Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pain in the Cusp of a Spoon

Hellraiser (1987)
directed by Clive Barker
rating: 3 out of 5 cravats
on DVD from Netflix

So Pinhead - or "Lead Cenobite" in his original incarnation - is essentially Prince Sirki/Joe Black enlarged to his most cynical (or inevitable) manifestation, right? "Curious Death" when curiosity is gone, supplanted by awful and all-encompassing knowledge? Clive Barker signs on for the Lady Chatterley's Lover approach to winning a woman over - fuck her right and she'll do anything for you - and while I wish that so many of the horror films that I love from the 1980s weren't rampant with that kind of sleazy misogyny, the world that Barker imagines to let his silly drama play out in is pretty memorable. The Cenobites are great, of course, but so is the puzzle box. It's the key men and women use to go farther in their pleasures than they think they can go - the idea that we invite in no horror worse than the one we want. The smile on Uncle Frank's tortured face says he'd do it again in a second, and isn't that the point?