How well do you remember Clive Barker's Hellraiser?

Torrance Grey

Image: The Movie DB

About This Quiz

This S&M-themed horror movie established writer Clive Barker as a director in his own right and spawned a raft of sequels. How much do you recall about the debut of the pin-faced monster and his crew? Find out now!

Which of these marquee stars did Hellraiser feature?

Casting unknowns can be a good thing, but Hellraiser didn't seem to benefit. The New York Times, in particular, criticized the film's "singularly uninteresting actors."

In what country does Hellraiser open?

Adventurer Frank Cotton is buying the puzzle box that will be his downfall. The merchant serves him sweet Moroccan-style mint tea, showing classic Middle Eastern hospitality before, you know, ruining the man's life.

Where is the rest of Hellraiser set?

The evidence seems to indicate England. Larry Cotton's wife Julia has a British accent, and two other characters refer to her being "back." But nearly all of the supporting cast have American accents. Furthermore, there are some indications in the dialogue that these American characters were intended to be British. Possibly there were last-minute changes in the script.

Who moves into the house at No. 55?

Larry's daughter, who is central to the plot, finds a room in town. It's just Larry and Julia moving into the old family house -- unaware that Frank is, sort of, in residence already.

What is Larry's daughter's name?

Probably her name is short for "Kirsten." Nobody calls her this is the movie, though. In Barker's original novella, the daughter character was an ex-girlfriend, instead.

What does Julia find in Frank's makeshift bedroom that intrigues her?

Julia might be checking to make sure that Frank's partner isn't recognizable as her. We find out later that she and Larry's brother were having an affair.

Who's at the door when Julia opens it?

At first, it appears that Julia opens the door to Frank -- restored from his ripped-to-shreds condition. But despite appearances, he's not really there -- this is just the beginning of a vivid fantasy on Julia's part.

Right after the fantasy sex, what does Julia promise to Frank that she'll do?

This vague promise on Julia's part will eventually lead to her finding him victims, whose blood Frank will drink to complete his resurrection. Frank must have something going on to inspire this kind of loyalty!

What is the name given to Pinhead and those like him?

The word "cenobite" simply means a member of a communal religious order. Barker's Cenobites are considerably different, as they were inspired by his visits to S&M clubs.

What begins Frank's resurrection?

This happens because Larry cuts his hand, which means the whole thing could have been avoided had he gone into the bathroom for a towel and some Bactine, instead of upstairs seeking his wife. See what being a baby about a minor injury will get you!

At what kind of business does Kirsty find work?

We only see Kirsty at the pet shop once. She's troubled by a homeless man who enters the shop, sticks his hand into a terrarium full of insects, and begins eating them. Eww.

Why, according to Frank, did he seek out the puzzle box?

Frank's story is a case of "be careful what you wish for." When the Cenobites appear, they drag him into a world of "indistinguishable" pain and pleasure -- maybe mostly pain, as he's eager to escape.

With what does Julia attack the men she picks up?

Julia seems to only stun the men, it's Frank who kills them. Exactly how he does so isn't shown, but it probably isn't pleasant.

Why does Kirsty come to the house on the day she sees Julia enter with her third victim?

Kirsty sees Julia enter with the third man she brings home for Frank to kill. Apparently Julia sees Kirsty outside, but like a true ice queen, she simply closes the door without any sign of guilt or shame.

How does Kirsty get away from Frank in their first encounter?

Kirsty wouldn't have gotten her hands on the box if she hadn't first plunged her hand inside him. Up to that point, Frank had her pressed up against the wall, calling her "beautiful" -- an ickily sexual moment between uncle and niece.

What does Kirsty do after she escapes the house?

The staff at the hospital are rather heavy-handed: They won't let Kirsty call her father and they even lock her in her hospital room. What is this, a hospital or a jail?

What is the nurse watching on the TV set in Kirsty's room?

This odd detail allows the TV to flicker and then broadcast static when the Cenobites are about to appear. It's like an outtake from "White Noise," except that movie hadn't been made yet.

When Frank is making noise upstairs, how does Julia distract Larry?

Unfortunately, the act is not consummated. A poorly-timed appearance by the as-yet-skinless Frank assures this.

What does Frank do at the foot of Larry and Julia's bed that upsets her?

Earlier, Frank was nailing rats to the wall. Whether or not animals were actually harmed, this plot point might not go over well nowadays, when animal rights have become more mainstream.

Why does Kirsty solve the puzzle box in her hospital room?

One thing her solving the puzzle does show audiences is that Kirsty shares her Uncle Frank's wits. She certainly isn't much like her poor, dim father Larry.

How many Cenobites appear when Kirsty solves the puzzle box?

They're informally known as Pinhead, Butterball, the Female, and the Chatterer. The beast called the Engineer doesn't show up until later.

At the hospital, how does Kirsty get the Cenobites to let her go?

Kirsty does try the "it was an accident" line, but the Cenobites are unimpressed. Pinhead doesn't even promise to let her go permanently. He says "maybe" they'll consider it.

Why does Kirsty go back to the house after she's been attacked there by Frank?

Concern for her father seems to be foremost in Kirsty's mind. But she's also promised to lead Pinhead and his crew to her uncle.

Why does Kirsty initially believe that Frank is her father?

The audience can tell right away it's not Larry; he's behaving much too creepily toward his daughter. The edge of erotic menace is no accident. Clive Barker's writing is known for that, and "Hellraiser" has not only S&M themes, but also an undertone of incest.

How does Julia die?

At least, we're pretty sure it was an accident; Kirsty was in the way until the last second. But Frank shows no regret over stabbing his lover, saying "Nothing personal."

How does Kirsty defeat the Cenobites?

This allows for a rather drawn-out climax, because each Cenobite must be vanquished separately, with a different manipulation of the box. And, of course, Kirsty drops it a lot, and desperately scrambles for it, and so on.

Who turns up at the end to help Kirsty?

Steve doesn't actually do much. The banishing of the Cenobites is all on Kirsty. But he provides moral support, which makes him a good boyfriend.

What does Kirsty do with the box afterward?

It's not quite clear where Kirsty does this. There are several fires burning in what looks like a vacant lot, where she and Steve end up with the cursed box.

Why isn't the box destroyed in the bonfire?

We've seen the homeless man twice before. Once is when Steve and Kirsty are out walking; the second time is in the pet shop. All that had to be leading somewhere.

What does the homeless man change into after retrieving the box?

Perhaps the homeless man had to metamorphose so that Kirsty and Steve couldn't just run after him and wrestle the box away. Or maybe it was a way to cram one more "creature effect" into a film in love with them.

Where does the puzzle box end up at the movie's end?

The merchant is selling the box to another customer, allowing for sequels. Which, of course, there were.

How is Pinhead named in the closing credits?

This is a little confusing -- evidently in Barker's story, the most powerful Cenobite is the Engineer. This character appears in the movie, though, as an Alien-esque creature with no spoken lines. So the lead role was thrust onto the more articulate Pinhead. Or, excuse us, Lead Cenobite.

What name did Clive Barker first suggest for the film?

Initially, the movie was to be called The Hellbound Heart, like Barker's novella. The studio was afraid the word "heart" made it sound like a romance, though. Likewise, they rejected "Sadomasochists" for its explicitly sexual tone.

How many sequels did Hellraiser inspire?

Yup, the final tally stands at nine films. Poor Clive Barker signed away the rights to the characters and storyline, not realizing how profitable they would eventually turn out to be.

Another Clive Barker story was the basis for which movie about an urban legend. What was this 1994 film called?

Candyman was based on Barker's story The Forbidden. Actors Virginia Madsen and Tony Todd anchored the story about a killer who appears when a person faces a mirror and chants his nickname, Candyman, five times.

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