedy, but these few minutes of detective work actually feel like a cop movie for just a moment. But, it IS a horror comedy, so shenanigans must be at foot! Wolf Cop begins to feel a little sick, throws up on the hot girl in the movie, goes down stairs to the bathroom, and begins probably the most painful werewolf transformation of all time. Go ahead, ask why it’s so painful. Since you asked so nicely I’ll iterate.

While the rest of the movie is off-kilter, there is one aspect that remains true: The transformation of the wolf by shedding the human skin. Only what makes this particular change so incredibly hard to bear is simple: It starts with a very clear, dynamically framed shot of the main character’s penis, which, after secreting blood, promptly explodes. You read that right. Explodes. It’s like a car crash. It’s horrifying, you wince every time, but you can’t help but watch. My current count is three. Okay, five. After some less than hospitable men follow him down to the bathroom the gratuitous violence finally starts.

Or, rather, we can cut away after some very teasing shots of what the werewolf looks like. Yeah, we don’t get to see it, just yet. More things happen! More characters are introduced! Funny dialogue! No, really, some of the lines are hilarious, most I can’t post here, but all worth a listen. We get to see more cop work and the main guy cope with his new heightened senses, and resisting the want to rip apart a guy kicking a dog. I can sympathize. Human wolf cop goes back to the bathroom where he made a mess, trying to figure out what happened. Yeah, I know.

A couple of scenes later we get to finally meet the wolf. While the design is nothing original, it is used to it’s utmost hilarity. An over sized wolf man stuffed inside a cop uniform two sizes too small. He responds to a robbery in progress and delivers the line that I was hoping to use in this review. Great minds and their thinking, I guess. After that scene and all the laughs that go with it we get some more violence! And I mean violence! But we can’t have a superhero wolfcop without a superhero wolfcop vehicle! Cue the heavy metal car building montage!

We burn down the rural road number 9,230 to drug barn number 2,412 to fight bad guys! And this is where gratuity becomes the norm. In the midst of a raging gunfight set to the backdrop of a burning barn we have limbs torn off, heads severed from shoulders, all sorts of blood spilled in all sorts of ways, and probably my favorite moments of this entire movie: A man with his face ripped off, clean to the skull, running around screaming at the top of his lungs. I don’t feel bad for guffawing at the entire thing, and neither should you.

One of the only problems I had with this movie, in the beginning, was the slow progression of the plot. Yes, folks, there is one. But as the movie goes on the plot points come one after another, and at one point, so many at one point that you just have to throw your hands up and go ‘Okay, sure!’ But, it’s still all highly entertaining. There is some more who-dun-it type stuff, and a lot more drinking, humor, and violence left to go in the movie, as it seems the drink and hunt event wasn’t exactly ‘canceled’, but rather goes through a change of venue. You’ll see.

The last scenes of this beautiful, blood filled, cornucopia begin to creep up on us, and all the oddball antics begin to make sense. But, you know me, folks. No spoilers, here. This movie is a great watch. It has all the stereotypes, all the tropes, and every single bit of over-the-top ridiculousness that makes B-movies wonderful. This gore/comedy/schlock-fest gets two enthusiastic thumbs up from this Deadman. Give it a watch, folks, and thank me later. Thanks for coming, don’t forget the speakers, and, as always, stay tuned!

roadside attractions

  • Breakfast of champions.
  • Fuzzy Handcuffs.
  • Is this band the entire soundtrack?
  • Keep an eye out.
  • This band is the entire soundtrack.
  • Sequel bait much?
totals

10

blood

BLOOD

Buckets upon buckets upon body parts.

7

blood

BREASTS

While not many, they are top shelf.

10

beast

BEASTS

Not a single complaint.

9.3 OVERALL
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May

Comments Off on Hellraiser: Bloodline

When we last left Pinhead n’ pals at the end of “Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth,” Pinhead had been reunited (and it felt so bad) with his ghost, Captain Elliott Spenser, in hell, and the heroine, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’s Jadzia Dax, plunked the Hellraiser box in the drying foundation of a building, the better to keep people’s mitts off of it. At least people who aren’t Kitty Pryde. And then we see a building with Hellraiser box décor erected on the building site. But Pinhead’s in his hell, the gate to which is literally encased in tons of concrete, and all’s right with the world, right? Right?!
Of course not.
You know how when “Jason X” came out, everyone chortled “haw haw, it’s Jason – in space!” (I love “Jason X” so much, don’t get me started.) But Pinhead did it first and he did it here. The movie opens in the plausibly-distant future with standard issue space marines storming a space facility where a mysterious man, Dr. Merchant, sets a poor innocent low-end Terminator to solving the puzzle box.

The man successfully activates the box-by-bot just as he is captured by Rimmer, the Ripley of this set of space marines, and he pleads with her to get off the station and let him finish what he started. Finish what? Hope you brought some popcorn, Rimmer. Settle in.
The previous Hellraiser movies never really got into the background of the box sketched out in the “Hellbound Heart” novella, although neeeeeeerds still picked up it’s called Lemarchand’s box or the Lament Configuration. The franchise is gonna fix that with Dr. Merchant’s Introduction to the Hellraiser Box 101, and the course materials are a couple of big-ass flashbacks. Because, you see, his bloodline is the bloodline of the title, as his ancestor was the one to create the box in the first darn place. Good one, Merchant family.
And so we’re in powdered-wigs-and-tights era France where a toymaker named Philippe Lemarchand, who looks exactly like Dr. Merchant, has whipped up the Hellraiser box to order for a wealthy client. Of course, he somehow designs it to his patron’s specifications without realizing what it does, and his wife is unimpressed when all he can get it to do is open and play tinkly music. Oh, you just wait, hon.

Lemarchand delivers the box to his client on a dark and ominous night. The client, Duc de L’Isle, looks sort of like an evil harlequin Bea Arthur, and he receives the box while a woman he and his trusty apprentice Jacques – Adam Scott’s first film role, everybody! — have just ganked cools offscreen. Then Lemarchand hangs around watching through the windows while the pair use the box to invoke a demon to possess the dead lady. The sequence is long enough to be montaged, so I have to assume Lemarchand is out there for hours. He should have brought a lawn chair.
And, kids, if you’re going to raise the dead in the front room, consider pulling the drapes.

Understandably bummed, Lemarchand relates all he witnessed to a friend, while his friend chops up a dead body for study. His friend has good advice while rib spreading a corpse – if you made a box that can summon demons, maybe you can make one that can destroy ‘em? And so Lemarchand sets to designing a box for just that purpose and goes to L’Isle’s digs to retrieve the original.
He finds the box, but he also finds L’Isle with an extra red smile bisecting his face, and the demon, Angelique, is now shtupping Jacques. Well, Jacques is a better deal, can’t blame her. They catch Lemarchand and moiderize him, but he has a pregnant wife, so the story’s not over, even though his story so is.

Hundreds of years pass, but we don’t have to watch that. What we do have to watch is brilliant architect John Merchant – same face, got some powerfully stubborn genes in that family – as he unwittingly designs a whole building’s worth of Hellraiser box. You know the box in the foundation and the Hellraiser building from the end of III? Yeah, this is that. Angelique and Jacques have been bumming around Europe, living an Anne Rice novel or summat, when she catches wind of this and wants to go do something about it. Jacques says no, and no means dead.
Angelique tries to seduce John, but he has just enough sense and foreboding ancestral dream knowledge to resist. Going with plan B, she finds the original box in the foundation and seduces a meaty partygoer into solving it, opening the portal to hell. Angelique meets Pinhead and the two do shop talk about hell for a bit, both ultimately very interested in making the building itself into a permanent gate to hell. Angelique thinks she can snuggle it out of John, but Pinhead would prefer to rip it out with serrated hooks. Their blue state/red state approaches put them at odds, but neither way looks very good for John. Good thing he also has a son.
No spoilers because you already know this thing will end where it began, back to the future, with Pinhead in space and a whole bunch of dumb, squishy space marines. They should beam over to LV-426 while they’re at it.
…Did I mention Pinhead has a dog in this one?

Overall, this is probably some of Alan Smithee’s best work. Actually Kevin Yagher directed this, and it’s seriously not bad, but the studio meddled in hell’s domain too damn much and prompted him to quit and take his name off. The elegance and intimacy of the original “Hellraiser” has been purged here and they’ve grafted on a luxurious temptation backstory with the Merchant family – none of whom are interesting enough to be tempted to do anything – and an Alien-esque space marine slasher crescendo. The Cenobites are much improved over the punchlines of III though, and that includes the Chatterer Dog Cenobite. Of course, you do get chains and graphic violence and all of that stuff, but at this point, it’s expected, so having a guy’s skin ripped off is little bit of a yawn.

This is, by the way, the last Hellraiser movie Clive Barker was at all associated with, and we’re not even halfway through the franchise.

roadside attractions

  • Piercings
  • Chainings
  • Reanimation
  • Demon possession
  • Extreme Cenobite Makeovers
  • Piiiinheeeeeaads in Spaaaaaaace!
  • Man’s Best Cenobite
  • French stuff
  • Three eras of Bruce Ramsay’s face
totals

7

blood

BLOOD

Yes. Kinda boring blood by Hellraiser standards though honestly.

0

blood

BREASTS


No boobs. Well, a couple of really dumb guys, yeah, but not boob boobs.

7

beast

BEASTS New and improved Cenobites, including the Odie of the Damned, but that’s it.

7 OVERALL Crappy sequel to some, last decent sequel to others.
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Apr

Comments Off on Hellraiser

On May 19, 2015, Clive Barker unleashes the long-awaited The Scarlet Gospels on the world. It’s being billed as the last Hellraiser novel and Clive is spoiling us all by letting us know the Hell Priest Pinhead is getting deader than usual, for reals, forever, run up the curtain and joined the choir invisible.
At this point, I go fully Brainy Smurf and point out there has only been one Hellraiser novel, which was a novella called “The Hellbound Heart.” Although, yeah, Pinhead and his S&M monster sect, the Cenobites, were briefly mentioned in his novel Weaveworld as “the Surgeons.”
Really Pinhead and his homies were fleshed out in the movies, of which there are nine. Same number as levels of hell. Coincidence? We’ll see. In celebration/fearful expectation of The Scarlet Gospels, I’m going to watch all nine of these bad boys and review them all here. Assuming I’m not scrawling crosses on the wall in my own excrement by the time I get to “Hellraiser: Deader.”

The 80s gave us so many great monsters – Pumpkinhead, Chucky, the Leprechaun, Michael Myers, the Tall Man, Angela from “Sleepaway Camp” AND Angela from “Night of the Demons” – but Pinhead stands proudly in the winners circle of the greatest monsters of the Reagan years with his arms slung around Freddy and Jason, probably keeping them from going for round 2 against each other. His image is familiar to everyone. He has been on the Simpsons. Your mom knows Pinhead, and for once, that’s not a reflection on your mom. Although time, and so freaking many sequels, clouds the memory, and even if you are a fan, “Hellraiser” might not be entirely the movie you think you saw.
First off, in the novella that spawned it and the first movie, Pinhead and the Cenobites aren’t the Big Bads here, not really. It’s kind of like the first Friday the 13th and Jason’s mom. The real bad guy here is Frank Cotton, a smoldering bad boy hunk and sociopathic hedonist looking for the ultimate in transcendental sexytimes. And so he comes by the box, that iconic Rubik’s Cube of the damned, and retires to his dead mother’s house in London, fingering the box’s faces until the CGI kicks in. The prize inside, however, while not safe for work, is not so much sexytimes as total evisceration, courtesy of the Cenobites. But hey, he asked for it.
If he’s eviscerated, how is he the Big Bad, Angela? OK, fun story. Some indefinite time later, Frank’s brother Larry shows up with his frosty, semi-detached wife Julia in tow. Larry has a great new job in England and intends to reclaim the old homestead, also setting the stage for a fresh start with the pissy missus.
They tour the old house and find lots of Buddy Christ-grade religious iconography, presumably his mom’s, a kitchen given over to maggots, and some of Frank’s things, but no Frank. Not even pieces. The Cenobites love their work.
Larry dismisses it as his ne’er do well, and inexplicably more gorgeous, brother making a smooth criminal exit, but Julia, who was so icy towards her husband, suddenly gets her motor runnin’ and agrees to stay.
On moving day, in a really beautifully-done sequence – have I told you I love this movie? – Julia obsesses over Frank’s picture, and we get flashback mushy stuff as she gets all het up about how he seduced her before her wedding. While she’s, ahem, remembering, Larry and nondescript friends heft the marriage bed upstairs. In the process, Larry accidentally rips his hand open on a nail, and he goes to Julia for help, bleeding all over the floor of Frank’s room. The room Frank was eviscerated in. The floorboards suck the blood up like Karo syrup on a Brawny towel and Frank’s body begins to reconstitute itself underneath the floorboards. It is all very gelatinous and extensively foleyed.
Cut to a dinner party. Larry’s daughter Kirsty is there, and she is about horror movie heroine age and so beautiful. You guys, she is the proto Noxzema girl. Kirsty flirts with one of her Dad’s younger friends, who’s supposed to be British, but speaks with an American accent, and that troubles me at night sometimes. There’s booze and raucous cheer. Except —
Kirsty doesn’t like her stepmother Julia, and while the hostilities aren’t open, Julia is too distracted fantasizing about Frank to be a bitch. She leaves the party to go sniff around in Frank’s things and surprise! Her lover is back, sort of. Some of him. Larry’s blood was enough to bring Frank back to Slim Goodbody suit status, but he needs more. A lot more. Also skin. And he insists Julia help him.
Julia is torn between many competing emotions like so much chain-hooked body, and my God, Clare Higgins deserves an Oscar. Frank is a disgusting monster. But he is also Frank (who is a disgusting monster anyway, but she’s lust-blind to that.) And Frank is a terrifying monster, which both makes him intimidating and something to go screaming to your insignificant other about. And Clare gets all of this across beautifully with wild looks and halted breaths and trembling.
So, Julia consents to help Frank, and the way she’s going to help Frank is by luring men back to the house to bludgeon with a hammer and let Frank suck dry. She starts out very nervous, terrified really, of the men, of herself, and of course, of the thing sucking the marrow out of the guy she just whacked, good old Frankie-poo.
Meanwhile Noxzema Girl Kirsty has troubling dreams with more symbolism than an 80s Heart video, and she begins to worry about her dad. She also has a run in with a really weird guy in the pet shop she’s now working at, and while it’s probably par for the course in New York or L.A. or New Orleans, in England, I gather cricket-eating hobos staring hungrily at you is more of an event.
Kirsty eventually stumbles upon Julia and Frank’s white doughy Englishman abatement service and, after Frank leers at her real good, manages to steal the box and get out. She really does some prime horror movie heroineing here. But then she passes out, and wakes up in a hospital from dreams of a red blooming flower. Mm-hmm.
When a doctor tries to interrogate her, Kirsty insists she remembers nothing. She’s left to recuperate, with the puzzle box as a spur to her memory. So she does what everyone does when they’re left alone with the box and starts feeling it up to reveal its secrets. First, she manages to open a gateway to a fun slobbering, snapping thing that defies physics when it flies and has a stinger for a tail, but after she escapes, she meets the Cenobites. And the only thing the Cenobites want more than to play with Kirsty is to get Frank back.
As gory as it can be, the meat of this movie isn’t effects; it’s Julia turning into a monster for the sake of her love of Frank and it’s Frank being an inhuman bastard who has a 50/50 shot at sticking a knife or his penis in you, and even then probably not where you’d expect. It’s Larry’s marriage turning to ash in front of his hapless, loser eyes and it’s Kirsty being unable to save her father from his own mistakes. The Cenobites are hella memorable, but in this movie, they’re more of a force of nature being invoked by some terribly human appetites.

Also, the Cenobites aren’t clearly Satan-based demons here, despite the title. The Lead Cenobite (Pinhead to you) announces them as “angels to some; demons to others.” That was on the posters, and it’s pretty damn apt. They get to be both in this movie, and while there’s an oblique acknowledgment of hell, it’s arguable whether it refers to a literal Judeo-Christian hell. I’m making that point, because later films are going to go backsies on some of this. But as far as we know in the first movie, they’re just supernaturally-endowed swingers from another dimension.
This is a film Clive Barker made after seeing other filmmakers butcher material from a couple of his other short stories, and he basically said, [bleep], I’m going to do this my way, and it’s going to be awesome. And then he said, oh, [bleep], I don’t know what I’m doing. But he was wrong about that. It’s a tight script and he directs the hell out of it, including some really clever shots and setups. All the actors give it everything they’ve got. There are no limits. So decades later, it’s still scary and there’s not much like it; Phantasm probably is the only series I can think of with a similar feel. I do still have eight movies to go in my Hellraiser-a-thon, but I feel pretty safe saying if there’s one Hellraiser you should see, it’s this one.

roadside attractions

  • Piercing fetishes
  • Extreme maggot wrangling
  • American-dubbed British people because U.S. market
  • Chains of love
  • Guys getting hammered
  • Lots of ectoplasm. At least, I hope it’s ectoplasm.
  • Cannibalizing action
  • Full backal nudity
totals

10

blood

BLOOD

Everything that is inside eventually comes outside in this movie.

0

blood

BREASTS


…Except boobs. No boobs. If you don’t look away in time, you may see Frank’s junk though.

10

beast

BEASTS Big slobbering stinger-equipped monster, big flying pterodactyl-like monster, skinless Uncle Frank, and Cenobites for the win.

9 OVERALL Even with some dated SFX, the movie holds up and is still scary, provocative, and – why not say it? – artistically fulfilling. Check it the hell out.
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