Episode 10 – Hellraiser

In episode 10 of the CTGY podcast, we get inside the box and tear apart Hellraiser! We have a conversation about the first film and then Hellraiser II, when we first saw the films, how we feel about them and if Kelly will ever bother to see any more after this..

So Episode 10! We are SO thankful to everyone that has actually bothered to take the time our of their day to listen to our episodes – especially to those that have stuck with us throughout it all. That includes all the awful audio issues, the terrible shark puns, and now.. tonight KILL OR NO DEAL, a new gameshow that we.. may never do again. Rich will be thankful for that..

We really appreciate any listens, downloads, rates and reviews. We’re working on being better than ever (so there is a lot of work to do) but we’re determined. We love you ghouls, so much.

Intro trailer – Hellraiser (1987)
Outro song – Ozzy Osbourne ‘Hellraiser’

Cheers!

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2 thoughts on “Episode 10 – Hellraiser

  1. I gave Hellraiser my first re-watch in some years last night. I’m guessing I’ve likely seen the film 4-5 times by now. While I realize CTGY hasn’t covered Phantasm yet, this view of Hellraiser reminded me greatly of my last view of Phantasm. In both cases, the film feels as if you’re just enduring a never ending series of nightmares. It could just be because I’ve seen too many films with that awful “And then everything was revealed to not be what it appeared to be~!”, but I can see this original Hellraiser as being seen as strictly a nightmare for Kirsty and not reality.

    If that’s the case, everything is tied into Kirsty’s worst fears. For example, one of the big fears is that in the aftermath of her mother’s death, her beloved father ends up marrying a horrid witch that doesn’t love Larry, kills people in secret, and is actually in love with Kirsty’s awful uncle. Another fear turned into a nightmare could be Uncle Frank coming back. I think it’s a fair assumption to make that back before he died, Frank wasn’t exactly a good person towards his niece. Frequent trips to Uncle Frankie’s rapey basement. So for Kirsty, few things could be scarier than her dead uncle returning to not only continue to make her life a living hell, but to go even further in playing a role in her father’s death and looking as disgusting as Kirsty always saw him. The Cenobites could be some twisted dream warriors that because it’s a nightmare, they’re not just interested in ridding Kirsty of her worst nightmare (Frank), but also to drag her to hell as well. Those are the bigger moments of Kirsty’s nightmares being shown on screen, but there’s plenty of smaller ones. The homeless man eating the insects in the pet shop, dealing with that monster in her hospital room, and even something as very simple as having an awful day at work with customers yelling at her without being able to calm them down.

    I don’t like to flat out state that a movie is just a dream, but I love looking at them in a different manner, as if they could be something different than I originally saw. Seems as if my brain naturally goes to that nowadays since I did that with Phantasm and Pet Sematary.

    I loved the look of the film though. Everything looked dirty and unclean. Some of the camera work reminded me of some gothic films, especially with how the camera shot Julia with the weird angles. With an emphasis on twisted visuals instead of a clear and logical plot, it felt comparable to the Italian horror films of the 70’s and 80’s. The look of Frank during his slow transformation throughout the movie was great. Really gross looking that would have lost all of it’s appeal had it just been CGI.

    If I had any problems with the movie, it was all based on the script. The set-up alone was so convenient that it’s hard to believe that any of the events of the movie could happen because it relied on many events to happen. For starters, why are Larry and Julia moving into that house? I sorta got the impression that they weren’t hurting for money, so why are they settling on living in a house that looks like a dive for meth users? I realize Larry owned the house, but taking one look around that house when he took Julia there the first time, I would be worried I caught some sort of disease by touching anything. Then there’s how Frank came back. What a coincidence it was that Larry managed to cut himself badly enough that blood is just falling all over the place, Julia just happens to be in the attic where she is unaware that Frank died in, and Larry stumbled into the attic to bleed on the floorboards.

    The other problem I had with the writing was Julia. It’s easy to dislike her, but her character is so underwritten. I get that she’s into controlling man and submissive, but I don’t understand why she cares so much about Frank. From the way they explained things, all they had was random afternoon of shacking up. That’s it. Yet she’s obsessed with him and then goes as far to lure men to their deaths to help out undead Frank. They made it seem as if there was some huge draw that Julia felt towards Frank without showing us any evidence as to why it’s there. Her relationship with Larry isn’t much better. There’s not a single time in the movie that I ever had the impression that she cared about him. This is supposed to be a man she was in love with prior to Frank coming into her life. Instead, Larry seems to just be a guy she’s stuck with. The writing doesn’t even hint that Julia is drawn to Larry for any underhanded reasons either. Her character would make more sense to me if we knew Larry was rich and she was only after his money. Being a no good gold digger is a character trait. That would have been something. Instead, Julia remains a giant mystery. She’s married to a man she seemingly sees as just a roommate and is in love with a man that the explanation isn’t there. Had the character been written better, there would not have even been any need for Kirsty. Julia being the protagonist and being stuck between two men she loves, forced to choose between good (Larry) and evil (Frank) could have made for a compelling story.

    Yet, I can’t complain much about these writing problems due to the fact that it feels like an Italian film. The story itself comes second to just putting one nightmare after another on the screen. Pinhead and company are unique characters in horror history in that Pinhead is this legendary character, yet his role in the film is small and truthfully, he wasn’t even really necessary to tell the story. The story wouldn’t have been much different had it just been Kirsty trying to send her uncle back to hell on her own instead of talking Pinhead into doing it on her own. To some degree, I see Pinhead as Hellraiser’s version of The Cryptkeeper. He’s here to share with everyone another twisted tale of his victim’s quest for pain and pleasure.

    I feel as if I appreciate the film more with this additional viewing. It’s not flawless, but the visuals makes it such a great watch.

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  2. Since I haven’t exactly been very positive with my thoughts on Hellraiser 2 lately, I thought I’d try to be open minded and give the sequel a fresh watch so that I can either realize the truth and sing it’s praises or feel far more confident in ripping the movie to shreds.

    As it turns out, Hellraiser 2 is even worse than I remember. Previously, it was just the Hellraiser movie that it was a personal battle to stay awake during. In fact, years ago when I bought Hellraiser on DVD at Best Buy, I’m fairly sure I spent a couple of extra dollars to get the film on it’s own rather than pay the same or less to receive Hellraiser 1+2 on a double disc. Screw owning that awful sequel!

    With this view, the clear problem is the script. It felt so rushed and underdeveloped. A terrible mess without much making sense and a large portion of it feeling unimportant/pure filler. Normally with a sequel, you either get the original story retold with a slight twist to be seen as a continuation. Instead, Hellraiser 2 continues the previous story without going anywhere. In the first thirty minutes, I was just waiting for the story to become recognizable.

    What we saw instead was pure randomness that was far more convenient than anything else. So Kirsty’s doctor ends up being a man possibly more obsessed with the puzzle box than Uncle Frank? Wow, that’s some bad luck. Then there’s the mute girl who happens to be a wiz at solving puzzles. We don’t actually get to know her, but she’s still there and put in harm’s way. Kirsty’s boyfriend apparently knocked his head hard enough that he forgot he had a girlfriend and was entirely forgotten in this film. Luckily, Kirsty forgot she had a boyfriend too and something began to develop with her nice doctor. Luckily, he’s killed off before we have time to actually decide whether we want to care about him or not. Instead, he’s just nosy enough to figure out what Channard was up to and clue Kirsty in. Speaking of Channard, for as little sense as I saw Julia having in her random obsession with Frank, Channard’s instant bond with Julia makes even less sense. Once we entered the hell world, everything became even more over the top and nonsensical that I felt as if I was entering a really bad acid trip.

    Whatever plot there was was so thin that I was more confused than anything else. All of the new characters didn’t do anything to make me feel positive or negative feelings towards them. I hated seeing the original Cenobites punk’d out by Channard. To some degree, I’d rather watch a regular, run of the mill terrible sequel like Hellraiser: Revelations over this garbage because that’s at least straight forward.

    Despite all of that, I did love the scene with Julia’s rebirthing, both the early sick chest slicing by Channard’s patient and later Julia’s attack on that poor guy. The scene was gory, disturbing, and created an impressive visual. One good scene wasn’t enough to save the film though. It’s ultimately a film I’d prefer to just ignore and instead skip over when I want to watch Hellraiser and Hellraiser 3.

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