Wednesday, April 1, 2015

All the Rest of the Hellraiser Films

After some consideration, I have decided to continue my reviews of the Hellraiser series from several years ago. After all, I am somewhat of a completionist – I can't just walk away from such a lucrative, long and historic franchise in horror, and an inspiration for so many other movies. But I also don't have the time or sanity left to actually thoroughly review through all of the rest of these films anyway. So instead, I will just provide brief summaries of what they are about and you can make your own decision.

Hellraiser: Deader

In this installment of the Hellraiser series, our protagonist is a woman who goes to Bucharest to investigate a mysterious cult and instead finds trouble waiting, which is totally surprising and stuff in a movie. I mean, when was the last time you ever heard of a movie that had conflict, trouble or problems driving its plot forward? This is really pushing the edge. The main character gets slowly drawn into the world of the Cenobites, slowly becoming more and more insane and occult driven as the runtime goes on. As an added bonus, Pinhead even appears, which is a rare thing for these films.

Hellraiser: Hellworld

In this movie, a disgruntled online gamer finds a copy of The SIMS in the trash behind his job at Denny's and plays it, only to find out that it's the Cenobites' copy of The SIMS! In it, you can make your own cast of players to act like robots with no ideas about how people really act, who open mystical boxes and end up tortured by the Cenobites, at which point the game becomes unplayable and hellish. It got very low reviews on Amazon and is now considered a collectible.

As he plays more and more and begins to neglect his job, friends and other interests, the Cenobites take over his brain. Once the gamer has become completely consumed by Pinhead's evil powers, he begins to participate more actively in Gamergate discussions, becoming more and more convinced it is a legitimate journalistic concern which has merit as a serious social problem. As he reaches the point of no return and is convinced lies about female game developers sleeping with members of the press to get good stories make for good debate, his soul is banished to hell forever where the Cenobites torture him for all time.

Hellraiser: Revelations

A film in which Pinhead has a crisis of faith and considers joining the Catholic church to repent for his years of torture, rape and unspeakable insanity. After all, he reasons with himself, if Jesus had two nails driven through his hands, surely he, with all those nails in his skull, would fit right in with the churchgoing crowd. Most of the movie is taken up by Pinhead seeing the light and going back to convince the other Cenobites to accept Christ as well by showing them why their particular methods of torture were "un-Christian."

The film was panned for being an extremely transparent propaganda vehicle for the director's obvious Christian bias, and given every Razzie award for the year it came out, but it was a hit with the kinds of people who used to bomb abortion clinics, but now just post irate comments on Twitter about God and stuff. The director infamously went on a long Facebook rant about how anyone who didn't like the film was an atheist hater who just wanted to ruin America with God-hating lies.

Most people forgot this movie existed and instead made up a totally different, random plot on Wikipedia, IMDb and Netflix as a joke, which is now taken as the real plot, as nobody has ever actually watched this film.

Hellraiser Unleashed

Art from here:

The next installment in the Hellraiser series was a self-aware parody film in which Pinhead is portrayed as an incompetent doofus who can't do anything right and has a creepy lecherous side to his personality. The Cenobites are played by low-rent comedic actors nobody had ever heard of, who spend the entire movie referencing pop culture and swearing. The plot is a thinly veiled and generic pastiche of SAW, Paranormal Activity and the Purge, with numerous references to completely unrelated things just to be random. The addition of a "Mini-Me" Pinhead in the film's second act was highly criticized as gimmicky and out of touch with modern day pop culture.

One particular scene, in which Pinhead battles a grizzly bear with a chainsaw and then fucks a prostitute over the bear's body, was lauded as “so bad it's good” by Internet commenters, despite the fact that the rest of the movie was completely unwatchable dross that was “bad” on purpose.

Cenobites Spinoffs – Three Films Total

The one on the right used to be captain of his Varisty football team until he broke his ankle and made a pact with the devil to get it fixed, teaming up with the school's convenient occult nerd and wide-spanning library of Buffy the Vampire Slayer-esque occult books to do so. Unfortunately he then became a Cenobite. The guy on the left was trying to shop for Christmas presents for his kid, but he was dyslexic and accidentally Googled "Satan" instead of Santa. Then he was immediately dragged down to Hell just for that, and became a Cenobite. These things were explored in excruciating detail in the three Cenobite spinoff movies.

Capitalizing on the wildfire popularity of the Hellraiser series, movie studios decided “too much of a good thing” was not a phrase that really needed to exist. So they made the Cenobites spinoffs, a series of films directed by an acclaimed fantasy movie director, who saw fit that their epic saga was told in three gigantic movies that sucked up more money than many small countries have to spend on food and education: "Cenobites: Origins," "Cenobites: The Continuations of Those Same Origins," and "Cenobites Go to the Beach and Get a Tan But Instead Just Bake Like Raw Lobsters."

The storyline chronicled a group of Cenobites who had separate lives and stories, usually involving coming-of-age storylines building up to overly dramatic falls from grace, and overt, un-subtle winks to the audience about what they would become later. Also included are lots and lots of exposition scenes where characters do nothing but read from books. The films are scored to very ominous "BWOMMMMM" Hans Zimmer soundtracks.

This guy actually had no tragic past. He was just an overweight albino who liked to wear sunglasses, and so he put his talents at BDSM torture to the first thing that came along. Fortunately (?) he got this instead of 50 Shades.

In interviews, the director said he thought he could make even more movies out of this story by splitting the ending of the third one into three more movies, like the Hydra myth where if you cut off one head, more sprout up in its place.

Upcoming Hellraiser Remake

I recently had a chance to learn about the upcoming remake, so I'll tell you guys about that now. The remake will be done a little differently than its source material, with half of the film being devoted to Pinhead's gritty, super-realistic and dark backstory. Apparently in another life, he was a super nerdy, shy kid whose mom and dad were both strippers and he got beaten up every day at school by bullying redneck kids who went and alternatively watched both of them strip just to get material to make fun of him later – or so they dubiously claimed. After years and years of this, he goes insane and sticks a bunch of pins in his head.

Then, the events of the first movie are played out in half the time in a rather uninspired manner, with the characters being “updated” versions of the ones from the first ones.

Which, really, just means they swear more and act like worse people. So it's fine. I'm sure this will be a hit with people and really revitalize the series enough for some completely unrelated team to ignore it and make a Netflix TV show rebooting it again in a few years.

Images copyright of their original owners; I own none of them.