It will not be an exaggeration to say Clive Barker rewrote the history of horror cinema with his 1987 film ‘Hellraiser.’ Based on a novella titled ‘The Hellbound Heart,’ written by Barker himself, the film introduces Pinhead AKA The Priest, one of the most iconic horror antagonists of all time, to the horror cinema sphere. David Bruckner’s 2022 film is a reboot of Barker’s timeless classic, which offers a re-imagined Pinhead among other differences from the original movie. If you are up for more startling horror features after watching Barker’s original movie and Bruckner’s reboot, we are 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,’ protagonist Riley McKendry sets out to complete the puzzle of the mechanical box to save her brother Matt McKendry. As she tries, she is forced to make sacrifices after each step/level intentionally or unintentionally. In a pivotal scene, Pinhead even asks her to choose between her death and others’ deaths. Riley’s choice reminds us of Netflix’s horror thriller film ‘Choose or Die.’ Instead of a puzzle box, the protagonist of the film Kayla plays a murderous game titled CURS>R seeking money, only for her and her acquaintances’ lives to get threatened. Like Riley loses her close acquaintances in ‘Hellraiser’ midway through the puzzle, Kayla loses her acquaintances while playing the game as well. Both Riley and Kayla get forced to choose others’ death to fulfill their respective missions over theirs.
6. Event Horizon (1997)
One of the prominent factors of ‘Hellraiser’ is the eerie and intriguing presence of extradimensional beings named the Cenobites, which also includes the Pinhead. These Cenobites dictate the fates of the major characters of the film, identical to the terrifying entities that feature in Paul W. S. Anderson’s sci-fi horror film ‘Event Horizon.’ The film revolves around the titular starship, which reappears upon vanishing seven years before. A group of astronauts gets into the starship for a rescue mission, only to encounter “something” that startles them severely. If you are a fan of the gore subgenre, the Laurence Fishburne-starrer definitely demands a watch after ‘Hellraiser.’
5. Escape Room (2019)
One of the most intriguing storylines of ‘Hellraiser’ involves Riley, Colin, and Trevor’s attempts to escape from Roland Voight’s mansion. If you are up for an enthralling film that features several escape plans, reminding us of Riley and others’ plight, Adam Robitel’s psychological horror film ‘Escape Room’ is an appropriate choice. The film resolves around six people who solve a puzzle cube, another factor that reminds us of ‘Hellraiser,’ only to get invited to take part in an escape room with a $10,000 prize. Their fates get rewritten when each room starts to offer life-threatening challenges, just like each step/level of the puzzle box in ‘Hellraiser.’
4. Cube (1997)
Like Riley is asked to complete a puzzle to save herself in ‘Hellraiser,’ six strangers are asked to solve unanswered questions and escape from an endless maze of deadly traps in Vincenzo Natali’s sci-fi horror film ‘Cube.’ In both ‘Hellraiser’ and ‘Cube,’ the cost of escape is others’ lives and puzzles dictate one’s survival and existence. The surreal ambiance of the 1997 film also reminds us of the surreal climax of the 2022 ‘Hellraiser’ reboot. Like ‘Hellraiser,’ ‘Cube’ also has a cult following among horror fans.
3. Mandy (2018)
In ‘Hellraiser,’ Riley risks her own life to complete the puzzle and confronts the Cenobites courageously to bring her brother Matt back to life. Likewise, we see Red Miller setting out to confront harrowing and breathtaking evil forces to retrieve his wife Mandy Bloom back from a hippie cult and their demon-biker henchmen in Panos Cosmatos’ horror film ‘Mandy.’ The demon-biker henchmen in the film are guaranteed to remind us of the several Cenobites that feature in ‘Hellraiser.’ Like Riley attempts to kill Cenobites to fulfill her puzzle and retrieve Matt, Red Miller also doesn’t shy away from fighting the demonic entities and spilling their blood.
2. The Ring (2002)
Along with appalling antagonistic figures/characters, good horror films always succeed in startling the viewers even with random objects. Whether it be the doll in ‘Child’s Play’ or the television in ‘Poltergeist,’ the history of horror films is filled with such fear-inducing objects. In ‘Hellraiser,’ the murderous puzzle box succeeds in shocking the viewers as much as the Cenobites. One object that cannot be missed in the same context is the infamous videotape that murders its viewers within a week in Gore Verbinski’s ‘The Ring.’ Both the puzzle box and videotape act as death sentences in ‘Hellraiser’ and ‘The Ring’ respectively and in both films, the protagonist sets out to unravel the mystery behind the respective object after a 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 spend their vacation in an isolated cabin. Like Riley plays the puzzle box without being aware of its consequences, the students play a tape of incantations in the presence of ‘Naturom Demonto,’ a Sumerian version of ‘Book of the Dead.’ Like Riley’s unintentional actions evoke the Cenobites, the students’ actions give life to demonic entities that try to possess and haunt them. Like ‘Hellraiser,’ ‘The Evil Dead’ is a gorefest and a classic that defines and represents horror films of the 1980s.
Read More: Where Was Hellraiser (2022) Filmed?