August 12, 2015

DVD Review: Leviathan: The Story of Hellraiser and Hellraiser II (2015)
Leviathan covers the making of Hellraiser 1 & II in painstaking detail, giving fans nearly 8 hours of interviews from key cast & crew, all of whom recall just what it took to bring these classic films to life. We're not not sure why Clive Barker and Ashely Laurence weren't interviewed for this one, as they are both conspicuous by their absence, but just about everyone else of note is here waxing poetic about their experiences, including our favorite, Doug Bradley.

As great as Leviathan was at times, our main issue with the Doc is that is seemed to wander and drag a bit in places. They didn't use a ton of images or clips to accentuate the interviews, so this Doc is mostly people talking... which is how it's supposed to be, because it's a Documentary. The problem is though that the focus seemed to be off at times, jumping back and forth, and back and forth again between people, covering each "section" of info ad nauseam. At times, it even felt as if the movie had moved on to the next topic, only to go back to a previous one.

With most Docs, what you see on-screen is culled from hours and hours of interviews and footage, with the best and most relevant bits edited into a streamlined presentation. With Leviathan, it honestly felt like the director used every bit of the footage that he shot to make the whole thing longer, in an effort to make it seem more comprehensive and exhaustive. Instead, it ends up being far more exhausting than anything else.

There's a lot of good stuff to be had here, it's just buried in so much repetition and filler that it ends up being too much and too unfocused to fully enjoy.

With its nearly 8 hr. runtime, this Doc would have been much better served by either being heavily trimmed, or to at least have covered the rest of the films in the series as well. For us, the first two Helllraiser movies are obviously the best, but we also like parts 3 & 4, and as long as both parts of this Doc ran, it could have, and maybe even should have, covered all of the films in the series, even if the latter ones were less-than-stellar. In that respect, Leviathan pales in comparison to other, better Horror Docs, like Crystal Lake Memories or Never Sleep Again.

Or in this case, the DVD...

Leviathan is presented in three separate parts, each on its own disc:

  • Disc 1: The Story of Hellraiser is approx. 4 hours 37 minutes
  • Disc 2: The Story of Hellbound is approx. 3 hours 19 minutes
  • Disc 3: Bonus Features is approx. 3 hours
  • Leviathan is a Region Free (0) DVD. It is a UK manufactured import and is set as PAL

Special Features include:

    • Channard: The Mind is a Labyrinth.
    • The Toymaker: Inside the Lament Configuration with Simon Sayce.
    • Hooks, Chains and Cenobites: The Story of Image Animation.
    • Cenobites: In Conversation with Butterball and Chatterer.
    • The Hellraiser Films and their Legacy with Paul Kane.
    • Hellraiser: The Unreleased Themes of Coil with Stephen Thrower.
    • The Hellraiser Legacy with Gary J. Tunnicliffe.
    • Hell on Earth: The Story of Hellraiser III.

    Clocking in at around a whopping 11 hours (including Special Features), Leviathan is a Doc that is tries its best to follow in the footsteps of A+ efforts like Crystal Lake Memories, Never Sleep Again, or More Brains, but falls short. Don't get us wrong, both parts of this movie, and it's bonus features, were a compelling watch, but as huge fans of Hellraiser and all things Clive Barker, we wanted there to be more good stuff, and in a shorter runtime.

    As it stands, this is a Must See for hardcore Hellraiser fans only.


    Leviathan: The Story of Hellraiser and Hellraiser II is available now as an import DVD.

    Ashley Laurence, Imogen Boorman, and Claire Higgins.


    1. Another documentary, which is great to add in my horror documentary collection. Unfortunately, I only have seen the first Hellraiser. I wish somebody would release a complete collection like Friday the 13th. Can I enjoy it while only seen the first one?

      1. Yes, it's still a good Doc to watch.

        They are releasing a Hellraiser Box Set on Blu-ray this fall, but it's in the UK only, so if you have a Region Free Blu-ray player, you can still order one.