It’s no exaggeration to say that Clive Barker rewrote horror cinema history with his 1987 film Hellraiser. Based on the novella 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 world of horror cinema. David Bruckner’s 2022 film is a reboot of Barker’s timeless classic that features a reimagined Pinhead, among other differences from the original film. If you are interested in more exciting horror films after the original film by Barker and the reboot by Bruckner, we have compiled a list of suitable recommendations for you here. You can watch most of these movies similar to the 1987 and 2022 Hellraiser on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.
7. Choose or Die (2022)
In Hellraiser, the protagonist Riley McKendry sets out to solve the mystery of the mechanical box in order to save her brother Matt McKendry. In her attempts, she is forced to make sacrifices, intentionally or unintentionally, after each step/stage. In one key scene, Pinhead even gives her the choice between her own death and the deaths of others. Riley’s decision reminds us of the Netflix horror thriller Choose or Die. Instead of a puzzle box, the film’s protagonist, Kayla, plays a murderous money game called CURS>R only to put her and those she knows in mortal danger. Just as Riley loses her close acquaintances halfway through the puzzle in Hellraiser, Kayla loses her acquaintances midway through the game. Both Riley and Kayla are forced to choose the deaths of others to complete their respective missions rather than their own.
6. Event Horizon (1997)
One of Hellraiser’s standouts is the eerie and intriguing presence of extradimensional beings called Cenobites, which includes Pinhead. These cenobites dictate the fate of the film’s main characters and are identical to the terrifying beings who appear in Paul WS Anderson’s sci-fi horror film Event Horizon. The film revolves around the eponymous spaceship, which reappears after disappearing seven years earlier. A group of astronauts board the spacecraft on a rescue mission, only to encounter something that terrifies them. If you’re a fan of the gore subgenre, be sure to check out the film starring Laurence Fishburne after Hellraiser.
5. Escape Rooms (2019)
One of Hellraiser’s most intriguing storylines involves Riley, Colin, and Trevor’s attempts to escape Roland Voight’s mansion. If you’re in the mood for a suspenseful film with multiple escape plans that reminds us of the plight of Riley and others, Adam Robitel’s psychological horror film Escape Room is a solid choice. The film revolves around six people who solve a puzzle cube – another factor reminiscent of Hellraiser – and then are invited to an escape room with a $10,000 prize. Their fates will be rewritten as each room offers life-threatening challenges, just like each stage/level of the mystery box in Hellraiser.
4. Cube (1997)
Just as Riley must solve a mystery to save himself in Hellraiser, Vincenzo Natali’s sci-fi horror film Cube involves six strangers solving unanswered questions and escaping an endless maze of deadly traps. In both Hellraiser and Cube, the price of escaping is the lives of others, and the puzzles are crucial to your survival and existence. The 1997 film’s surreal atmosphere is also reminiscent of the surreal climax of the 2022 Hellraiser reboot. Like Hellraiser, Cube has achieved cult status among horror fans.
In Hellraiser, Riley risks her own life to complete the puzzle and bravely faces the cenobites to bring her brother Matt back to life. In Panos Cosmatos’ horror film Mandy, Red Miller sees himself confronting harrowing and mind-blowing evil forces to retrieve his wife, Mandy Bloom, from a hippie cult and its demonic biker henchmen. The demonic biker minions in the film are guaranteed to remind you of the various cenobites from Hellraiser. Just as Riley tries to kill cenobites to solve her mystery and get Matt back, Red Miller doesn’t shy away from fighting the demonic beings and shedding their blood.
2. The Ring (2002)
In addition to frightening antagonistic characters, good horror films always manage to frighten viewers with random objects. Whether it’s the doll in Child’s Play or the television in Poltergeist, the history of horror films is full of such terrifying objects. In Hellraiser, the murderous mystery box manages to shock viewers as much as it did the cenobites. An object that cannot be left out of this context is the infamous videotape that kills its viewers in a week in Gore Verbinski’s The Ring. Both the mystery box and the videotape function as death sentences in Hellraiser and The Ring, respectively, and in both films the protagonist sets out after a personal loss to uncover the mystery behind the respective object.
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 as they vacation in a remote cabin. Just as Riley plays with the puzzle box, unaware of the consequences, the students play a tape of incantations in the presence of the Naturom Demonto, a Sumerian version of the Book of the Dead. Just as Riley’s unintended actions summon the cenobites, the students’ actions give rise to demonic beings that attempt to possess and haunt them. Like Hellraiser, The Evil Dead is a gorefest and a classic that defines and represents the horror film of the 1980s.