Family movie night? There's an app for that
Download our new mobile app on iOS and Android.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Without spelling it out in detail, the film trades heavily on the concept of erotic sado-masochism -- that some people can find pain, torture, and even mutilation a sexual turn-on. Recurring religious imagery that makes a subtle connection between Jesus and Frank.
Positive Role Models
Kirsty is a brave and resourceful heroine (rather comically, her boyfriend just stumbles over himself in any of his attempts to help her). Julia fits the wicked-stepmother stereotype, as well as the notion that women are attracted to bad boys.
Violence & Scariness
Lots. Killing and mutilating of both humans and rats. Several men clubbed bloodily to death with a claw hammer. A closeup stabbing. Piles of meat are supposed to be human remains. Cenobites and their victims suffer hooks through their flesh and peeled-back skin. One character is a fleshless ghoul who shows viscera, bone, tendon, brain, and ooze as he slowly regenerates.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Bare breasts in short sex scenes and in still photos of apparent sex acts. Julia is unfaithful to her husband in assorted discreet and indiscreet sex scenes. There's a hint that ghoul Frank, in addition to all his other faults, lusts after his niece.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
"F--k," "damn," and "God" as an exclamation.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Meanie stepmom Julia and living-corpse Frank smoke cigarettes. Drinking happens regularly.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Hellraiser is extremely gory. Killing and mutilating befalls both humans and animals (rats), with bloody death by knife, hammer, and hooks. Nightmare imagery includes a vampire-like man without skin cannibalizing others to regenerate, and the cyborg-like demons called cenobites. Characters smoke, drink, have sex (some nudity) and swear (including "f--k"), and a villain incestuously lusts after his niece. Scattered religious icons might offend some viewers in this context. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Hellraiser made a mint at the box office when it was released in 1987, in part, perhaps, because it really pushes the envelope (not to mention limits of human anatomy) in depicting the gruesome. But more so than just being a boo! spook show, Hellraiser conveys creepy family betrayal and spiritual evil just as bad as the obviously grotesque violence. When the special-effects ambition goes beyond the filmmakers' talent and budget -- puppet monsters, cartoon energy bolts -- the horror gets a bit comical. Still, the slicker, more CGI-laden The Mummy also had a dead guy reconstituting himself, and it wasn't half this disturbing. Several ripoff sequels followed, some just as gross, none as effective.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.