Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Hollywood Babble On & On #790: Hellraiser: Bastardization

The ninth film in the Hellraiser movie series is set to be released...


Yes, there have already been eight, count'em 8,
Hellraiser movies since British author Clive Barker adapted his novella The Hellbound Heart in 1987. Most don't remember, or acknowledge the series after Hellraiser 3: Hell On Earth, or the time-bending Hellraiser: Bloodline. Since H3, the franchise has been under the control of the Weinstein Brothers and their genre imprint Dimension Picture. Over the years fans who actually bothered to stick with the series have been treated to wildly inconsistencies, in the mythology at the core of the series and in the nature of the only consistently recurring character the entity only credited as "Lead Cenobite" in the first film, who was instantly branded "Pinhead" by fans because he's got pins nailed into his head. He goes from character that is truly alien in nature, who views pleasure and pain as one and the same, to a raging psycho-killer, to an avenging punisher of evil-doers, or all of the above in the same movie.

As the franchise dragged on, the quality and commercial success declined, reaching what many consider a nadir with the film
Hellraiser: Deader, where Pinhead was literally tacked onto another film that was originally supposed to have nothing to do with the titular franchise.

Well, it looks like the franchise, and the tactics of its producer Dimension Films, have decided that after hitting bottom, they should start digging. That digging popped open a particularly nasty pipe of creative sewage with the latest installment
Hellraiser: Bastardization Revelations.

Let's look at the trailer....

Hmmm.... Looks like seven kinds of suck to me. It's got the already boring "found footage"
Blair-Paranormal-Witch-Activity-Project gimmick being used as a way to justify the film's short shooting schedule and $300,000 budget. The characters all look like shrill unlikable douchebags who the audience might get up and ass kick before Pinhead gets to them.

And that's not all. While the series declined the one positive was that it meant regular work for British character actor Doug Bradley, who made a career playing Pinhead. Now even that is gone, and I feel sorry for the poor bastard who has to fill those no doubt leather and steel S&M Cenobite shoes. He looks like a cosplayer dragged from the convention floor and forced to star in the movie, or his DVD collection gets tossed in the fire.

And if you think I'm just being snarky, well, I have some pretty heavy backup in this case. I'm talking about the author, the originator, Clive Barker himself who said on Twitter:

Pretty strong words.

Of course he has good cause that goes beyond just seeing yet another shitty movie being sucked out of his original creation. I think it also has roots in him being screwed over by the Weinstein Brothers.

You see the word is floating around that the only the reason this cheap quick steaming pile was dropped on the world was so the Weinsteins and their Dimension Films could hold onto the movie rights to the
Hellraiser franchise. You see, when it comes to franchises, most contracts have "use it or lose it" deadlines that say that if a film isn't made within a certain amount of time, the movie rights revert to the creators. It's also believable that Weinstein/Dimension made this film to hold onto those rights, because they did it before. One famous example being a quickly made low budget movie loosely associated with the Modesty Blaise comic strip. There was only one reason for them to make the film the way they did, and that was to hold onto the rights, and to keep anyone else from getting them without paying off the Weinsteins big time.

Barker has been trying for years to get a remake of Hellraiser off the ground, only to have Dimension Films and the Weinsteins put the kibosh to every script and filmmaker that they didn't have complete and total control over. The Bros. Weinstein seem to like controlling the franchise over having a franchise that people want to pay money to see, probably in the hope that they can get a major studio to pay them off with cash and movie credits for a big screen revival.

Ironically, I think that stunts like Revelations, cheapen the franchise to such a degree, that it might just be beyond all hope of resuscitation, no matter how you jigger around the Lament Configuration.

It's a form of cinematic damnation, and the sinners don't even know they're closing the gate behind them.


  1. It's not Dimension, it's Dimension X-TREME!

  2. Cracked said it best with hellraiser, HW wants to film your script, but they need to brand it. So they take any generic supernatural thriller or crime script they have on file. Put in Pinhead, the puzzle box have him yammer something EVIL and now it's a HELLRAISER movie dammit.

    "Up until know I thought I was watching a Selena Gomez comedy, now Pin Head shows up."