Hellraiser (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 11 Old 04-14-2009, 11:16 AM - Thread Starter
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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )


Studio and Year: Anchor Bay Entertainment - 1987
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 93 Minutes
Genre: Horror

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Andrew Robinson, Ashley Laurence, Clare Higgins, Doug Bradley
Directed by: Clive Barker
Music by: Christopher Young
Written by: Clive Barker
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: April 21, 2009

"He'll tear your soul apart"

Film Synopsis:

In 1987 prolific genre author, painter and first-time filmmaker Clive Barker unleashed upon unwary audiences a flick that shook them to their core and forever redefined the face of genre cinema." More than twenty years later, Barker's original version of pleasure, pain and the nightmare icon forever known as Pinhead have returned like you've never seen them before. Andrew Robinson, Ashley Laurence, Clare Higgins and Doug Bradley star in this immortal horror classic, now loaded with extras for an experience beyond limits. Once again, the box is open, The Cenobites have been summoned. We have such sights to show you....finally in Blu-ray.

My Take:

Hellraiser is a dark, gothic horror film that at the time of its release was just so original. I can remember seeing it and being enthralled and frightened by its bloody/brutal story and by the creepy demonic Cenobites, lead by Pinhead. I haven't seen it in years and this re-visit brought back feelings of nostalgia. The story left a bit of a different impression and its dated effects didn't have the same impact but nevertheless this is still a wonderfully eerie, creepy and visually engaging film. I always saw the Cenobites as the monsters in the story but watching it now its plainly obvious that Frank and Julia are really the true villains. Larry probably couldn't be any more of a gullible, affable, nincompoop who has absolutely no instincts. The effects show their age but I thought that the make-up work held up pretty well. The odd looking Cenobites (especially Doug Bradley as Pinhead) looked especially good as did Frank during his transformation. This wasn't a big budget production and it was easy to see where the money was spent. The performances by the cast are about what you might expect in a genre film like this but I appreciated Andrew Robinson's turn as Larry/Frank and Doug Bradley's chilling Pinhead. This film spawned a number of sequels and is a favorite among horror genre fans. This is the one that started it all. Whether it is the best of the bunch is a matter of opinion but none will argue that its status as a cult classic is justly deserved.

Parental Guide:

The rating is for frightening images, bloody violence, language, sexuality and brief nudity.

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 70

  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

Video: 82

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

Hellraiser comes to Blu-ray from Anchor Bay Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 32 mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel audio that has an average bitrate of 1.1 mbps.

I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of this high definition presentation. Fidelity appears to be intact as resolution is very good. Images are reasonably sharp with discernible texture that is appreciable is close ups and most mid level camera pans. Grain is present and prominently displayed but rarely calls negative attention to itself. Colors in the period clothing, make-up and surroundings appears natural with the exception of the red which tends to lean toward orangey red. Visibility in the gloomy, shadowy confines of the house/attic is good but some detail in backgrounds is obscured. Blacks are fairly deep and contrast is punchy without being overstated. I thought that this was a nice looking encoding that delivered the elements present on the film very well. The Dolby TrueHD audio didn't get a chance to shine with this somewhat dated sounding recording but it got the important ingredients right. Dialogue was always intelligible but lacked definition and depth. Dynamic range is limited which left sound effects lacking palpability. The film's music and on occasion sound effects were spread to the rear channels which enhanced spatial dimension but the majority of the sound was delivered by the front three channels. The soundstage was one dimensional but sounds were clearly articulated within it. There was little low frequency detail contained in the mix but I never felt it was missing based upon the soundtrack's other elements. Overall I thought that this presentation remained faithful to the original and avoided sounding artificial or over processed.

Bonus Features:

  • Fast film facts: PiP BonusView interactive trivia

  • Featurettes:

    1. Mr. Cotton I presume? - An interview with Andrew Robinson (16 minutes)
    2. Actress from hell: An interview with Ashley Laurence (12 minutes)
    3. Hellcomposer: An interview with composer Christopher Young (18 minutes)
    4. Hellraiser: Resurrection - 24 minute feature
    5. Under the skin: Doug Bradley on Hell raiser (12 minutes)

  • Trailers and TV Spots - 3 trailers and 4 TV spots

  • Still galleries

  • BD-Live enabled

Final Thoughts:

Hellraiser is the original classic from horror master Clive Barker that introduced genre fans to one of the most memorable characters ever to grace the big screen. Anchor Bay Entertainment brings this classic film to Blu-ray Disc in good fashion as it looks terrific and features an excellent set of bonus supplements. Fans can feel free to pick this disc up. Otherwise give it a rent prior to purchase.


Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS20 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Carada Precision Brilliant White 96" Screen
Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BD55K Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Marantz DV7001 Universal Disc Player
Denon AVR 5308CI THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Philips TSU9400 Pro Series Touch Panel Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package

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post #2 of 11 Old 04-14-2009, 11:50 AM
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Thanks, Ralph. This is one of my favorite horror movies. It will definitely be a day one buy for me.

And it's region free, baby!

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post #3 of 11 Old 04-14-2009, 11:56 AM
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Pinhead on Blu Ray finally! Can't wait to get my copy.

Thanks Ralph.

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post #4 of 11 Old 04-14-2009, 02:12 PM
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I was hoping to get your review for this particular release. Well done, thanks!

Knowing is not enough you must apply. Willing is not enough you must do. -Bruce Lee

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post #5 of 11 Old 04-14-2009, 02:17 PM
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I was a big fan of the original, I did a Halloween 3d makeup job based on a freeze frame from the movie...looked quite scary....

Too bad they didn't remaster the film...

I am no longer able to watch a movie. I am monitoring a video display with regards to chroma, brightness, contrast and correct pulldown.
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post #6 of 11 Old 04-14-2009, 06:24 PM
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Thanks Ralph, iv still yet to find a copy here in HK !!!
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post #7 of 11 Old 04-15-2009, 07:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Masako View Post

This about sums up my feelings. I used to love this movie and haven't seen it in many years; I'm excited to watch it in BD.

Same here, I saw it when it first came out on pay per view in the 80's, but never got around to seeing it again. I'm also liking that it's another budget title on amazon.
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post #8 of 11 Old 04-15-2009, 07:26 AM
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The master piece of Clive Baker,can't get you wrong .I will pick this one.
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post #9 of 11 Old 04-15-2009, 08:15 AM
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Wow. Realized that I haven't seen this one in literally years. Might have to pick it up, if only for my 10th Month collection, which is woefully slim.

Blu Ray... 3-D TV... 4K... I Like New STUFF!!!

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post #10 of 11 Old 04-15-2009, 10:09 AM
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While I will admit that I was a fan of this movie when it came out, and still am, I think that by itself, this film doesn't stand on it's own well enough to be a BD purchase.

Little disappointed that they didn't put Hellraiser 2 on the BD as well, considering how short these films are. Would make it a little easier to purchase.

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post #11 of 11 Old 04-17-2009, 09:01 PM
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Honestly a blind buy for me and just ordered it.

As always, thanks for the review.

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