Clive Barker’s feature directing debut graphically depicts the tale of a man and wife who move into an old house and discover a hideous creature — the man’s half-brother, who is also the woman’s former lover — hiding upstairs.
The iconic, uniquely terrifying, and twisted Pinhead makes his grand debut in this gruesome horror. Working from his own novel, first-time director Clive Barker’s film is a remarkable rarity: not only a highly original blend of Catholicism, punk rock, and S&M, but by now also a classic of its genre.
While thin on plot, what it offers, like Barker’s Lord of Illusions in its better moments, is the solemn majesty of ceremony, a sense of awe at the awful possibilities of the body in restoration and unjoining.
The film is for the most part a return to the cutting edge of horror cinema, and in its inventively gruesome moments – Frank being turned inside-out by creaking millworks, his face being put together on the floor like a jigsaw puzzle – a reminder of the Grand Guignol intensity that has recently tended to disintegrate into lazy splatter.