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Hellraiser (1987)

R  |   |  Horror  |  18 September 1987 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 70,665 users  
Reviews: 314 user | 190 critic

An unfaithful wife encounters the zombie of her dead lover; demons are pursuing him after he escaped their sadomasochistic underworld.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Oliver Smith ...
Robert Hines ...
Anthony Allen ...
1st Victim
Leon Davis ...
2nd Victim
Michael Cassidy ...
3rd Victim
Frank Baker ...
Kenneth Nelson ...
Gay Baynes ...
Niall Buggy ...
Dinner Guest
Dave Atkins ...
Moving Man 1
Moving Man 2


Clive Barker's feature directing debut graphically depicts the tale of a man and wife who move into an old house and discover a hideous creature - the man's half-brother, who is also the woman's former lover - hiding upstairs. Having lost his earthly body to a trio of S&M demons, the Cenobites, he is brought back into existence by a drop of blood on the floor. He soon forces his former mistress to bring him his necessary human sacrifices to complete his body... but the Cenobites won't be happy about this. Written by Ary Luiz Dalazen Jr. <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Still Raising Hell [20th Anniversary Re-Issue] See more »




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

18 September 1987 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Sadomasochists from Beyond the Grave  »

Box Office


$1,000,000 (estimated)


$14,564,027 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (cut) | (cut)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Many viewers have commented about the poor quality of the FX at the end of the movie. Clive Barker has explained that, due to a very limited budget, there was no money left to have the FX done professionally after the primary filming. Instead, Barker and a "Greek guy" animated these scenes by hand over a single weekend. Barker has also commented that he thinks the FX turned out very well considering the amount of alcohol the two consumed that weekend. See more »


When Kirsty is at the top of the stairs hiding from Frank, a shadow of the boom mic is visible on the top corner. See more »


Asian Merchant: What's your pleasure, sir?
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Spoofed in Family Guy: Meet the Quagmires (2007) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Hellraising Horror
21 March 2002 | by (Longmont, Colorado) – See all my reviews

Adapted by Clive Barker from his own story "The Hellbound Heart" this has long been a favorite among horror-film devotees. Clive Barker is an outstanding writer. In terms of literary style light years ahead of Stephen King. His awesomely unhinged imagination is given free rein in this tale of the darker side of the human psyche.

Frank Cotton (Sean Chapman) is as immoral and perverted a scumbag as you could hope to find in the English speaking world. Ever alert to the potential for some new thrill (sexual or otherwise) Frank comes by a small carved wooden cube that just happens to be (in the right hands) a gateway to Hell. Not your normal run of the mill pit of hot sulphur fumes presided over by a horned Lucifer wielding his time-honored pitchfork, but a most unpleasant parallel dimension, home of the wickedly inventive Pinhead and his cenobite cohorts. As the series worked its way onwards, Pinhead (Bradley) became a retro cult hero much like Freddy Kreuger and was given increased screen-time!

Frank ends up paying the ultimate price in his search for new pleasures and to his everlasting discomfort, inevitably discovers the real meaning of the film's tag-line "He'll tear your soul apart." This leaves Frank's ex well and truly home-alone and she takes up with his wimpy brother Larry, crawlingly played by Andrew Robinson.

Things might have worked out for Julia (Higgins) and daughter Kirsty (Ashley Laurence) had not Larry cut his hand badly and the blood run beneath the floorboards where Frank's decimated but undead corpse responds dramatically well to the corpuscled cocktail! Frank's gory resurrection is actually one of the film's highlights, aided and abetted as it is by a superb musical score from Christopher Young!

Frank of course is a little miffed over Julia's dalliance with his brother and persuades her to bring him an assembly line of fresh meat to ensure his complexion is brought up to scratch. The demise of the first victim especially is quite shocking horror and on its own would have earned the film its "R" certificate.

Without giving anything else away, it is left to daughter Kirsty to combat both Frank, her socially distasteful step-mother and Pinhead. It is the ultimate learning curve you might say. One hell of a lot goes wrong before it starts getting any better. Frank's second whirl on the block is distinctly gruesome. Kirsty who under normal circumstances would be left a gibbering idiot, survives to take on the sequel and a further appearance by her awesomely repulsive stepmother!

You want horror? you want originality? you like blood on tap? you need HELLRAISER!

For all the above though, Barker's CANDYMAN was still better!

21 of 34 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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