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”

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”

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: 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”

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: Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth

Deciding to write about a particular movie has some unexpected difficulties (pardon me while I moan). I don’t get paid for writing about movies. I do this only because I feel like it. That is why there is little rhyme or reason when it comes to the reviews. I go where the mood takes me. But sometimes I get the urge to write a series of reviews, and make the decision to write a review before I watch a movie, rather than after. The distinction is important. If a film really grabs me, for whatever reason, I am more likely to write a review than not. But if a film is anonymous, leaving me troubling to recall what I saw mere hours after the credits rolled, then I probably will not bother with a review. How, then, to treat Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth? I decided to write this review as a follow-up to Hellraiser II, a film that was better than I expected. But this... Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth”

October Horrorshow: Hellbound: Hellraiser II

It’s not a good sign for a sequel when there is not one, but two recaps of the previous film within the first twenty minutes. The Friday the 13th franchise used to have recaps at the beginning of every movie, but that was to pad runtime. In essence, recaps, sometimes in the form of extended flashbacks, are lazy filmmaking, entrusting big chunks of storytelling to a predecessor’s efforts. But, Hellbound’s director Tony Randel must have learned the technique as producer on Godzilla 1985, a film that was a recut bastardization of the Toho release, Return of Godzilla. Godzilla flicks are fun but they are stupid. They are stupid fun, I guess. Randel was part of a team that found a way to make a Godzilla flick even more stupid. Hopes were not high for this film. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Hellbound: Hellraiser II”