I have to admit I’m not a very big fan of the first film in this franchise. As I’ve gotten older my tolerance for gore has lessened. There was a time when I would seek out and watch all of the most violent, most depraved films ever put to celluloid. But that time has passed. I’m much more interested in horror films that tell an interesting story, or that prefer mood and vibe over constant bloodshed.
Hellraiser was all about the copious blood flow and the ripped flesh. I can see the appeal in that, and I still appreciate the effects, but it just didn’t do it for me. Which is probably why I’ve kept putting off watching any of the sequels.
For the first chunk of this film, I was restless. There is a lot of gore, and very little else. I can see the skinless woman and appreciate the detail of the effects and wonder how long it took that poor actress to get into costume, but really I just wanted the film to move on.
But somewhere in the back end, I started to really enjoy myself. About the time the creature with the snakes for arms with the creepy face-things wielding blades for hands, sprouted a finger that gave us a “come here” gesture I realized I was totally on board. The story is mostly nonsense, but the maze set design is really gnarly and the film isn’t afraid to not be taken seriously. It isn’t jokey, not at all, but moments like the aforementioned finger give the audience a little wind. The filmmakers were clearly having fun creating all of these bizarre, and yes gore-filled images.
So was I.