Blu-ray Box Set Review
from The Scarlet Box Limited Edition
from Arrow Video
October 5, 2016
This review is of Hellraiser, which is the first movie to be reviewed from the Hellraiser Scarlet Box. Hellraiser was somewhat of a sleeper horror movie as Clive Barker was not known outside of a very introverted selection of horror fan circles. Eventually, Hellraiser gained momentum, as well as Clive Barker's written works and the soon-to-be released Nightbreed in 1990.
As far as US releases on Blu-ray, Hellraiser has not been treated as good as it could. The transfers, over the years, have been created from various sources, with little attention to detail. Probably the best transfer which could be just as good as this Arrow Video release, is a German transfer by Kinowelt. And currently, there are better transfers of other Hellraiser movies, only available overseas. It's too bad, as Hellraiser has a very strong following in the US. However, with Arrow Video's trilogy, which includes Hellraiser III: Hell On Earth that has never received a US release and has been difficult to find even overseas, may ignite more interest in the Hellraiser series.
Larry (Andrew Robinson) and Julia (Clare Higgins), along with their daughter Kirsty (Ashley Laurence), are moving into a new home. The Cotton family is excited about this new place, but with any home, it has a history. This history is more familiar to Julia, as she took on a lover who lived in the very same home, many years prior. It is a secret that is best kept hidden, but she cannot deny the emotions once she returns to the room where passions went untamed.
Frank (Sean Chapman), Julia's former lover (while she was married to Larry), was into experiences and the supernatural. He sought after the most extreme pleasures. As his fateful reward would oblige him, Frank came upon a golden cube, which had rumors of mysterious origin. Without hesitation, Frank, locked in one of his rooms of his house, managed to open the golden cube, and his experiences of pleasure and pain were to be forever infinite. It is at this time, Frank meets Pinhead (Doug Bradley) for the first time, who is the leader of the Cenobites.
For packaging, please reference the Hellraiser Scarlet Box.
Video & Screencaps
I don't remember seeing Hellraiser looking better, and I've owned the Anchor Bay releases in the past (including DVD). I have come across some comments about the grain, but rest assured, the grain you see in the screenshots below looks worse than it is. This is because we're talking about natural grain (an analog signal), which looks much better running at the speed it was recorded at.
Colors in Hellraiser look fabulous, but also in some scenes...a tad inconsistent. This is normal. Once again, you had variable lighting, and there are scenes where more light is thrown in dark areas, making a rather nice and bloody-red subject pronounced and horrifyingly gruesome...to something that looks a little washed-out for a moment. This happens occasionally, and a few examples are Screenshots #6 and #10, where light is moving over them in cycle.
Audio for Hellraiser is the original stereo soundtrack, which is nice to hear (and I mean this literally), versus any 5.1 mix that might have been available. As many of you know, I'll take an original high-quality stereo track and run it through my own digital processing equipment, rather than allowing for a 5.1 mix from an indifferent studio.
Main Audio Track
English LPCM 2.0 @ 2304 Kbps (48kHz/24-bit)
Extras for Hellraiser are very bountiful, as expected with this collection.
DISC ONE - HELLRAISER
Brand new 2K restoration approved by director of photography Robin Vidgeon
Audio commentary with writer/director Clive Barker
Audio commentary with Barker and actress Ashley Laurence
Being Frank: Sean Chapman on Hellraiser (26:24) HD
Soundtrack Hell: The Story of the Abandoned Coil Score (18:11) HD
Hellraiser: Resurrection (24:27) HD
Under the Skin: Doug Bradley on Hellraiser (12:32) HD
Leviathan: The Story of Hellraiser (1:29:15) HD
Original EPK featuring on-set interviews with cast and crew (5:58)1.33:1 / Not HD
Draft Screenplays [BD-ROM content]
Trailers and TV Spots (8:54)1.33:1 / Not HD
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (1.849:1)
Active Pixel Area: 1920 x 1038 pixels
Inactive Pixel Area: 1920 x 42 pixels
|Hellraiser Bitrate Graph|
Disc Name: HELLRAISER
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Disc Size: 47,342,481,089 bytes (44.09 GB)
Movie Size: 30,452,721,600 bytes (30.95 GB)
Overall Bitrate: 43.50 Mbps
Video Bitrate: 34.79 Mbps
This is the first installment of the Scarlet Box, and I am very impressed with Hellraiser. It really does look amazing, as well as sounds better than I can remember it. Much more solid, and even with an LPCM stereo track, I'm not complaining as this is the original.
An originally horrifying film, along with visual effects that still strike a scare in my spine, and an image quality that is the best I've seen, Hellraiser, from the Hellraiser Scarlet Box Edition (Blu-Ray) from Arrow Video receives a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
For those who are looking for Arrow Video's Hellraiser Trilogy set, you can still get the three movies in a very nice package, but without the extra disc and 200-page book. Even this set is probably going to be out of print eventually, so if you're looking for a definitive collection of the first three Hellraiser films, this would be the set to obtain.
Movie Review No. 100
From: Arrow Video
Codec / Resolution: MPEG-4 AVC / 1080p
Theatrical Release: September 18, 1987
Country Of Release: USA
This Release: August 2015
Region: Region B/2
Country Of Release: UK
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Running Time: 89 / 93 mins
Actual Running Time: 1:33:21
Number Of Discs: 1 (BD-50)
Digital Copy: Not Available
MSRP (Initial Asking Price): £59.99
Street Price: £119.99 - £149.99
Current Price (USA): Check Price
Andrew Robinson as Larry
Clare Higgins as Julia
Ashley Laurence as Kirsty Cotton
Sean Chapman as Frank
Doug Bradley as Pinhead
Hellraiser Scarlet Box
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