If all the world's supercomputers were linked together, programmed to analyse each nanosecond of Evil Dead II and Army Of Darkness, and then tasked with extrapolating what a (comparatively) big budget Sam Raimi horror film would look like, Drag Me To Hell is exactly what they would churn out, right before they ascended to artificial sentience and sicced the robo-monkeys on us. It's really not much more than an excuse to slap together as many ludicrous comedy horror skits as humanly possible (including a haunted hanky; a talking killer goat; and an attempt to suck someone to death, and not in the way you think), but then that's exactly what Raimi is good at. The plot is flimsy, the characters non-existent, and the ending disappointingly predictable, especially from a man who gave us "Ash is suddenly in the past!" and "Ash wakes up in a post-apocalypse landscape!", but dammit, Raimi gives us what we want. Well, what I wanted, anyway; C complained that it wasn't a funny film, rather a dull film which happens to contain an awful lot of funny moments. It's difficult to argue with that assessment, but whether or not you care is up to you.
Hellraiser is very much at the opposite end of the scale. There's no chance you could get the supercomputers to spit this one out (and I wouldn't suggest trying, the robotic apocalypse is liable to be bleak enough without the T-101's developing a taste for chains and meat hooks). It might be fun to mock the film as Clive Barker's Clive Barker's Hellraiser by Clive Barker, but in truth it's genuinely impressive to see one man's cheese-dream lunacy given form without smoothing out any of the rough edges. The Cenobites make for fascinating antagonists, all nauseating visuals and otherworldly mystery, and the level of detail involved makes it all the more impressive that they aren't even the main villains. Instead, as in so many of the best horror films, the true evil is all our own doing. The horror film as morality tale idea so... simplistically expressed by Friday the 13th and its ilk raises its head here, but whereas Jason punishes those that have found illicit pleasure, Hellraiser warns against what happens to those who seek it to the exclusion of all else. The Cenobites are the very incarnation of the danger of getting what you wish for. So too is the final fate of Julia; whose all-consuming desire to get more of the best sex ever (first experienced on her wedding dress, with her fiance's brother, the week before tying the knot; classy!) leads her to murder first strangers, then her loving (if somewhat dull) husband, only for the bad boy she fell for to stab her to death. As a theme, it's not the most complex or layered, but it does its job, and does it pretty well.
That's it for this year, then (unless watching Return to House on Haunted Hill and/or Zombie Strippers somehow inspires a post, which seems... unlikely), but I hope everyone will join me for SpaceSquid's Seventh and Final Halloweenapalooza, which may or may not involve me trying to scare myself with finger puppets inside the cardboard box which is now my home.