Hellraiser is a 1987 British supernatural horror film written and directed by Clive Barker, based on his 1986 novella The Hellbound Heart. The film marked Barker’s directorial debut. Its plot involves a mystical puzzle box which summons the Cenobites, a group of extra dimensional, sadomasochistic beings who cannot differentiate between pain and pleasure. The leader of the Cenobites is portrayed by Doug Bradley, and identified in the sequels as “Pinhead”.
Hellraiser was filmed in late 1986 and grossed $14.6 million. Since its release, the film has divided critics but generally received praise; initial reviews ranged from Melody Maker calling it the greatest horror film made in Britain, to Roger Ebert decrying its “bankruptcy of imagination”. It was followed by nine sequels, the first seven of which featured Bradley reprising his role as Pinhead.
In the early 2010s, Time Out conducted a poll with several authors, directors, actors and critics who have worked within the horror genre to vote for their top horror films: Hellraiser placed at number 80 on their top 100 list.