Having made his reputation as one of the most prolific and gifted horror writers of his generation (prompting Stephen King to call him "the future of horror"), Clive Barker made a natural transition to movies with this audacious directorial debut from 1987. Not only did Barker serve up a chilling tale of devilish originality, he also introduced new icons of horror that since have become as popular among genre connoisseurs as Frankenstein's monster and the Wolfman. Foremost among these frightful, Hellraiser visions is the sadomasochistic demon affectionately named Pinhead... (so named because his pale, bald head is a geometric pincushion and a symbol of eternal pain). Pinhead is the leader of the Cenobites, agents of evil who appear only when someone successfully "solves" the exotic puzzle box called the Lamont Configuration--a mysterious device that opens the door to Hell. The puzzle's latest victim is Frank (Sean Chapman), who now lives in a gelatinous skeletal state in an upstairs room of the British home just purchased by his newlywed half-brother (Andrew Robinson, best known as the villain from Dirty Harry), who has married one of Frank's former lovers (Claire Higgins). The latter is recruited to supply the cannibalistic Frank with fresh victims, enabling him to reconstitute his own flesh--but will Frank succeed in restoring himself completely? Will Pinhead continue to demonstrate the flesh-ripping pleasures of absolute agony? Your reaction to this description should tell you if you've got the stomach for Barker's film, which has since spawned a number of interesting but inferior sequels. It's definitely not for everyone, but there's no denying that it's become a semiclassic of modern horror. --Jeff Shannon [show more]
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Clive Barker's screen adaptation of his novella 'The Hellbound Heart'. Sexual profligate Frank Cotton (Sean Chapman) opens a Chinese puzzle box and discovers the entrance to Hell, where the resident Cenobites led by Pinhead (Doug Bradley) rip the flesh from him. When Frank's brother Larry (Andrew Robinson) and his wife Julia (Clare Higgins) then move into Frank's house, a skeletal Frank appears to his sister-in-law and asks her to supply him with corpses for his regeneration. The cast also includes Ashley Laurence, Simon Bamford and Robert Hines.