Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Capital Celluloid 2012 - Day 168: Sat June 16

Hellraiser (Barker, 1987): Rio Cinema, 11.30pm
This screening is presented by the marvellous Cigarette Burns team. You can find out more about them and this evening's entertainment at their website and on their Facebook page.

Here is their introduction to the night: Although some may feel the franchise has been tarnished by following sequels (currently at eight and counting), this is a golden opportunity to see Clive Barker's debut feature length original masterpiece. Following the fates of Larry (a man so vanilla he makes natural yogurt seem interesting), Julia (beautiful, icy, obsessive), Frank (crooked and twisted as a Tim Burton tree) and Kirsty (Larry's final girl esque daughter), Hellraiser explores the line between pleasure and pain and trips the light fantastic over that line frequently. Involving human sacrifices, slinky PVC clad villains and an intense gothic romance, Hellraiser stands up to the test of time admirably. The most intriguing aspect of Hellraiser is perhaps its juxtaposition of beautiful (a time lapse scene of a blooming flower) and horrific (the hammer killings of Julia's conquests, in an attempt to help her regenerating lover). Sometimes the two combine, such as in a scene where a sheet covering what we assume to be a body, starts to bloom bloodstains, like some sort of sinister daguerreotype developing. Made with a $1,000,000 budget, every cent is put to good use, with graphic gore that outstripped what was being done with bigger budgets towards the end of the 1980s. It is no happy accident that Pinhead, the leader of the cenobites, the slinky denizens of hell, became one of the last iconic horror icons. Hellraiser offers one of the first real sexualised body horrors, managing to both nod to older Edgar Allen Poe style gothic horror and be at once highly original.

Time Out review:
'In the bare bedroom of a London suburban house, bored sensualist Frank Cotton solves the mystery of a Chinese puzzle-box and enters a world of exquisite cruelty presided over by the Cenobites, glamorous sadists with a penchant for ripped flesh, steaming viscera and flayed muscle. Later, restored to life by his brother Larry's blood, Frank rises half-formed from a pool of slime. When Larry's wife (and Frank's ex-lover) Julia agrees to provide the human meat he needs to put flesh on his bones, the three become involved in an infernal triangle... Barker's dazzling debut as a director creates such an atmosphere of dread that the astonishing visual set pieces simply detonate in a chain reaction of cumulative intensity. His use of the traditional 'teenage screamer' heroine (Larry's daughter) tends to undercut the unsettling moral ambiguities of the adult triangle, and the brooding menace of the Cenobites is far more terrifying than the climactic rollercoaster ride. These are small quibbles, however, in a debut of such exceptional promise. A serious, intelligent and disturbing horror film.' Nigel Floyd

Here is the trailer.

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