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Wednesday, January 11, 2017


On December 20th, Arrow Video brought the box set, Hellraiser: The Scarlet Box, to the shores of North America.
Hellraiser follows Frank Cotton as he journeys to the limits of pleasure and pain. When he purchases a mysterious puzzle box, he solves it, and gets more than he bargained for when demons come for his flesh. Not long after, Frank's brother, Larry and his wife, Julia, move into the house where Frank died. Larry cuts himself and his blood brings Frank back from Hell. Soon, Larry's daughter, Kirsty discovers Frank and the box and summons the Cenobites. Kirsty makes a bargain with them to take Frank instead of her. This is the film that took mainstream horror to grotesque and unfathomable places. Characters the likes of Pinhead and the other Cenobites had ever existed before and were shocking to audiences as well as the gruesome special FX.

Hellbound: Hellraiser II picks right up where Hellraiser ended. Kirsty is remanded into psychiatric custody at the Channard Institute pending the investigation of the events that unfolded at her Father's house. The nefarious Dr. Channard is very interested in Kirsty's story about the Cenobites. He's been obsessed with what lies beyond reality all his life and with the help of a puzzle-obsessed patient, Tiffany, and the return of Julia, the gates of Hell have been opened and the Cenobites are unleashed once more. Hellbound was cool because, you got a glimpse of hell as imagined by Clive Barker. It's not all fire and brimstone, but more of a cold, concrete labyrinth.

In Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth, Pinhead is now free, unbound by the laws of Hell and intent on bringing Hell on earth. This is by far the weakest of the box set and maybe even the series as a whole outside of Hellraiser: Revelation. It just wasn't good. The Cenobites were cheap and hackneyed and the story was boring and uninteresting. Also, it was made at the time CG was just starting to be used more often, and limited by the state of the technology. One positive, though, is that the disc offers an option to watch Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth uncut, even if the additional parts are full screen and lesser quality.

The 2K transfer of Hellraiser shines through in the FX shots; they're very clear and I was able to see colors I never noticed before in the Frank reformation scene. The remaster also hurts the picture a little with scenes that are backlit, like when Kirsty is walking into the house for the first time, or when Frank screams after he comes back to life by making them VERY grainy and obscuring some of the picture. Frank screaming alive would've been great if the detail was clearer. Still, these are minor, minor issues.

From Arrow Video
Stephen King was once quoted as saying: "I have seen the future of horror... his name is Clive Barker." That future became reality when, in 1987, Barker unleashed his directorial debut Hellraiser - launching a hit franchise and creating an instant horror icon in the formidable figure of Pinhead. Barker's original Hellraiser, based on his novella The Hellbound Heart, follows Kirsty Cotton (Ashley Laurence) as she comes head-to-head with the Cenobites - demonic beings from another realm who are intent on reclaiming the soul of her deviant Uncle Frank. Picking up immediately after the events of the original Hellraiser, Hellbound: Hellraiser II finds Kirsty detained at a psychiatric institute and under the care of Phillip Channard, a doctor who abuses his position to realise his own dark aims. In Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth, a reporter investigating a mysterious death at a nightclub finds herself in the way of Pinhead and the Cenobites, who plan to bring their horrifying world into our own. Coming at a time when the genre was degenerating into self-parody, Hellraiser offered a fiercely unique vision that approached its horrors with a far greater degree of seriousness than many of its contemporaries.. Along with its sequels, the Barker-produced Hellbound and Hell on Earth, Arrow Video is proud to present some of the most terrifyingly original films in the history of horror in brand new 2K transfers.

Bonus Features
  • Brand new 2K restorations of Hellraiser, Hellbound: Hellraiser II, and Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth
  • Uncompressed PCM Stereo 2.0 and Lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 sound for Hellraiser and Hellbound: Hellraiser II
  • Lossless DTS-HD MA 2.0 sound for Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for all three films
  • Limited Edition bonus disc
  • Exclusive 200-page hardback book with new writing from Clive Barker archivists Phil and Sarah Stokes
  • 20-page booklet featuring never-before-seen original Hellraiser concept art
  • Limited Edition packaging with new artwork from Gilles Vranckx
  • Set of 5 exclusive art cards
  • Fold-out reversible poster
  • Brand new 2K restoration approved by director of photography Robin Vidgeon
  • Audio commentary with writer/director Clive Barker
  • Audio commentary with Barker and actress Ashley Laurence
  • Leviathan: The Story of Hellraiser – brand new version of the definitive documentary on the making of Hellraiser, featuring interviews with key cast and crew members
  • Being Frank: Sean Chapman on Hellraiser – actor Sean Chapman talks candidly about playing the character of Frank Cotton in Barker’s original
  • Soundtrack Hell: The Story of the Abandoned Coil Score – Coil member Stephen Thrower on the Hellraiser score that almost was
  • Hellraiser: Resurrection – vintage featurette including interviews with Clive Barker, actors Doug Bradley and Ashley Laurence, special make-up effects artist Bob Keen and others
  • Under the Skin: Doug Bradley on Hellraiser
  • Original EPK featuring on-set interviews with cast and crew
  • Draft Screenplays [BD-ROM content]
  • Trailers and TV Spots
  • Image Gallery

  • Brand new 2K restoration approved by director of photography Robin Vidgeon
  • Audio Commentary with director Tony Randel and writer Peter Atkins
  • Audio Commentary with Randel, Atkins and actress Ashley Laurence
  • Leviathan: The Story of Hellbound: Hellraiser II – brand new version of the definitive documentary on the making of Hellbound, featuring interviews with key cast and crew members
  • Being Frank: Sean Chapman on Hellbound – actor Sean Chapman talks about reprising the role of Frank Cotton in the first Hellraiser sequel
  • Surgeon Scene – the home video world premiere of this legendary, never before-seen excised sequence from Hellbound, sourced from a VHS workprint
  • Lost in the Labyrinth – vintage featurette including interviews with Barker, Randel, Keen, Atkins and others
  • Under the Skin: Doug Bradley on Hellbound: Hellraiser II
  • On-set interview with Clive Barker
  • On-set interviews with cast and crew
  • Behind-the-Scenes Footage
  • Rare and unseen storyboards
  • Draft Screenplay [BD-ROM content]
  • Trailers and TV Spots
  • Image Gallery
  • Brand new 2K restoration of the Original Theatrical Version [93 mins]
  • Alternate Unrated Version [97 mins]
  • Brand new audio commentary with writer Peter Atkins
  • Audio commentary with director Anthony Hickox and Doug Bradley
  • Hell on Earth: The Story of Hellraiser III – making-of documentary featuring interviews with Atkins, Keen and actor Ken Carpenter
  • Terri’s Tales – brand new interview with actress Paula Marshall
  • Under the Skin: Doug Bradley on Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth
  • Raising Hell on Earth – archival interview with Hickox
  • On-set interviews with Barker and Bradley
  • Never-before-seen Hellraiser III SFX dailies
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Image Gallery
  • Hellraiser III comic book adaptation [Disc gallery]
  • Clive Barker short films Salomé and The Forbidden
  • Books of Blood & Beyond: The Literary Works of Clive Barker – horror author David Gatward provides a tour through Barker’s written work, from the first Books of Blood to the recent The Scarlet Gospels
  • Hellraiser: Evolutions – a brand new documentary looking at the evolution of the hit horror franchise and its enduring legacy, featuring interviews with Scott Derrickson (director, Hellraiser: Inferno), Rick Bota (director, Hellraiser: Hellseeker, Deade
  • The Hellraiser Chronicles: A Question of Faith – short film
  • Exclusive 200-page hardback book with new writing on Hellraiser and the Barker universe from Barker archivists Phil and Sarah Stokes – including chapters looking at Barker’s early work, the genesis and production of the first 3 films in the Hellraiser

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