A movie reboot of the Hellraiser franchise finally seems to have some forward momentum, but one has been in development for over a decade. As iconic a horror villain as Pinhead is, the overall franchise he’s starred in has had way more downs than ups. Writer/director Clive Barker’s original Hellraiser film is considered a timeless classic by most fans, and some consider Hellbound: Hellraiser 2 to be one of the most satisfying horror sequels ever made. After that though, it’s largely downhill.
Hellraiser 3: Hell on Earth is decent enough, but it pales in comparison to the first two, and turns Pinhead into a Freddy Krueger-esque comedian. Hellraiser: Bloodline is widely disliked, and its own director disowned it. Hellraiser: Inferno, directed by a pre-Doctor Strange Scott Derrickson, was a sizeable uptick from Bloodline, but Hellseeker was ok at best. Deader and Hellworld, the final two entries to feature Doug Bradley as Pinhead, were both pretty terrible, despite the presence of a young Henry Cavill in Hellworld.
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In the years since Deader and Hellworld, Hellraiser fans received the absolutely dreadful Hellraiser: Revelations and the only slightly better Hellraiser: Judgment, all so Dimension Films could retain control of the franchise. Pinhead is way overdue for a film worthy of his grandeur, and in 2019, a theatrical reboot was announced. Yet, that’s far from the first time that’s happened.
Why The Hellraiser Reboot Has Been Taking So Long To Make
In fall 2006, Clive Barker himself revealed that he would be returning to write a Hellraiser remake for Dimension Films. By 2007, French directing duo Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo (Inside) were brought on to helm the project. By 2008, they had exited over creative differences with Dimension’s then-boss Bob Weinstein. Fellow French filmmaker Pascal Laugier (Martyrs) was then hired to direct, but eventually ended up booted off the project as well, also due to creative differences with Weinstein.
All three directors clashed with Weinstein’s vision for a new Hellraiser, which involved the remake having more mainstream appeal and being attractive to a teen audience. Meanwhile, the filmmakers, who admired Barker’s original, balked at this idea, and crafted scripts more in tune with the tone of that film and Barker’s work in general. This thread of creative battles continued in 2010, when director Patrick Lussier and writer Todd Farmer were hired, after having made a hit with 2009’s My Bloody Valentine remake.
Their idea was to reboot the franchise, as they didn’t want to try and directly redo Barker’s film. Again, Weinstein insisted on a more mainstream movie, and even wanted a PG-13 rating, which is an insane expectation for Hellraiser, one of the goriest franchises in horror history. By 2011, Lussier and Farmer were fired. In 2013, Barker himself reentered the picture, saying he’d made a deal to write the script and that Doug Bradley was returning. By 2017 though, Barker revealed no progress had been made. The common thread was, again, producer Bob Weinstein, who appears to be almost single-handedly responsible for all these projects falling through. Thankfully, Dimension Films finally seems to be out of the picture thanks to Harvey Weinstein’s downfall, with Spyglass Media Group producing this latest attempt at a reboot/remake. Hopefully the fifth time ends up being the charm.
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