Hellraiser: 20th Anniversary Edition (DVD)

Hellraiser 20th Anniversary DVD(click for larger image)Starring Doug Bradley, Andrew Robinson, Ashley Laurence, Sean Chapman, and Clare Higgins

Directed by Clive Barker

Distributed by Anchor Bay Entertainment

What can be said about Clive Barker’s original Hellraiser that has not been made mention of before? The film brought forth one of the most iconic faces in the history of the horror genre: Pinhead. Barker’s twisted tale about a dead marriage and those seeking the ultimate balance of pain and pleasure still holds up to this day. That and all the scenes of torture still cause a flinch. Also timeless are many of the special effects. If there was one movie that deserved a free pass out of the remake tornado, Hellraiser would be it.

Instead of remakes, one thing horror fans should be wanting are bigger and better DVD releases. Such is the case here with Hellraiser’s 20th Anniversary Edition. Five years ago we all got our first taste of what the movie could offer on a disc, but how could Pinhead’s 20th birthday go by without an even grander outing? What could be left to offer fans of the series to make them double dip?

Hellraiser 20th Anniversary DVD review (click to see it bigger)First we’ll look at what made it back onto the DVD from the last outing. The commentary track with Clive Barker and Ashley Laurence is the exact same as before. Clive and the moderator both mention that the recording is taking place 15 years after Hellraiser’s first theatrical debut. Mr. Barker has stated before he is tired of talking about the series, so it does make sense a fresher commentary is not available. Speaking of left overs, the Hellraiser: Resurrection featurette made the jump over from the previous release. Not that this is a bad thing as it’s only plausable to make so many behind-the-scenes supplements. It still holds up even if it is five years old.

Now that those are out of the way, let’s take a look at what is new.

The best of the new features come in the form of interviews with the cast and the film’s composer Christopher Young. Andrew Robinson’s interview is very frank (haha!). This is one actor that doesn’t care who he may offend with his comments. If Mr. Robinson thought something sucked or someone wasn’t doing their job, he’ll let you know. We also get a look back to his role in Dirty Harry and how it all came about for him to portray both Larry and Frank Cotton. On the other hand Ashley’s interview contains a bit of rehashed memories she speaks about in the Resurrection featurette, but the deal is made sweeter due to her beauty and the fact we get a look at her artwork.

Rounding out the interviews are Doug’s and Chris Young’s. I am pretty sure Doug Bradley’s sit down was not included in the previous release, but it does appear a bit dated. In any case, listening to Mr. Bradley talk about working with Clive Barker long before Hellraiser and how unexpected it was for Pinhead to be such a hit with fans is enjoyable nonetheless. Also unexpected was the great score Christopher Young made for this horror flick. When one thinks about music in movies of our genre, the mind usually settles on the theme for Halloween. However, a much deeper soundtrack was laid down for Hellraiser. It is epic, disturbing and almost strikes fear into the viewer before the chains start flying.

Hellraiser 20th Anniversary DVD review (click to see it bigger)There’s a healthy amount of filler to be found once you’ve had your pleasure. There are three trailers and four TV spots to run through before you get to four galleries of stills and the picture’s screen play. Quite a nice selection of extras to cram into a disc even if they weren’t really needed to please Hellraiser fans. This is a great trend we’ve seen from Anchor Bay, now if we could only get a Blu-ray version of the film…

Yes, this is beyond a doubt the version of the first Hellraiser film to pick up. Even if you’ve collected the earlier release a double dip is warranted just for the sheer amount of features and what appears to be slightly better video quality. Trust me when I say Hellraiser: 20th Anniversary Edition has such sights to show you.

Special Features

  • Commentary w/ Clive Barker and Ashley Laurence
  • Interviews with Doug Bradley, Andrew Robinson, Ashley Laurence and composer Christopher Young*
  • Hellraiser: Resurrection featurette
  • Trailers and TV Spots
  • Screen play
  • Stills galleries

    *These special features did not appear on the previous DVD release of Hellraiser.


    5 out of 5

    Special Features

    4 out of 5

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  • Mike Phalin

    Mike Phalin is a contributing writer, reality television star and engineer.

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