Welcome to the singular vision of Clive Barker and his landmark horror opus! Hellraiser In a place between pleasure and pain there is sensual experience beyond limits. And in a world between paradise andpurgatory there is a horror that feeds the souls of evil. When Frank Cotton solves the mystery of a Chinese puzzle box he enters the world of the Cenobites a world where the cruel sadists thrive on pain. Restored to life by the blood of his brother Larry Frank rises to fe
Thank God for Anchor Bay! The Lament Configuration is one of the most recognizable props in all of 80's horror. The puzzle box is at the center of the one of the first horror films to feature sadomasochism as a main theme, with all of the baddies dressed to the nines in their bondage gear. This box features the first three Hellraiser films and a bonus disc. The only thing that could've made this box better was the omission of Hellraiser III: Hell On Earth, in which our beloved Pinhead turns into Freddy Kreuger and begins spouting one liners and loses all of the menace he'd been building in the first two films. That being said, Hellraiser and Hellbound: Hellraiser II are very solid and original horror films. Clive Barker's original vision was on its clearest display in the first film, obviously, since he directed it. The film introduces all of the main characters to be explored in this and its sequel, including Pinhead and his loyal Cenobites. The Cenobites are demons from hell who have been able to move up in the underworld and respond to the will of the Lament Configuration, much of the time to the dismay of the person holding it. Hellraiser is a steamy tale of adultery and murder and what really hot sex can do to one's brain, apparently it can cause a woman to seduce and murder a long string of willing men to feed to her beau who has been reduced to a gaunt skeletal being covered in slime. The only person who knows the truth about these murders is her stepdaughter, who vows to put and end to it all. The only lacking part of the original Hellraiser is the effects, and they were bound not only by the technology of the time but also but the budget, but they do satisfy and many of the sequences involving poor skeleton Frank are especially gooey. Hellbound: Hellraiser II is more of the same, but, as is the Modus Operandi in sequels, the bloodshed is greater and the action, more over the top. A doctor in an asylum has discovered what he believes to be the secret of the Lament Configuration but he cannot unlock it, so he employs his legion of patients to do it for him. Julia, the seductress from the first film is back and she is trying to come back from hell in a similar fashion to her beloved Frank. She uses Dr. Channard, head of the asylum, as her conduit and he brings her fresh meat. The set pieces are far more expansive in this film as Kirsty, the stepdaughter from part one, must navigate through hell to prevent hell from breaking through. The coup de grace is the Dr. Channard Cenobite who eventually ends up challenging Pinhead for control over the Cenobites. Considering there are at least 7 sequels to this film, all starring Pinhead, you can guess who emerges victorious. The less said about Hellraiser III: Hell On Earth, the better, so I'll keep it brief. Hell On Earth is a supernatural slasher film. Pinhead becomes a face on a rotating pole who talks a lot and brings new Cenobites, including the completely retarded "CD Head", you guessed it, he shoots CDs out of his head. The plot is even more stupid than the characters. The bonus disc far outshines the third film, it includes rarely seen early short films from Clive Barker, the master of S/M horror, as well as interviews, trailers, featurettes and anything else you could ask for from these films. The construction of the box isn't exactly bullet-proof, but for those who care for their things properly, it should last a good while. Also included is a short pamphlet tracing the history of the characters, Clive, and the films from their seed in Clive's mind, all the way through the execution of Hell On Earth. All in all, a very admirable job by Anchor Bay, the only reason I rated it three stars instead of four was the inclusion of part three. Other than that, absolutely brilliant!
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