Simply put this movie is a modern classic; it has an iconic female lead, a villain who has surpassed the popularity of the actual films and a series that followed that may have had its ups and down but lucrative regardless. Before I get too far ahead of myself by talking about where the movie goes I want to talk about where it comes from. The movie is based off of the novella “The Hell bound Heart” by Clive Barker, for those who aren’t sure what a novella is that means that it’s a story written roughly 30,000 to about 50,000 words. Surprisingly, the length of the story doesn’t detract from the actual dept of content. There are some key differences between the story and the movie, one of them is the role of the female lead. In the movie Kirsty Cotton is the daughter of Larry Cotton while in the book they are the same age and she is romantically interested in him. The other major difference is who the main cenobite is, in the book the one later nicknamed Butterball is the main while in the movie the one dubbed Pinhead is the lead.
I’m getting ahead of myself though. The premise of the story is this, there is a puzzle box that is supposed to summon the Cenobites and they will help you experience the greatest pleasure. Frank, played by both Sean Chapman and Oliver Smith, solves the puzzle and what he gets in returns seems to be the exact opposite of what he expected, set of chains coming out and hooking into him. We don’t see exactly what happens to him until later in the film when his brother and wife move into the place. After a sequence of events Frank is brought back and a relationship between Frank and Larry’s wife Julia and blood starts being spilt all over the place. I really don’t want to give away too much of the film for those who haven’t seen it but eventually Kirsty gets the box and meets Pinhead or “Lead Cenobite” as he is known in this movie played by Doug Bradley.
Like I said I really don’t want to give much away because this is one of the few movies I talk about on a regular basis so I’ll move on to some of the things that makes this movie so freaking good. A big one that is lost on most movies now is that the cenobites are not CG but makeup. IN fact apparently it took around 6 hours for them to do the Pinhead makeup alone. All of the makeup artists deserve a lot of praise for what they did in this movie. The acting by Ashley Laurence was spectacular and Doug Bradley is a horror icon because of his role as Pinhead.
The things I don’t like about this movie… first when reading the book Julia is suppose to be an extremely attractive woman, Clare Higgins is not that woman by far. There is simply nothing attractive about her. In fact I didn’t like her in the second movie either… and he had a far bigger role in that one. Some of the other effects were lacking but It was also made in the late 80’s so I really can’t complain a whole lot about it.
Over all I feel like this is one of the best horror movies I have ever seen, the puzzle box and Cenobites are icons and Ashley Laurence was simply amazing in her role. By the way… the line delivered by Pinhead at the tend of the trailer was actually my ringtone for awhile.