Hellraiser The Scarlet Box Blu Ray review

Nice face...

From the depths of hell come the Cenobites to play with anyone that opens the mysterious puzzle box. It begins when Frank Cotton comes back from a trip to Egypt and while there purchased a gold puzzle box rumoured to have special powers. He opens the box in his dead mothers house and unleashes the pain and torture of the sadistic cenobites. They dispatch him and send him to limbo of sorts. However when his brother Larry and his new wife Julia move into the house, the awful truth comes out after an accident spills blood and resurrects Frank. The sequal takes us past the events of the first film and into the dark sublevels of hell. We are sent there via a mental hospital now inhabited by Kirsty, the daughter of Larry. The third part is the story moved shores to America and the 90s dream of money, sex and rock n roll. This however is not a dream but a brutal nightmare as the cenobites return to take people back to hell. they want to play games, with big prizes from more blood and body parts to souls…

Bit on the nose but at least I dont need GPS

The orignal Hellraiser series is finally available to own on Blu Ray. This is a great time for people like me and I imagine people like you. I could tell you about the original film, which in my opinion is a masterpiece and the best horror film of the 80s.The film was a dark meditation on religion, greed and the family. The old statues of catholic superstition and guilt, surround and scream kitsch but they serve a purpose. They define the spirit of 80s rejection and greed.  It took the point of three people, driven by personal gain and dark desire. When the sequel took the story down the line of subversive medical desire and physical torture, it worked. It underlines the themes of the first by swapping religion with science and good/ bad plays again as did before. The third part is a mixed blessing of 90s cinematic technique and story construction. We have the origins explored, as well as a great step away from the now empty brace. This made for a film still able to connect with themes of the past. We arrive at the darkest heart of the series so far.

Nice shades....

So now you want to know about those discs? Well below is the listed info on what is on each disc. The new prints look ok. The first two films are grainy and the 2k adds little extra. The sound is clean and textured but only on the second and third parts. The Third part has never been so good. Much of the content is taken from elsewhere. I want to make a point here and explain that if you have the Anchor bay DVD then the extras are the same bar one additional feature Leviathan. This is a great doc on the series and is very much worth the time. The Barker Book is great as is the additional disc which has new features as well. Anchor Bay covered much ground in this series on disc and Arrow have taken it a little along the road….  The real truth however should be this. Well done to Arrow for putting on a great film. Putting it into a format well deserved and then making it have a treatment fit for kings….Well cenobites at the least…

 

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

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8 Responses

  1. Mike Allen

    “The first two films are grainy and the 2k adds little extra”.

    So you’re saying Arrow didn’t do a good job of remastering the Hellraiser and Hellraiser2?

    Your review doesn’t instill any faith in it being worth to purchase this new Arrow set if you already own the Anchor Bay DVD, yet alone the Anchor Bay Blu Ray they did, which would has better pq than their DVD version, so this Arrow sets versions must be really bad.

    Reply
    • Simon Kennedy

      Hi Mark!

      In my opinion, the set is a good buy but the quality of the 2 discs annoyed me. I would say if you have the Anchor bay version stick with it for now…

      Reply
  2. Barry Logan

    Can I just ask what you mean by the films are grainy, that is what they are supposed to look like they are on film and film contains grain.

    Reply
    • Simon Kennedy

      Hi Barry,
      You are very right about that. I understand 35mm stock very well (16mm and 8mm also!) My point is to the wider audeince of film watchers that might expect Blu Ray to resolve this. I point out that thetransfer is the same as the DVD from Anchor bay and that the grain (Photo crystals that have not absorbed light), is very present. This is often corrected on 4k but on this restoration the dirt and damage is cleaned up but it is the same as the Anchor bay transfer, ie it is grainy. The film is a masterpiece but the image is no different to prior versions. That was my point.

      Simon

      Reply
  3. Barry Logan.

    I thought these were new 2K restorations so should indeed look much better than the Anchor Bay release.

    Reply
  4. Chuck Wilson

    Just watched the Arrow 2k of Hellraiser. It looks HORRIBLE. Looks like it is snowing all over the film.

    Stick with either the Anchor Bay or StudiCanal BR. Clearer with better picture quality.

    Will anyone ever do a 4k remastering of Hellraiser and clean up that mess Arrow created?

    Reply
    • Karen Daniello

      I agree. Arrow was really lazy on this. Hellraiser 3’s framing issue is a mess and Hellraiser doesn’t look like it was restored at all. A noisy, washed out, blurry mess. Only Hellraiser 2 looks decent. I alos wish someone would do a 4k scan of the OCN and REALLY restore the films.

      Reply

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