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.
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An admirably ambitious horror film that ultimately fails. It may have outstanding gore but it just doesn't have an interesting enough narrative. Really incoherent characterizations that lack depth; by the ending you just won't give a shit about anyone because you really don't know who they actually are. Disappointing, I thought this was a classic.
Awesome concepts. Sort of like Lovecraft meets S&M. The acting's pretty dodgy though. And I had a hard time seeing Julia as this big-time seductress. She's not a dog or anything ... it could just be the '80's gay-man-presentation ... but the hair and mom-slacks made her seem like somebody's nympho-grammy. Still, if you want visionary monster movies, set your Puzzle-Box for "Clive Barker." He craps Genius!!!
Essential horror. Barker's debut was the thing of nightmares melding S&M archetypes with extreme horror while providing high production value and casting that exceeded the genre. Clare Higgins is simply brilliant here with a performance both macabre and sexy. Andrew Robinson was also good here and boy could Ashley Laurence scream. Unfortunate it launched a series of middling sequels however.
Barker frames his demons in intimate detail, using Vidgeon's photography as a sick form of containment. This is a surreal excursion into horror filmmaking that sometimes goes too haywire for its own good. Nevertheless, its ambition and atmospheric ferocity overshadow its flaws. It's like a nasty blend of Lovecraft, Carpenter, Friedkin, King, and apartment-era Polanski. A stunning, formidable piece of work.
Bought this on blu-ray and watched it not having seen it for many years. I think it really stood the test of time and works as both horror, drama and thriller. The acting is really good and the effects are decent. The stand out is the score which to this day is one of my favourites. I just wish the end had been redone and that they had skipped on the "engineer" and just stayed with the cenobites.