Over 35 years ago, Clive Barker made his first step into the cinematic world of franchise horror. Hellraiser, based on his novel of the same name was a morality tale about a woman pining for a lost love who reaches out from beyond the grave to help him come back into her life.
A more contained story than what was to come, it followed a family; Larry (Andrew Robinson), his wife, Julia (Clare Higgins) and their daughter Kirsty (Ashley Laurence) as their family gets torn apart (quite literally in some cases) by lust, obsession and murder. It was of course the first appearance of Pinhead (Doug Bradley) who was to become a horror icon, standing alongside the likes of Jason Voorhes and Freddy Kreuger.
Then came Hellbound: Hellraiser 2 a few years later, practically picking up where the last one left off it follows Kirsty as she desperately tries to keep her mother from coming back from the grave and finishing the work that she started before. However, a curious doctor named Channard (Kenneth Cranham) falls under Julia’s spell when she rises again, repeating the hideous pattern that came before.
Resulting in Pinhead once again being awakened and Kirsty being pulled into hell to stop his evil plan.
Hellraiser 3: Hell on Earth then followed, something of a soft reboot for the franchise as it followed investigative reporter, Joey Summerskill (Terry Farrell) as she looks into a murder which occurred when chains with hooks on them reportedly sprang out of nowhere and took its victim. Arguably Pinhead’s finest hour as it not only digs into his origins, but also gives Doug Bradley a chance to truly flex his muscles as Pinhead’s powers come into full effect. Not without some questionable early Nineties weapons of choice though (death by CD anyone?).
Finally, what happens when a franchise runs out of steam and out of ideas? That’s right you set it in space and that’s exactly where Hellraiser: Bloodlines goes – sort of. Framing its story around the origin of the puzzle box, it goes from renaissance France to ‘modern day’ 1996 to the mid-22nd century. A journey which results in Pinhead’s ultimate demise. Unfortunately directed by Alan Smithee, it not only signalled Pinhead’s death, but the death of the theatrical releases of the franchise.
Loaded with special features, Hellraiser Quartet of Torment is released on 4K blu-ray on 23rd October and will surely thrill genre horror completionists.
Horror, Thriller | UK/USA 1987, 1988, 1992, 1996 | 18 | 23rd October 2023 (UK) | 4K UHD | Arrow Video
FOUR DISC ULTRA HD LIMITED EDITION CONTAINS…
• Brand new and exclusive 4K restorations of Hellraiser, Hellbound: Hellraiser II, Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth and Hellraiser: Bloodline by Arrow Films from the original camera negatives
• 4K (2160p) UHD Blu-ray presentations in Dolby Vision (HDR10 compatible) of all four films
• Original lossless stereo audio plus DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround for all four films
• Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
• Brand new audio commentaries for all four films by film critic Kim Newman and Hellraiser unit publicist Stephen Jones, also joined by screenwriter Peter Atkins on Hellraiser: Bloodline
• Power of Imagination, a brand new 60-minute discussion about Hellraiser and the work of Clive Barker by film scholars Sorcha Ní Fhlainn (editor of Clive Barker: Dark Imaginer) and Karmel Kniprath
• Unboxing Hellraiser, a brand new visual essay celebrating the Lament Configuration by genre author Alexandra Benedict (The Beauty of Murder)
• The Pursuit of Possibilities, a brand new 60-minute discussion between acclaimed horror authors Paula D. Ashe (We Are Here To Hurt Each Other) and Eric LaRocca (Everything the Dark Eats) celebrating the queerness of Hellraiser and the importance of Clive Barker as a queer writer
• Flesh is a Trap, a brand new visual essay exploring body horror and transcendence in the work of Clive Barker by genre author Guy Adams (The World House)
• Newly uncovered extended EPK interviews with writer/director Clive Barker and stars Andrew Robinson, Clare Higgins, Ashley Laurence, and effects artist Bob Keen shot during the making of Hellraiser
• Hell Was What They Wanted!, a brand new 80-minute appreciation of Hellbound, the Hellraiser mythos and the work of Clive Barker by horror authors George Daniel Lea (Born in Blood) and Kit Power (The Finite)
• That Rat-Slice Sound, a brand new appreciation of composer Christopher Young’s scores for Hellraiser and Hellbound: Hellraiser II by film critic and author Guy Adams
• Unrated version of Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth (contains standard-definition inserts)
• Newly uncovered workprint version of Hellraiser: Bloodline, with alternate music score and deleted scenes (standard-definition only)
• The Beauty of Suffering, a brand new featurette exploring the Cenobites connection to goth, fetish cultures and BDSM
• Plus a wealth of archive commentaries and featurettes, including interviews with Clive Barker, Doug Bradley, Tony Randel, Anthony Hickox, Sean Chapman, Paula Marshall and others
• Limited edition packaging featuring newly commissioned artwork by Oink Creative
• 200-page hardbound collectors book featuring new writing by Clive Barker archivists Phil and Sarah Stokes