Hellraiser appears in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This was a decent but erratic image.
Sharpness varied. While most of the film seemed accurate and well-defined, some softness crept in at times, a factor that became exacerbated by mild edge haloes throughout the movie.
I saw no issues with jagged edges or moiré effects, and print flaws remained minimal. The image felt grainy to the point where I suspected digital artifacts caused some of these distractions.
The movie’s palette leaned toward a mix of reds, ambers and blues, all of which looked decent. Though the colors never felt strong, they worked fine.
Blacks seemed a bit inky, while shadows could be a little dense. I felt the image was good enough for a “B-“ but it lacked real strengths.
As for the film’s Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack, it created an active but not especially natural impression. While a lot of information came from the side and rear speakers, the elements didn’t blend as smoothly as I’d like.
This left us with a soundscape that added a lot of material but not one that felt particularly well-integrated. Not that it became a bad sonic setting, but the remix felt a bit overdone.
Audio quality was dated but fine. Music showed fairly nice range, and effects packed a decent punch. Those elements could come across as metallic at times and suffered from too much reverb, but they mostly came across with appropriate reproduction.
Speech seemed intelligible and reasonably natural, without obvious edginess or other issues. Though not a great track, this one was somewhat above average for its age.
When we head to the set’s extras, we start with an audio commentary from writer/director Clive Barker and actress Ashley Laurence. Moderated by writer Peter Atkins, Barker dominates the discussion as he talks about what he attempted to do with the film and also relates various technical aspects of making it.
Laurence also offers her take on the movie, and Atkins helps move the proceedings along nicely, though Barker and Laurence seem to do well on their own. The three appear to gel with each other, and the commentary has a pleasantly relaxed tone about it. Overall, it's a solid track that should be interesting to fans.
Also available alongside the movie, Fast Film Facts provides a text commentary. It brings us a mix of production notes to become a moderately informative piece.
Five featurettes follow, and Mr. Cotton, I Presume? brings a 16-minute, 13-second interview with actor Andrew Robinson. He discusses aspects of his career as well as his work on Hellraiser. Robinson offers a useful view of the subject matter.
Laurence reappears in the 11-minute, 58-second Actress From Hell. She covers her time on the film and other aspects of her life. This seems like a decent but unexceptional chat.
Unsurprisingly, Hellcomposer delivers an 18-minute, 19-second discussion with composer Christopher Young. He talks about his work on the film in this fairly informative reel.
Resurrection provides a 25-minute, 25-second featurette with Barker, Laurence, Young, actors Doug Bradley, Simon Bamford, Nicholas Vince, and Oliver Smith, special effects make-up artists Steve Johnson and Bob Keen, Cenobite costume designer Jane Wildgoose, performance artists Puncture, and filmmaker Bill Condon.
As expected, “Resurrection” brings a fairly general view of the production, so it touches on a wide mix of topics. While it lacks depth, it becomes a satisfactory overview.
Finally, Under the Skin gives us a 12-minute, 32-second piece with actor Doug Bradley. He tells us about his role and experiences through this enjoyable program.
In addition to three trailers, we get four TV spots and four Still Galleries. Those split into “Behind the Scenes” (61 frames), “Makeup and SFX Photos” (43), “Promotional Material” (27) and “Storyboards”. The last one has some still frames but it also includes side-by-side art/movie comparisons.
Although the “Galleries” present good elements, their quality seems terrible. All the shots look so blurry and ugly that they’re borderline useless.
Hellraiser isn't one of the greatest horror films ever made, but it holds up well after 32 years. The story seems creepier and more insidious than most, and director Clive Barker provides a tale that really sinks into your subconscious after a while. The Blu-ray offers generally positive picture and audio along with a good array of supplements. This winds up as a reasonably solid release for a compelling movie.