Oliver Longden of BRUTAL AS HELL contemplates THE DIRECT TO VIDEO DEATH
Horror franchises fade and die just like other organisms. What starts off as a vibrant exciting premise winds up puking and shitting itself to death in abject confusion while the rest of society does their best to ignore it like an embarrassing relative in a nursing home. Rarely has this been more true than with the Hellraiser franchise which starts with a film of unique and uncompromising vision and ends a senile dog desperately in need of being put down with a hammer.
Hellraiser is one of the best horror movies of all time. It has been hugely influential and despite featuring some of the most horrifying eighties hairdos ever committed to tape it still has the power to both shock and arouse even in these jaded times. A young woman becomes trapped in a deadly game with the otherworldly Cenobites, sadomasochistic voyagers to the limits of sensation. Three sequels were made, none of which could hold a candle to the original movie. The last, Hellraiser: Bloodlines, was a such an artistic failure that the director refused to put his name to it, insisting on being credited with a pseudonym. That was in 1996 and it felt like Hellraiser had creatively run its course and been put to bed. One great film, three indifferent sequels. Enough good stuff to make the fancy boxed set worth buying if you saw it cheap...