ALL 11 HELLRAISER MOVIES RANKED + Hellraiser (2022) Review

What is up Scream Team! Zack Cherry here, and today we are going to be ranking all of the Hellraiser movies. I have gone ahead and watched every single one of them, up to, and including the brand new one that was just released on Hulu. Full disclosure, this is not a franchise that I really care all that much about, but I do have fun doing a good ol’ tier ranking. The rankings themselves are based on quotes from the first movie. So starting from the least good to the most good I have “No, please. I can’t bear

it”. “A waste of good suffering”. “This stuff means nothing to me”. “Come to Daddy”. And “We have such sights to show you”. So starting with the very first Hellraiser movie, released in 1987: A woman discovers the newly resurrected, partially formed body of her brother-in-law. She starts killing for him to revitalize his body so he can escape the Demonic beings that are pursuing him after he escaped their sadistic underworld. The first Hellraiser movie is probably, I would say maybe in a top 20, top 25 for me. This is just one of those movies that, you know,

you don’t judge a book by its cover. And it’s interesting because this movie does read a lot like a book. Obviously it’s based off of the Clive Barker novella, The

Hellbound Heart, and for the longest time, this just looked really gnarly to me. Like I wasn’t sure what to make of it. And I always kind of put it off, at least when I was younger and kind of exploring horror movies for the first time. And when I finally did watch this, I was really blown away, because this couldn’t be further than anything it looks like.

Pinhead and the other Cenobites aren’t really that prevalent, or don’t really have much of a presence in that first movie, so it’s really all about the the human drama, which I think is so interesting and deep. It’s almost fairy tale-esque in a way, there are a lot of comparisons drawn to stories like Snow White, and the Evil Queen and all that, and really I just find this movie to be very disturbing, but in the best way possible. Like it’s it’s grotesque, it doesn’t make me feel good watching it, but I still love it anyway. It’s

also got an incredible score by Christopher Young. Probably one of the best horror movie scores. If we’re ranking horror movie scores, which maybe I’ll do one day, it’s up there. So for those reasons, I’m going to put Hellraiser in “We have such sights to show you”. Will that be the only one that ends up in that tier? Maybe, we’ll find out. Next up is Hellbound: Hellraiser II, released in 1988. Kirsty is brought to an institution after the horrible events of Hellraiser 1987, where the occult obsessive head doctor resurrects Julia and unleashes the Cenobites and their

demonic underworld. What I really like about Hellbound is that it’s got that connective tissue, like Halloween 1978 to Halloween II, in that it pretty much picks up immediately after where the last one ended. Like not immediately, but basically the same day, or the same night. So it does have that feeling like you have you watch Hellraiser, and then you kind of have to follow it up with Hellbound, like it almost makes a complete story. This is a very tonally different movie from the first one, it’s a lot more fantastical. There’s more explorations of the further

realms, like the the things that we only just saw the surface of in the first movie. They really go more into it, like we actually go into hell in this movie, into this huge labyrinth. And it’s kind of all over the place, like there is a lot happening here, this is a very plot heavy movie, but it still feels like Clive Barker. Like Clive Barker’s hand is still very much a part of these movies at this point. Without really going into spoilers, there are things that I find are kind of a downgrade from the first

movie, more so just in terms of the villains of the story. I feel like they’re just kind of shoehorned in there in a way ,and they really undermine the Cenobites in this movie too, because I feel like this is where we start to see more of who the Cenobites are and where they come from. We also do get Christopher Young, back doing the score for the movie. And just kind of expanding off of the original arrangement from the first one. And then also the story itself, and the mythology of Leviathan, and all that, and the

puzzle box, is kind of delved into more here. Whereas I feel like the first movie was the human drama, but they still kind of fleshed out the backstory and all that a little bit more here, so that was nice, and it helps as a companion piece to that movie, so I’m gonna put this, actually in “Come to Daddy”. Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth. Released 1992, reporter Joey Summerskill slowly begins to learn about about the mysterious puzzle box, the unbearable pain opening it can bring, and Pinhead: the black pope of Hell, after viewing a young teenage

club goer get ripped apart by the box’s chains in an ER room. This is where things start to go off the rails a bit for me. I do appreciate that Hell on Earth is at least kind of connected to the movies that’s come before it, so there is that continuity, but this sort of takes the Hellraiser lore and just turns it into, basically like a bad Nightmare on Elm Street or Friday the 13th movie, which is pretty common considering that this did come out in 1992, where the horror genre was kind of just picking up

the scraps of the big slashers that were left behind from the 80s, and trying to keep that engine running. Like we saw Jason Goes to Hell in ’93. And because of that, a lot of the grandiose, operatic feel of the first two movies is gone here. And this I’d say is the one that feels most like a straight up slasher, like as much of a slasher as Pinhead could become. I just find this movie to be very boring in a lot of parts, like it’s incredibly slow, there’s like 10 different endings, and there’s this whole

backstory of the main character and her father being killed in the Vietnam War, and it just feels so pointless. It feels like they’re trying to make this deeper than it needs to be. Whereas you could have just made it what it was, which was Pinhead massacring a nightclub of of people with weird things, like turning a drink into an ice dagger to stab some woman in the mouth, or the CDs being slung into the DJ. But I don’t think that this movie is terrible. I think it’s it’s still passable for what it is. So I’m

gonna put this in “This stuff means nothing to me”. Hellraiser: Bloodline, released in 1996. In the 22nd century, a scientist attempts to write the wrong his ancestor created. Hellraiser: Bloodline is probably the most ambitious, high concept premise of any of the movies, or at least up until this point, because it covers three periods in time. It starts in the 18th century, then it moves to the modern day of 1996, and then the wrap around for the story is what takes place in the future, in space. So this is a Pinhead in space movie. It really

does kind of have that Jason X vibe to it, only I would say done more successfully. Not that this is atmospheric in any way, but it definitely succeeds more than that movie ever did. But I think the thing that I like the most is just how it has this connectivity of the lineage of the puzzle box maker – the toymaker, who we see the same actor playing him in 1784, 1996, and 2127. So even though they’re all different characters, I still feel like there’s at least enough of a throughline that I’m interested in this story

of LeMarchands, or whatever we’re calling them. The only thing with this movie that kind of drags it down is that there was a lot of issues with the production, like the director wanted nothing to do with it. I think that he had walked off the set early. This was also the last movie that Clive Barker had any involvement in, and I think that whatever happened on this movie is what made him stop being a part of the Hellraiser movies. So I don’t know what it was that happened, or why this movie was so negatively received,

but from the sounds of it, maybe it could have been better. So I’m actually gonna put this in “This means nothing to me”, but it means more to me than some of the other ones we’ll get to. Next is Hellraiser: Inferno, released in 2000. A shady police detective becomes embroiled in a strange world of murder, sadism, and madness, after being assigned a murder investigation against a madman known only as “the Engineer”. This is the first Hellraiser movie that went direct to DVD, because of that, all of the movies were essentially not written to be Hellraiser

movies. They were spec scripts that Dimension Studios had purchased, but then changed or tweaked a little to turn it into a Hellraiser movie, by implementing Pinhead in there. So because of that, a lot of these are kind of garbage. Interestingly enough though, this particular movie is written and directed by Scott Derrickson. So he’s actually somebody whose name you should know. He directed Sinister and most recently The Black Phone. So this was actually his very first movie. I think that it is actually pretty competently filmed, and it clearly shows as Derrickson has had a successful career

after this. I just find this story to be painfully boring. It’s more so a police investigation, it has that kind of CSI feel to it. So much of the movie is just going from scene to scene, just following leads and not actually finding out any new information. It just feels frustrating, like this is one of those movies that I just tune out of. Maybe it would have worked better if it had just not been a Hellraiser movie, but I’m gonna actually put this in “A waste of good suffering”. Next up is Hellraiser: Hellseeker, released 2002.

A shady businessman attempts to piece together the details of a car crash that killed his wife, rendered him an amnesiac, and left him in possession of a sinister puzzle box that summons monsters. Okay first things first, let’s just address the big issue with this movie, and that is Kirsty being in this movie, and just sort of what they do with the character, because I feel like this is not a respectable follow-up to her character from the first two movies. Ashley Laurence is barely in the movie, like pretty much five minutes of screen time altogether, so

we’re mostly following this other character who is her husband, and just the fact that he has amnesia and he can’t remember anything, it makes this movie so incredibly stupid, and boring too. Similar to Hellraiser: Inferno, it’s the same situation of a character meandering through scene to scene trying to figure out what’s going on, but we’re never really learning anything new. Because these are straight to DVD movies, the scripts themselves are very low concept, like it’s not just the production quality, but the scripts are written to be these long, drawn out scenes of characters just moving

around a room for 10 minutes, and then there’s a lot of instances of scary things happening, or just whatever horror they can implement in there, only for a character to suddenly wake up and realize that they were having a nightmare. And it’s just rinse and repeat for the entire thing. In terms of the production quality as well, this movie looks awful. This was released 2002 by Dimension, and as we all know, another 2002 Dimension film release that we all love is Halloween: Resurrection, and I noticed a lot of similarities of the look of the movie,

so I was doing a little searching and sure enough there are some of the same crew members that worked on both films. And no discredit to those people, like they’re just earning an honest living and working with the meager budget that they have, that the Weinsteins have allotted them, but it’s just such an ugly, drab looking movie. Like it’s washed out of any color at all, it’s got that weird blue tint to it. It’s just really dull and morose, and I do not enjoy looking at this movie, listening to it, or sitting through it. So

because of that, this is definitely the bottom tier, “No, please. I can’t bear it”. Will it be the worst? I don’t know, we’ll see. And then released in 2005is Hellraiser: Deader. A journalist uncovers an underground group who can bring back the dead, and slowly becomes drawn into their world. Again, like the two movies that came before, it has the same issues with long, drawn out scenes of nothing happening, and characters exploring environments only for nothing to really make any sort of sense until the end. It’s just a lot of exposition, and not really any interesting

action at all. There’s this really unintentionally hilarious moment in this film, which happens right at the beginning. We see the main character, she’s passed out in this crack den, and she wakes up, takes out a camera, takes a photo of them, gets up and leaves. And then she goes to work at her newspaper, and I can only imagine that this is like a buzzfeed startup or something, because she takes out the paper which has her article front and center, and the title of the this is, and I kid you not, “How to be a crack

“. And everyone in the office is super impressed, like they’re congratulating her, and she’s so smug about it. She’s walking around like she owns the place. And it’s like “How to be a crack ?”… you do crack. There, I just saved you the entire read. This is some riveting journalism, like I can only imagine what Gale Weathers would say about this. That is my only takeaway of this movie, the only thing I remember. There’s some nonsense at the end with this cult, and none of it is interesting. And like the previous two movies as well,

Pinhead is barely in it. He just kind of shows up at the end, so easy paycheck for Doug Bradley. But holy cow this one is bad. I don’t think that’s Hellseeker bad, but it’s still “No, please. I can’t bear it”, so I’m gonna put it above Hellseeker. The eighth film, Hellraiser: Hellworld, also released in 2005. Gamers playing a MMORPG based on the Hellraiser films, find their lives endangered after being invited to a rave, the host of which intends to show them the truth behind the Cenobite mythos. We never actually see the video game, like this

is a very misleading title, because the poster makes it look like this is somehow The Matrix, and it’s got a tagline that says “evil goes online”, or something like that. And it couldn’t be further from the truth. But this one has an interesting cast. It’s got Lance Henriksen, who is well known within the horror genre. The Alien franchise, Scream 3. It’s also got a very young Henry Cavill playing one of the characters. And I would actually liken this more to a really bad version of House on Haunted Hill, the 1999 remake of it. And I

actually really like that movie, so because of that, I didn’t hate this one. It does suffer from the same stupid dialogue and bad writing and all that, but at least more is happening here. It’s not constrained by the same sort of setup that we saw in the previous movies, where it’s people going on this week-long investigation. Like it’s all contained in this mansion where this party’s going on, it takes place on one night. It also kind of goes more along with the template of the teen horror trend, but it’s still a terrible movie, so I’m

conflicted. I think I’m gonna put it in “A waste of good suffering” above Inferno, because I could see myself watching this again at some point. Next up is Hellraiser: Revelations, released 2011. Two college friends unwittingly release Pinhead and his minions. That’s a very basic description of the movie. This was only made because Dimension films wanted to retain the rights to the franchise. They hadn’t made a Hellraiser movie in six years at that point and they were about to lose the rights, so essentially they had to. This has virtually no budget at all. It looks like

crap. It looks like they were kind of going for this OC aesthetic, like I just look at this and I see the Cohens and the Coopers. It’s just like a very special episode of the OC where Pinhead comes to Newport Beach. I really have nothing to say about this movie other than the fact that it’s kind of all over the map. It starts out like it could be a found footage film, but then we just see that it’s one of the parents watching this recording that one of the kids made the year earlier. And honestly,

I think that if they had just committed to making the entire thing found footage, it might have elevated this a little bit more. I mean, I don’t love found footage, but just the fact that they were kind of mixing in a little bit of everything, it makes this a smorgasbord of all the worst elements of horror. Like the worst trends of the genre at the time. I think the funniest thing about the movie is that in the marketing they said “from the mind of Clive Barker” and he was so insulted by that that he went

on Twitter and wrote something along the lines of: this did not even come from my butthole. I don’t even know if this movie is so bad that it’s unintentionally funny, I just think it’s stupid, like it’s it’s painful to watch. So yeah, I’m gonna put it in “No, please. I can’t bear it”. Next is Hellraiser: Judgment, released 2018. Detectives Sean and David Carter are on the case to find a gruesome serial killer terrorizing the city. Joining forces with detective Christine Edgerton, they dig deeper into a spiraling Maze of horror that may not be of this

world. This one completely flew under the radar for me because I didn’t even know that it existed until very recently when I set about to do this re-watch. Of course again, this was another straight to DVD release, but it kind of suffers the same problems that the previous ones did, of just being a detective story. This feels a lot like a really bad Saw sequel, like one of the later ones, like The Final Chapter. Again, they don’t have a budget for this so it just looks pretty shoddy. I should also mention, which I forgot to

for Hellraiser: Revelations, that Doug Bradley stopped playing the role of Pinhead after Hellworld, so Revelation and Judgment are different actors. I think that the guy who plays Pinhead in this movie (in Judgment) did a pretty good job, at least visually looking like him and acting in a similar way. It’s very nondescript, but it’s still passable. The one in Revelations… just terrible. And this again is also a very ambitious movie. They introduce a lot more mythology of the Cenobites and the hell realm, but then it kind of goes overboard and introduces these other aspects, like there’s

a heaven as well. And there’s this whole justice system, like it’s very political in a way, and very biblical as well. So because of that, I felt like it didn’t really mesh with the tone of the murderer mystery, or detective aspect of the story. So it kind of jumped back and forth of being these two different movies that did not go well together. This is a very forgettable movie. It is not a good movie, that I’m gonna put it below Inferno. But that will bring us to Hellraiser 2022. A take on Clive Barker’s 1987 horror

classic, where a young woman struggling with addiction comes into possession of an ancient puzzle box, unaware that it’s purpose is to summon the Cenobites. It is upsetting that this wasn’t a theatrical release, because I think that that might have shifted gears for the franchise and shown that this is something that could see a resurgence. But as it is, it was a Hulu release and I have to say I’m not overly impressed by this movie. Like I had a good time watching it, I was into it, but I think that when you’re doing this reimagining of

Hellraiser, or just trying to reboot it, or give it new life, I expect something huge. I expect something on the level of those first two movies, that’s this huge, grandiose, operatic feel. And I do like that they kind of revisit the original score by Christopher Young, but it always feels so underscored and downplayed in a way. I also think that the human drama of this movie is not interesting at all. The characters did nothing for me. The only character that was interesting, or could have potentially driven the movie further ahead (or at least with the

main character) was taken out very early. And as far as the main character goes, Riley, who is suffering from this addiction, they don’t really do anything with that story. There’s no resolution, so it all feels very exploitative in a way. And there was just so much filler, and I just feel the plot kind of felt inorganic. Like this is a script that probably could have used a few more rewrites. I will say though that visually, this is a stunning movie. The effects are amazing, both digital and practical. I think that the innovations that they made

to the puzzle box are really the highlight of the movie for me. The puzzle box itself, which we see now is way more intricate than it ever was before, just in terms of the configurations and sort of adding to the lore of the meaning of each configuration and how that works, that was an interesting take on the puzzle box, and I wish that they had explored that more within this movie. I would be interested to see a sequel, and even more of a series that goes on if they can make more after this. Then hopefully,

if not improving upon the characters that they already have, they just bring in new and more interesting characters that actually bring some juicy human drama to the table. But as it is, this feels so unremarkable to me just in terms of the story. The effects notwithstanding, they’re great, and I would put it higher if I was just ranking it based off of that, but “This stuff means nothing to me”, but I’d say that I’d probably watch this before I watched Hellraiser III, but after Hellraiser: Bloodline. Anyway, that is my ranking for the entire Hellraiser franchise.

I want to thank a few of my Patreon supporters, like Shane Allingham, Marcus Rando, Daniel Stern, Dominic, and Stephanie Starbright. If you guys want to check out more rankings and tier lists just like this one, you can head over to this playlist right over here. Until next time, I’ve been Zack Cherry, and I’ll be right back.

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