Bureau 42 October Review – Hellraiser (1987)

Our first review has been mouldering for twenty five years, as Clive Barker made his name with Hellraiser.  Spawning nine sequels, a reboot due this week, a series in development, and multiple prose and graphic novels, Bureau 42 starts its reviews with the movie that started the crazy.  Does this puzzlebox leave us craving more and more?


If the review of an old style web page doesn’t sounds like the opinion you are looking for, you should also check in with Kris and Dave at The Nerd Byword.  Each year they feature a handful of horror movie’s for their Nerd Nightmare and horror enthusiast Dave makes self-admitted ‘fraidy-cat’ Kris watch and review.  Hellraiser’s episode drops October 3rd.

Cast and Crew

Written and Directed by Clive Barker

Andrew Robinson as Larry
Clare Higgins as Julia
Ashley Laurence as Kirsty
Sean Chapman as Frank
Oliver Smith as Frank the Monster
Robert Hines as Steve
Anthony Allen as 1st Victim (as Antony Allen)
Leon Davis as 2nd Victim
Michael Cassidy as 3rd Victim
Frank Baker as Derelict
Kenneth Nelson as Bill
Gay Baynes as Evelyn


A woman discovers the newly resurrected, partially formed, body of her brother-in-law. She starts killing for him to revitalize his body so he can escape the demonic beings that are pursuing him after he escaped their sadistic underworld. (From IMDB)

High Point

The ending becomes less of a sick gore fest and starts to feel like a supernatural story.

Low Point

My wife tells me this movie is “more Gore than Horror.”  If you are one of those people who thinks that being whipped or cut is erotic, this movie might be a movie for you.

The Scores:

Originality: 4/6 ‘A toy will fulfill your wildest sadomasochistic fantasies.’  This was a new one.

Effects: 3/6 The effects are more convincing than I’ve seen from similar movies of the era, though the few times they move to camera tricks really stand out.

Acting: 5/6 There are no awards to be won here, but everyone gets their parts done convincingly, even as actors for those parts change.

Emotional Response: 4/6 One has to acknowledge ‘revulsion’ as an emotion when that does seem to be what the movie is going for, but by the end, you do care if the characters achieve their goal.  (At least the character you like.)

Story: 4/6 The interpersonal relationships besides the ‘demons from hell’ plot are spun out well, and even managed not to be an after thought.    At the end, the rules of what is actually happening aren’t exactly clear, but they do seem to be consistent.

Production: 4/6 The movie was assembled well.  Given other horror films franchises to be reviewd, this did build a world that invites further exploration.

Overall: 3/6 I have to be clear about my bias:  The shock and gore is not for me.  If you enjoy horrible people committing horrible acts and watching the blood and gore, your mileage will be different. 1

In total, Hellraiser (1987) receive 27/42

October Reviews:
Oct. 8: X (2022)
Oct: 15: Werewolf by Night (2022)
Oct. 22: Howard’s Mill (2021)
Oct. 29: The Velvet Vampire (1971)
Oct. 31: Nope (2022) and The Munsters (2022)

1Also, you aren’t invited to my house.