Event Horizon, 1997 sci-fi horror in deep space

movie poster - Event Horizon, 1997 sci-fi horror movieCountry: U.K.
Horror themes: possession, madness, hallucinations, darkness, remote, unseen, space, hell
Director: Paul W. S. Anderson

Event Horizon is a 1997 British science fiction horror film starring Laurence Fishbourne and Sam Neill. The screenplay was written by Philip Eisner and directed by Paul W. S. Anderson (Resident Evil, The Sight, Pandorum, Alien vs. Predator, others).

Synopsis of Event Horizon
In this sci-fi/horror scarefest, Dr. William Weir (Sam Neill) is a scientist and designer of a groundbreaking spacecraft called Event Horizon – built to venture far deeper into space than ever before. To accomplish such astonishingly distant space travel, the ship employs a special transport mechanism that effectively creates a black hole through which the ship can pass, allowing it to travel tremendous distances almost instantaneously. After mysteriously disappearing mid-mission seven years ago, the Event Horizon has suddenly reappeared in Neptune’s orbit, sending out a distress signal. The spaceship Lewis and Clark is sent to investigate, with Dr. Weir in tow. The crew, led by Captain Miller (Laurence Fishburne), is tired and unenthusiastic about this assignment, having been taken off holiday leave for this risky and dangerous recovery mission. Furthermore, the crew finds Dr. Weir’s reports quite confusing, even unbelievable; some are convinced that he is omitting important details. When they discover the Event Horizon, they quickly discover that things are not as they seem: some kind of indeterminate life form or presence seems to have taken over the ship.

movie still - Event Horizon, 1997 sci-fi horror movie

Thoughts on Event Horizon
I found Event Horizon to be a sci-fi horror movie that’s entertaining enough for multiple viewings – spread out over a few years, of course.

Now that I am in the habit of watching all of my DVDs with the captions turned on (whenever this feature is available), I routinely notice things I did not manage to catch during previous viewings; Event Horizon was no exception. For example, when Sam Neill first exits the gravity tub during the ship’s approach to Neptune, he hears a faint, creepy voice. Thanks to the captions I caught this and knew what the soft whispers were saying.

It’s interesting to see how various comments and actions can date older movies; in Event Horizon, a couple of examples come to mind. First, smoking is allowed on the spaceship. Second, a male makes comments to a member of the fairer sex which would today be considered obvious, overt sexual harassment.

Resources: Event Horizon, 1997 sci-fi horror movie

Hellraiser, 1987 horror movie

horror movie - hellraiser, 1987, clive barkerDirected by: Clive Barker
Verdict: 85/100… Great horror movie; a modern classic (fans, a Hellraiser remake is on the way! More info below…)

The Definitive Version of Clive Barker’s Masterpiece – AmazonHellraiser on Amazon

Hellraiser (1987) is a classic horror movie indeed, and I can easily recommend it to horror fans everywhere. It has been years since I’ve seen Hellraiser, and it was fun to watch again!

Hellraiser: The basics

horror movie - hellraiser, 1987, clive barkerHellraiser, the first film in the Hellraiser series, is a 1987 British horror film exploring the themes of sadomasochism, pain as a source of pleasure, infidelity, and morality under duress and fear. Hellraiser and Pinhead, its main antagonist, are based on Clive Barker’s critically acclaimed novella entitled The Hellbound Heart; he also wrote the screenplay for Hellraiser and directed the film. In the U.K., the film was entitled Clive Barker’s Hellraiser. Eight Hellraiser sequels have so far followed, and a remake of the original Hellraiser was announced in 2006. Hellraiser was number 19 on Bravo’s (a cable channel) list of the 100 Scariest Movie Moments. (Source: Wikipedia)

The Definitive Version of Clive Barker’s Masterpiece – AmazonHellraiser on Amazon

DVD cover text

horror movie - hellraiser, 1987, clive barkerIn a place between pleasure and pain, there is a sensual experience beyond limits. And in a world between paradise and purgatory, there is a horror that feeds the souls of evil. Welcome to the singular vision of Clive Barker and his landmark horror opus, Hellraiser.

The Definitive Version of Clive Barker’s Masterpiece: own it!

Now for the first time ever, experience this horror classic in an all-new version, fully re-mastered in state-of-the-art Dolby Digital 5.1 supervised by THX and packed with extras personally compiled by writer/director Clive Barker, this is Hellraiser as you’ve never seen or heard it before. Now there truly are no limits.

Basic plot of Hellraiser

movie scene: Hellraiser, 1987 supernatural horror film - a CenobiteClive Barker’s feature directing debut graphically depicts the tale of a man and wife who move into an old house and discover a hideous creature – the man’s half-brother, who is also the woman’s former lover – hiding upstairs. Having lost his earthly body to a trio of sadomasochistic demons called the Cenobites, he is brought back into existence by a drop of blood on the floor. He soon forces his former mistress to bring him human sacrifices to complete his body… but the Cenobites won’t be happy about this.

The Definitive Version of Clive Barker’s Masterpiece – AmazonHellraiser on Amazon

One of the best horror films of the 1980s, Hellraiser is based on Barker’s novel, The Hellbound Heart, and has been followed by multiple sequels so far; Hellraiser is definitely among the top horror franchises of all time. Horror remakes, as of late 2011: Friday the 13th (12), Halloween (10), Puppetmaster (10), Nightmare on Elm Street (9), Hellraiser (9), Saw (7), Leprechaun (6), Child’s Play (5), Pumpkinhead (5)

Watching Hellraiser (Possible spoilers)

horror movie Hellraiser, 1987, Clive BarkerThe movie at its simplest level is a retelling of a story that goes back to Goethe’s Doctor Faustus and beyond: those who sell their soul to evil forces will probably come to regret it. This time, the story is based primarily around the plight of four main characters: Frank Cotton, the last puzzle owner; his brother Larry (Andrew Robinson) and his wife Julia (Clare Higgins), and their lovely daughter Kirsty, played by Ashley Laurence in her motion picture debut.

Frank Cotton is a despicable, uncaring, jaded man who has grown bored with life – even its most extreme erotic pleasures. When he hears about a mysterious puzzle box which can open the door to a new world of perverse pleasures, he seeks it out. [Buy a real puzzle box!]

horror movie: Hellraiser, 1987, Clive BarkerFrank locates the puzzle box in Morocco and pays a street vendor thousands of dollars for the strange but alluring item. When Frank finally activates the puzzle box by solving it at his London home, the door to hell is opened; the fury and torturous wrath of the sadomasochistic Cenobites is released. Frank learns that one man’s pleasure is another man’s pain: hooks shoot from the puzzle box and literally pull Frank’s flesh apart. Enter Pinhead (Doug Bradley), apparently a Cenobite laeder, who sorts out some of the mess; Pinhead arranges the four or five pieces of flesh which only moments before had comprised Frank’s face – then closes the puzzle box.

movie scene: Hellraiser, 1987 supernatural horror film

Hellraiser puzzle box on Amazon

Later, while moving into the house, Larry accidentally cuts his hand, unintentionally spilling a little blood about the house. When his brother’s blood makes contact with the wooden floor in the special room, Frank’s body begins a process of regeneration; however, with so little blood to act as fuel, his body can only regenerate so far – and this leaves Frank as a horrid, skinless, zombie-like version of himself. Frank will evidently require a larger amount of blood in order to resume his transformation and fully build back up to his normal body. Frank convinces Julia to procure the needed blood for him. Julia supplies the blood Frank requires by seducing various strangers at local bars and other hangouts, then bringing them home and leading them upstairs.

Why on earth would the prim and proper Julia be willing to not only lead men to their deaths, but to attack them with a hammer? Well, some years ago, shortly before her wedding to current husband Larry, Julia had had a forceful sexual encounter with Frank, Larry’s brother. The truth was that Julia enjoyed the erotic, exciting experience so much that she still fantasizes about it often. Julia is apparently willing to do damn near anything to get Frank fully restored again. It’s all a sex thing.

movie scene: Hellraiser, 1987 supernatural horror filmJulia’s relationship with Larry deteriorates; all she does is dwell upon Frank. She covers for Frank when Larry hears noises coming from the attic, all of which add to the darkness of the story. The house is dark shelter during a loud thunderstorm as Larry decides to explore the attic after hearing a noise. After a short but tense exploiration of the attic, he proclaims, “It’s a rat, nothing to be afraid of.” We see Frank slinking in he background.

Whenever Kirsty, Larry’s beautiful daughter, comes to the house to visit and spends the night, she has strange nightmares.

movie scene: Hellraiser, 1987 supernatural horror film - Frank's body regeneratesAlong the way, Julia demands that Frank let her in on the full story – all the details of how Frank came to be the way he is – and we get to see flashbacks of Pinhead, their conversations, and even the rending of Frank’s flesh as Frank relates these experiences to Julia. Frank and Julia even make plans to run away together soon.

The Definitive Version of Clive Barker’s Masterpiece – AmazonHellraiser on Amazon

Meanwhile, Larry becomes increasingly concerned about the mental health and well-being of Julia, so he encourages Kirsty, movie scene: Kirsty in Hellraiser, 1987 supernatural horror filmto drop by the house and do what she can to be friends with her stepmother. When Kirsty drops by unannounced, she is shocked to find Julia leading a strange man inside – apparently she is having affairs. Shortly thereafter, Kirsty hears something she’s not supposed to when the man starts screaming bloody murder, and the standard horror movie plot device kicks into high gear: Kirsty decides to go in and investigate.

In the course of exploring the source of the screams after seeing her stepmother lead a strange man into the house, Kirsty discovers what is going on and manages to get her hands on the puzzle box. The fun truly begins at the hospital when Kirsty is introduced to the Cenobites.

A Hellraiser remake coming in 2013 (Dimension Films)!

This information is dynamic and subject to change, as things can get crazy during a film’s pre-production… Dimension Filmsremake of Hellraiser was announced in November 2006. On October 20, 2010, it was officially announced that Patrick Lussier and Todd Farmer would be directing and writing, respectively, the reboot of the Hellraiser franchise. The film’s story will differ from the original film, as Lussier and Farmer did not want to retell the original story out of respect for Clive Barker’s work. The film will instead focus on the world and function of the puzzle box. Production will begin in either late 2011 or sometime in 2012 with a 2013 release date. Clive Barker will serve as producer on the project. Recently, Farmer confirmed that both he and Lussier are no longer attached to the project. (Source: Wikipedia)

Resources: Hellraiser, 1987

Movie reviews: Hellraiser (1987)

Hellraiser credits

Written and directed by Clive Barker; Produced by Christopher Figg; Starring Doug Bradley, Andrew Robinson, Clare Higgins, Sean Chapman, Oliver Smith, Ashley Laurence; Music by Christopher Young; Cinematography Robin Vidgeon; Editing by Richard Marden, Tony Randel; Distributed by New World Pictures; Release date September 11, 1987; Running time 94 minutes; Country – United Kingdom; Language – English; Budget – $1,000,000 (estimated); Gross revenue £763,412 (UK), $14,564,027 (USA); Followed by Hellbound: Hellraiser II

Related resources

Hellraiser: Movie stills, scenes

movie scene: Hellraiser, 1987 supernatural horror filmTitle screen: Hellraiser

movie scene: Hellraiser, 1987 supernatural horror filmFrank Cotton

movie scene: Hellraiser, 1987 supernatural horror filmLarry Cotton

movie scene: Hellraiser, 1987 supernatural horror filmJulia Cotton

movie scene: Hellraiser, 1987 supernatural horror filmKirsty Cotton

movie scene: Hellraiser, 1987 supernatural horror filmPuzzle box from Hellraiser

movie scene: Hellraiser, 1987 supernatural horror filmFrank Cotton performs Satanic ritual

movie scene: Hellraiser, 1987 supernatural horror film
Frank Cotton with lover Julia

movie scene: Hellraiser, 1987 supernatural horror filmFlying cenobite

movie scene: Hellraiser, 1987 supernatural horror filmCenobite from hell – minion of Pinhead

movie scene: Hellraiser, 1987 supernatural horror filmFrank Cotton in the process of physical regeneration

movie scene: Hellraiser, 1987 supernatural horror film
Frank Cotton’s face in the process of physical regeneration

movie scene: Hellraiser, 1987 supernatural horror filmJulia leading strangers to the attic

movie scene: Hellraiser, 1987 supernatural horror filmJulia helps Frank and gets her hands dirty

movie scene: Hellraiser, 1987 supernatural horror filmMisc. scene from Hellraiser

movie scene: Hellraiser, 1987 supernatural horror filmAnother misc. scene from Hellraiser

movie scene: Hellraiser, 1987 supernatural horror filmPath to hell

movie scene: Hellraiser, 1987 supernatural horror filmPinhead with Kirsty Cotton

movie scene: Hellraiser, 1987 supernatural horror filmPinhead, Cenobite leader

movie scene: Hellraiser, 1987 supernatural horror filmScared of what’s going on, and rightly so

movie scene: Hellraiser, 1987 supernatural horror filmScreaming

movie scene: Hellraiser, 1987 supernatural horror filmChains of pleasure

On Oct 27 2011, this Hellraiser post ranked #18 on Google for search terms Hellraiser, 1987 horror movie. Since installing the plugin WordPress Popular Posts, I’ve confirmed that this Hellraiser writeup is the most popular post on this Supernatural Horror blog.

This blog gets very little traffic, averaging only 50 pageviews per week for the last few months. However, traffic climbed to just over 100 weekly pageviews this month (October 2011) – mainly for these reasons, I suppose:

  1. Halloween coming up
  2. implementation of standard SEO procedures to attract more traffic (e.g., adding the SEO Ultimate plugin, improving content, adding many more external links, etc.)

Hellraiser puzzle box

Fans can actually purchase replicas of the Chinese puzzle box made famous by the Hellraiser film.

According to comments from Amazon customers, the version of the Hellraiser puzzle box sold on Amazon.com is made of plastic; one customer called it dollar store material.

Higher quality puzzle boxes are available – made of metal, even with moving parts…

This post originally written on Monday, April 20, 2009

Ghost Game, 2004 horror movie

horror movie - ghost games - canada, 2004Director: Joe Knee
Verdict: Lame

Ghost Game is not to be confused with a different horror movie by the same name out of Thailand. Surely the Thai movie is better. This movie was directed by Joe Knee out of Canada.

Product Description, Self-Promotion: Plot of Ghost Game

horror movie - ghost games - canada, 2004At a weekend retreat in the mountains, three young couples discover much more than they bargained for when they stumble upon a mysterious game in the cellar… a Ghost Game. Once the ancient box is opened, the restless spirits of three murdered witches are released, and all hell breaks loose. After two brutal slayings, the survivors must discover the game’s hidden secrets before the bloodthirsty fiends claim their lives. Filled with suspense and shocks, this atmospheric shocker will make you think twice next time you throw the dice!

In this low-budget horror film a group of young people travel to a remote cabin and, to relieve their boredom, begin to play a haunted board game that summons the spirits of three girls who died in a pagan ritual.

Watching Ghost Game

Ghost Game failed to hook my attention the first couple of times I tried to watch it, but that isn’t always the fault of the movie. (ADHD – can anyone else out there relate?) The third time I actually watched Ghost Game all the way through. I was moderately entertained for the first third of the movie. For a low-budget horror flick, there were not too many “this is ridiculously stupid” moments for me as a viewer. Not at first, anyway. The second third of the movie, I was still on board and hopeful.horror movie - ghost games - canada, 2004

The precise point at which I realized there was literally no chance for Ghost Game to redeem itself was when the three ghost witches began to fight amongst themselves. Five minutes after that, the credits were rolling.

At one point, the dwindling group is collecting items for the supernatural scavenger hunt they are being forced to play, and they are looking for fire in particular. Walking through the dark woods with a lantern, they approach a burning wooden cross. Yet at no time did either mention how odd it is to find something burning on a deserted island. However, given my overall reaction to Ghost Game, this criticism was a waste of typing and I shan’t comment further!

(Well, I must really be in a writing mood…)

Thoughts about Ghost Game

I feel confident in saying that if you are determined to see Ghost Game, you’ll get more chills and thrills from the 2006 Thai movie of the same name than you will from this one.

For a couple of reasons, I expected very little out of this movie. Most of the movie was actually better than I’d hoped, but I still agree with Alien Redrum, a movie reviewer at Horror Talk, when he says Ghost Game is worth a weeknight rental at the very most. Until I had seen the movie in its entirety, I was going to bump that up to weekend rental if, but only if you are a dyed-in-da-wool horror movie fan; however, I am not inclined to recommend this movie to anyone. And I don’t like to say that unless I have to.

It was a challenge to locate any reviews of this movie online; virtually every review of a horror movie called Ghost Game on the web refers to the Thai movie of the same name.

Movie Reviews – Ghost Game (2004)

Resources: Ghost Game, 2004 American horror movie

Writers: James Henney (story), David W. Keffer (story) (as David Keffer)
Stars: Alexandra Barreto, Shelby Fenner, Curt Cornelius