Clive Barker’s Hellraiser Series

There is no doubt, Barker kept to his original story line when creating the manuscript for Hellraiser.  Barker had “The knack for vividly disturbing imagery and fresh scenes, long familiar to readers of his fiction. (It) has translated very well to the screen.”
(Wooley p.41)  The characters of Barker’s book have the same lines in the movie.
The plot was the same and the description of the characters was accurately portrayed.  There were a few changes to the story line.  For example, Kirsty was a friend of Rory in the book.  In the movie, she is his daughter and his name is Larry.  The movie had a scene where Kirsty encounters a Cenobite that chases her in the hospital.  Also the movie had a very different ending than the novella.  Kirsty keeps the box in the story but in the
movie she throws it in the fire and a homeless man picks it out and keeps it.  This let the door open for future Hellraiser films.

The reviews for Hellraiser were not as praising as the reviews of The Hellbound Heart.  Film critic, Roger Ebert wrote this concerning the movie, “Stephen King may have seen the
future of the horror genre, but he has almost certainly not seen “Hellraiser,” which is as dreary a piece of goods as has masqueraded as horror in many a long, cold night. This is one of those movies you sit through with mounting dread, as the fear grows inside of you that it will indeed turn out to be feature length.”  Ebert gave Hellraiser half a star out of five.

Richard Harrington, of The Washington Post wrote, “In its best moments, the film’s visuals complement Barker’s writing, but they seldom achieve the same visceral impact. A scene of metal hooks piercing Frank’s flesh is gory and painful to watch, but Barker’s stories tend to be even more unbearable to read. He’s still a man of verbal images, and
the meld of sex and horror is even more perverse and disturbing in his stories
than in this film.”

The success of Clive Barker’s writing and directing career did not stop after the release
of this book and movie.  His novella was released again in 1991, this time not part of an anthology.  Barker had little to do with the Hellraiser series, but his original concept
lives on in an additional eight movies.  According to Wikipedia, to date there are nine Hellraiser films. Five of these movies have grossed $84 million dollars at the box office and the other four were sent directly to video.

No matter how you cut it, Barker made money.


Go ahead...take a swing. I'll duck and listen.

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