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Hellraiser: The Scarlet Box Limited Edition Trilogy - Bluray review

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Hellraiser: The Scarlet Box Limited Edition Blu-ray

5 beersMr. King, I think it is safe to say that Clive Barker is STILL the future of horror. 

The excitement of breaking into Arrow Video’s new boxset of the first three Hellraiser films is comparable only, I imagine, to opening Pandora’s Box.  It’s delicious, endlessly rewarding, and pure evil.  Hellraiser: The Scarlet Box is a beautiful thing, my friends.  A muted blood-red hue is the dominant color to the packaging and, as the films are stacked one on top of the other in separate containers, we get to the bonus disc and the beautiful hardback book last.  This is indeed a puzzle box as the art on the other sides of each separate disc holder have a different part of the three cenobites in Barker’s series. 

No matter how you slice it, Hellraiser - written and directed by Clive Barker, and produced by Christopher Figg – is a classic horror film. 

Death is but a different dimension.  This is the central idea of Barker’s films.  It is introduced in 1987’s original film by way of a puzzle box that, with the right combination, will tear you apart and invite the cenobites into this world to kill.   Your physical pain is what they hope to be their pleasure.  Just ask Frank Cotton (Sean Chapman) who purchases the box in Morocco and winds up confined to an attic in America after surviving the extremes of sadomasochism by these interdimensional travelers.  He’s somehow cheated the cenobites and, after making a deal with Kirsty (Ashley Laurence), they return to claim what’s theirs.

The explorers return in the second film, Hellbound: Hellraiser II, and wreak collective havoc on the Cotton family again.  Kirsty is now in an insane asylum.  No one believes her graphic story about the events in the first film and relentlessly pressure her to tell the truth.  Thing is, Pinhead and the cenobites ARE the truth and no one is listening.  When Julia Cotton (Clare Higgins) from the original film is resurrected, this death dealing begins again.  Except this time, Kristy enters their world in a brave display of selflessness as she tries to save her father from the soulless fate he is currently facing.  Directed by directed by Tony Randel, the whole dimension of death gets blown wide open by the final few minutes of the film.

The harvesting of human souls continues in Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth.  After learning of Pinhead’s human origins in the second film, the mighty cenobite and the puzzle box find themselves trapped inside the pillar of souls.  This modern art-looking piece winds up in an art gallery until it becomes reanimated, once again, thanks to the meddling of J. P. Monroe (Kevin Bernhardt), a club owner with an insatiable appetite for women and sex.  It is up to an eager news reporter, Joey Summerskill (Terry Farrell), and a young woman named Terri (Paula Marshall) to try and outmaneuver the cenobites.  Written by Randel and with little involvement from Barker, this one begins the slow descent of the series. 

With Bob Keen providing the gore effects in all of the films, the first three Hellraiser films are served well by the brand new 2K restorations from Arrow Video.  The movies are explicit by design, heavily detailed with elements of gore, and have survived numerous edits due to uneasy censors.  Arrow Video’s set has both the theatrical cuts of the films and the uncensored versions in 1080p HD glory.  Black levels are solid and hold their edges and the color is nicely saturated, preserving the grain in the film and pumping up the vibrancy and details in the fleshy rips and tears served by the cenobites.

The Limited Edition content includes a limited edition bonus disc full of supplemental material about Barker (including his short films), a hardback book with new writing from Barker archivists Phil and Sarah Stokes, a 20-page booklet with never-before-seen original concept art, new artwork throughout the box, 5 art cards with characters from the series, and a fold-out reversible poster.  The Exclusive 200-page hardback book with new writing on Hellraiser and the Barker universe from Barker archivists Phil and Sarah Stokes – is especially interesting as it features chapters looking at Barker’s early work, the genesis and production of the first 3 films in the Hellraiser series, and is illustrated with stills and rare material from the Barker archive.

Own a piece of horror history and relive the maniacal mayhem that could only have clawed its way out of the master of horror’s head, the late Clive Barker.  Two of the films in this release are classics and the amount of effort put into the boxset itself is reason enough to justify the inclusion of the third film in the series.  You know you want this.  Make Pinhead happy.  Grab this limited edition release, dim the lights, and enjoy one of the most intense and original supernatural franchises in horror history. 

IT WILL TEAR YOUR SOUL APART. *

At the time of this review, we have been noted that the limited edition boxset is ALREADY out of print.  Hunt Ebay now.

Hellraiser: The Scarlet Box Limited Edition Blu-ray

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Hellraiser / Hellbound: Hellraiser II / Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth

Home Video Distributor: Arrow
Available on Blu-ray
- December 20, 2016
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; English: LPCM 2.0; English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Four-disc set
Region Encoding: Region A

  • Brand new 2K restorations of Hellraiser, Hellbound: Hellraiser II, and Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth
  • Uncompressed PCM Stereo 2.0 and Lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 sound for Hellraiser and Hellbound: Hellraiser II
  • Lossless DTS-HD MA 2.0 sound for Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for all three films
  • Limited Edition bonus disc
  • Exclusive 200-page hardback book with new writing from Clive Barker archivists Phil and Sarah Stokes
  • 20-page booklet featuring never-before-seen original Hellraiser concept art
  • Limited Edition packaging with new artwork from Gilles Vranckx
  • Set of 5 exclusive art cards
  • Fold-out reversible poster

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • See contents.

Special Features:

This material – ALL OF IT – is some of the most fascinating material I’ve ever seen.  Check out the breakdown below and tell me I’m wrong.  The following is from the actual release information provided by Arrow Video.

DISC 1 – 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
  • Leviathan: The Story of Hellraiser – brand new version of the definitive documentary on the making of Hellraiser, featuring interviews with key cast and crew members
  • Being Frank: Sean Chapman on Hellraiser – actor Sean Chapman talks candidly about playing the character of Frank Cotton in Barker’s original
  • Soundtrack Hell: The Story of the Abandoned Coil Score – Coil member Stephen Thrower on the Hellraiser score that almost was
  • Hellraiser: Resurrection – vintage featurette including interviews with Clive Barker, actors Doug Bradley and Ashley Laurence, special make-up effects artist Bob Keen and others
  • Under the Skin: Doug Bradley on Hellraiser
  • Original EPK featuring on-set interviews with cast and crew
  • Draft Screenplays (BD-ROM content)
  • Trailers and TV Spots
  • Image Gallery

DISC 2 – HELLBOUND: HELLRAISER II

  • Brand new 2K restoration approved by director of photography Robin Vidgeon
  • Audio Commentary with director Tony Randel and writer Peter Atkins
  • Audio Commentary with Randel, Atkins and actress Ashley Laurence
  • Leviathan: The Story of Hellbound: Hellraiser II – brand new version of the definitive documentary on the making of Hellbound, featuring interviews with key cast and crew members
  • Being Frank: Sean Chapman on Hellbound – actor Sean Chapman talks about reprising the role of Frank Cotton in the first Hellraiser sequel
  • Surgeon Scene – the home video world premiere of this legendary, never before-seen excised sequence from Hellbound, sourced from a VHS workprint
  • Lost in the Labyrinth – vintage featurette including interviews with Barker, Randel, Keen, Atkins and others
  • Under the Skin: Doug Bradley on Hellbound: Hellraiser II
  • On-set interview with Clive Barker
  • On-set interviews with cast and crew
  • Behind-the-Scenes Footage
  • Rare and unseen storyboards
  • Draft Screenplay (BD-ROM content)
  • Trailers and TV Spots
  • Image Gallery

DISC 3 – HELLRAISER III: HELL ON EARTH

  • Brand new 2K restoration of the Original Theatrical Version (93 mins)
  • Alternate Unrated Version (97 mins)
  • Brand new audio commentary with writer Peter Atkins
  • Audio commentary with director Anthony Hickox and Doug Bradley
  • Hell on Earth: The Story of Hellraiser III – making-of documentary featuring interviews with Atkins, Keen and actor Ken Carpenter
  • Terri’s Tales – brand new interview with actress Paula Marshall
  • Under the Skin: Doug Bradley on Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth
  • Raising Hell on Earth – archival interview with Hickox
  • On-set interviews with Barker and Bradley
  • Never-before-seen Hellraiser III SFX dailies
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Image Gallery
  • Hellraiser III comic book adaptation (Disc gallery)

DISC 4 – THE CLIVE BARKER LEGACY – LIMITED EDITION EXCLUSIVE

  • Clive Barker short films Salomé and The Forbidden
  • Books of Blood & Beyond: The Literary Works of Clive Barker – horror author David Gatward provides a tour through Barker’s written work, from the first Books of Blood to the recent The Scarlet Gospels
  • Hellraiser: Evolutions – a brand new documentary looking at the evolution of the hit horror franchise and its enduring legacy, featuring interviews with Scott Derrickson (director, Hellraiser: Inferno), Rick Bota (director, Hellraiser: Hellseeker, Deader and Hellworld), Stuart Gordon (director, Re-Animator, From Beyond) and others
  • The Hellraiser Chronicles: A Question of Faith – short film
  • 200-PAGE BOOK – ‘DAMNATION GAMES’ – LIMITED EDITION EXCLUSIVE

Hellraiser: The Scarlet Box Limited Edition Blu-ray

 

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