Attack of the Franchise Sequels: Hellraiser: Revelations

Hellraiser: Revelations movie posterOne day back in 2010, someone at Dimension Films, the onetime craphouse subsidiary of Miramax, noticed that the rights they owned to the Hellraiser franchise would expire unless they made and released a new film very soon. In a feat of filmmaking swiftness to rival that of Stewart Raffill, once production began, the film was in the can in three weeks. This speed also meant the screenplay, from Gary J. Tunnicliffe, was reportedly in its first, and final, draft when shooting commenced. This was enough for series icon Doug Bradley to turn down reprising the role of Pinhead. Considering how awful the previous few films in the series were, Bradley must have thought this screenplay was a real dog. And he was right.

The budget was miniscule, meaning not much could go into things like sets or locations, with the majority of the film taking place in the main character’s house. The performances felt unrehearsed and rushed, as if director Victor Garcia was prodding everyone to movie it along. But, the blood and gore effects were pretty decent for such a low-rent production. That’s all the praise I have to offer.

I’ve written before that this property has been treated poorly by its rights holders. Three of the last four films used reworked, unrelated spec scripts, and the fourth was an adaptation of an unrelated short story. It’s obvious to viewers these are not Hellraiser movies. The script for this film did begin life as a Hellraiser script, but this flick is all about holding on to rights, and not telling a story, or even making a buck. It’s the absolute nadir for Hellraiser. Dimension couldn’t be bothered to make a Hellraiser movie until the point where they would lose the ability to, and instead of just letting the property go, hopefully to someone who would do something with it, they made one of the worst films a person is likely to see.

Knowing how little care was put into this by Dimension, how little respect they had for viewers, is any owed in return? Absolutely not. I watched this movie, but this is one of those rare films where one can feel free to go ahead and form opinions about it without ever having seen it. In fact, Dimension probably doesn’t care if anyone sees it at all. This film can’t be considered fit for viewing because that was never Dimension’s aim.

There is a story. There are characters. There is blood and gore, and even Pinhead, played this time by Stephan Smith Collins. Why go into any more of it? What can any person glean from more details, other than to be assured by me after another few hundred words that they would be wise to skip this movie? There is nothing more. This is barely a movie, and that’s not being facetious. This is the absolute minimum Dimension could do and keep the rights to Hellraiser. Congrats, bean counters. This flick’s for you. For actual movie fans, don’t ever bother.

Hellraiser: Revelations is cast into the pit of the Watchability Index, pushing House of the Dead out of #375. This is the bottom of the barrel, folks. Life is too precious to spend any time with the films down here.

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