September 11th marked the 30th anniversary for Clive Barker’s directorial debut film Hellraiser being unleashed upon UK audiences. It’s hard to imagine a world without Pinhead, cenobites, or “the box”. While previously involved in such films as Rawhead Rex, this was Barker’s first time in the director’s seat. The world of Hellraiser is one of fear, pain, fantasy, and psychological torment; all of which are conveyed through incredible visual effects. On top of the striking visual appeal of Hellraiser, the soundtrack is an added layer that helps build the world where pain has a face.
Composed by Christopher Young, the Hellraiser soundtrack stands out in a couple of ways. The film was released in 1987, a time when synthy, minimalistic scores were dominating horror films. Especially larger, more main stream productions. For this release however, Young chose to use an entire orchestra and gave the film a full symphonic feel. Paired with Barker’s now infamous visuals, this combination truly conveys the fantasy and theatrical aspects of the Hellraiser story. The soaring strings, pulsing drums, haunting piano and percussion, and incredible crescendos of sound all contribute to the atmosphere that is so crucial to the film. While some soundtracks are merely background noise, the Hellraiser soundtrack is a true partner to the film.
There are a few different releases that are being released to celebrate this milestone for Hellraiser. Lakeshore Records has a 140 gram translucent red with black smoke vinyl version available today, October 6th. It was remastered from the original 24 track, 2 inch analog master session tapes and you can find it here or at your local record store.
Death Waltz in partnership with Mondo will be releasing two versions to the general public. One will be a 180 gram LP with some killer artwork from Matt Ryan Tobin. There will also be a box set version (you can guess what the packaging will resemble) and will be six 7″ records and will contain liner notes from Clive Barker himself. This version will be a limited release with only 1000 being pressed. Hovering around $80 this release is not for the faint of heart and yet a must have for any serious Hellraiser collector. The release date for these two are currently set at October 11th and you will be able to find them here.
Both these companies are at the top of their game so there’s really no losing if one is forced to choose between releases. It is interesting that there are multiple releases coming out at similar times, but after all this time waiting, who’s really going to complain? In the words of the one and only Pinhead, “No tears please. It’s a waste of good suffering.” Check out the video above for a taste of what’s in store for you.