So in the previous two posts, I discussed the Hellraiser franchise, eight movies that came out between 1987 and 2005. How do they rate as movies, and more particularly, as Hellraiser movies?
As movies, they are generally okay. At their best, these films are creative and original, but they are hardly masterpieces. Even at their worst, however, they are passably entertaining. So none are excellent, but none are atrocious. If you like lots of blood and gore, these movies should do the trick. So how do I personally rank them?
- Hellraiser – As might be expected, the original would be the best. Although a bit dated in both fashions and special effects, at least this movie offered something different. The Cenobites are something new to look at; eventually, they would become little more than generic movie monsters.
- Hellbound: Hellraiser II – This works well as a followup to the first movie, though there are some inconsistencies (such as a house that’s destroyed at the end of the first movie and intact in this one). With many of the same characters returning, this film is not just a rehash, but a nice continuation.
- Hellraiser: Bloodline – The fourth movie provides a history that answers some of the “why” questions that have developed over the first three movies. Perhaps most significantly, it provides an origin of the Lament Configuration. The three stories that comprise this movie, however, are just so-so.
- Hellraiser: Hellseeker – The sixth movie brings back Kirsty (Ashley Laurence), the closest the series has to a heroine. Admittedly, she doesn’t do that much, but it’s nice to see her character again.
- Hellraiser: Hell on Earth – The principal virtue in this third movie is the little look into the backstory of Pinhead, who spends much of the movie split in two: the evil half wants to take over the world, the good half wants to reunite and restore order. There isn’t actually much difference between “evil” Pinhead and “united” Pinhead, as can be seen in later movies. This movie also seems to establish that Pinhead can create new Cenobites.
- Hellraiser: Deader – If the movies above have slightly (or more) good than bad, this movie is the balanced one, with at least the Romanian settings providing a nice change-of-pace look. The mopey main character, however, is a bit of a drag.
- Hellraiser: Inferno – It’s kind of a toss-up between these last two rated movies. This movie – fifth in the series – suffers from having no likable main characters (a cop partner is the only one who comes close, but he is in a supporting role). It comes off like an elaborate and bloody Twilight Zone episode, one of those ones where a bad guy leads a bad life and suffers a bad fate.
- Hellraiser: Hellworld – This movie is bad enough that it almost goes into so-bad-it’s-good territory. Poorly written with gaping plot holes and bad direction and acting to boot, this film comes off less as a Hellraiser movie and more as a knockoff of Scream or Saw.