** Spoilers Ahead **
One of the more underrated horror movies to come out of the 1980s was Hellraiser, a movie about the dangers of extreme sadomasochism and the kind of people who engage in it. It is also about the hazards of marrying an Alpha widow, something that most people overlook when watching the movie.
An Alpha widow, for those who do not know, is simply a woman who has had a sexual relationship with an Alpha man (usually an attractive and borderline psychopathic man) in the past and settles down with a lower-class man for financial support. She still pines for her old fling but also stays married to the fool who thinks the world of her (which she secretly despises).
In the film, we see this dynamic play out with deadly consequences. The film starts with Frank Cotton, a degenerate psychopath, who seeks out a box that will unlock higher levels of pleasure. The box releases the Cenobites, a group of demons who take their subjects to the extreme levels of pleasure and pain. Frank is torn apart and his soul dragged into Hell.
Sometime later, Frank’s brother Rory and his wife Julia move into the house Frank was squatting in (it was their grandmother’s house apparently). Unknown to Rory, Julia had an affair with Frank a week before her marriage to Rory and she still pines for him. This is shown when she finds a bunch of old photos in Frank’s abandoned belongings with his many sexual exploits and she flashes back to their time together.
Rory is the typical beta-male. He has a good job (apparently), good friends, and is an all around nice guy. However, he faints at the sight of blood. He even tells the story of how he fainted in the hospital after cutting himself in the old house (a major plot point). Julia is barely able to contain her contempt for Rory during the entire story and, in fact, ends up back in the attic to relive her memories of Frank instead of listen to Rory prattle on about his weakness.
It is here that she meets Frank, not much more than a rotten corpse, begging for her help. Of course, Julia is all too eager to reconnect with Frank, the man who rocked her world over Rory, the nice guy who can’t stand blood.
And so Julia agrees to murder for Frank. That’s right. Frank gets her to murder a man so he can restore his own body and be with Julia. Three men actually.
And then, after all is said and done, she let’s Frank kill Rory and skin him. At it’s face, Julia has it all now. She has Frank in Rory’s skin and I’m guessing in her mind, she has a man who will now keep her financially secure and rock her world all in one package.
Of course, things don’t work out the way Julia hoped for and ultimately she fails to realize that an Alpha man like Frank (not all Alphas are like Frank, by the way), doesn’t care about anyone but himself.
But I won’t spoil too much of the movie for you. Check it out and apply Game principles. It really is quite a masterpiece.
Future sequels were originally going to feature Julia as the main antagonist, which was hinted at in the second movie, but production instead favored the Hell Priest or Pinhead as he is called by his fans. And what an interesting series of sequels it could have been had Julia been the main villain.