Most people would probably say I live a lackluster life. My days consist, almost exclusively, of the following activities: writing, hiking/geocaching, sleeping, listening to music, working, and watching movies. I watch a lot of movies. Recently, I’ve begun holding mini-film festivals for an audience of one where all of the selections share some sort of common theme. Over the course of several nights, I’ll settle down with a tub of popcorn and indulge in all the films Quentin Tarantino directed; or perhaps I’ll treat myself to several days of Asian horror, classic sci-fi, or 70’s era exploitation flicks. Currently, I’m watching the Hellraiser franchise, all nine movies viewed in consecutive order. I distinctly remember seeing the original on the big screen back in 1987, had vague memories of the second installment, and caught the very end of Part IV on cable several years back. However, the other six films are entirely new to me—mainly due to the wariness and mistrust I harbor toward sequels. What follows are my thoughts on not only the individual films, but the series as a whole. These aren’t exactly reviews. They could probably be better referred to as musings. So take them as you will.
The Cenobites gave me an experience beyond limits... pain and pleasure, indivisible”; “Some things have to be endured. And that makes the pleasures so much sweeter. “ For turning away from them, he is punished with an eternity of frustration in a manner which is reminiscent of classical Greek mythology: a lustful man tempted by erotic women he can never touch, devoid of both the pleasure and pain he rejected. In other places, however, the internal logic between the two films breaks down. For example, when Dr. Channard resurrects Julia from the bloody mattress she died upon, she comes back as a hideous, corpse-like creature. That’s fine. After all, that’s what happened with Frank in the first film. Dr. Channard then begins to offer victims to Julia to help restore her to a human form, just as she had done for Frank in Hellraiser. When the time came that Frank needed a skin, however, he had to kill his brother and harvest his, the end result being that he looked like Larry Cotton . So why then did Julia look like Julia after it was time to get her skin? Another piece of faulty logic that bugs me is when Dr.Channard uses the mute mental patient, Tiffany, to open the puzzle box while he and Julia watch from a hidden room. The Cenobites are prepared to take Tiffany when Pinhead stops them, stating, “It is not hands that call us, it is desire.” This is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it reinforces that the Cenobites come for those who desire what they offer; but in the first movie, Kirsty inadvertently opened the puzzle box while toying with it. Though she lacked the desire, they were prepared to take her anyway, believing that she must have known what she was doing. Besides internal logic, I also didn’t particularly care for the Channard Cenobite. His lines came too close to the wise-crackery I mentioned in the opening paragraph and, overall, I found him to be a rather uninteresting monster.