Welcome back, pop-cultured creatures! Comic Con once again brought us some Fang-tastically freaky fright toys, so we’ve gathered up the ones that have us screamin’ the most! As far as we know, none of these toys are possessed with the spirit of a killer… I guess nothing’s perfect. 😉
Here are Comic Con’s most terror-ific toys!
NECA brings the most Horror with frightening new toys for Evil Dead, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Child’s Play, Gremlins, and Friday the 13th! 🙂 Toyark
Behold the many, many new Super-Goodies from DC! Nerdist
Guillermo del Toro’s fantastical films get some fantastical figures. 🙂 Bleeding Cool
I don’t know about you cats, but I think Scooby-Doo: Mystery Incorporated is HIGH-LY underrated!
There are more incarnations of Scooby-Doo then there are stars in the sky, but Mystery Incorporated tried to shake things up, while still staying true to the spirit of Scooby-Doo. Cl-ass-sick characters are fleshed out, the monsters are menacing, and it had a genuinely intriguing mystery element. Plus, it had a surprising dark tone. I mean… Dark!
This was a Scooby-Doo that really knew to give you the willies!
And it had monsters! By Cthulhu, did it have monsters!
Its backgrounds were simply gore-gous! I’d proudly hang any of these in my tomb! Beast of all, the show was clearly made for us fright freaks. Nearly every episode is loaded with references to the best genre media has to offer. From Twin Peaks..
…to an entire episode paying homage to War of the Gargantuas. They even include the song from the movie!
In ho-nor of this underrated cartoon, we’ve provided our absolute favorite episode! It’s one big tribute to the greatness of Vincent Price, with plenty o’ nods to the Merchant of Menace! Happy Splatterday, Kinky Ho-mies! 🙂 xoxo
(Submitted by Mr. Andrew Peters…Thanks so much for this, Ho-rror Ho-mie…You rock all the socks!! 🙂 xoxo)
The slasher films were burned out by the late ‘80s and horror fans were looking for something to fill in that void. In 1987, a relatively unknown writer and filmmaker named Clive Barker would step up and give the fans something dark, something violent and painful, something with some heart… something different. Adapting his own novella, The Hellbound Heart, it was retitled Hellraiser (to sound less like a romantic movie) and took audiences by surprise. The film contains a deep, dark mystery, villains that are demons to some, angels to others and human elements that are more threatening than the monsters themselves (an element he would use again in Night Breed). Throw in some decent effects and gore, a little S&M and you have yourself a hit. Theater goers ate it up and Hellraiser was a success.
The film would go on to spawn quite a number of sequels that, like all horror franchises, seemed to quickly drop in quality, with the exception of Hellbound: Hellraiser II (which is arguably a better film than the original). There is a reason for this. You see, the first two films were produced by New World Pictures, a studio who were looking for something different and allowed the filmmakers some creativity. By the time it came around to making the third film, Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth, New World Pictures had gone bankrupt and Miramax, a studio well known for meddling in productions, thus totally fucking them up, hired a director who was better at comedies and made it more of a generic slasher that nobody was happy with.
Of course, there are more sequels, but we’re gonna stop there because Arrow Video has released the first three films in a box set called Hellraiser: The Scarlet Box. I’m sure they tried acquiring the rights to the other films, but be thankful they could get their hands on the first three, especially the first two films. I feel like this allowed them to focus more on these films themselves, allowing for great looking restorations and a lot of in depth bonus features which there are a lot of. And also being Arrow Video, this collection is released in a rather fantastic looking box and it’s not the lament configuration like you would think and honestly, I’m glad it’s not. We’ve seen that done before and it’s obvious. Artist Gilles Vranckx illustrates Pinhead with his dark gaze and upon opening the box you are treated to more of his work, that being the top of the head of a character from the film for each movie and other artwork for the bonus features and that’s not all. I recommend checking out my unboxing video, otherwise I will just be repeating myself and besides, you don’t want to talk about amazing art, you wanna show it.
The first film, obviously, is Hellraiser. The film where it all started and would unknowingly launch one of horror’s most memorable icons, Pinhead. He wasn’t credited as Pinhead and apparently Clive Barker doesn’t necessarily fancy the name as he was originally named Priest (probably to take a jab at religion), but he’s credited as “Lead Cenobite” in the credits. Although he’s a movie monster, he’s not the bad guy. In fact, the cenobites are considered angels to some, demons to others. The real villain of the film is a depraved man named Frank, who is always looking for pain and pleasure. He finds that in a mysterious box that calls upon S&M creatures that pull him apart with hooks. The imagery of rusted hooks, a dank basement, blood and other visceral gore really pops out in the film as it appears to be stylized. Sure you’ve seen this stuff before, but in Hellraiser there’s something beautiful and disgusting about it.
Dirty Harry’s The Scorpio Killer Andrew Robinson plays Frank’s brother Larry who’s kind of a push over. Sort of a loveable loser. He and his wife Julia are moving back into his old home, but it appears Frank had been there at some point and Larry comments that he’s not a good guy and probably in jail somewhere (which isn’t far from the truth). Julia seems to have rather fond memories of Frank seeing as they were having an affair and she was going to split with him leaving poor Larry in the dust. Upon moving in, Larry cuts his hand open, gushing blood, and spills it on the floor in the attic where Frank was taken by the cenobites. The floor absorbs the blood and a slimy, bloody human begins to form out of the floorboards, but what is it?
Visiting the attic once again, Julia discovers that gory lump of mess is none other than Frank who needs fresh blood in order to become whole again. After some persistence and because she’s an evil bitch, Julia agrees to help Frank and brings random dudes home from the bar with promises of sex, but the only hammering going is a hammer to the back of their heads. At one point she even cracks a guy across the face with a hammer and his jaw looks mangled, he’s missing teeth and the image looks like something out of an old EC comic and I mean that in the most sincere way possible. Frank’s evolution is one of the most memorable and coolest designs ever. He’s basically just human muscle and tissue – like if you were to turn a person inside out – and wears a suit leaving blood marks on it. It’ll stick out in your mind forever, it’s such a cool image. Good ‘ol Larry is none the wiser and has no idea what’s going on while his daughter Kirsty is coming to visit and right away you get the vibe her and Julia have never gotten along. Kirsty is a character that has become a “final girl” of sorts; she’s sassy, she’s tough, but for me, she never really stood out, but maybe that’s because between the cenobites, Frank and Julia, I feel she just kinda vanishes.
Kirsty finds Julia bringing some random guy inside one day and decides to investigate where she finds Frank along with the box. Escaping with the box, she accidentally opens it and what she summons is something not what she would have ever imagined. Leather clad, pale looking creatures step out from the shadows; one with her throat opened, one with no eyes and mouth exposed that’s always chattering, a fat one and another with pins in his head. Wanting to take her away and know her flesh, Kirsty literally saves her skin by informing them that Frank had escaped and she would bring them to him, but what Kirsty doesn’t know is the surprise that Julia and Frank have waiting for her. Even though you see it coming, it’s kind of a bummer, but the ending needed it in order to work properly.
Hellraiser is without a doubt a horror classic creating an icon that the fans would dub Pinhead. The film easily sticks out against other horror films put out by the studios at the time and that could be for one simple reason: it wasn’t a slasher. I mentioned earlier, this was made after the fall of the slasher genre and Hellraiser blurred the lines of whether or not the monsters were really the bad guys. The human characters, like in Nightbreed, are for more diabolical than they are. The humans explore forbidden sexual desires, murder, pain and pleasure and pretty much everyone aside from Kirsty and Larry are pretty despicable. This also wouldn’t be a film about pain and pleasure without some of the fetishes. Not only does it have its fair share of nudity (most from Julia), but the cenobite’s outfits represent fetish gear, but it’s supposed to. Not only is it something we as an audience hadn’t seen before, but it looks dark, twisted and yet somehow desirable, much like the cenobites themselves are supposed to represent.
Outstanding makeup effects all around on Frank and all of the cenobites, it looks about as realistic as you could be at that time and you have to give the actors accommodations as it could not have been comfortable in all of that makeup. You also have to give them a nod for being able to perform under all that makeup, showing emotion and range. That’s another good thing the film had going for it was its performances by the amazing cast. Even Clive Barker, who had no major film experience before, showed what a force he was when he had to think of how to film in such tiny spaces (the film was shot in a real house, not on a set) and still had all of the moody lighting and even some great camera angles. Hellraiser has earned its status as one of the most iconic and influential horror films and it’s unfortunate that it’s seen as a run-of-the-mill slasher mostly because of its sequels.
Hellbound: Hellraiser II, however, is a phenomenal sequel in my opinion. I think I may actually like it better than the original and I do have my reasons. It takes the story in the next logical steps, it explores who the cenobites were, we see more of Kirsty develop (I actually like her in this film), we’re introduced to someone more vile than Frank, the makeup is still great and is it just me or did anyone else find a skinned Julia sexy? Can’t be just me. Anyway, I feel like the sequel found ways to continue the story, make it more entertaining without having to outdo the original and ends on a nice note, but could also be continued… but we all know what direction they went with that.
One thing I love about Hellbound is that it picks up immediately right after the first film where we find Kirsty in a hospital for crazy people. What about that underdeveloped boyfriend she had in the first film? Well in a throw away line, it’s noted that he already went home, so stop worrying about it. They could have not said anything, but it’s a cool little mention that ties all the little things to the first film. This ain’t like Friday the 13th Part 2 where suddenly Paul is missing and there’s no explanation. It goes without saying that the police would think her story is total hogwash and she’s totally bonkers, but Dr. Channard thinks otherwise. He believes in what she’s saying and it’s no spoiler that this doctor is completely mad. Dr. Channard learns what he can from Kirsty about the box and the cenobites and one other important detail; Julia died on the bed and can be brought back through the bed just like Frank. So almost immediately, Dr. Channard goes down to the super secret sub-basement of the looney bin, grabs himself a looney and allows the poor bastard to begin cutting himself with a razor, spilling his blood all over the bed, thus freeing Julia.
Julia’s looking, well, let’s say she’s had better days… and skinless. Just like Frank, she requires fresh blood in order to regain her flesh and duping Dr. Channard is part of that since he can supply all the fresh blood via mental patients. She also makes promises of showing him all he’s ever wanted to see and he’ll experience all the pleasures and blah, blah, blah, you know this part. Well, there is one obstacle in the way; how to figure out that damn box! Even though Kirsty seemed to have no problem twice, it’s just too hard. Luckily patient plot device, a young mute girl they call “Tiffany,” happens to be obsessed with solving puzzles and is amazing at them. It all has a purpose, tying into her unlocking the puzzle of her memory or something, but that doesn’t really matter in the film. This is essentially her only purpose for the film, but the actress still manages to make Tiffany a likeable character and you do feel sorry for her. She isn’t just some helpless kid or the damsel in distress, she seems to be a survivor.
Meanwhile, Kirsty manages to escape the hospital with the help of her Nurse, a guy named Kyle, who looks like a Steve Guttenberg stunt double, who decided to help Kirsty after witnessing Julia’s return. Kirsty has her own agenda, however. She awakens one night to see a skinless man who has written, “HELP ME, I AM IN HELL” on the wall in his blood. Could this be her father? She has to know for sure. The two of them decide to go to Dr. Channard’s house and do some snooping around, but unfortunately for Kyle, things don’t go so well. This is actually kinda tragic as Kyle was proving to be a tough character, throwing himself in harm’s way and doing the right thing. This just goes to show you that nobody is safe in Hellbound. Things become even less safe after Tiffany opens the box and allows Julia and Dr. Channard to enter into the other world, a world full of unknown pains and pleasures.
Kirsty bumps into Kyle and the two of them search for Kirsty’s father as Julia brings Dr. Channard to her god, Leviathan who needs souls. Julia volunteers Dr. Channard, who had the desire to experience something else, and pushes him into a machine that then turns him into a cenobite, but not just any cenobite… this is something else. A giant wormy arms drags him around by his head as all kinds of tools can emerge from his hands and tentacles that are razor sharp whip around his body. He poses a real serious threat, so Kirsty has no choice but to ask for the help of Pinhead and crew which boils down to a Royal Rumble between Channard and the cenobites (side note, that would make an awesome band name). It’s actually not as bone crunching or memorable as you would think, seeing as Channard dispatches of them rather quick. There’s a little gore and you get a glimpse of who the cenobites used to be, but since you never learned anything about them (other than Pinhead… and even that was just a little bit), you’re just left with questions that will unfortunately never be answered. Still, there’s some movie left as Tiffany and Kirsty have to outwit Dr. Channard and Julia, as well as another surprise guest.
As I mentioned earlier, I find Hellbound to be an amazing sequel and I actually enjoy it more than the original and maybe that’s because it doesn’t take itself as serious as Hellraiser, but doesn’t mock it. It takes the rules and the characters and expands on them, but my problem is that this was never followed up on properly. However, that is not the fault of director Tony Randel, but instead at the glutinous asses of the executives at Miramax and there brand new label, Dimension. Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth is the definition of a bastardization of franchise. It not only spits at the fans, but it flat out doesn’t care about what it is. Rather than take a risk and further develop what the first two films carefully and heartfully developed, Hell on Earth takes a drunken, dehydrated, yellow staining piss and turns the film into a generic slasher movie. A really stupid one.
But, ya know, it’s one of those really fun, stupid movies. It’s now the ‘90s. The ‘80s are dead and buried, so move over, ya schmuck! Hell on Earth has the cynicism that a majority of horror films had during the ‘90s. The attitude and direction of the film seems to be very disingenuous and even insulting, especially to fans of the Hellraiser series. Tony Randel was set to direct, but Miramax, after not only deciding to slash the budget, also thought his direction was too dark, so they hired Anthony Hickox. Why does that name sound familiar? Because, he directed the horror comedies, Waxwork and Waxwork II: Lost in Time, so of course he would be the perfect choice to fill in the directing shoes of a dark toned, serious horror flick. Are you detecting my sarcasm? Good, because I’m laying it on really thick.
Misunderstanding anything about women or women’s rights, the film picks its main character right from the cliche closet to win over the audience; a journalist named Joey who doesn’t want to show any T&A, but wants to be taken seriously. She’s got the drive, she’s got the passion, now she just needs the story that comes to her in the form of a goth teenager, or I should say an older woman unconvincingly playing a teenager, Terri (played by Paula Marshall). Now Paula Marshall is super cute and all, but I don’t buy her as, like, an 18 year old for a moment. After a botched story, Joey witnesses Terri run into the ER with a young man strapped to a gurney, chains all over his body that seem to be suspended in air, but nobody seems to be interested in that. After his head explodes, Joey decides this is gonna be her break and needs to get to the bottom of this! Trying to track down Terri, this leads her to JP, who I can only describe if an STD decided to take the form of a douchebag.
JP is that vile, sleazy guy we all want to highschool with; He’s a total dick to everyone, but because he has money, people hang around him and he gets chicks. Simple as that. When JP isn’t boning a random skank at his club, he’s out buying art, because he’s all dark and shit. Sorry, I just really hate this chode… which I guess is what they were going for, so congratulations (?). The latest installation to his collection is a familiar looking pillar with a familiar looking face. Pinhead. It’s Pinhead and after it gets a taste of a little blood, starts screaming and devours JP’s latest lay. This talking Pinhead face in the pillar expositions dumps about JP’s backstory, it needs him for fresh blood and this should all sound really familiar by now. JP agrees to do so, but doesn’t do a very good job.
I should back up a bit and tell you that Joey has learned that Terri is JP’s ex-girlfriend and that’s really all about it. Well, Terri asks for room and board from Joey for exchanging information to what happened that night and all we learned is what you knew as an audience member going into the third film in the franchise; he took the Lament Configuration. Yup, all that time investigating was building up to that thing you already knew. Going back to where we were, JP kinda sucks at getting blood for Pinhead, seeing as how the only girl he convinces to come back to him is Terri, who manages to get one over on him and Pinhead kills him by ramming a large looking compass rose into his head and convinces Terri to come with him. Oh, he’s back to his old self now. I guess all it took was two bodies. The people in these movies require less and less blood with each passing entry I guess. It’s like how Wolverine’s healing factor seems to get better and better with each X-Men film.
Now, this is where the film just takes a complete turn and buttfucks the previously established franchise. Remember how I said this film became a generic slasher? Well in order to make him more like Jason, Freddy or Michael (which is stupid, because this is what made Pinhead interesting is that he was once human), he massacres an entire nightclub full of people. Just kills them for no reason. Before, the cenobites only sought out those that called them, the ones with desire. But here if you’re just mincemeat. Another thing it does to totally retcon what has been established is that Pinhead just creates random cenobites, whereas once again, had to be created of desire. Only those that were truly seeking other pains and pleasures could be turned. Not here. It’s just the more idiotic, poor excuse for creating new cenobites. These are so terrible, I can only imagine the pea brain asshole tasked with coming up with these characters.
I need to breathe for a moment before continuing on.
These cenobites are created from whatever profession they were currently holding. For example, the DJ is now a CD cenobite. The Bartender is some fat cenobite that chucks molotov cocktail, which I guess makes him any random rioter only he is wearing leather and has barbed wire wrapped around his head. Joey’s cameraman is turned into a cenobite with a camera in his eye and kinda looks like if Jesse Ventura were a Borg from Star Trek. You may be wondering why I’m just now getting around to mentioning him and well, the answer is that he’s barely in the movie, is uninteresting and adds to nothing in the overall story arch. He has maybe four scenes and only is there to positively reinforce Joey, essentially being her cheerleader by saying things like, “You can do it, Joey!” So not only were these cenobites not created out of desire, but they are uninteresting simply because we don’t care about them. These characters had no weight to the film and everything about them is ridiculous. You could argue that we didn’t know anything about the previous cenobites, but I would say it’s that we WANTED to know about them.
The final thing that is retconned is that in the two previous films, Pinhead could hold the box with no problems, but here it has to be given to him in order for him to hold it. Why? Well, because the plot needs him to. There was some dumb bullshit about Joey always dreaming about what may have happened to her dad and we do learn more about Pinhead’s previous life as Captain Elliot Spencer and how he needs Joey’s help to get Pinhead, his evil self, into his world so that he can defeat him… I dunno, it’s absolutely stupid. I’ve been using that word a lot; stupid, but what a perfect way to sum up this movie. I don’t even want to talk about it anymore. The special effects aren’t anywhere near as good as the other two movies, the story is taken in the wrong direction and Anthony Hickox, while I enjoyed the first Waxwork movie, is not the right man for directing a Hellraiser movie. There was some comedy in the film that just didn’t blend with what the tone should have been and with this script and making it a piss poor duplicate of what slasher movies had become, he proved he was not the man for this job.
I wouldn’t even say it’s a good bad movie, I would say that it’s a bad bad movie. I didn’t find anything redeemable about it and I’m shocked someone like Doug Bradley looked at the script and thought this was a good idea and took the role. I’m just venting anger on this movie, though. Miramax/Dimension really mishandled the property and couldn’t have cared. They looked at the first two films and just said, “Nah! Make it a loud, stupid, copycat of a slasher.” One good thing I will say about this release is that some of the bonus features are interviews that contain people trying to explain what went wrong and it’s nice to hear some refreshing honesty rather than the filmmakers trying to convince you that it’s a good film. Some may say it’s a good thing that this release does contain an uncut version of the movie, but I would heavily disagree. It adds absolutely nothing other than a few gore shots and destroys the pacing. It doesn’t even bother me that it’s taken from multiple sources of varying quality, it just brings nothing to the overall final product. I would have been fine with Arrow releasing the first two films in a nice set as a double feature, but I’ll take the third in a box set. It’s not unwatchable, but rather an interesting experiment in what not to do when making a sequel to an already established franchise. Arrow took the time to give this a package to die for, loaded it with so many extras that I can’t even count, but I can tell you that not only does each disc contain making of’s, interviews, audio commentaries, trailers, original EPK’s and so on, but there’s a whole other disc dedicated to the series’ creator, Clive Barker, who definitely deserves the spotlight. Even though his properties are often mishandled, like Night Breed (a film that’s still pretty damn good) and Rawhead Rex (not a good movie, but still entertaining), I’m more than happy that he was able to bring us Hellraiser as personally as he could and that a company like Arrow to the time and effort into seeing these new restorations through and presenting them the way they are.
In the spirit of Throwback Thursday, let’s take a loving look back at what Siskel and Ebert had to say about some Ho-rror classics, shall we? (It’s uncanny how often I agree with their POV… ;))
They sincerely just reminded me how much I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE each one of these preciouses, and that I need to have a Hellraiser/Child’s Play marathon posthaste!!! 😉
I have a feeling that if I’d seen these reviews when they actually aired I would’ve been even more enthralled by Ho-rror movies than I am now (if that’s possible… ;)) They make these films sound AMAZING (which, of course, they are :)).