Based on his 1986 novella “The Hellbound Heart,” writer and director Clive Barker frightened and raked in the cash with Hellraiser, which went on to become one of the most recognizable cult horror franchises ever.
There are currently 10 Hellraiser movies in theatres, and a new version of the original will be available on Hulu later this year. It wouldn’t hurt to review the prior movies as we wait for a more precise release date. This list will make it apparent which movies were released when and what sequence they should be viewed in.
Let’s Travel Through All 10, Forget the “seven Rings of Hell”!
The Movies in Order of Release:
Hellraiser – September 10, 1987
Hellbound: Hellraiser II – December 23, 1988
Hellraiser III: Hell On Earth – September 11, 1992
Hellraiser: Bloodline – March 8, 1996
Hellraiser: Inferno – October 3, 2000
Hellraiser: Hellseeker – October 15, 2002
Hellraiser: Deader – June 7, 2005
Hellraiser: Hellworld – September 6, 2005
Hellraiser: Revelations – March 18, 2011
Hellraiser: Judgement – February 13, 2018
Hellraiser * – 2022
*Not yet available
The Films in Chronological Order: The first four films in the Hellraiser series are already in chronological order based on the date of their initial theatrical release. With the Cenobites and the “Lament Configuration” puzzle box serving as their core themes, the subsequent films can each be experienced on their own as “standalone” pieces of art.
This British supernatural horror was Clive Barker’s first attempt at directing, and (no insult to Stephen King) who better to direct the movie adaptation than the author of the book?
In Morocco, a man named Frank Cotton (Sean Chapman) buys a bizarre puzzle box called the “Lament Configuration,” thinking that by solving it, a doorway will emerge, allowing him to enter a world of sensual delights that he has never encountered.
He completes the puzzle in the attic of his abandoned family house, where he is then brutally attacked by chains and hooks that tear apart his body (and into hell). The Cenobites hold him hostage and subject him to unimaginable sadomasochism.
The genderless demon beings known as cenobites have various scarifications, metal hooks, nails, chains, and other torture tools on them. They resemble dead bodies. Doug Bradley plays the role of “Lead Cenobite,” also known as “Pinhead.”
The family home where Frank had created the gateway is soon occupied by his brother Larry (Andrew Robinson) and his wife Julia (Clare Higgins). Frank is able to reappear as a partially formed corpse when an incidental injury causes blood to leak on the attic floor (Oliver Smith).
Julia finds him, and viewers learn that they had an extramarital relationship the night before her wedding to Larry. By enticing men from bars and killing them so that he can regenerate from their blood, Frank convinces Julia to assist him in getting away from the Cenobites.
Kirsty, Larry’s daughter, finds the skinless Frank and one of the victims who has been partially drained by him (Ashley Laurence). After escaping the house with the puzzle box and figuring out the problem, she meets the Cenobites.
She agrees to give them Frank in return for her release, but after the Cenobites get their hands back on Frank, they realize they still want Kirsty. By switching the directions on the puzzle box to send them back to their torture chamber, she just manages to escape their grasp.
The homeless man who has been following Kirsty throughout the movie jumps into the fire and rescues the box before it is completely consumed by the flames. Once more in Morocco, the box is the last item viewers see before hearing the merchant off-screen ask someone else the identical question he asked Frank in the first scene: “What’s your pleasure, sir?”
Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988)
In the opening sequence of Hellbound: Hellraiser II, there is a brief flashback showing Doug Bradley as a British officer, cracking open the puzzle box, and changing into “Pinhead.” The action of the sequel follows up directly after the events of the first movie.
Ashley Laurence returns to the screen as Kirsty Cotton, who has been admitted to a mental health facility. She explains what happened to Dr. Channard (Kenneth Cranham) and asks him to throw away the blood-stained mattress that her stepmother Julia Cotton (Clare Higgins) had passed away on.
Of course, he does the exact opposite and ends up rescuing a skinless Julia (Deborah Joel) from her Cenobite captors and returning her to the living world.
Tiffany (Imogen Boorman), a patient at the hospital with a flair for solving puzzles, is abducted by Channard and the recently regenerate Julia in order to coerce her into opening the Lament Configuration and vanishing into the dreadful realm of the Cenobites.
Following them, Kirsty eventually runs across Frank (Sean Chapman), who is later murdered by Julia. Dr. Channard is transformed into a Cenobite while Julia is pulled into a vortex and dies. The blood-stained mattress is moved by two guys at the end of the film, and as one of the men gets sucked inside, a voice can be heard saying, “What is your pleasure, sir?”
Hellraiser III: Hell On Earth (1992)
Following the events of the previous film, Pinhead (Bradley) discovers that he has been divided into two entities: the human Elliot Spencer, a British officer, and the Cenobite Pinhead. He is imprisoned in an obscene “Pillar of Souls,” which is later bought by shady club owner J.P. Monroe (Kevin Bernhardt).
Journalist Joanne “Joey” Summerskill (Terry Farrell) finds the puzzle box while looking into the horrible death of a man who entered the emergency room from Monroe’s club with chains hooked into his body. Terri (Paula Marshall), the patient who entered the emergency room with the now-deceased clubgoer, gives her this. After doing more research on the box, Joey comes across a video of Kirsty Cotton, one of Pinhead’s previous victims, explaining how to use the box to return Pinhead to hell.
Pinhead persuades Monroe to furnish the fresh bodies and blood that he needs in exchange for unimaginable power and delights. Monroe agrees and starts offering clubgoers as sacrifices to Pinhead.
Elliot, the human half of Pinhead, approaches Joey in the midst of one of her frequent dreams about her father’s death in Vietnam. He begs her to figure out a method to put his fragmented existence back together with Pinhead because his humanity is the only thing that can counteract the Cenobite’s terrible wants.
Pinhead brings some of the victims he has claimed back to life as Cenobites in an effort to stop her. They are pursuing her and she ends up encircled at a building site. While solving the puzzle box and returning them to hell, she also drags herself into limbo. Here, Spencer can finally meet Pinhead and force the union of their two selves.
As a result of this convergence, the box transforms into a dagger that Joey uses to dispatch Pinhead before being taken back to Earth. She attempts to permanently dispose of the box by tossing it into wet concrete at the construction site, but the last thing viewers see is the finished structure, which eerily resembles the puzzle box.
Hellraiser IV: Bloodline (1996)
It is easiest to think of Hellraiser IV: Bloodline as both a prequel and a sequel, however starting here without having seen the first three Hellraiser movies would be very confusing.
Three different time periods are covered in this film. The year 2127 serves as the starting point for our first timeline. Dr. Paul Merchant (Bruce Ramsay) is seen frantically attempting to teach a robot to solve the Lament Configuration while aboard a starship of his own creation. Before he can succeed, armed security storms the premises and drags him outside to confront Rimmer, their leader (Christine Harnos).
The film then skips ahead to a period in 1796 and investigates how French toymaker Phillip LeMarchand came to design the puzzle box (Ramsay). LeMarchand doesn’t understand that the puzzle box was designed to unlock a portal to hell until he delivers it to his client, the lecherous aristocrat Duc de L’Isle (Mickey Cottrell).
The character of Jacques, played by Adam Scott, is de L’Isle’s assistant. The two of them sacrifice a young woman to enter the unearthly realm with Angelique (Valentina Vargas). LeMarchand rushes to make an anti-Lament Configuration to block the portal to hell after realizing what he has done, but Jacques murders him when he comes back to take the box, telling him as he passes away that his bloodline is now cursed.
The film picks up in 1996, not too far from where the third Hellraiser left off. LeMarchand’s ancestor John Merchant (Ramsay) recently finished constructing a brand-new skyscraper on top of the concrete slab that Joey threw the puzzle box into. When Angelique reads an article about it, she notices how the interior decor echoes the Lament Configuration’s markings.
She goes to America and seduces a security guard to help her unlock the puzzle box. This summons Pinhead, and the two of them fight about how to best carry out the ways of hell, having very different perspectives. Pinhead kills John before Bobbi, his wife, can open the puzzle box (Kim Myers). Angelique and Pinhead are consigned to hell, while John’s son lives to continue the cursed bloodline.
Dr. John Merchant strives to persuade Rimmer that he unintentionally freed Pinhead, Angelique, and other cenobites on the space station in “Back to the Future” 2127. Everyone on board is killed by Pinhead and the other cenobites, with the exception of Merchant and Rimmer, who escape aboard an escape shuttle. When the space station folds in on itself to form a box and launches Pinhead and the others back to hell, it is then revealed that the space station is actually the anti-Lament Configuration.
Hellseeker: Hellraiser (2002)
The return of Kirsty Cotton (Ashley Laurence) and her familiarity with the puzzle box and Pinhead are included in this film, despite the fact that it does not directly address the events of this chronological chronology.
In the opening scene of Hellraiser: Hellseeker, Trevor Gooden (Dean Winters) kills his wife Kirsty by driving his car off a bridge. A month later, after suffering a brain injury, he awakens in a hospital with problems recalling specifics of his history. Two investigators who are looking into a string of deaths they are looking into routinely visit him. He experiences frequent hallucinations at this time that cause him to see horrific things and make him doubt his ability to distinguish between his imagination and reality.
Since Kirsty’s body was never pulled from the river by rescuers, when he is brought to the police station to identify a body, he thinks it is Kirsty. He is confronted by Pinhead, who informs him that since the crash, which Kirsty was responsible for, he has been existing in limbo.
By cracking open the puzzle box, she discovered that he was having several affairs and that she was attempting to get rid of him. When Pinhead arrived to take her, she was successful and offered him her soul in exchange for the souls of five other people.
She began killing Trevor’s three affair partners after getting his approval, which led to his friend Bret (Trevor White) committing suicide. Finally, Trevor learns that his efforts to piece together his past throughout the years were just the start of his penance and that he is the fifth soul.
Hellraiser: Inferno (2000)
The first title in the series to be published exclusively on video is Hellraiser: Inferno. There are only the Cenobites and the puzzle box as strong tie-ins to the previous films, despite Doug Bradley continuing to repeat his role as Pinhead.
The puzzle box is found at a crime scene by a dishonest cop named Joseph Thorne (Craig Sheffer), who takes it home instead of turning it in as evidence. After figuring out the puzzle, he starts to see terrifying visions of a monster pursuing him. He makes a connection between the murder scene where he found the puzzle box and a killer who goes by the moniker “The Engineer” thanks these visions.
Thorne starts looking for the Engineer and soon discovers that his friends, family, and coworkers have been murdered. A severed child’s finger is discovered at each of their crime locations, proving that the Engineer is imprisoning a child. Thorne visits a therapist to talk about his vision, but when he describes what he sees, the therapist (James Remar) reveals that he is Pinhead hiding in plain sight and that Thorne has been living this terrible life since he first cracked open the puzzle box.
The missing infant is a symbol of Thorne’s eroding innocence, while The Engineer is a representation of all the depravity and greed inside of him. John Thorne is caught in hooked shackles that suddenly emerge, and Pinhead has taken another soul as his own to torture forever.
Hellraiser VII: Deader (2005)
A reporter is dispatched to Bucharest to look into the history of a videotape that purports to show “the Deaders,” a cult, violently sacrificing a person before purportedly reanimating the victim. Amy (Kari Wuher) searches for a dead woman while holding the puzzle box after following a clue.
She opens the puzzle box after bringing it back to her hotel room, which causes her to enter a dream-like state. She finds Winter LeMarchand, the head of the “Deaders” cult, as she pursues more leads (Paul Rhys). As the son of the French toymaker who created the Lament Configuration, Winter feels that it is his destiny to reign and manage the Cenobites.
As he was unable to open the box himself, he started gathering cult members—vulnerable people with histories of physical and psychological trauma—to be sacrificed. Amy’s dream keeps showing how exactly she meets this description.
Amy opens the box once more when she awakens, calling Pinhead (Bradley). Pinhead kills Winter and his remaining cult members because he finds it offensive that any mortal could ever have any power over him or the other Cenobites. The puzzle box explodes when Amy kills herself when he also tries to collect her. This causes the cult complex to be destroyed and sends all of the Cenobites back to hell.
As the film comes to a close, Charles, Amy’s boss (Simon Kunz), has dispatched yet another reporter to look into Amy’s disappearance. The puzzle box is one of the few things she discovers at the explosion site.
Hellraiser: Hellworld (2005)
By introducing the online game Hellworld, in which players must solve puzzles and avoid encounters with Cenobites, Hellraiser: Hellworld delves into meta-territory. Five buddies are playing the game together when Adam (Stelian Urian) takes things too far and kills himself. All of his remaining pals accuse themselves of failing to stop his death.
They each receive an invitation to a Hellworld party years later. They give it some thought and decide to go. They are offered refreshments by The Host (Lance Henriksen), who also gives them a quick tour of the home that is said to have been constructed by the French toymaker LeMarchand. The five buddies quickly become separated from one another, are pursued by Cenobites, and are slain.
When Chelsea (Katheryn Winnick), one of the ladies, finds some of Adam’s belongings, it becomes clear that the Host is actually Adam’s father. He enticed the group of friends to his mansion so he could chastise them for failing to stop his son’s Hellworld addiction.
He acknowledges adding poison to their drinks, causing them to dream about the Cenobites from the game. Emergency personnel discovers Chelsea and Jake (Christopher Jacot) buried alive, and it is indicated that Adam’s spirit is the one who made the call to save them. The three other buddies perished.
The Host then searches through his son’s stuff in the attic and discovers the genuine puzzle box. He opens it, causing the real Pinhead and other Cenobites to appear. Pinhead praises the Host’s originality… and the Cenobites rip him up after that.
Hellraiser: Revelations (2011)
The first film in the series, Hellraiser: Revelations, uses “found footage” to depict the Cenobites and the puzzle box. The film begins with Steven (Nick Eversman) and Nico (Jay Gillespie), two college mates, traveling to Mexico for an intoxicated holiday. A vagrant gives them the puzzle box, and they summon Pinhead (Stephan Smith Collins).
Steven’s family members find the video camera with the footage after their disappearance. Following a disagreement with her parents and Nico’s parents over dinner, Emma, Steven’s sister (Tracey Fairaway), watches the film and discovers the puzzle box among his other stuff. Her brother, who is covered in blood, appears while she plays around with the box.
It is revealed that Nico murdered Steven in Mexico, and as a result, Nico is actually wearing Steven’s skin when he is in the house with the two families as “Steven”. Steven broke the seal on the box as he was about to pass away and struck a bargain with the Cenobites to merge with them so he could exact his vengeance. Ross, Emma’s father, is fatally wounded after being shot by him, along with his father (Steven Brand).
With the intention of exchanging Emma’s soul for his freedom, Nico coerces her into opening the puzzle box. Pinhead decides to take Nico when she does so. Ross shoots him with the shotgun as he is being taken, leading Pinhead to abduct Emma’s mother instead. After they leave, Emma is left alone with the puzzle box and her father, who will shortly pass away.
Hellraiser: Judgment (2018)
Hellraiser: Judgment, as its name implies, is largely concerned with the punishment of people for their different transgressions. The newly introduced Auditor (Gary J. Tunnicliffe) and Pinhead (Paul T. Taylor) talk about how they can adapt to a world where technology limits their power to corrupt through sin.
Detectives Sean (Damon Carney), David Carter (Randy Wayne), and Christine Egerton (Alexandra Harris) are teamed together to find a serial murderer known as the “Preceptor” who preys on people who break the Ten Commandments.
Eventually, they find themselves caught up in Pinhead and the Auditor’s schemes. The Auditor, who belongs to a different division of hell, questions people about their transgressions before letting them stand before the Stygian Inquisition for judgment.
Sean was following a clue when The Auditor caught him at an abandoned house, but an angel named Jophiel saved him. He leaves the chamber he was being imprisoned in using one of the many puzzle boxes. Sean later kidnaps Christine and his wife Alison once it is discovered that he is really the “Preceptor” and not the other way around. When David, his brother, goes to confront him, he is compelled to crack open the puzzle box, releasing Pinhead.
Sean wants to exchange David and Alison’s life for his own, but Pinhead rejects the deal because he is aware that the Auditor and his Stygian Inquisition are after him. Sean (posing as the Preceptor) is part of God’s plan to create terror in sinners, the angel claims when the Auditor arrives to fetch Sean.
Pinhead ignores her advice and kills Sean before also killing the angel. God banishes Pinhead from Hell as a kind of retribution, and he is compelled to come back to Earth as an outcast.
Although the reboot hasn’t yet seen a trailer, the choice to have Jamie Clayton as Pinhead has already caused some debate. This year, the movie will only be available as a Hulu Original on the streaming service.