Released by Arrow Video
Released Date: Sept. 18th, 1987 (Theatrical) (Hellraiser)
Dec. 23rd, 1988 (Theatrical) (Hellbound: Hellraiser II)
Sept. 11th, 1992 (Theatrical) (Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth)
December 20th, 2015 (U.S)
Region Code: A
Run Time: 1h 34m (Hellraiser)
1h 37m (Hellbound: Hellraiser II)
1h 33m (Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth)
Audio: English: LPCM 2.0 (All Three Films)
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (Hellraiser and Hellbound Hellraiser II)
English: Dolby Digital 2.0 (Hellrasier III: Hell on Earth: Unrated)
Video: 1080p (1.85:1 Aspect Ratio) (All Three Films)
Originally released as an almost 8 hour epic that covered the making of Hellraiser and its sequel, Hellbound, Leviathan is a love letter to the best of the Hellraiser films. Upon its release, Leviathan was criticized for being too long compared to other documentaries that have covered more in the same amount of time. Leviathan covered everything there is to cover, but did so in a way that turned fans off. I have not seen the original version of Leviathan, but I could not imagine it being any better than what we have here. Arrow has wisely asked for the doc to be cut down into a more manageable runtime and I am thankful for that. Here Leviathan runs one and a half hours and does a really good job at covering all the aspects of filming, from concept all the way to the legacy the film has to this day. The only thing missing is that of Barker himself. Ashley Lawrence is missing as well, but her absence is not as bad as Barker’s. Sure, we have Barker’s commentary tracks for the first two films, but I would have loved to hear what he has to say after almost 30 years. Hopefully we get something from the man around the time of the anniversary.
Being Frank: Sean Chapman on Hellraiser (26m 24s, HD)
Sean Chapman’s contribution as “skinful” Frank is a highlight of the film as he is the man who introduces us to the box. Chapman speaks of his time on set and how he had worked on Transformations, a film that Clive Barker wrote the script to. Chapman is not the man who plays “skinless” Frank, so his time on set was limited, but Chapman seems to enjoy his fame and likes the final product. Nice interview with some good stories.
Christopher Young, who scored the film and second film, was not the first choice of Barker. Clive wanted experimental music group Coil to do the score. The music that Coil did for Hellraiser had more of a syth sound, think John Carpenter, and would have dated the film, much the way the score for Manhunter dates that film. The music that Coil did is pretty good, but I don’t think it would have fit the film that well. It is nice to hear some of the music and the stories of how Coil almost scored Hellraiser are really good.
This featurette first showed up on the Anchor Bay dvd release of Hellraiser and has been a mainstay ever since. Everything that is presented here is talked about elsewhere on the disc. We do get to hear from Barker and Lawrence in this doc though. It is okay, but the newer stuff blows the old stuff out of the water.
Also appeared on the Anchor Bay dvd release, this is a decent interview with Bradley who tells the same stories as told in Leviathan.
Interview footage used in Leviathan and shot during the film of Hellraiser.
-Redband Trailer (1m 36s, HD)
-International Trailer (3m 27s, HD) This is the only time we get to hear Chapman’s real voice as he was dubbed in the final version of the film.
-#2 (32s, HD)
-#3 (32s, HD)
-#4 (32s, HD)
Track #1: Clive Barker
Track #2: Clive Barker and Ashley Lawrence
DISC 2: HELLBOUND: HELLRAISER II: [4 out of 4]
Just like the version of Leviathan on disc one that pertains to Hellraiser, this version that pertains to Hellraiser’s sequel, Hellbound, is reedited into a nicer package. Gone are the long segments about one little thing, this is the proper doc on Hellbound. The doc starts out with Clive stepping away from the project to work on Nightbreed and Tony Randel, a production manager at New World, stepping in to direct. We also get some talk about the cenobites including a rather large chunk of that time focused on Chanard. We also get some talk about the “surgeon scene” that I talk about later in this review. This is a very nice doc that includes everything that we need, minus Barker and Lawrence.
Sean Chapman talks about his one scene in the film and his distaste for the script. He goes into detail about what he didn’t like about the script and his thoughts on the final film.
Vintage featurette that appeared on the Anchor Bay dvd. We do get some more interview footage of Barker and Lawrence.
Another vintage interview. Repeats of stories in Leviathan.
Track #2: Tony Randel, Peter Atkins, and Ashley Lawrence
This is the famous “lost scene” from Hellbound. Theories started to spread when a still from this scene appeared on the back of the VHS box. For the twenty-plus years fans would badger Barker and Co. about the scene. Bradley famously said that the scene, while set-up with make-up and the cast, was never shot. He said that the filmmakers were going to shoot the scene, but realized that the effects were not going to work. He said that the actors were made-up and everything, but nothing was shot except for a still that was taken by the on-set photographer.
Just a random gathering of BTS footage put together with no rhyme or reason.
-Redband Trailer (1m 33s, HD upconvert)
-Alternate Ending Storybiards (10 images)
-Stills and Promo Material (152 images)
DISC 3: HELLRAISER III: HELL ON EARTH: [3.5 out of 4]
We get interviews from some of the cast and crew of Hellraiser III. We also get the history of the project, how it bounced around for a while, and why it took so long for the film to be made. We also learn that Barker was paid by Dimension Films to have nothing to do with the film, but when they were worried that audiences would not see the film if Barker’s name wasn’t on it in some fashion, paid him again to add his name to the film. This is a pretty good doc that shows how hard it was to get the film made and also the mindset behind why the film is different from the previous films.
Marshall comes off as a really nice person. This was her first role so she wanted to knock it out the park and do whatever the filmmakers asked of her. This meant that she had to smoke and she is against smoking, but did it anyway, learning how to smoke in a very short period of time. She was also surprised that she would have to endure the make-up, as when she read the script she didn’t pay that much attention to the part that said she would be a cenobite. This is a nice interview and a look at the film from a newbie point of view.
We learn that Hickox wanted the writer, Peter Atkins, on set incase anything needed to be changed. Most directors hate when the writer is on set as the writer will fight for every line in the script. We learn that the film was shot in the furniture capital of the world. Hickox began editing the film on a new VHS based editing system that was supposed to be the newest and best way to edit. After many problems with the system arose, Hickox went back to editing on film. He also says that Bob Weinstein, head of Dimension Films, was a big fan of the film.
Again, most of the info included here is talked about elsewhere on the disc except for one of the original concepts for the film. Bradley says that one of the first scripts had the film set in Egypt and it would be revealed that the Great Pyramid was actually the first box. I found this to be interesting but am glad that they didn’t go in this direction.
This is the only time we get to see Barker talk about the film. Outside of that, this is just the normal fluff piece to promote the film.
A silent look at dailies. Any filmmaker who wants to see what dailies look like then step no further. There is no sound, but we get to see the long process of filming.
-Stills and Promo Montage (26 images)
-Track #1: Peter Atkins (Theatrical Version)
-Track #2: Anthony Hickox and Doug Bradley (Unrated Version)
Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth was the first Hellraiser film I saw. The film was released into when I was 12 years old and hard just started to be allowed to go to the theater to see R-rated films. I remember sitting in the dark, next to my dad, as the film played. I loved it. I wanted to see the first two films after this, but my parents were not too keen on me seeing those. I can see why. This film is an action film compared to the other two. It does have the gore, but the film has an extra polish on it that the previous films did not. The previous two films are raw, unforgiving films. Hellraiser III is a slasher film mixed with an action film. While I still enjoy the film, it pales in comparison to the previous two films. This is a “safe” Hellraiser film that you can take the kids to see. I like it but I can see why people don’t
|U.S. Paramount DVD|
|Arrow Video Blu-ray|
-Forbidden, The (w/ intro 50m 3s, HD) (w/o intro 43m)
This is my favorite feature on this disc and one of my favorites of the whole set. Author David Gatwad sits down to give us a book by book history of Clive Barker the Author. Gatwad gives us a short history of his work and then dives into Barker’s work. He goes through each and every book and talks about it for a few minutes. This is a great resource for people who want to get a glimpse into Barker’s work to see if it is something they might want to read. We need more featurettes like this.
We get interviews from some of the people who worked on Hellraiser 4-9. They talk mostly about the themes and the characters and not much about the films they worked on. I was hoping that, because this is not a complete Hellraiser series box set, we could get some insight into the sequels. We do a little, but mostly this is a featurette that covers all the things we know about Hellraiser. Not much is learned here, which is a huge disappointment. Give it a watch, but don’t go in with high expectations.
This is a short film from director R.N. Milward. This was used to promote a potential Hellraiser tv series. This was shot on HD video and tells the story of a man who buys a house in England and has flashbacks to a night when he met some cenobites.
The only thing worse than the movie itself is the commentary with the director. He sounds like he is being bothered by recording this commentary. He has a very monotone voice so it sounds like Droopy is giving the commentary. And, oh my God, is this guy boring. I listened to five minutes of this track before shutting it off. He sits there and says things like “Oh. Alright. Well. This scene…was…shot…on…a…street…and…the…actress…was….pregnant….and” This is one of the worst commentary tracks I have ever listened to. Since the advent of commentary tracks in 1984 to this day, this is one of the top ten worst commentary tracks ever.
This is a decent bonus disc that looks like it will have more than it does. I only found the featurette about the books that Barker has written to be of any interest. The rest is not for me. You may like them, but I didn’t
THE PACKAGING: [4 out of 4]
There are four discs to this set and each disc gets its own holder with a nicely drawn picture on the front. We also get some postcards with some of the characters on them, a booklet with some of Barker’s drawings, and a poster with Pinhead on it, one side is the cover to this set and the other side is used for the trilogy set.
OVERALL (The Whole Set) [4 out of 4]
I LOVE THIS SET! This is one of my favorite blu-ray box sets of all time, rivaling only the Halloween 15 Disc set from Scream Factory. I remember when I got this in the mail. I was at work and could not wait to clock out and rush home to open the set. When I finally did, it was everything I expected and more. I spent the next two weeks devouring the contents of the set, listening to every commentary and watching every doc and featurette. I also spent a half hour every night before I went to be reading the book that came with the set. I had so much fun and was sad when I completed the entire set.