After 35 years and 10 films, Hellraiser has finally received a reboot. The new movie stars actress Jamie Clayton as the infamous and iconic Pinhead. In the film series, a puzzle box, often referred to as the Lament Configuration, can be shifted into new shapes…acting as a key to opening up a gateway to hell.
Once summoned by the puzzle box, a group of interdimensional beings known as the Cenobites arrive, bringing pleasure, pain, and often death. To these beings, pleasure and pain are intertwined. Since they live in a realm beyond life and death, they respond simply to physical sensations, unable to separate the good from the bad.
After watching the new film, horror fans will likely want to keep the scares coming, and one of the best ways to do that is with a great game. Because games are immersive and interactive, they can sometimes be even scarier than movies. So, if you liked Hellraiser, here are five games you need to check out.
In Agony, players wake up as a lost soul trapped in Hell. It’s a natural choice for fans of Hellraiser since the film series also explores the tortures of the netherworld. Both Hellraiser and Agony also feature tons of body horror. In the films, the Cenobites often hook their victims, stretching them out like a morbid form of body suspension…until the person is completely torn apart. In Agony, Hell is presented as a cavernous lair with walls made of burnt flesh, bones, and exposed muscle. Blood seeps from virtually every corner of the game. Many of the characters in Agony even look like they came straight out of Hellraiser (the game’s Red Goddess could easily be mistaken for a Cenobite).
However, Agony is a bit controversial. First of all, it was a critical and commercial disaster. The game was panned upon release for feeling tedious and lacking much to do…though it has gone on to find a cult following in the years since its release. It’s also controversial because it was originally rated AO (Adults Only), one of the very few games ever to receive the rating. To get the game down to an M rating, the creators had to remove some scenes of demonic sex, nudity, and gore. But don’t worry, a lot still made it into the final product. Plus, an uncut version can be downloaded for PC, giving gamers the full AO experience (which fans of Hellraiser will probably prefer).
Alien: Isolation is another game that feels and looks similar to Hellraiser, and the reason is obvious. Both franchises were born from blending horror with sexualization. For Hellraiser, writer and director Clive Barker has openly stated in interviews that his time in the BDSM scene inspired the story. The leather and latex outfits, exposed flesh, and the Cenobite’s obsession with feeling physical stimuli – even if it brings pain – were all aspects pulled straight from the fetish scene.
Alien: Isolation is also considered one of the scariest games ever made, forcing players to run and hide from a xenomorph who is stalking and killing survivors trapped on a failing space station that’s descended into chaos. Adding to the terror is that there’s no way to kill the alien in the game. Instead, players are forced to run, hide, and evade until the very end.
The xenomorph in Alien was born from a similar combination. Designed by H.R. Giger, who called his art style “biomechanical,” the xenomorph was inspired by Giger’s obsession with blending bodies with machines. Is it a vein or a tube? A heart or a battery? And has anyone ever noticed that the alien’s head looks surprisingly like an erect body part? Giger loved creating sexualized and terrifying images, often depicting nude bodies that were part machine or hooked up to a larger structure.
Clive Barker even wrote the introduction to one of Giger’s books of art, the Necronomicon, so there’s a good chance that Giger’s work is not only similar to Barker’s, but actually helped inspire Barker and even Hellraiser to some degree.
Oddly enough, Hellraiser almost became a video game quite a few times, but every attempt ended up falling through the cracks. So, for any fan wanting the closest thing to a Hellraiser game they can get, they need to check out Dead by Daylight. In this 4 v 1 game, one player takes the role of the killer and the others must fight for survival and try to escape.
The game has also become famous for including horror icons like Pinhead, the lead Cenobite. The Hellraiser DLC allows you to play as Pinhead himself, who comes with his own special attacks that use hooks and chains, and even the Lament Configuration. While it doesn’t provide a true Hellraiser gaming experience, it’s still incredibly fun and is the closest we have so far.
For gamers who are wanting more of Barker’s trademark mix of horror and gothic fantasy, they should revisit his 2001 PC game, Clive Barker’s Undying. In the game, players take on the role of Patrick Galloway, who is called to a coastal estate by his friend, Jeremiah Covenant. Jeremiah claims that supernatural entities have taken control of his home, but it turns out the paranormal beings are actually Jeremiah’s siblings, who have all been reanimated by a curse and turned into beings of pure evil. Before long, players are transported into a hellish realm where they must fight to end the curse and save their friend and his family.
For an older game, Clive Barker’s Undying actually has a pretty solid creepy ambiance. As long as you’re OK with the game’s dated appearance, it can be really enjoyable thanks to its great story that was written by the horror legend himself.
For fans of the blood, gore, and mutilation of Hellraiser, Outlast is the perfect game. The story centers around a journalist who investigates a dilapidated insane asylum. Inside, absolute mayhem has erupted. Patients and doctors have become murderers, many with wounds so severe they shouldn’t be alive. Things get even worse when gamers learn that insanity isn’t the only danger in the hospital…there’s also a malicious entity, The Walrider, killing people one by one.
Just like Alien: Isolation, the game is regularly hailed as one of the scariest games ever made, forcing players to navigate pitch-black hallways while the sounds of footsteps can be heard around every corner. It’s incredibly (and almost unbearably) suspenseful at times and a lurking sense of dread runs throughout the entire game.
Hellraiser fans will also notice and appreciate the way Outlast uses and subverts concepts of religion. Barker often incorporated religion into his works, including Hellraiser. The film asked “What is Hell?” and that iconic “Jesus wept” line still lives on as one of the most memorable in the entire movie. Outlast also subverts religion, using it as a plot device to add depth and questions to the story, while also alluding to a much deeper danger.
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