Hellraiser, the first in a series of tales about a hellish Pandora's box, added significantly to this legacy by creating a female lead who, although she does her share of horrified screaming and running, survives to the end of the film through wit and determination. Although most slasher films have been dismissed because of their reputation for exploiting and mutilating the female body and psyche, Hellraiser was one of the slasher films of the 1980s where the female lead in danger of being harmed and mutilated, was able to defend and fight for herself, so defeating the monstrous "other" and empowering herself and other women (Trenscansky 64).
Because of the iconographic nature of horror films and the interrelationship of symbol and character, theme, content and style are difficult to discuss independently of one another. In many cases, the style determines the content and helps outline the theme or themes within a movie (Giannetti 291). The most basic element in any horror film is, of course, the presence of evil. Norden contends that it is the pursuit of understanding the nature of evil that makes horror so particularly evocative for American audiences. These films are produced in such a way as to "elicit responses both emotional and intellectual" (Norden 51). For any fi