There are a lot of horror film franchises that have let me down. Scream, Friday the Thirteenth, Nightmare on Elm Street; They have all devolved into pointless, mindless and, to be frank, stupid repetitions of the same old song and dance. There was one franchise that disappoints more than any other and that’s the Hellraiser series.
I have watched all nine movies, all the way through, and if ever there was a squandered and lost opportunity, it would be Hellraiser. While Friday the Thirteenth was always doomed to be nothing more than simple series of slashings, Hellraiser showed far more promise. For the few people who read my blog and have not seen this movie, it’s about a puzzle box that opens a gateway to a dimension of extreme please and pain. It is governed by demons/angels/crazy dudes in bondage gear called The Cenobites and they attract the truly depraved.
Over the course of the series, they managed to do a lot of things with the material. It wasn’t always the same, tired story retreaded and rewritten. They’ve done period pieces and futuristic visions of a dark future and even a noir of sorts. But it’s always felt lackluster and done with the bare minimum of funds. There is a potential for truly interesting storytelling and creepy and frightening visuals, but after the first two films, they stop dipping so deeply in the well and rely on tried and true methods.
And then it ends up with the last two movies which were so awful that I don’t even want to talk about them. Hellraiser: Hellworld turns Pinhead into just another slasher and Hellraiser: Revelations basically remakes the first movie but with poorly written and unlikable characters, a profoundly pointless plot and a mean spirited darkness that I’m sure the screenwriter thought was edginess and grit.
It’s a series that held so much potential and you can even see where they tried to maximize that potential; but the lacked the time, the funds or the ability to make it a reality. And, by the end, they ended up being as bad and, it pains me to say this, creatively worse than Jason X.
I want a remake, but one made with Clive Barker guiding it. Maybe Guillermo del Torro directing. That’s what I want. Until then, I don’t think we’ve seen what Pinhead is truly capable of.