Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Written & Directed By: Clive Barker Cinematography By: Robin Vidgeon Editor: Richard Marden & Tony Randal Cast: Andrew Robinson, Clare Higgins, Ashley Laurence, Sean Chapman, Oliver Smith, Robert Hines, Oliver Parker, Doug Bradley Clive Barker's feature directing debut graphically depicts the tale of a man and wife who move into an old house and discover a hideous creature - the man's half-brother, who is also the woman's former lover - hiding upstairs. Having lost his earthly body to a trio of S&M demons, the Cenobites, he is brought back into existence by a drop of blood on the floor. He soon forces his former mistress to bring him his necessary human sacrifices to complete his body... but the Cenobites won't be happy about this. The film is based on the novella "The Hellbound Heart" written by Clive Barker. The film was originally supposed to be called "The Hellbound Heart," after the novella it was based upon. The studio decided that the title sounded too much like a romance and asked Barker to change the title. Barker offered "Sadomasochists from Beyond the Grave," which was rejected for the overtly sexual content. Barker ultimately opened the floor to the production team to offer up their own suggestions, prompting a sixty-year-old female crewmember to offer up "What a Woman Will do for a Good Fuck." Not for the faint of heart. The film can be seen as a gothic love story of unrequited love and obsession Gone crazy and bashed upside the head with a hammer. It’s a movie you have to see to believe describing it can never do it justice. It wouldn’t be right for you to miss seeing this demented sick psychotic love story. I can say this is a one of a kind film in a good way despite the sequels. It’s slightly dated by now. The film Is still impressive for it’s at the time state of the art special effects and low budget This bleak abysmal fable. At the time of the movie's release the MPAA had an agenda on "intensity of tone". As a result of this director Clive Barker had to make several cuts to the film - consecutive hammer blows, fingers entering flesh, S&M spanking between Julia and Frank, additional "thrusts" during the sex scene - all with the intention of watering down the overall impact of the piece. In his DVD commentary, Clive Barker explained that filming the movie in an actual house forced him to be creative in his cinematography. There was often only room for a single camera and this explains why many of the shots are from only one angle. In particular, vertical movement was often the only movement available to the camera operators, which explains many of the overhead and zoom shots. Only one room in the house, the attic, was shot on a soundstage, but only the FX shots used this attic set. This is a film that can be seen differently by people. Some can see disgusting gory horror film. Some see love story. Some see it as a tale of a daughters undying love for her father. The film features plenty of deteriorating beauty. Which as far as I can tell is anatomically correct. This film not only shows you the horror of the supernatural world with the cenobites, but also the horror of human nature. How we are weak when it comes to our obsessions be it love or sins of the flesh. It’s an addiction we can’t live without and the extremes we will go to keep it. I also enjoyed the lengths family will go for one another. Out of love which creates a bond of real love. Not physical, but emotional. Also how some people in your family can use that against you and for their own personal gain. The budget of this movie was $1,000,000. It earned about $20,000,000. It was the directing debut of Clive Barker, who had made only two short films before this. The thing I found interesting is that in today’s horror films. The first film always introduces the villain or monster that will be doing all the killing in the film and future sequels plus a 5 minute explination of how he got that way basically almost like a origin story more for a superhero with Hellraiser. He is only a minor character in this film who wields the power. He terrorizes and provides scares in about 2 scenes, but most of the violence is done by 2 human beings. He really doesn’t become the unstoppable monster and signature of the series until part 3. Even then he mainly just corrupts others and have them do his bidding and dirty work. He still is a amazingly disturbing character that can scare just by appearance. What also can scare you is the mind of the man who thought him up. Doug Bradley's character was named "Priest" in the earliest drafts of the script and ultimately became simply "Lead Cenobite" in the shooting script. "Pinhead" originated as a nickname for the character that simply stuck and began being used in the sequels. Barker disliked the name, finding it undignified, and in his Hellraiser comic series produced for BOOM! in 2011 had characters refer to Pinhead as "Priest." He also maintains that the character has a "true Cenobite name" that he intends to reveal in a forthcoming work. Similarly, the Female Cenobite was designated "Deep Throat" on set, though the overtly sexual nature of the moniker led to her simply being billed as "Female Cenobite" again in the sequel. Credit must also be highly given to the behind the scenes crew from the prop masters and art directors down to whoever did the special effects. All truly have an eye and talent for the macabre, ground breaking work. Just look at the design of the puzzle box alone. It took six hours to apply the prosthetic Cenobite makeup on Doug Bradley. Many viewers have commented about the poor quality of the FX at the end of the movie. Clive Barker has explained that, due to a very limited budget, there was no money left to have the FX done professionally after the primary filming. Instead, Barker and a "Greek guy" animated these scenes by hand over a single weekend. Barker has also commented that he thinks the FX turned out very well considering the amount of alcohol the two consumed that weekend. Another amazing detail is that this film was done on a low budget yet even though most scenes occur in a house. The film feels open, Sprawling and expanding like it’s own world as we go to India, England and beyond to the netherworld. During a post production party when filming had ended Doug Bradley was dismayed to be ignored by the other members of the crew. He thought to himself that he found it a pity as he though he got on rather well with people. It wasn't till later that he realized that none of the crew had actually ever seen him without his makeup when playing Pinhead and therefore did not recognize him. The concept of a cube being used as a portal to hell has basis in the urban legend of The Devil's Toy Box, which concerns a six-sided cube constructed of inward facing mirrors. According to stories, individuals who enter the structure and then close it will undergo surreal, disturbing phenomenon that will simultaneously grant them a revelatory experience and permanently warp their mind. I stayed away from this film for a number of years. only watching it for the first time 5 years ago after having only seen part 3. Not only was Pinhead imposing and scary for me, but I also saw a scene in part 2 in a video store. that was Playing the unrated version that traumatized me and kept me away from seeing it. I remember the controversy the sequel had when it was first released to theater. I am glad, I waited to truly appreciate and experience the film when I was prepared for it. In the right mind then when I was younger and probably would have watched it through my fingers. The studio had planned on casting stunt men as the Cenobites to save on production costs. Director Clive Barker however insisted on hiring actors, reasoning that even if the characters did not speak and appeared under heavy make-up, their body language would still convey a personality. The Chatterer and Butterball Cenobites had dialogue in the original script. However, when their make-up made coherent speech impossible, their lines were given to the Female Cenobite and especially Pinhead which helped to cement his reputation as the film's trademark character. GRADE: A-

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