Hellraiser: 20th Anniversary Edition Clive Barker

Hellraiser: 20th Anniversary Edition Clive Barker

Fewer movies have gone out of their way to brutalise and baffle viewers the way Clive Barker’s Hellraiser did back in 1987, and now it returns for its platinum anniversary with its bearings still intact. The word "nightmare” doesn’t do Hellraiser justice. What Barker brought to the screen is memorable not just for its iconic "superbutchers” (the Cenobites) but even more so for its disorientating portrayal of themes such as morality and sadomasochism. Very little of the script is actually given an explanation; its story concerning a family and an act of betrayal is knotted by a mysterious box that "opens doors to the pleasures of heaven or hell” and unleashes scenes of vicious and unsettling gore. Remembered for the unique character of "Pinhead,” it’s still amazing to see the impact this "supervillain” left on audiences with not even 15 minutes of screen time. The makeup and effects, though very dated and of the time, actually help solidify its importance in the ’80s horror canon. Barker is reportedly considering a remake — a bad choice since this movie is renowned not just for its originality but also for being, as Barker says in the commentary, "a film of its period.” That said, the WTF ending with the skeletal pterodactyl could use a rewrite. Though recycled from a previous release, Barker’s commentary with Ashley Laurence is pleasing just for getting some in-depth explanations. "Resurrection,” a new featurette, begins with Barker, in that infamous room surrounded by eerie candlelight, saying this is the last time he’ll ever talk about Hellraiser, the "grandiose hobby” he’s exhausted over the last two decades. There are routine interviews with stars Andrew Robinson and Ashley Laurence, but Doug Bradley’s featurette details his role of Pinhead, showing his own perspective that isn’t Barker’s. He’s of the belief that he wasn’t the film’s villain, just the umpire from hell. (Anchor Bay)