Hellraiser (1987)


A man who’s made a deal with the devil gets buyer’s remorse and escapes from hell. Now he’s depending on his ex-lover to bring him human snacks to regain his strength and skip town before his demonic tormentors find out he’s gone.

This is another movie that’s supposed to be a classic. Everyone knows this movie. It’s the one with the guy in the black dress with nails hammered into his face. Yea, that guy’s scary! SPOILER: he only has like 5 minutes of screen time. So that’s a bummer because the scrubs who fill the voids between pinhead appearances aren’t nearly as cool.

The movie begins with a man who solves a mystical Rubik’s cube he bought in China Town. Except instead of earning the awe and respect of his peers, he gets ripped apart by fish hooks in sadomasochist hell. Somehow the guy escapes the “cenobites” – the demons who poke and prod him in the underworld – and holds up beneath the floor boards in the attic of his flop house. Also he’s no longer a person, but a withered tomato husk. More on that later.

For future reference. 

The guy’s half brother and his wife move in to the house, where they find the dead guy’s flesh light in the attic. “Ew, gross!” says the half brother. “Ooh la la,” thinks his wife, as she conjures up memories of the secret affair she had with her brother in law. To say this guy has been cuckolded would be quite the understatement. Not only does his wife have the hots for his his brother, but she bangs every barfly in town while not giving her actual husband so much as an Eskimo kiss. Because his life isn’t quite sad enough he also has to endure constant passes being made at both his wife and daughter by just about everyone, including the moving crew and his own dinner guests.

also…he dies

So this guy lets the moving men drink his beer after working up a thirst hitting on his wife and daughter. Then they need his help moving a fucking mattress up the stairs because in addition to being assholes they are also the worst moving men in the world. While pushing it through a doorway the guy shreds his hand on a loose nail. The blood splish splashes through the floorboards onto his his brother-in-hiding begin. Bitching stop motion effects capture his unholy transformation from beef jerky to man:

According to horror movie logic, a few drops of blood can turn a dusty cobweb into a fully functioning muscular skeletal system, but it requires eviscerating two additional whole humans just to add taste buds thereafter. Eventually he’s all set except for the dermis, which his half brother unhappily provides. Now he’s ready to hit the town!

hellraiser_torn apart
Mothers, lock up your daughters

Well, not quite. Remember that niece of his? Well she solved the puzzle box too! But she’s got a bargaining chip to save her from a play date in the stock yards of hell: him. Apparently Cerberus was taking a nap the day he escaped because the cenobites were none the wiser to his absence. Understandably sheepish, the demons agree to keep her north of Hades provided she leads them to her uncle.

Of course you can trust us!

There is a horror movie theorem that states that the haunt in a house isn’t leaving unless it takes the house with them. Seriously, how many movies involve a house being blown to shit when whatever source that pervades it is expelled? Hellraiser fits squarely into this category. Rafters are inexplicably crashing down, the walls are blowing up, and everything is catching on fire. And amidst the confusion the niece figures out she can zap these horny creeps back to their sex dungeons by fiddling around with the puzzle box and pointing it at them. Good thing all these explosions are distracting us, otherwise that might not make a whole lot of sense!


t will tear your soul apart!

Malort is the stuff of legend, and it tastes like putrid death. And yes, you can count me among those who imbibe from time to time. Truly, the lines between pleasure and pain are never as blurred as in a bottle of Malort.



Hellgate (1989)


A girl is captured and killed by a biker gang led by Frank Zappa.  Years later her grieving father is given a rock that uses laser power to either raise the dead or blow things up (it’s hit or miss).  Of course he uses it to resurrect his daughter, who comes back to life jonesin’ for some hot lovin.  A middle-aged guy playing a college student gives the zombified cutie a ride in his car, and she leads him to her dad’s roadside attraction ghost town. Just as they’re about to do the dirty her dad chases him out with his laser rock.  He meets up with his friends at a cabin and, after a couple of hilariously off-putting love scenes, convinces them to follow him back and rescue the girl from an overprotective dad.  Bad jokes, head scratching dialogue, and a non-committal zombie chase ensue before the director finally runs out of film and calls it a wrap.


There are good-bad movies, there are bad-bad movies, and then there is Hellgate.  The fact that all the producers in the opening credits were Indian names was an early sign that something was amiss.  This movie was incredibly boring.  The plot that was all over the place, making it impossible to follow any sort of story line.  By the time any action came around, mostly towards the end, I was half asleep and ready for this tripe to be done with.

The worst thing about this movie, by far, was the atrocious acting.  I realize that ragging on the acting in a horror movie is a lot like complaining about the quality of food at a gas station, but I was legitimately dumbfounded at how someone could fail so thoroughly at eliciting even the slightest bit of convincing dialogue.  And the way the director had these guys interacting with each other made no sense.  He tried to show a little humor by creating inside jokes for the characters, but they made no sense at all and were about as effective for comedy relief as Jar Jar Binks.

Since anyone who reads this site (Hi, Dad) will rightly refrain from seeing this, I feel I need to at least describe one scene that was 1 part hilarious, 1 part awesome, and a million parts ridiculous: When a maintenance man working for the ghost town goes into a mine on the property, he’s freaked out by a rubber bat being dangled by a string and proceeds to whack the shit out of it with a shovel.  Immediately after, he discovers the magic rock, which shoots a laser beam at the bat, bringing it back to life.  The man approaches the owner in his mansion as he gazes lasciviously at an enormous glamor shot of his dead daughter.  After giving the dad the rock, the old croon shoots a laser at a goldfish in a bowl, which goes all peep-in-the-microwave and balloons to the size of a beach ball before violently exploding.  The old man then directs the rock laser at a stuffed turtle, which comes to life and for some reason begins bawking like a chicken.  The old guy thinks this is real rich and begins losing his shit, laughing like a nut, when the turtle moves in and bites his face off.  End scene.  You can’t make this stuff up.

Update: Hey, I found this scene on youtube! Enjoy!

Sadly, that one scene is as good as it gets.  Gratuitous boobage toward the end is not enough to save this flick, and even does so much as contribute to its misery; the only scary thing about this movie is a boob job that was performed by Dr. Frankenstein.

Overall: 1

I really hope this ends up being the worst movie I review.  I’d hate to think that somewhere, lurking in the shadows, there exists a movie worse than Hellgate.