WSR Detailed LaserDisc Review


Reviewed In Issue 21 Of Widescreen Review® Stars:
Clare Higgins, Sean Chapman, Doug Bradley, Ashley Lawrence.

WSR Review Scores
Picture Rating: 2.5
Sound Rating: 3.5
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Reference Systems
Critics' Composite Score:
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Lumivision has released two editions of Hellraiser, one a boxed Deluxe Collector’s Edition containing the movie plus extensive supplemental material, the other a movie-only widescreen edition. The company has issued only 5,000 copies, 2,500 autographed by Clive Barker identified by the catalog number LVD9536. The other 2,500 issues are identified by the catalog number LVD9546. Every disc is individually numbered from 1 to 2,500. The Deluxe Collector’s Edition is packaged in an attractive bold black box and features a gatefold jacket for the CLV and CAV discs and a softbound reproduction of Clive Barker’s complete screenplay along with sketches by Barker, done in 1986. The second side of the CLV feature contains an interesting collection of domestic and international trailers, and TV spot trailers. The single-side CAV disc contains a featurette which includes interviews with writer/director Barker and the actors. There are also scenes from the original and other storyboard designs, a complete early draft of the screenplay including scenes never filmed, and an extensive still frame archive of behind-the-scenes, special effects, make-up and promotional photos and artwork. Barker’s running commentary appears on one of the analog tracks.

DVD General Information
(Studio/Distributor): Lumivision
(Catalog Number): LVD9546
(MPAA Rating): R
(Retail Price): $99.95
(Running Time In Minutes): 94
(Color Type): Color
(Chaptered/Scene Access): Yes
(Closed Captioned): Yes
(Theatrical Release): 1986
(LD Release Date): 6/1/96
(THX® Digitally Mastered): No

Credits Information
(Director): Clive Barker
(Screenplay/Written By): Clive Barker
(Story): NA
(Music): Christopher Young
(Director Of Photography):
(Production Designer): Mike Buchanan
(Visual Effects): NA
(Costume Designer): Joanna Johnston & Jane Wildgoose
(Editor): Richard Marden
(Supervising Sound Editors): NA
(Re-Recording Mixers):
(Executive Producers): David Saunders, Christopher Webster & Mark Armstrong
(Co-Producers): NA
(Producers): Christopher Figg

DVD Picture Information
(Principal Photography): Academy Standard Flat
(Theatrical Aspect Ratio): 1.85:1
(Measured LaserDisc Aspect Ratio): 1.85:1

DVD Sound Information
(DVD Soundtrack): Dolby Surround
(Theatrical Sound): Dolby Stereo A
(Theatrical Re-Issue Soundtrack):
(Remastered Dolby Digital):
(Remastered DTS Digital Surround):
(Additional Languages):

WSR Narrative Review
Story Synopsis:
Hellraiser is a horror lover’s “hideous treat.” By using a mysterious Chinese puzzle box called the Lament Configuration, Frank Cotton’s curiosity raises the hellish and infamous Pinhead (Bradley) and his Cenobites—servants of the Lament Configuration. Frank escapes the Cenobites by feasting on bloodshed in the house that his brother Larry (Robinson) and his wife Julia (Higgins) moved in to. But when Kirsty (Laurence), Frank’s niece, gets possession of the box, she leads the Cenobites to their escaped prisoner, before they decide to take her instead.

LaserDisc Picture:
The picture is matted at 1.85:1. Color fidelity, fleshtones and sharpness are inconsistent scene to scene, and the picture is out-of-focus exhibiting soft images. Colors are undersaturated and noise is apparent throughout resulting unfortunately, in a mediocre visual experience at best.

LaserDisc Soundtrack:
Both editions share the same picture transfer, but there are differences in the soundtracks. The soundtrack is nicely produced but hiss is apparent throughout, less on the collector’s edition where the overall timbre is slightly brighter. Bass extension and power is excellent on both editions, but slightly more pronounced on the regular edition, which is preferred due to its stouter low frequency response. Dialogue, while a touch thin and wanting in fidelity, is rendered with excellent spatial integration. And the music score provides effective subtle surround envelopment. Sound effects are often aggressively directionalized and mixed into the surrounds, delivering a creepy sensation that perfectly complements the mood. The sound design is a well executed experience.
(Surround Bass Below 50Hz):
(Aggressive System Surround):
(Intense 25Hz Bass):
(Deep Bass Challenging):
(Aggressive 0.1 LFE):
(Holosonic Soundfield):
(Aggressive Split Surround):
(Center Back Surround Imaging):
(Directionalized Dialogue):
Superb Sound Effects Recording Quality:
Superb Music Score Recording Quality:
Superb Special Visual Effects Quality:
Superb Color Fidelity:
Superb Cinematography:
Reference LaserDisc:
Collector Edition: