Attack of the Franchise Sequels: Hellraiser VII: Deader

Hellraiser VII: Deader began life as a spec script called Deader, from screenwriter Neal Marshall Stevens, purchased by Miramax when every production company in Hollywood was still looking for the next Seven. Like with the two previous films in the Hellraiser series, the script was reworked into a Hellraiser movie, by adding the iconic puzzle box and Pinhead (Doug Bradley, as always) to scenes here and there. It’s rarely a good sign when it is obvious to viewers that a movie is a rework. Miramax, the company that owns Hellraiser, has been a poor steward for the property, shunting it off to direct-to-video releases utilizing reworked red-headed stepchild screenplays and miniscule budgets. All atmosphere and nuance from the first film have been totally excised, leaving the series anonymous and dull. What a shame. Continue readingAttack of the Franchise Sequels: Hellraiser VII: Deader”

October Horrorshow: Color Out of Space

Filmmaker Richard Stanley has had something of a checkered career. His first feature, Hardware, which he wrote and directed, was a success, but he was successfully sued for plagiarism, the story having too many similarities to a strip published in a Judge Dredd annual. Then, a few years later, Stanley was fired as the director of the doomed Island of Dr. Moreau adaptation less than a week into filming (firing him was never going to save that mess of a film, honestly). That was in 1995. It would be more than two decades before Stanley sat in the director’s chair for a feature film again, and it was for 2019’s Color Out of Space, an adaptation of the short story by H.P. Lovecraft. But, the trials and tribulations don’t end there. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Color Out of Space”

Attack of the Franchise Sequels: Hellraiser VI: Hellseeker

Hellraiser V: Inferno, the neo-noir psychological horror script turned into an ersatz direct-to-video Hellraiser flick, must have been a success for Miramax and Dimension Films, because they chose to squeeze blood from a stone once more.

Written as a standalone film by Carl V. Dupré and Tim Day, some light rewrites were done to shove in Hellraiser staple bad guy Pinhead (Doug Bradley) and original series heroine Kirsty (Ashley Laurence). Then the package was handed off to Rick Bota to direct. Continue readingAttack of the Franchise Sequels: Hellraiser VI: Hellseeker”

October Horrorshow: Hell Night

I wasn’t expecting much out of Hell Night. At first glance, it appears to be just another anonymous 1980s slasher flick, featuring a star who had lost her grip on A-list roles years earlier. On top of that, whatever old print had been transferred to digital had not been cared for, with many scenes featuring vertical scratch lines. This film has seen a partial restoration from Scream Factory, released on Blu-Ray, so someone thought this flick was worth preserving for the future. And they were right. Hell Night is low rent and clichéd, but it is also a good horror film. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Hell Night”

October Horrorshow: Hellraiser V: Inferno

After a four-year layoff, Bob and Harvey Weinstein wanted another Hellraiser flick. They also didn’t want to pay a lot of money for it, so they optioned a direct-to-video film. That meant no big stars, no big budget, and a script that was clearly written as a different film and reworked to insert iconic Hellraiser bad guy Pinhead (Doug Bradley) into some scenes.

From 2000, Hellraiser V: Inferno was directed by Scott Derrickson, from a screenplay by Derrickson and Paul Harris Boardman. Craig Sheffer stars as police detective Joseph Thorne. He’s the protagonist of this film, but he’s not that good of a guy, which he admits in the film’s narration. He has a wife and kid at home, but rather than spend his off hours with them, he can be found trolling the streets of Denver, shaking down dealers for cocaine and paying for hookers with money stolen from the wallets of murder victims. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Hellraiser V: Inferno”

October Horrorshow: Sniper Corpse, aka Corpse Sniper

Sniper Corpse or Corpse Sniper…whatever this thing is called, thank goodness for the bottom feeding filmmakers that will let nothing, from lack of a good screenplay, lack of talented actors, lack of a budget, and lack of storytelling skill, keep them from making their movie. The art of film is being preserved by these creators that love movies, that see what makes the big screen, good and bad, and think to themselves, “I can do that. How hard could it be?”

From writer, director, and producer Keith R. Robinson, Sniper Corpse tells the story of Diane Keeley (Eleri Jones), an English war widow whose husband was killed in action a couple of years previously. Things got snafued, as they are wont to do in the military, and the British Army lost her husband’s corpse. It turns out they’ve lost a number of corpses of late, and Diane takes it upon herself to find out what’s going on. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Sniper Corpse, aka Corpse Sniper”

Attack of the Franchise Sequels: Hellraiser IV: Bloodline

It’s Hellraiser…in SPAAAAACE!. Sort of. Unlike the other franchises that have sent their killer antagonists into the future, Hellraiser IV: Bloodline, the 1996 entry in the Hellraiser series, only takes place partially out in the black. Most of the film takes place either in 18th century France, or contemporary New York City. It would be disappointing, as I was looking forward to watching Hellraiser turn into an Alien ripoff, but this is one ambitious shitty movie, so not all was lost.

Bloodline had a checkered path to the silver screen. There were many creative disputes, crew dismissals, and general miserableness. To add to the troubles, after the film was delivered to Miramax, reshoots were demanded, and the film’s director, Kevin Yagher, quit. When the film was finally released, Yagher didn’t want his name on it, so the film’s credited director is Alan Smithee, that wonderful DGA pseudonym for directors who went out for a pack of cigarettes and never came home. Continue readingAttack of the Franchise Sequels: Hellraiser IV: Bloodline”

October Horrorshow: Fury of the Wolfman, aka La furia del Hombre Lobo

Spanish horror icon Paul Naschy starred in a dozen werewolf flicks as lycanthropy-stricken Waldemar Daninsky. What’s most amazing about this film series is not that there were a dozen entries, but that they are all unrelated in regards to plot. They are all standalone films, even though the protagonist and tragic hero has the same name in each and is played by the same man. Strange things happen in the world of low-budget filmmaking.

From 1972, Fury of the Wolfman features a screenplay from the aforementioned Naschy, and he also stars as the aforementioned Daninsky. José María Zabalza handled the directing duties.

In this flick, Daninsky is a college professor recently returned from a tragic expedition to the Himalayas. There, the expedition was attacked by a Yeti and Daninsky was the only survivor. But, he is now a wolfman. Using a Yeti as the origin of a werewolf is an idea out of left field, but Naschy and company liked it so much they used it for at least one other film in the series. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Fury of the Wolfman, aka La furia del Hombre Lobo”

Attack of the Franchise Sequels: Critters 4

Critters might be the first horror franchise to take its action off planet. Hellraiser took to space in 1996, Leprechaun followed a year later, and Friday the 13th sent Jason Vorhees into the black in 2001. Incredible as it seems, Critters 4 might be a groundbreaking film.

From 1992, Critters 4 was shot at the same time as Critters 3, but this isn’t a case of breaking a single film into two parts when things began to sprawl. Critters 4 was always a separate film from the third, with a different director in Rupert Harvey. Much of the production crew, including the Chiodo Brothers, remained the same. Continue readingAttack of the Franchise Sequels: Critters 4″

October Horrorshow: Willy’s Wonderland

Nicolas Cage is, without reservation or reflection, my favorite living actor. His days of high-brow or blockbuster Hollywood cinema are over, and this seems to be his intention. Well before he aged out of A-list roles he embraced the absurd, the strange, and the underfunded. Best of all, he always gives his all in every role he’s in. Sometimes that doesn’t work, but rarely have I ever enjoyed such consistent overacting. He’s a treasure.

This year saw the release of Willy’s Wonderland, which fits in well with Cage’s embrace of the outlandish. According to the internet, so it must be true, Cage was so enamored with the script that he chose to be one of the film’s producers, so he could have authority to prevent the story from being changed too much. As for that story… Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Willy’s Wonderland”