How to watch the Hellraiser movies in order

Doug Bradley as PinheadEntertainment Film Distributors

We have such sights to show you: this is your guide to watching the Hellraiser movies in order, whether you want to enjoy its greater pleasures in release order or binge it in chronological order.

Hellraiser is a franchise known by all – if only truly enjoyed by the few. Pinhead, first brought to life by Doug Bradley in the original 1987 film, is an iconic horror figure – he’s even one of the killers you can play in Dead by Daylight.

However, it’s easy to forget how wacky and taboo the first movie was compared to the later, generic slasher nonsense that saw it fade further into bargain bin obscurity. Even then, the legacy of the series has prevailed.

Soon, Hellraiser will return with a new reboot, starring Jamie Clayton as the feared Cenobite. So, in preparation, here’s how you can watch all of the Hellraiser movies in order, whether it’s by order of release or chronological order.

Doug Bradley as HellraiserEntertainment Film Distributors
Doug Bradley as the original Pinhead.

Hellraiser movies in release order

As always, watching a franchise in release order is always the most straightforward – and let’s be honest, the best – way to go. While they vastly vary in quality, here’s how to watch the Hellraiser movies in release order:

  • Hellraiser (1987)
  • Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988)
  • Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth (1992)
  • Hellraiser IV: Bloodline (1996)
  • Hellraiser: Inferno (2000)
  • Hellraiser: Hellseeker (2002)
  • Hellraiser: Deader (2005)
  • Hellraiser: Hellworld (2005)
  • Hellraiser: Revelations (2011)
  • Hellraiser: Judgment (2018)
  • Hellraiser (2022)

The upcoming Hellraiser reboot is believed to take place outside the previous canon, and it’s due for release on Hulu on October 7, 2022. You can find out more about it here.

Hellraiser movies in chronological order

Unlike the Saw franchise, which hops, skips, and jumps all over its timeline with flashbacks and whatnot, watching Hellraiser in chronological order is almost the same as release order – almost, being the key word.

We’ll break it down in more detail for you, but first, here’s the chronological order list:

  • Hellraiser (1987)
  • Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988)
  • Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth (1992)
  • Hellraiser IV: Bloodline (1996)
  • Hellraiser: Hellseeker (2002)
  • Hellraiser: Inferno (2000)
  • Hellraiser: Deader (2005)
  • Hellraiser: Hellworld (2005)
  • Hellraiser: Revelations (2011)
  • Hellraiser: Judgment (2018)
  • Hellraiser (2022)

Spoiler warning for the Hellraiser franchise, obviously…

Hellraiser (1987)

Pinhead in the original HellraiserEntertainment Film Distributors

In the first Hellraiser, directed by Clive Barker himself, Frank (Sean Chapman) buys a mysterious puzzle box, which opens an otherwordly portal and summons the Cenobites, led by Pinhead (Doug Bradley).

Soon after, his brother Larry (Andrew Robinson) and wife Julia (Clare Higgins) move into an old family house, where Julia finds a monstrous, fleshy version of Frank. Meanwhile, Larry’s daughter Kirsty (Ashley Laurence) stumbles on their murderous mission – and the same puzzle box, and things get rather messy.

Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988)

A still of the Channard CenobiteNew World Pictures

Laurence returns as Kirsty in the second movie, who’s since been committed to a psychiatric hospital following the events of the first film.

However, the occult-obsessed head doctor (Kenneth Cranham) not only summons the Cenobites once more, but also resurrects Julia – and we’re introduced to the Leviathan, the “god of flesh, hunger, and desire…the Lord of the Labyrinth.”

Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth (1992)

Doug Bradley as PinheadMiramax Films

Hellraiser 3 marks the initial transformation of Pinhead into a more ordinary slasher villain. After being imprisoned in a statue in the second film, he manages to resurrect himself, convert some teens into Cenobites and goes on a rampage at a nightclub.

Laurence appears as Kirsty via a VHS cameo, explaining how the puzzle box can send Pinhead back to Hell. Worth watching, if only for the best Cenobite: CD.

Hellraiser IV: Bloodline (1996)

Doug Bradley as Pinhead in Hellraiser 4Miramax Films

Bloodline is the last Hellraiser film to receive a theatrical release. It’s considered a prequel and a sequel, chronicling the Lament Configuration’s origins in 17th Century France and fast-forwarding to 2127 at one point.

It doesn’t feature any of the previous characters bar the Cenobites, but it’s still a direct continuation of the earlier films.

Hellraiser: Hellseeker (2002)

Ashley Laurence as Kirsty in Hellraiser HellseekerMiramax Films

This is the one deviation from the release order: if you’re sticking to Hellraiser movies in chronological order, you should really watch Hellseeker before Inferno, as it features the final appearance of Laurence as Kirsty.

It barely cites any of the events Kirsty endured in the first two movies, but it revolves around a car crash with her and her husband Trevor (Dean Winters), and how the aftermath directly involves a deal between Kirsty and Pinhead, after all these years. It’s pretty hokey, but the plot is solid (on paper) and this was also the last time Barker had any input prior to the reboot.

Hellraiser: Inferno (2000)

Doug Bradley as Pinhead in Hellraiser InfernoDimension Home Video

Now we’re in the dark age of Hellraiser. With the exception of the reboot, which hasn’t been released yet so it can’t be judged, the other movies basically serve as standalone stories forced under the Hellraiser banner so the studio could retain the rights.

However, it is directed by Sinister and The Black Phone’s Scott Derrickson, and plays out more like a psychological horror. It follows a detective who finds the puzzle box at a crime scene, and he ends up in Hell.

Hellraiser: Deader (2005)

A still from Hellraiser DeaderMiramax Films

Deader came right in the middle of the Rick Bota straight-to-video era of Hellraiser movies. It follows Amy (Kari Wuhrer), an investigative reporter on the trail of the “Deaders”, who – of course – are in possession of the Lament Configuration. Even for Hellraiser, this one is pretty bleak.

Hellraiser: Hellworld (2005)

Doug Bradley as PinheadMiramax Films

Hellworld is notable as it marks the final performance from Doug Bradley as Pinhead. It also has the most glorious 2005 plot you can imagine.

This time, we follow a group of youths who play Hellword, a video game based on the Hellraiser series, after one of their friends becomes so obsessed that he kills himself so he can give his soul to the Cenobites. Like others, this wasn’t planned as a Hellraiser movie, but it became one anyway.

Hellraiser: Revelations (2011)

Stephan Smith Collins as PinheadDimension Extreme

In Revelations, two friends find the Lament Configuration, open it, and become the plaything of Pinhead (played by Stephan Smith Collins) and his Cenobites.

This is the most extreme example of Dimension scrambling to retain the Hellraiser rights, with Revelations produced in mere weeks, screened in a single theater, and dumped on DVD.

Hellraiser: Judgment (2018)

Paul T. Taylor as PinheadLionsgate Films

It’s crazy to think the last Hellraiser movie was as recent as four years ago. However, Judgment is easily the strongest of the direct-to-DVD entries in the series.

It follows two detectives trying to track a serial killer terrorizing the city, while Pinhead (played by Paul T. Taylor) contends with advancing technology that’s making the Cenobites’ methods more difficult. Don’t expect glossy production values, but the story broadens the lore in a surprising way.

Hellraiser (2022)

The Hellraiser reboot, directed by The Night House’s David Bruckner, follows “a young woman struggling with addiction comes into possession of an ancient puzzle box, unaware that its purpose is to summon the Cenobites, a group of sadistic supernatural beings from another dimension.”

According to Clive Barker, who’s returned to the franchise as a producer, it will “pay homage” to the original while having never-before-seen scale. It will also mark the debut of Jamie Clayton as Pinhead.

“Having seen some of the designs from David Bruckner’s new Hellraiser film, they pay homage to what the first film created, but then take it to places it’s never been before,” he said, as per Variety.

For more about the Hellraiser reboot, click here.

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