My Fantastic Fest friend Cole was aghast (AGHAST, I say) when he learned that I had never seen Hellraiser. I was a bit aghast myself. Not only have I been a horror film fan since my childhood, that childhood included all of the 1980s. I was even an avid reader of folks like Stephen King and Clive Barker. Hellraiser should have hit my eyes soon after it came out in 1987.
But the truth of the matter is that I just never got around to it. When I eventually saw Nightbreed, I found myself unthrilled with Clive Barker’s directoral style, so I never sought out any more of his movies.
Yet all these years, I’ve spoken fluent Hellraiser. I knew enough about the film series that I could name the characters, I knew many of the plot points, and I certainly knew the key quotes. I’m much the same way about Star Trek as a franchise. I can speak fluent Trek well enough that super-fans don’t eschew my presence, but in all honesty, I’ve seen the films, plus a couple episodes of the original series and Next Generation, and that’s really it. (I blame this on the guy I dated in early college. We’d turn on Next Generation to watch it, but within 5 minutes would be thoroughly ignoring it because we were engaging in less innocent activities. Yes, I prefer sex to Star Trek. Deal.)
(And yes, that is me in Trekkies 2. Shuttup.)
Anyway, I digress. I finally sat down to watch Hellraiser last night, mostly because I discovered Cole had never seen the original Assault on Precinct 13, and I wanted to guilt him properly. My verdict is that Hellraiser is a decent low-budget 80s gorefest with a uniquely overt sexual slant, but it didn’t have a whole lot of impact on me. It probably would have gotten better traction in my brain if I’d seen it 25 years ago.
On the plus side, I finally know what to do with this thing, which has been sitting on a shelf under an Atari 2600 E.T. game cartridge: