Pinheads and Candymen: All Clive Barker Movies Ranked

hellraiser

Last week was the 25th anniversary of Candyman, and one horrendous physical effect aside, it still holds up beautifully today. Key among of strengths is a trait shared through almost all of the fiction written by horror author Clive Barker and the films that bring his work to the screen – a wicked, dark, and endless imagination.

From the earliest of his features in 1985 to the latest in 2009, they’ve run the gamut from instantly forgettable to instant classic, and while the stories are varied, that common thread between them remains. He creates worlds both gorgeous and grotesque, sometimes on the same page or frame. Ideally, he’ll soon see an adaptation resurgence similar to the one Stephen King is currently enjoying.

Until then, though, there are nine legitimate Clive Barker movies that are based on his work or feature his direct involvement, not counting sequels, shorts, and outliers. (Quicksilver Highway is an anthology only partially based on his work, The Plague sees him attached only as a producer, and Saint Sinner borrows the name from one of his comics but uses nothing from the plot.) So while we daydream a Hulu series based on The Great and Secret Show, a Guillermo del Toro adaptation of the brilliant “In the Hills, the Cities,” or Barker’s overdue return to the director’s chair with a face-off between Pinhead and Harry D’Amour in The Scarlet Gospels, these are the movies we’re left with… So why not rank them?

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The Best Movie Monsters You’ve Never Seen

alien covenant

(Welcome to The Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, a series that takes a look at slightly more obscure, under-the-radar, or simply under-appreciated movies. In this edition: some of the best movie monsters you may have missed!)

Ridley Scott has a new movie hitting theaters this week, and for those of us who love his 1979 sci-fi/horror classic Alien, that news is improved further by the knowledge that his latest is a new entry in the franchise. Of course, 2012’s Prometheus fit that very same bill, and we all know how that turned out. (Not terribly if you ask me, but let’s stay focused here.) Alien: Covenant may end up featuring equally stupid human characters, but judging by the trailers, it’s made at least one important improvement. It’s bringing back the fast-moving, wickedly dangerous, and endlessly terrifying xenomorphs (in some form or another) to wreak bloody havoc.

Through the franchise’s ups and downs the aliens themselves have remained some of the most beautifully nightmarish monsters to ever grace the screen, and if we’re being honest, few others come even close to comparing in the area of horrifyingly effective design. Still though, there’s no shortage of memorable movie monsters from the Graboids in Tremors and the river monster in The Host to the creepy subterranean killers in The Descent and the alien monstrosities of John Carpenter’s The Thing. These and others made the cut earlier this year right here on this very site.

But what of the frightening creatures in movies that maybe didn’t find a spot on that list or any other? The seven movies below aren’t nearly as well known, and they’re not all great necessarily (although I’d go to the mat for half of them), but the common thread between them is in the design and presentation of their monsters. Some are terrifying, some are fun, and others are darkly beautiful, but all of them deserve to be seen by more eyeballs.

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