HomeHorrorThe ‘Hellraiser’ Franchise Ranked from Worst to First by IMDb

The ‘Hellraiser’ Franchise Ranked from Worst to First by IMDb

Where does your favorite installment land? Read on to find out!

Hellraiser Roger Ebert

What makes the original run of Hellraiser films stand out to me is the steady decline in quality from where the series starts to where it stops. Most franchises have hits and misses along the way. But the Hellraiser canon is one of the few examples I can call to mind where nearly every successive installment seems to get worse (after the second). So, with David Bruckner’s reboot gearing up to premiere on Hulu next month, we are keen to reflect on the series. So, we’ll be ranking the franchise from worst to first by IMDb score. Read on to see where your favorite installment lands! 

Hellraiser: Revelations (2.7)

Hellraiser Revelations will always be remembered as the first sequel without Doug Bradley as the Hell Priest. Revelations was made for a minuscule budget and was produced for the sole purpose of ensuring Dimension maintained the franchise rights. I watched this sequel when it first bowed and I remember being taken with just how rough it is. The flick follows a couple of college buds that unleash Pinhead and pay the price. But the audience pays the ultimate price, which is 75 minutes of their time that can’t be recovered. Revelations is the worst of the series. And with all things considered, I would say the film’s IMDb rating of 2.7 is generous.  

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Hellraiser: Hellworld (4.2)

Hellworld wasn’t a stellar sequel in 2005. But in less than 20 years from its original release, the flick already feels like a time capsule; a relic from a bygone era. The series attempts to take a meta-turn with the introduction of a game called Hellworld, which is based on the Hellraiser films. However, the attempt to modernize the franchise came too late, with the meta-horror boom having already been on its way out by 2005. The film’s sole saving grace may be Lance Henriksen as the host of the Hellworld party that the lead characters attend. At a score of 4.2, Hellworld stands as the series’ second-lowest rated installment.

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Hellraiser: Judgment (4.3)

This 2018 sequel marks an improvement over predecessors, Hellworld and Revelations, which is reflected in its (slightly) higher score of 4.3. But this is not quite the shot in the arm some of us had hoped it might be. The attempt to merge the Hellraiser mythos with a police procedural makes the picture feel like it has an identity crisis. That aside, Paul T. Taylor turns in an impressive showing as Pinhead, managing to step out of Doug Bradley’s shadow and make his mark.  

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Hellraiser: Deader (4.4)

Deader began life as a spec script and was eventually rewritten to incorporate the Hell Priest and his followers. This direct-to-video sequel, which scores a 4.4 from IMDb users, takes the action to Romania and follows an investigative reporter looking into a cult using the Lament Configuration to reanimate the dead. I think the core premise of this flick could have been interesting if Pinhead and company hadn’t been shoehorned in.

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Hellraiser: Hellseeker (4.9)

This sixth outing in the Hellraiser franchise is noteworthy for bringing back final femme, Kirsty Cotton (Ashley Laurence). But even that wasn’t enough to allow the series to course-correct. A score of 4.9 is more than fair for this middle-of-the-road effort. It’s not outright awful but Hellseeker is still a far cry from the heyday of the series. 

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Hellraiser: Bloodline (5.0)

This sequel, which sits at a 5.0 on IMDb, marked the beginning of the end for the franchise. It’s the fourth in the canon and the last to enjoy a theatrical release. The flick is set (partially) in 2127 and takes the action to space. But the narrative also serves as a quasi-prequel that dates back to the origins of the Lament Configuration. The production was plagued by interference from the studio and original director Kevin Yagher even went so far as to take his name off the finished product. 

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Hellraiser: Inferno (5.4)

The series’ fifth installment deserves credit for being better than it has any right to be. With Scott Derrickson (who would eventually go on to helm Sinister) serving as the film’s co-writer and sitting at the helm, this follow-up effort from 2000 pivots the franchise into psychological horror territory, following a corrupt cop as he tangles with the Hell Priest. Many fans count this installment as the best of the direct-to-video sequels. Accordingly, it sits at an IMDb score of 5.4. 

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Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth (5.5)

While this third chapter is better than many of the entries that followed, Hellraiser: Hell on Earth doesn’t quite live up to the brilliance of its predecessors. The acting is a little hammy and some of the best effects sequences occur mere moments into the picture’s runtime. Accordingly, almost everything to come after the opening pales in comparison. In spite of its shortcomings, Hellraiser: Hell on Earth has the third highest IMDb user rating (5.5) of the series.  

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Hellbound: Hellraiser II (6.4)

Tony Randel took over directorial reins from Clive Barker on this follow-up effort. But the series creator’s presence can still be felt here. Barker gets a ‘story by’ credit and even served as an executive producer on this sophomore outing, which currently has a 6.4 IMDb user rating. The narrative sees Kirsty Cotton admitted to a psychiatric facility where she comes to learn that her attending physician has more than a casual interest in the Lament Configuration. The film boasts beautiful set design and solid performances across the board. It also has a dreamlike quality that’s reminiscent of Barker’s original film.  

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Hellraiser (6.9)

Hellraiser is nothing, if not iconic. This bold effort pushed boundaries with copious amounts of sex and nudity, and even dared to riff on S&M culture at a time when sex positivity wasn’t the norm. The flick is unapologetic and uncompromising. And because of that, I’m almost surprised it performed as well as it did at the box office. In so many cases, movies that dare to be different take years to find their audience. But that wasn’t the case with this torrid tale of secret lovers, which scores a 6.9 rating from IMDb users. 

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