Remember the 1987 movie Hellraiser? It was based on Brit horror writer Cliver Barker’s book the Hellbound heart. Barker directed the film, and while it isn’t exactly a cinematic masterpiece, it certainly makes up for its lack of sophistication with its overt and outward display of over-the-top goopy gore, and utterly absurd acting and special effects.
When I finally broke down and rented the video somewhere around 1990 I pretty much hated it. Having said that, over the years there are moments from the movie that have stuck with me. Two lines in particular stand out. The first is the now infamous “Come to daddy” line uttered by the skinless ghoul, Frank, reanimated uncle of the main character, Kirsty. The way he says it is so unnatural and goofy that it was immediately branded on my brain like some sort of long-term time-release capsule of genius. The second line from the movie that I also recite mentally on a damn near regular basis is also from Frank. It’s from when his character is literally torn to pieces by the torture device of the demonic Cenobites, the monsters who take those who solve the puzzle box in the story directly to hell. The moment before his distorted, grimacing face is demolished he looks at Kirsty and says, “Jesus wept.”
Totally brilliant. I love that line. It’s so stupid and irreverent at the same time, two things that go so well together, especially in 80s camp horror films.
As for the music, I was surprised when I geekishly started looking up info about the film the other day and discovered that the orchestral, and also very cheesy and somewhat appropriately over-the-top soundtrack music by the composer Christopher Young was actually used to replace the original music supplied by the British band Coil.
Naturally I had to hunt down the Coil stuff. Also naturally it is light years beyond the music the studio dicks decided to use in its place.
In fact, the Coil stuff is revelatory in comparison to its counterpart, and hell, is virtually revelatory in relation to the entire project. Gone is the sheer 80s camp acting, gelatinous, pinkish blood, and rubbery flesh prosthetics. Gone is the laughably terrible lighting effects, smokey atmospherics, and sound work that apparently was created by deaf people. Gone is the waist high mom jeans the poor beautiful heroine is wearing in the movie. In their place is Coil’s moody, creepy, and really pretty awesome music.
I like thinking that it was okay to the studio dicks to include a near rape scene between a fleshless reanimated partially disembodied corpse and a teenaged girl, but it was too much to use intense, carefully crafted, and still listenable music for the soundtrack.
Maybe they had a vision of a movie that would be a product of its time in every single way, making zero efforts whatsoever to recognize that film is preserved, and that one day the 80s would be over, and that maybe people might look back on that era and laugh at the excesses, the hollowness, and the sheer vanity of those that made things happen back then.
You know, kinda like now.