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Hellraiser (1987)

R  |   |  Horror  |  18 September 1987 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 71,961 users  
Reviews: 314 user | 200 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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2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »



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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. <ajr@fortalnet.com.br>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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




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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?


The studio had planned on casting stunt men as the Cenobites to save on production costs. Director Clive Barker, however, insisted on hiring actors, reasoning that even if the characters did not speak and appeared under heavy make-up, their body language would still convey a personality. See more »


Just before Frank inadvertently stabs Julia, the bandage on his right hand disappears for two shots in close-up. See more »


Asian Merchant: What's your pleasure, sir?
See more »


Referenced in Hellboy (2004) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

More Urbane and Interesting Than Other 1980s Horror Movies
28 October 2007 | by (Cincinnati, OH, United States) – See all my reviews

Hellraiser may not be an incredible work of horror genius, but it certainly is one of the more inventive and engagingly dark and twisted horror films of the 1980s, when horror films were almost all dull, poorly made, recycled, and absurd. Hellraiser's themes include sadomasochism, in an intriguing concept of the slasher figure in the story, which is a Gothic- looking antique puzzle box that summons ruthless demons to victimize the person in possession of it by subjecting them to a world of debilitating eternal pain. It also involves a femme fatale on the level of a chiller that does not involve fantasy, played brilliantly in an extremely acute performance by beautiful Clare Higgins. There is the layer of plot surrounding her that inhabits late-thirties, early-forties married and adulterous life with her almost frustratingly naive and unsuspecting husband, which is invaded by the devilish embodied soul of her ex-lover, brutalized by the demons of the puzzle box. Finally, at the core of the story is the pivotal character, as her fill of screen time patiently awaits to the point where she is revealed to be so, and she is the teenage stepdaughter, played by Ashley Laurence, one of the sexiest actresses I have ever seen. Everything from her voluptuous body to her scream-bloody-murder portrayal of the stepdaughter makes me wonder why her career never went any higher than this.

So yes, the movie is more urbane than the vast majority of other horror films in that decade. It's even set in England. It's interesting that no one has an English accent in England, according to this movie, but nevertheless the locale serves the film with a dark atmosphere of sophistication and antiquity, which suits a story that surrounds an age-old puzzle box. This feel of the movie that I speak of is interrupted, quite inexplicably by beer-drinking, dirty-T-shirt-wearing American furniture movers, which I didn't know they had in England.

Hellraiser is quite an enormous entertainment despite its 1980s-style inconsistencies that I suppose it just couldn't help but have. It's especially enjoyable during autumn, mainly during Halloween time.

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