It won’t be an exaggeration to say that Clive Barker rewrote horror film history with his 1987 film ‘Hellraiser’. Based on a short story titled The Hellbound Heart, written by Barker himself, the film introduced Pinhead AKA The Priest, one of the most iconic horror antagonists of all time, in the sphere of horror cinema. David Bruckner’s 2022 film is a reboot of Barker’s timeless classic, which offers a reimagined Pinhead among other differences from the original film. If you’re craving more surprising horror movies after seeing Barker’s original film and Bruckner’s reboot, we’re here to help with a list of suitable recommendations. You can watch most of these movies similar to 1987 and 2022 ‘Hellraiser’ on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.
7. Choose or Die (2022)
In Hellraiser, Riley McKendry, the protagonist, sets out to complete the mechanical box puzzle to save her brother Matt McKendry. By trying, she is forced to make sacrifices after each stage/level intentionally or unintentionally. In a crucial scene, Pinhead even asks him to choose between his death and that of others. Riley’s choice reminds us of Netflix’s horror thriller Choose or Die. Instead of a puzzle box, the film’s protagonist, Kayla, plays a murderous game called CURS>R to earn money, but her life and those of her acquaintances are threatened. Just as Riley loses her loved ones in Hellraiser mid-puzzle, Kayla also loses her knowledge while playing the game. Both Riley and Kayla find themselves forced to choose the deaths of others to complete their respective missions over their own.
6. Event Horizon (1997)
One of the defining elements of ‘Hellraiser’ is the strange and intriguing presence of extra-dimensional beings called the Cenobites, of which the Pinhead is also a part. These Cenobites dictate the fates of the film’s main characters, identical to the terrifying entities in Paul WS Anderson’s sci-fi horror film Event Horizon. The film revolves around the titular spaceship, which reappears after disappearing seven years prior. A group of astronauts board the ship for a rescue mission, but they encounter something that seriously frightens them. If you’re a fan of the gore subgenre, the Laurence Fishburne-starrer definitely begs to be watched after ‘Hellraiser’.
5. Escape Room (2019)
One of the most compelling storylines in ‘Hellraiser’ involves Riley, Colin and Trevor’s attempts to escape Roland Voight’s mansion. If you fancy a thrilling movie that features multiple escape plans, reminding us of the plight of Riley and the others, Adam Robitel’s psychological horror film Escape Room is a fitting choice. The film revolves around six people who solve a cube-shaped puzzle, another factor that reminds us of Hellraiser, and who are invited to participate in an escape room with a prize of $10,000. Their fates are rewritten as each piece begins to offer life-threatening challenges, just like each stage/level of the puzzle box in ‘Hellraiser’.
Like Riley who is asked to complete a puzzle to save himself in ‘Hellraiser’, six strangers must solve unanswered questions and escape an endless maze of deadly traps in the sci-fi horror film. fiction ‘Cube’ by Vincenzo Natali. In Hellraiser and Cube, the price to pay for escape is other people’s lives and the puzzles dictate everyone’s survival and existence. The surreal vibe of the 1997 film also reminds us of the surreal climax of the 2022 reboot of Hellraiser. Like Hellraiser, Cube has a cult following among horror fans.
3. Mandy (2018)
In ‘Hellraiser’, Riley risks his own life to complete the puzzle and bravely battles the Cenobites to bring his brother Matt back to life. Likewise, we see Red Miller embark on a clash of harrowing and dizzying evil forces to reclaim his wife Mandy Bloom from the hands of a cult of hippies and their demon-biker minions in Panos Cosmatos’ horror film Mandy. . The movie’s demon-biker minions are reminiscent of Hellraiser’s Cenobites. Like Riley trying to kill Cenobites to complete his puzzle and get Matt back, Red Miller also doesn’t shy away from fighting demonic entities and drawing their blood.
2. The Ring (2002)
In addition to ghastly antagonistic figures/characters, good horror films always manage to startle viewers even with random objects. Whether it’s the doll in ‘Child’s Play’ or the television in ‘Poltergeist’, the history of horror movies is filled with such fear-inducing objects. In Hellraiser, the murderous puzzle box manages to shock onlookers just as much as the Cenobites. An essential object in the same context is the famous video cassette which kills its spectators in a week in The Ring by Gore Verbinski. Both the puzzle box and the videotape serve as a death sentence in ‘Hellraiser’ and ‘The Ring’ respectively and in both films the protagonist sets out to unravel the mystery behind the respective object after personal loss.
1. The Evil Dead (1981)
Before Hellraiser, there was The Evil Dead, one of the most, if not the most, influential horror films of all time. The film follows five college students who vacation in a remote cabin. Like Riley who plays with the puzzle box without knowing the consequences, the students listen to a tape of incantations in the presence of Naturom Demonto, a Sumerian version of the Book of the Dead. Just as Riley’s involuntary actions bring to mind the Cenobites, the students’ actions bring to life demonic entities that attempt to possess and haunt them. Like ‘Hellraiser’, ‘The Evil Dead’ is a gorefest and classic that defines and represents 1980s horror movies.