EPISODE 1 — CLIVE BARKER’S HELLRAISER
Yes sir, it’s an episode! Specifically, episode one of a new podcast miniseries called We Have Such Films To Show You., where Josh and Yakov (aka cortex and griphus from Metafilter) get hooks-deep in Hellraiser. Welcome!
Episode one of nine, presumably, at least to start with, one for each of the currently-extant Hellraiser films. It’s a franchise that started with promise and has had a sort of tortured downhill slide ever since, and as a series it’s fascinating as much as an artifact of franchise rights exercising obligations as it is as a serial narrative work.
(You can grab the podcast audio file right here, if you need to. We’re still in the process of getting all the little niceties of a podcast worked out.)
So! We kick things off in proper rambling fashion with a discussion of the original 1987 Hellraiser film that manages to go on longer than the film itself, clocking in at just a haaaaair under two hours.
And no wonder! There’s just so much to talk about: the effects (good and bad), the costumes (both the very-80s wardrobe on the humans and the trendsetting Bondage Demons look of Pinhead and his Cenobite colleagues), the muddled religious and sexual themes of the film, the thematic strengths and mechanical weaknesses of Clive Barker’s feature film directorial debut, the mysteries of the infamous (and in this first film rather markedly under-explained) puzzle box, the stilted enigma that is is much of the dialogue, the little moments of inspired visual weirdness that really make it clear this is Barker material, the role of blue-eyed magic hobo skeleton dragons in the global demon economy, etc, etc.
We also talk a bit about where and when we each encountered the Hellraiser franchise, when we learned about the existence of the extended franchise, what Yakov recognizes from the portion of the novella he’s read, how weird it is that basically no one in this film is likable, and just where the hell the film is supposed to be set. Which is Not Brooklyn.
We explain enough that if you haven’t seen Hellraiser (or haven’t seen it recently) you’ll be able to get the gist, but, gosh, you really ought to sit down and (re-)watch this sucker some time because for all our nitpicks it’s a profoundly influential classic of 80s horror and a pretty good way to spend 93 minutes or so. It’s on Netflix. The whole schmear is on Netflix.
A quick production note: the bumper music is by a band called Gatekeeper, from their EP “Giza”. They are super great! But we accidentally misidentified the featured track as the title track “Giza” (or, rather, Yakov correct identified that as the track we were planning to use and were pretending to have just heard at recording time, but then Josh used a different track in post when he edited the podcast together later). The audio on the podcast is actually a different track off that same EP, “Chains”.
This is a new project I’m part of! Check it out if you enjoy horror movies and people blathering about horror movies.