We’ll Tear Your Soul Apart: Hellraiser

We’ll Tear Your Soul Apart: Hellraiser

Static Mass Rating: 5/5
Anchor Bay

Release Date: Oct 13th, 2010
Certificate (UK): 18
Running Time: 93 minutes

Year of production: 1987

Writer and director: Clive Barker

Cast: Andrew Robinson, Clare Higgins, Ashley Laurence, Sean Chapman, Oliver Smith, Doug Bradley

The world of horror writer and director Clive Barker has never been more terrifying than in his 1987 feature film directorial debut.

Originally titled “Sadomasochists From Beyond The Grave“, Hellraiser was an adaptation of his own novella, The Hellbound Heart. It introduced horror audiences to the terrifying Cenobites; extradimensional beings who could be summoned by deciphering a puzzle box called the Lament Configuration.


Once summoned, they could bring the summoner “an experience beyond the limits; pain and pleasure, indivisible”.

The leader of the pack, a tall, ghostly white figure with a grid covering his head and at each intersection and pins driven into them, is known simply as “Pinhead” (Doug Bradley).

Adorned in black leather which is fetishist in design, he also has six gaping wounds in his chest with hooks holding them open. When it’s brought to his attention that a human, Frank (Sean Chapman), has escaped their hedonistic dimension after summoning them, Pinhead is keen to get him back.


After Frank first summons the Cenobites, they literally tear him apart in his brother Larry’s (Andrew Robinson) attic, but he’s accidentally brought back to life when Larry cuts his hand on a protruding nail, letting his blood drip onto the floor.

Although the sight of him first horrifies Larry’s unfaithful wife Julia (Clare Higgins), she agrees to help him get back to his former self by luring random men to the house with the promise of sex, something that should be too difficult for her. The next step is killing them and letting Frank feed off their blood.


Larry’s teenage daughter Kirsty (Ashley Laurence) discovers the gruesome murders as well as the Cenobites and just as they are about to tear her soul apart, she offers Pinhead a deal; to lure them to Frank so that they can take him back instead of her.

Hellraiser is gory and the Cenobites are a group you would not want to cross paths with at any point in your life. That said, the film took horror to a new place and gave us a unique horror icon in the form of Pinhead.


  • Audio Commentary with Clive Barker and Ashley Laurence
  • Hellraiser: Resurrection Featurette
  • Trailer
  • Still Gallery

His terror comes from the fact that he is not malicious, evil or a maniac with a glove, axe, chainsaw or machete. His philosophy of pleasure goes beyond our understanding of it and involves bringing a person to the extreme point of pain where it crosses over into something else entirely.


I did not recover very well when I first saw it at the age of 10 with my older brothers. Sitting there in our darkened living room while our parents were out I knew I should’ve closed my eyes but I really couldn’t.

It left me shaking at the thought of going up to the attic but in spite of that, Hellraiser has of course come to find its place among my favourite horror movies. Unique, bold and compellingly scary, it really will tear your soul apart.

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