My first films based on Barker's work were Rawhead Rex and Nightbreed and I'd read those stories and the Thief of Always. So by the time I sat down to watch Hellraiser, I was already a fan of Barker. The Hellraiser and Nightbreed comics from Epic were also highly sought after items for me.
My expectations were quite high for Hellraiser and I went into the first one with almost no info. To say
Hellbound was a film I re-rented often. I loved it's epic nature and how it stood out from other horror films. I didn't return to the first Hellraiser as often, because at the time it just disturbed me too much. I think it still has the power to disturb the uninitiated, but I'm jaded enough now, that I can enjoy it on a technical level. The rebirth of Frank is one of my favorite sequences in horror.
After Hellraiser, much of my art was colored by Barker's influence, even as my disillusion with horror films started to build through the 90's. The image of the four original Cenobites, Pinhead, Female, Butterball, and Chatterer is so iconic and unparalleled. Barker raised the bar for horror artists. With Hellraiser, Nightbreed, and Rawhead Rex crossing over in the comics and creating a big shared universe, Barker had created a mythos as exciting as Lovecraft's Cthulu mythos.
When I had the chance to see Part 4, Bloodlines, I was less than excited after 3. I sat in my car at the drive in for the double feature with Tales From The Crypt; Bordello Of Blood. Which sucked.
Even though there have been five more Hellraiser films and part 4 didn't let me down, I haven't had any interest in seeing them until now. I went back to the original two and 4. There is no reason to retry 3. So this weekend I'm watching Part 5 Inferno and will continue through Revelations where we'll pick up MHHABM Part 43; Hellraiser 5-Revelations.
In the mean time, keep watching the sky, nerds. And leave those puzzle boxes alone!
Here's the only good thing from Part 3, Motorhead "Hellraiser"