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Hellraiser – Steve Newton’s Retro Reviews

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Thirty years ago today–on September 11, 1987–Clive Barker’s Hellraiser was released in North American theaters. He should have stuck to writing novels and short stories, methinks.

Here’s my original review:


Some guys just don’t know when to leave well enough alone. Stephen King just wasn’t satisfied with the work that other directors did with his stories. He had to write and direct last year’s Maximum Overdrive. It was one bad movie, and not even a nifty soundtrack by AC/DC could save it.

Now along comes Clive Barker, a 33-year-old playwright/author/artist from Liverpool, whom King describes as “…the future name in horror fiction.” With Hellraiser, Barker has taken his own first shot at directing–with about the same lowly results as King. Both authors can scare the bejesus out of you with the written word (see Barker’s Books of Blood or The Damnation Game), but put them behind a camera and the only nightmares you get are those concerning the six bucks you wasted at the theatre.

Hellraiser (originally titled Sadomasochists from Beyond the Grave) starts when American Larry Cotton (Andrew Robinson, the sniveling psycho who made Clint Eastwood’s day in Dirty Harry) moves into a home in London, England, with his British wife Julia (Clare Higgins). They discover that one of the upstairs room has been occupied by persons unknown, and Larry soon realizes the tenant had been his brother Frank.

Julie’s passion for her husband begins to dissolve in the face of domestic boredom, and her thoughts turn increasingly to Frank (Sean Chapman), with whom she had a brief tryst.

The room he lived in has an oppressive aura, and when Larry tears open his hand while moving a mattress up the stairs, the room’s floorboards absorb the blood like J-cloth. This plasma appetizer brings about the resurrection of Frank, who has been reduced to a gooey, skinless corpse by four demons called Cenobites.

Frank raised the Cenobites from the outer reaches of hell by solving a Chinese puzzle box, and the only way he can become whole again is by feeding on human blood. Julia, excited by her lover’s return, agrees to supply the victims.

From this point on Hellraiser gets sillier and sillier, as Barker concentrates on painting the screen red with blood and gore. There are some intriguing special effects in the movie, but a limp script and unconvincing performances don’t help. Worse of all, it isn’t scary. I only jumped once during the entire film.


For more from Steve Newton, visit his website about rock ‘n’ roll and horror movies, Ear of Newt!

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SOMA Sailing to Xbox One on December 1

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SOMA (review) will be heading to Xbox One on December 1st with the addition of a new safe mode, and we have all the details you need right here!

SOMA Coming to Xbox One with New “Safe Mode”
There’s no need to be concerned. You are always safe…

Isolated, submerged in the ocean’s darkness, chaos has overtaken the halls of PATHOS-II, and the boundaries of humanity strained beyond repair. From Frictional Games, creators of the critically acclaimed Amnesia series, SOMA is coming to Xbox One on December 1st with the addition of Safe Mode.

Safe Mode introduces an optional new way to play SOMA in the Xbox One and PC releases. Protected from the hostile creatures below, let yourself sink into the mystery and atmosphere of PATHOS-II as you uncover the truth and determine the fate of the station.

SOMA is coming to Xbox One on December 1st and is available to pre-order now. Safe Mode will launch simultaneously as a free update for PC and will be available for PS4 at a later date.

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Thelma Is Fantastic and Now You Can Watch the Opening Scene

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One of this year’s most beautiful and subdued horror films is Joachim Trier’s Thelma (review), which opens in Los Angeles tonight. To give you a bit of what the film is like, The Orchard have released the opening scene, which shows a man and his daughter hunting in the bleak Norwegian winter. When they come across a young deer, the true intentions of this trip become apparent…

Having seen Thelma, I can tell you that it’s truly something special. It’s a slow burn, to be certain, but it plays out gorgeously, resulting in a film that has yet to leave my mind.

Related Story: Exclusive Interview with Thelma’s Joachim Trier

Locations and tickets for Thelma can be found here.

Synopsis:
Thelma, a shy young student, has just left her religious family in a small town on the west coast of Norway to study at a university in Oslo. While at the library one day, she experiences a violent, unexpected seizure. Soon after, she finds herself intensely drawn toward Anja, a beautiful young student who reciprocates Thelma’s powerful attraction. As the semester continues, Thelma becomes increasingly overwhelmed by her intense feelings for Anja – feelings she doesn’t dare acknowledge, even to herself – while at the same time experiencing even more extreme seizures. As it becomes clearer that the seizures are a symptom of inexplicable, often dangerous, supernatural abilities, Thelma is confronted with tragic secrets of her past, and the terrifying implications of her powers.

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Award-Winning The Child Remains Playing Tomorrow at the Blood in the Snow Festival

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The award-winning supernatural thriller The Child Remains, which has been on the festival circuit, is returning to Canada to play tomorrow night at the Blood in the Snow Film Festival in Toronto. Tickets for the screening, which is at 9:30pm, can be found at the festival’s website.

The film has won awards in festivals across Canada as well as Best Foreign Feature at the Unrestricted View Horror Film Festival in London, UK.

Described as The Shining meets Rosemary’s Baby meets The Orphanage, the film stars Suzanne Clément, Allan Hawco, Shelley Thompson, and Geza Kovacs. Directed and written by Michael Melski, who co-produced the film alongside Craig Cameron and David Miller, The Child Remains is aiming for a Canadian theatrical release in Spring 2018 and a US theatrical release in October 2018.

Synopsis:
An expectant couple’s intimate weekend turns to terror when they discover their secluded country inn is a haunted maternity home where unwanted infants and young mothers were murdered. Inspired by the true story of the infamous ‘Butterbox Babies’ and their macabre chapter in Canadian history, The Child Remains is a twisting supernatural thriller that emphasizes story and suspense over shock and gore.

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