31 Days of Wicked Watching [DAY 10]: Hell Hath No Fury like S&M

The latest installment in my daily viewing relies on the supernatural, something that isn’t necessarily a go-to or a favorite of mine in the genre. This film, which is in some ways argued as the greatest horror film to come from the Brits, has never been, nor will it ever be, on the top of my list of films I love. This film, “Hellraiser,”is a sadomasochistic ramp with what is a variation of the devil and his sexually inept followers.

The leather and lace and pain may be something some truly get their rocks off watching, but this film, despite being on my list, leaves me feeling as though I need to watch something like Rainbow Bright when I’m finished, and it isn’t because I’m overtly scared. Could I have ignored this film in my list–certainly. Have I ever attempted to watch a single sequel–no. Will I probably return to this film in a bit of a near future–absolutely not. But is this film considered a classic of the genre-most definitely and thus why it is here and it belongs.

The thing is… the film is disturbing. While it is a great introduction to Barker for his directorial debut, it isn’t my favorite work of his. I’m honestly a Candyman over Pinhead kind of guy. The realness and grittiness of the “Candyman” myth is far superior to the hellish pain that is caused from the Cenobites, Pinhead’s dastardly crew from hell. The blood and guts is relatively unnecessary, but it also is there to enhance the S&M narrative that is underlying the pain and pleasure dichotomy in this film. I also don’t think the acting is much more than a wet rag, but there are certainly others who disagree with my assumption.

While today I play with the puzzle-box, I don’t intend to play again for quite some time. For me, Pinhead can stay and play with someone else, and he certainly can be an established figure in the pantheon of horror hellians, but he can stay far from me. As a canonical work, it can have its due today; but, tomorrow, I will return to leaving it in the scarlet box it belongs.

Published by Patrick R. Johnson

Patrick is a Ph.D. student and graduate instructor in the SJMC. He comes from nearly a decade of teaching high school journalism and English, and an adjunct professor of journalism and media studies at Marquette University (where he received both his bachelor's and master's degrees). He is a former Dow Jones Distinguished National Journalism Teacher of the Year. His research interests include the intersection of news literacy, journalism ethics, journalism studies, and professional boundary work. He also focuses his attention on issues of deviance within the media industry, particularly as it relates to issues of sex and issues resulting in paradigm repair. Patrick is also deeply passionate about teaching and the role of journalism schools in the professionalization of their students. He focuses a lot of his thinking on mass communication and journalism pedagogy and identifying ways for journalism courses to be both rewarding in content and enriching in skill. He currently teaches Journalistic Reporting and Writing in the SJMC and taught a number of courses at Marquette, including Media Ethics, Visual Communication, Magazine Design and Production, Digital Journalism 1-3, Strategic Communication Writing, and the Journalism Capstone course for the department. His work in curriculum, instruction, and educational leadership includes serving as the Journalism Education Association’s Mentor Program Chair, designing curriculum to accompany Pulitzer Prize winning content for the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, reviewing the Praxis national journalism certification exam, and developing a number of courses at the high school and collegiate levels. Patrick served as a 2021 Public Humanities Intern through the Obermann Center where he worked specifically with University Special Collections to develop public-facing exhibits and curriculum materials related to the Tom Brokaw Collection.

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