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. Continue readingAttack of the Franchise Sequels: Hellraiser: Revelations”

October Horrorshow: There’s Someone Inside Your House

Lovable losers are always great fodder for an angsty teen horror flick. The outcasts, the weirdos, the ones who can’t find friends, even the ones who don’t want to find friends. Nonconformists who find comfort in conforming to nonconformity. As Frank Zappa once said during a show, “Everybody in this room is wearing a uniform and don’t kid yourself.”

The uniform for the outcasts in There’s Someone Inside Your House, the new adaptation of the novel by Stephanie Perkins, is wokeness. The film takes place in a small town in rural Nebraska, and the small band of teenage protagonists seem to be the only folks in town who are on the right side of social justice. It’s something that hangs heavily over the film, even in the moments where it drifts away from commentary and just tells a story. If there’s one thing we love here at Missile Test, it’s being lectured to by a movie. Just kidding. We don’t like that. We do like slasher flicks, though! Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: There’s Someone Inside Your House”

Attack of the Franchise Sequels: Hellraiser VIII: Hellworld

Like the previous three films in the Hellraiser franchise, Hellraiser VIII: Hellworld, did not begin life as a Hellraiser story. Unlike the previous three, however, Hellworld was not a rewritten spec screenplay, but an adaptation of the short story Dark Can’t Breathe by Joel Soisson, with screenwriter Carl V. Dupré shoving in all the necessary Hellraiser bits, in the form of the puzzle box and Pinhead (Doug Bradley). So, even though the source material was different, the process was relatively the same. What’s most surprising about this flick, though, is that it feels much more like a natural Hellraiser story, rather than a cut and paste job, than any of the last three flicks. Nice job, Dupré. Continue readingAttack of the Franchise Sequels: Hellraiser VIII: Hellworld”

October Horrorshow: Motel Hell

Motel Hell, the 1980 horror flick from director Kevin Connor and screenwriters Robert and Steven-Charles Jaffe, is one of the creepier flicks I’ve watched for this year’s Horrorshow. Nothing is going to beat The Green Inferno for gore, or Color Out of Space for dread, but this low-budget, half-satirical take on slashers and cannibalism has some dark stuff going on underneath.

Rory Calhoun and Nancy Parsons star as Vincent and Ida Smith, sibling (I think) roadside motel owners in rural California (location work was done at the late Sable Ranch, which has 96 IMDb credits to its name). Vincent is a local fixture. Besides owning the motel, he is also the proprietor of Farmer Vincent’s Smoked Meats, serving a 100-mile radius for the past thirty years. Folks come from far and wide for Farmer Vincent’s products. The local sheriff, Vincent’s younger brother by many, many years, Bruce (Paul Linke), attests to its qualities, saying he was practically raised on the stuff. Vincent and Ida have been deceitful, however. The secret ingredient that makes Farmer Vincent’s meats so delish is, of course, human flesh. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Motel Hell”

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”