Pinhead and his Cenobites in 'Hellraiser: Deader'
(Dimension Films)

We Ranked the ‘Hellraiser’ Movies, Worst to Best, by the Only Criteria That Makes Sense

Mmm …. you have opened the box … the box set of all the Hellraiser DVDs. Now you shall know the true pleasure in pain. Which of these is the apex of pleasure? I shall rank the Hellraiser films from worst to best … best being the most painful to watch.

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11. Hellraiser

Doug Bradley as Pinhead in 'Hellraiser'
(New World Pictures)

The original Hellraiser is the least of these films … because it is a good movie. It is the film that began the pursuit of pain. The most pleasurable to watch, and therefore the most unworthy of the Cenobites. The plot begins with someone opening a puzzle box releasing transdimensional horror monsters who are excited by the BDSM pleasures of chains and whips. The film is gloriously depraved, but so well written, well crafted, and well shot that it does not create TRUE suffering.

10. Hellbound: Hellraiser 2

A room full of strange pictures in 'Hellbound- Hellraiser II'
(New World Pictures)

The sequel to a great work of horror, Hellbound: Hellraiser 2 shows what happens when people are unable to resist … temptation. Even when that temptation will destroy them. The Lament Configuration puzzle box comes into the possession of a deviant doctor, who soon finds himself gloriously transformed into a Cenobite as the price paid for his meddling. The film dives deeper into the Cenobites’ dimension of horror, which is rendered with chilling detail. Another pleasurable film to watch. An audience favorite. It is not something to suffer through like the films lower in the pits of this list.

9. Hellraiser (2022)

the new pinhead in Hellraiser (2022)
(Hulu)

Mmmmmm … corrrrrrrupting a new generation, are we? The 2022 Hellraiser reboot is one of the few modern reboots done right, and therefore it is done wrong. It is a good film, and therefore pleasurable to watch. It will not cause the eyes pain and the soul anguish with bad plotting or shoddy special effects. Pity. Sense8′s Jamie Clayton stars as the new Pinhead and plays the part with appallingly sophisticated aplomb. Dazzling. Devious. Imaginative. It’s everything missing from lesser Hollywood remakes of this day and age. But where audience suffering is concerned … lesser is more-er.

8. Hellraiser: Bloodline

Pinhead holding the Lament Configuration in Hellraiser- Bloodline
(Miramax Films)

A convoluted sci-fi plot? Absurd time-jumping circumstances? An original director who removed his name from the project? NOW we’re getting somewhere. Hellraiser: Bloodline is not a sleek work of cinematic horror. It is a glorious mess. The plot begins on a space station in 2127, where a descendant of the original creator of the puzzle box lays a trap to destroy Pinhead once and for all. The story then jumps to the 19th and 20th centuries, following the ancestors of familiar characters. It’s confusing—so confusing that much of the film had to be reshot. And I’m sure that process was agony for all involved. Delicious.

7. Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth

Pinhead in Hellraiser III- Hell on Earth
(Miramax Films)

Ohhhhhh … yes. If the first and second films were akin to the glorious ascent of Icarus, Hellraiser III is the beginning of the fall. The franchise had become too GOOD for its own good, and it was soon to be victimized by its own success. Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth seats Pinhead in the spotlight, turning the character from a shadowy creature of terror to an all-too-familiar face. After all, the monster ceases to be scary when you show it too often. Then it simply becomes boring. And what greater pain is there in this world than being BORED during a movie? Oh exquisite suffering!

6. Hellraiser: Deader

Pinhead and his Cenobites in 'Hellraiser: Deader'
(Dimension Films)

What’s that? Straight to DVD, you say? Oh what a delectable phrase. When a film is refused a theatrical release, one knows to expect true suffering when watching it. Hellraiser: Deader is the best of the worst of the straight-to-DVD franchise films, meaning that there are even worse films yet to come. The film’s plot concerning an investigative reporter uncovering the workings of a murderous cult is serviceably well crafted, with genuinely frightening body horror sequences at the film’s finale. While not nearly as well produced as previous films, it won’t make you tear your eyes out. What a shame. Wasted potential.

5. Hellraiser: Revelations

Hellraiser Revelations
(Dimension Extreme)

Now it begins. TRUE suffering. Hellraiser: Revelations is a cheap film—indeed, one of the most low-budget entries on this entire list. You know what happens when movie budgets fall low, don’t you? Things get BAD. Hehehehehe SO baaaaaad! How bad? Pinhead’s original actor Doug Bradley did not return for the film, causing them to fill the role with a lesser actor who lacks the dark charisma of Bradley himself. It feels like an imitation of a Hellraiser film. You’ll wonder why you choose to suffer through it instead of enjoying the original. Your masochistic act will go fittingly unrewarded.

4. Hellraiser: Inferno

Hellraiser- Inferno (2000)
(Miramax/Dimension Films)

Straight to video! Mmmm, say it again! I never grow tired of the phrase! It causes my skin to crawl so deliciously! I imagine nothing but poor plotting and bad acting, and Hellraiser: Inferno defies even my imagination! Craig Sheffer chews the scenery as a corrupt cop hunting for a deranged killer, with performances so overwrought it’s hard not to give a chuckle and a sigh! And what could be worse? A MORAL at the end of the film. Pinhead appears in the final act to deliver platitudes that make Inferno feel more like a second-rate children’s story! Oh how glorious to suffer through!

3. Hellraiser: Hellseeker

Hellraiser- Hellseeker (2002)
(Dimension Films)

Hellseeker delivers the most devious of movie sins! A totally rehashed plot! It’s essentially the same film as Inferno starring different meatsuits! The story? A morally challenged man attempts to solve a murder mystery! It’s Inferno all over again! What’s worse than suffering through a bad movie? Doing it twice. The film’s only saving grace (and therefore fatal flaw) is its choice to feature the character Kirsty Cotton from the original films. But then it saves itself by killing her off in the first few minutes of the film! How delectably unsatisfying.

2. Hellraiser: Judgment

Hellraiser - Judgment
(Lionsgate Home Entertainment)

Mmmmm what’s this? A rehashed plot about a cop hunting for a serial killer? We’ve all suffered through THAT before. Time to suffering through it again! And oh oh! The wonderfully weird world of the Cenobites from the original Hellraiser has been reduced to nothing but a half-assed metaphor for Catholicism? Even BETTER. I just LOVE watching original ideas become diluted into horror cliché! It’s so difficult to watch. Watching Hellraiser: Judgement is a glorious exercise in ocular masochism. You’ll BEG the Cenobites to tear you apart after the first 20 minutes!

1. Hellraiser: Hellworld

Hellraiser- Hellworld
(Dimension Films)

Ooooooo YESSSSSSS. The WORST of the worst! The nadir! The pits of cinematic hell! Hellraiser: Hellworld is a root canal of a film! And therefore it is the HEIGHT of masochistic pleasure! What is the plot? Oh how it HURTS me to write! Hellworld takes place in the real world, where the Cenobites are reduced to pop culture figures that appear in a popular video game called “Hellworld,” and a horny group of gamers is invited to a Halloween mansion party to compete for a cash prize! It’s nothing but a cheesy slasher film where young people are picked off one by one! Unoriginal! Uninspired! A visual slog. To watch Hellworld is to know the true meaning of suffering! A viewer doesn’t even NEED a visitation from the Cenobites; there’s no greater torture in this world or the next!


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Author
Jack Doyle
Jack Doyle (they/them) is actually nine choirs of biblically accurate angels crammed into one pair of $10 overalls. They have been writing articles for nerds on the internet for less than a year now. They really like anime. Like... REALLY like it. Like you know those annoying little kids that will only eat hotdogs and chicken fingers? They're like that... but with anime. It's starting to get sad.