Hellraiser Trilogy Review

hellraiser trilogy

Hellraiser, Clive Barker’s cult classic horror trilogy finally comes to Blu ray thanks to Arrow Video in great remastered transfers and lots of extras.

In Barker’s original Hellraiser, Kirsty Cotton comes head-to-head with the Cenobites demonic beings from another realm who are summoned by way of a mysterious puzzle box. Picking up immediately after the events of the original Hellraiser, Hellbound: Hellraiser II finds Kirsty detained at a psychiatric institute and under the care of Dr. Channard, a man with an unhealthy interest in the occult. Meanwhile, Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth sees Pinhead and his band of Cenobites let loose in our own world, with terrifying consequences.

When first released in 1987, Hellraiser won instant acclaim from horror fans the world over for its depiction of the realms of hell and Pinhead, played by Doug Bradly became a cult figure even though he only appeared in the first film for a few minutes. While the gore in the sequels became more explicit , especially in these unrated editions the stories became a little more tired, especially by the third film, but horror fans will have much to savour in all three, especially as all the gooey effects were done practically before the age of CGI.

Arrow have yet again gone that extra mile for the fans and with these new 2k transfers all the films look tremendous. DNR is not overly applied, grain is intact with the intentional hazy look in some scenes and black levels are solid throughout. One thing worth mentioning about Hellraiser III is that if you select to view the unrated version, the extended scenes have been culled from a 1.33:1 laserdisc edition because the 35mm elements could not be traced for the purpose of this restoration. The result is a jump down in video quality for these scenes.

Audio gives you DTS-HD MA 5.1 remixes as well as PCM Stereo 2.0. The remixes sound good, giving you a bit more ambiencve in certain scenes but overall the effect was minimal and purist may well want to stick with the original 2.0 track. The music especially is served well and dialogue is clear and has no audible problems.

hellbound-hellraiser-ii

Where do you start with the extras?

Arrow have gone to town on the box set with the following :

DISC 1:  HELLRAISER

  • Brand new 2K restoration approved by director of photography Robin Vidgeon
  • Audio commentary with writer/director Clive Barker
  • Audio commentary with Barker and actress Ashley Laurence
  • Leviathan: The Story of Hellraiser brand new version of the definitive documentary on the making of Hellraiser, featuring interviews with key cast and crew members
  • actor Sean Chapman talks candidly about playing the character of Frank Cotton in Barker s original
  • Coil member Stephen Thrower on the Hellraiser score that almost was
  • vintage featurette including interviews with Clive Barker, actors Doug Bradley and Ashley Laurence, special make-up effects artist Bob Keen and others
  • Doug Bradley on Hellraiser
  • Original EPK featuring on-set interviews with cast and crew
  • Draft Screenplays [BD-ROM content]
  • Trailers and TV Spots
  • Image Gallery

 

DISC 2: HELLBOUND: HELLRAISER II

 

  • Brand new 2K restoration approved by director of photography Robin Vidgeon
  • Audio Commentary with director Tony Randel and writer Peter Atkins
  • Audio Commentary with Randel, Atkins and actress Ashley Laurence
  • Leviathan: The Story of Hellbound: Hellraiser II brand new version of the definitive documentary on the making of Hellbound
  • actor Sean Chapman talks about reprising the role of Frank Cotton in the first Hellraiser sequel
  • the home video world premiere of this legendary, never before-seen excised sequence from Hellbound, sourced from a VHS workprint
  • vintage featurette including interviews with Barker, Randel, Keen, Atkins and others
  • Doug Bradley on Hellbound: Hellraiser II
  • On-set interview with Clive Barker
  • On-set interviews with cast and crew
  • Behind-the-Scenes Footage
  • Rare and unseen storyboards
  • Draft Screenplay [BD-ROM content]
  • Trailers and TV Spots
  • Image Gallery

 

DISC 3: HELLRAISER III: HELL ON EARTH

 

  • Brand new 2K restoration of the Original Theatrical Version [93 mins]
  • Alternate Unrated Version [97 mins]
  • Brand new audio commentary with writer Peter Atkins
  • Audio commentary with director Anthony Hickox and Doug Bradley
  • making-of documentary featuring interviews with Atkins, Keen and actor Ken Carpenter
  • brand new interview with actress Paula Marshall
  • Doug Bradley on Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth
  • archival interview with Hickox
  • On-set interviews with Barker and Bradley
  • Never-before-seen Hellraiser III SFX dailies
  • Image Gallery
  • Hellraiser III comic book adaptation [Disc gallery]

An amazing assortment of goodies for fans of the film, especially the excellent Leviathan: The Story of Hellraiser documentary. Overall this box set is what fans have been waiting for and although the two sequels are adequate as far as movies go the first is an unforgettable classic and should be in any horror fans collection.

HELLRAISER : FILM 8.5 PICTURE : 8 AUDIO: 7 EXTRAS: 9

HELLRAISER II : FILM: 7 PICTURE :8 AUDIO:8 EXTRAS: 7

HELLRAISER 3: FILM: 5 PICTURE: 7 AUDIO :7 EXTRAS: 7