Monstervision's Joe Bob Briggs Looks At

Hellraiser (1987)

(From Joe Bob's Ultimate B Movie Guide)

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Clive Barker journeys into new frontiers of fried flesh in this tale of a guy who gets so far into a kinky Ayrab jungle sex-fiend hocus-pocus swingers club that by the second scene of the movie he's getting flayed, frayed and filleted by this tribe of mutant needle-head octopus-face monsters that he's created out of his own imagination. We've got steel hooks, manacles, chains, and spare body parts on parade, and Andrew Robinson--best known as the maniac murderer in "Dirty Harry"--is the GOOD GUY. Basically Clive took the most frightening fear of the pale-face Hush-Puppy-wearing English weenie husband and made a whole movie about it. What would happen if your wife is so sick of your sniveling nerdy questions and your sucking up to her every time you want something that she starts having sex in the attic with devilhead slime monsters that remind her of your brother Frank who she used to have sex with before he got flayed and filleted and carried off by the nightmare sex monsters? Sure, it's a common problem, but what's unique is Clive's solution. One day, while they're moving into a new house, the weenie husband slices open his hand on a nail and walks in on his wife while she's dreaming about making the sign of the double-humped sperm whale with Frank, and he's slopping 19 gallons of blood a second on the floor and he thinks he's gonna faint, and so the wife gets her stepdaughter to drive him to the hospital, only once he's gone something under the floor starts DRINKING the blood. Frank is back from Devil Land, with most of his skin ripped off and his blood vessels exposed. But here's the really gross part: he wants to get ROMANTIC. Here's the really grosser part: SHE wants to get romantic. And here's the one that makes the Vomit Meter go off the scale: they DO get romantic. Their only problem is that they can't go on meeting like this. Frank needs a whole bunch of blood to stuff down into his gizzards and start the world's most ambitious transplant surgery. Does she love him enough to go trolling her way through singles bars, hoping for bald-headed punching bags that'll nuzzle up beside her, ask her what sign she is, and trail her home for some claw-hammer skull-bashing? Of course she does. So now we got part vampire movie, part zombie movie, part tribute to "Psycho" and "Chainsaw" and all the other documentaries based on Ed Gein, but there's one more thing this movie needs--giant dragonhead lizard-gut glopola monsters. Best gore flick of the eighties.
Seventy-eight gallons blood.
One hundred forty-seven gallons slime.
Two breasts.
Ten dead bodies.
Bob wire.
Character actor taffy pull.
Gratuitous body parts.
Gratuitous maggots.
Devil sex.
Blood gurgling.
Glopola skeleton chasing.
Head bashing.
Rat impaling.
Rat skinning.
Face nailing.
Claw Hammer Fu.
With Oliver Smith as Frank the Monster ("Every drop of blood you spill puts more flesh on my bones, and we both want THAT, don't we?"), Doug Bradley as the No. 1 mutant "cenobite" who leads the Hamburger Helper people ("No tears, please, it's a waste of good suffering"), and the cruel-lipped laser-eyes Clare Higgins as Julia, the wife who will do ANYTHING for the love of a zombie in the attic, even if it means sacrificing her personal ethics. 
4 stars © 2000 Joe Bob Briggs All Rights Reserved.

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A nurse passed along a patient's complaint that he had a painful bump on his head after surgery. The doctor told her it was to be expected as the anesthetic had started running out halfway during the operation.

Joe Bob's reviews of Hellraiser 2 & 3

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