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(1987) dir Clive Barker w/Andrew Robinson, Clare Higgins, Ashley Laurence, Doug Bradley [94 min]
Unlike his rival Stephen King, Clive Barker’s dark, disturbing horror fiction has had a tough time succeeding on the big screen. HELLRAISER is one of the rare exceptions that comes closest to truly portraying Barker’s kinky, transgressive fiction – and no wonder since it was written and directed by Barker himself. Larry Cotton and his wife, Julia, move into a new house formerly owned by Larry’s brother Frank (also Julia’s secret lover). Unbeknownst to the couple, Frank has fallen victim to the Cenobites, a cadre of sado-masochistic demons that control a dimension of pleasure and pain, and his remains are hidden in the house. When Frank’s body is exposed to a drop of blood, however, he is reanimated and coerces Julia into aiding him in regenerating his flesh by nourishing it with fresh blood. But Frank’s attempt to escape his fate angers the Cenobites and when Julia’s distrusting stepdaughter unwittingly summons them, all hell, literally, breaks loose.
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