3 out of 5 stars


Arrow Films offers horror fans a delicious package with Hellraiser: The Scarlet Box Limited Edition Trilogy. This four disc set delves deep into the origins of the the iconic franchise offering up remastered visuals and a tremendous set of extras across these first three movies in the long-running franchise.

Clive Barker’s original continues to impress thirty years on, offering up a baroque gothic horror wrapped within the confines of a warped family drama. Barker brings his distinctive sense of darkness to the first tale which sees Pinhead (Doug Bradley) and his companion Cenobites unleashed from a demonic puzzle box.

Hellbound: Hellraiser II sees an evil doctor eager to use the box for his own nefarious deeds. Tony Randel’s sequel opens the scope and adds more complexity to proceedings, bringing back many of the first film’s characters. Anthony Hickox helms the third film, Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth and it sees proceedings move further away from the template set by Barker.

Hellraiser made its debut smack-dab in the middle of the horror craze in the 1980s and Pinhead and his cronies were perfect fodder for those eager to worship another iconic horror monster. However, Clive Barker’s particular style of horror was never going to hit the mainstream heights of the slasher likes of Freddie Kruger or Jason Voorhees. Barker’s dark and twisted sensibilities meant that despite a multitude of sequels and iconic style of Pinhead, the films always remained cult curios.

Special Features

Hellraiser: The Scarlet Box Limited Edition Trilogy comes jam-packed with special features. In-depth documentaries cover every aspect of the making of the three films. Nearly everyone has their say on the film, although it’s disappointing that Clive Barker is only available in archive interviews. He does deliver two (!) commentaries for the first film, while the sequels also get director commentaries too. A fourth disc looks into Barker’s career and his impact in the Hellraiser movies. Incredibly comprehensive.