23rd Oct2015

‘Hellraiser: The Scarlet Box’ Blu-ray Review (Arrow Video)

by Paul Metcalf


There have been many screen monsters who have become iconic to genre fans and in the 80s the likes of Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees ruled the roost. With the coming of Pinhead though things changed, even if he was never meant to be the star of Hellraiser...

Arrow Video are releasing Hellraiser: The Scarlet Box Limited Edition Trilogy just in time for a Halloween and for fans of Clive Barker’s creation, this is a perfect set. Featuring Hellraiser, Hellraiser 2: Hellbound, and Hellraiser 3: Hell on Earth, it seems fitting that these are the only films included. They were the closest to the truth vision of what Hellraiser was, even if the third was a move to bring the films more into the mainstream.

Making my way through the discs for review I was reminded just how good the films were and how for the most part they don’t feel dated. In terms of picture and sound quality a very good job has been done with the 2K restorations, though with the unrated version of the third film the re-added scenes have not been brought up to the same quality. This does make it easy to see what scenes weren’t in the original though.

Hellraiser: The Scarlet Box Limited Edition Trilogy truly shines when it comes to the special features. Hellraiser and Hellbound both include Leviathan: The Hellraiser Story which looks into the films in great detail. Any fans of the film will love these documentaries as they are full of interviews and go into intricate detail about the making. While the third film doesn’t include this there is a smaller documentary, Hell On Earth: The Story of Hellraiser 3 which looks at the film in the similar way Leviathan does. All in all, if you watch all three documentaries you’ll know everything you ever wanted to know about the films. Oh, and we finally get to see the “Surgeon” scene that was thought to have been lost.

On top of these documentaries there are also interviews with the cast of the movies, commentaries for each film (including a brand new one for Hellraiser 3) and plenty of content such as trailers. There is also another disc which features Clive Barker’s short films Salomé and The Forbidden and a documentary looking at the Books of Blood, with author David Gatward giving us a tour of Barker’s books. As well as yet another documentary looking at the evolution of Hellraiser, with this one looking at the films that followed Hellraiser 3.

I’ve always been a fan of Hellraiser, it was the film that made me hunt out Clive Barker’s books, making me a fan of his work to this day. Barker takes us on a unique trip through the darker side of culture, and his films work very much like Lemarchand’s box…though the world he opens to us is very much a pleasure, full of blood, lust, and pleasure.

It goes without saying that Hellraiser: The Scarlet Box Limited Edition Trilogy is a must for fans of Hellraiser, though it may be hard to get hold of now, which is a real shame. This is the perfect release for these three films and works as a love letter to not only them but to Barker’s work as a whole. Now if only they could get the rights to the Nightbreed: The Cabal Cut and give it the same treatment, but of course not all dreams can come true.

***** 5/5

Hellraiser: The Scarlet Box Limited Edition Trilogy is available on Blu-ray in the UK from October 26th.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

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