10 killer metal songs inspired by the Hellraiser movies

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The newest issue of metal hammer features a deep dive into the classic 1987 horror film hellraiser – the figment of the twisted imagination of writer and director Clive Barker and the film that introduced the world to the iconic Pinhead Priest of Hell, played by the incomparable Doug Bradley.

The movie and its countless sequels — including Hulu’s brand new reboot — have influenced countless metal bands over the years to write songs based on this depraved cult classic. Some, like Ministry, simply sampled lines from the films, while others simply borrowed instantly recognizable iconography from the film – notably Motörhead, who donned Doug Bradley in a pin-up suit to appear in the video for their single. . hellraisereven if it has nothing to do with the movie.

But several other bands leaned into Barker’s bloody S&M nightmare, writing songs directly inspired by its lyrics. Here are 10 killer metal tracks that wouldn’t exist without Hellraiser…

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Dimmu Borgir – Hybrid Stigmas (2001)

Dimmu Borgir borrowed an excerpt from hellraiserwhile writing their 2001 track, Hybrid Stigmas. Pinhead’s line, “Demon for some, angel for others” appears as the track’s final lyrics. It’s not the only Hellraiser reference Norwegian symphonic metallers have used on the Puritan Euphoric Misanthropy neither does the album. The artwork features a naked female torso bound with barbed wire in front of a design similar to the ornaments of the Lament Configuration, the musical puzzle box used to summon the Cenobites from their infernal dimension.


Ice Nine Kills – The Box (2021)

Ice Nine Kills wrote The Box for their 2021 album The Silver Scream 2: Welcome to Horrorwood. Horror-centric metalheads were inspired by the Lament Configuration and the torment unleashed when it opened. Lyrics such as ‘Hail Priest of Hell/Master of Sin/Bow to the Needles and Pins’ perfectly captures the tone of the film. There’s even spoken-word narration à la Doug Bradley.


Buried – Hellraiser (1993)

Swedish death metal stalwarts Entombed didn’t just name their track after Hellraiser – they also cut out samples from several key scenes. Sitting at the end of their 1993 Hollowman EP, this muddy track offers snippets from main anti-hero Frank’s grizzly reunion with his lover Julia and Kirsty’s confrontation with the Cenobites. They also used Frank’s signature line, “Jesus cried,” uttered seconds before – spoiler alert! – he is torn.


Stellar Corpses – Hellbound Heart (2018)

Horror-punks Stellar Corpse named their 2018 album and title track after Barker’s original short story, The Hellbound Heart, on which Hellraiser was based. The lyrics are written from the perspective of the Cenobites and paraphrase some of their lines; Some call us angels, others demons, I have so much to show you, and… the borders of pleasure and pain. It’s a fun mix of dark, bloody lyrics and upbeat punk energy.

Anaal Nathrakh – Reassessment of All Values ​​(Tractatus Alogico Misanthropicus) (2004)

Extreme metal has a particular fondness for Hellraiser, and British grindcore duo Anaal Nathrakh are no exception. Reassessing All Values ​​(Tractatus Alogico Misanthropicus) opens with a sample of Frank saying, “Jesus wept”, complete with snapping chains and Kirsty’s shocked crying. It really sets the nihilistic tone to this face-melting track.


Necronomidol – Wailing Setup (2021)

“Kawaii Pinhead core” does not exist, but if it did, this would be it. Japanese idol group Necronomidol mixes high-spirited J-metal with lyrics written from the cenobites’ perspective. Once translated, the track is a treasure trove of deliciously unsettling lyrical gems like, Choke back these tears/Your suffering will be wasted and Your soul is mine/An eternal agony awaits you. It even starts with a music box melody to set the scene.


Fall of the Vatican – Configuration of Lamentations (2020)

Another song referencing the Lament Configuration. Vegas-based deathcore band Vatican Falling upped the dread factor by sampling Kirsty yelling “Go to Hell” as she closes the box and sends the Cenobites back to their own dimension.


Blitzkid – Hellraiser See (2001)

If the Cenobites had their own 80s kids TV show, this would be the theme song. American horror rock band Blitzkid dedicated a track to Hellraiser on their 2001 album Let Flowers Die. Their upbeat pop punk style plays around with lyrics such as “We’ll torture your body to such mythical proportions and if you cheat us, we’ll tear your soul apart”. It’s good, very fun.


Mortician – Hell on Earth (2004)

As far as Hellraiser samples go, Mortician’s track Hell on Earth can’t be beat. The first two minutes are an audio clip of Kirsty’s confrontation with the Cenobites. It culminates in Doug Bradley’s epic line, “We’ll tear your soul apart” before the grindcore duo launch into explosive beats over growled Hellraiser-referencing lyrics such as: “Box of terror/Pain or pleasure/ Open the door/Death and torture.’ They even included an audio clip of Frank’s cover at the end of the track, so there’s really no need to watch the movie at all…

Coil – The Unreleased Themes for Hellraiser (1987)

Clive Barker originally asked industrial/electronic pioneers Coil to write the Hellraiser soundtrack. As a friend and fan of the band, he felt their atmospheric, post-industrial sound would suit the tone. They recorded a demo, but New World Pictures ultimately gave the job to their in-house composer, Christopher Young. Coil chose to release the demo as their fourth album, and it’s every bit as creepy and unbalanced as you’d expect.

Metal Hammer’s brand new issue, featuring a deep dive into the making of the original Hellraiser movie, is out now. Order it online (opens in a new tab) and have it delivered right to your door.

Metal hammer number 367

(Image credit: future)

Metal hammer number 367

(Image credit: future)
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