AWOB05: Hellraiser: Hellworld

Hellraiser: Hellworld. Rick Bota. 2005. ☆☆☆★★★

This is the third and final Hellraiser movie directed by Rick Bota, and this time he’s got somebody vaguely famous to play the lead: Lance Henriksen. And according to imdb, it had a generous $5M budget, so it’s pretty flush in a Hellraiser context.

And, yet again, it’s based on something the thrifty Weinsteins had lying around:

The script was adapted from a treatment titled “Dark Can’t Breathe,” which was unrelated to the Hellraiser series.

So insert a few scenes with Pinhead, and bang, you have a Hellraiser sequel. This is the fourth example of this very strange (to my mind) way of working. I mean, the reason they slap the Hellraiser name on these movies is that people like Hellraiser, right? So finding people to write actual Hellraiser scripts should also be a doozy?

So… were these scripts that somebody at the production company really loved, and finagled into making by twisting them into Hellraiser scripts? If so, that’s a weird way to treat something you love.

The ways of Hollywood are inscrutable.

Anyway! This is about a bunch of kids playing an online video game (very forward thinking in 2002, when this was apparently made (but not released until three years later). And then they go off into the woods. (In Canada, perhaps?) For a special super-lame party for Hellraiser fans. (So meta.)

Aaand… It makes some detours into torture porn, which is the worst thing ever. The Saw influence is obvious.

It’s much better integrated into the Hellraiser mythology than the previous three movies. The plot’s almost, dare I say it: Good?

And is it scary? Yes, kinda. The previous Bota movies weren’t, but this one has more accomplished scares.

It’s also a bit on the boring side, but whatevs.

This post is part of the A Weekend of Blood blog series.

AWOB05: Hellraiser: Deader

Hellraiser: Deader. Rick Bota. 2005. ☆☆★★★★

This is the second in a trio of movies made by Rick Bota/Tim Day/Carl Dupre/Ron Schmidt (and people) as director/writer/producer combos.

Weirdly enough, it’s the only one that’s only available on DVD, while the first and third movies are on bluray. What’s up with that?

Oh, Weinstein Bros:

Like Hellseeker (2002) before it, Deader, the seventh entry into Clive Barker’s Hellraiser franchise, takes an unrelated spec script and shoe-horns in a couple of fleeting appearances from Doug Bradley’s Pinhead to try and justify its inclusion of ‘Hellraiser’ in the title.

This one was filmed in Romania, which is where you go if you don’t have the budget to film in Canada. But I kinda like Romanian-made movies. They have a kinda more… grainy… quality: The sets are more well-made and extensive.

The camerawork on this, though, is nauseating. I mean, literally. It’s shakycam throughout and I hate that.

It’s a movie that makes the most out of small, simple scenes (like when retrieving that package from that horrible bathroom). It’s genuinely uncomfortable… but is it scary?

Not really.

It’s weird when the chains are too big, they’re no longer creepy.

This one has the least connection to the Hellraiser concepts than any movie so far. They’ve rewritten some other MacGuffin into The Box, and perhaps nothing else was changed?

This post is part of the A Weekend of Blood blog series.

AWOB02: Hellraiser: Hellseeker

Hellraiser: Hellseeker. Rick Bota. 2002. ☆☆☆★★★

Hey! Ashley Laurence, who was in the first two movies, is back!

As with the previous movie, this apparently originated in a script Dimension Films had in storage that they altered to add some Hellraiser characters. (The Weinsteins are always so thrifty.)

This horror movie feels refreshingly old-fashioned. I was worried that this franchise would branch into the very profitable (at the time) torture porn genre, but it keeps to its roots as a squicky horror movie. This could have been made at any time from 1975 onward.

I like that.

Oh, it’s the first of three Hellraiser movies directed by the same guy: Rick Bota. I can see why the studio kept him on: This was probably not expensive to shoot, but it doesn’t look overtly no budget.

And Dean Winters (TV’s Detective ‘The Vulture’ Pembroke) is great in the lead who doesn’t quite know what’s real or not.

However: It’s not scary, and some of the scenes don’t really seem to go anywhere interesting.

It’s… surprisingly watchable? It feels like it could have been a bit tighter, but like all Hellraiser movies, it’s pretty short. And it’s weird that they’ve gone for a script that’s a similar story as the previous Hellraiser movie: The Inferno one. But there’s a twist!

This is a better movie: A much more convincing portrayal of nightmarish unreality, so whatevs. It’s like this movie almost could have been actually good.

This post is part of the A Weekend of Blood blog series.

AWOB00: Hellraiser: Inferno

Hellraiser: Inferno. Scott Derrickson. 2000. ☆☆★★★★


Like Hellraiser: Hellseeker (2002) after it, “Inferno” was originally a non-Hellraiser related horror script owned by Dimension. To save money on writing a completely original Hellraiser story, the script was quickly edited to insert the Pinhead and the Cenobites.

Well, that’s promising!

Now I’m picturing a production company sitting on the script to Sex and the City III and wondering: “Can we make this into a Hellraiser movie? INT DAY: Carrie is on her bed writing ‘But have you ever tried washing blood out of your leather lingerie after a hot night in hell?'”

I’d watch it!

Anyway, this is not a very Hellraiser movie, as you might suspect from its provenance. But that doesn’t mean that it’s awful! It’s got things going for it… the actors are pretty good, and the plot (which is basically a police prodecural with a semi-corrupt cop) is confusing as fuck (SUDDENLY COWBOYS), but OK. And it looks pretty.

However: It’s not scary. It’s mostly deathly dull.

This post is part of the A Weekend of Blood blog series.

AWOB96: Hellraiser Bloodline

Hellraiser Bloodline. Kevin Yagher. 1996. ☆☆☆★★★

Pinhead… In… Spaaaaaaace.

This is the final Hellraiser movie that got a theatrical release.


[It’s] the last [film of the franchise] to develop [its] story around the original premise rather than simply tacking Hellraiser elements onto a pre-existing script. As such it’s one which, for all its problems, fans will want to seek out.

It’s written by the same guy who (co-)wrote the previous two Hellraiser movies, and it’s the last one he’s involved with. From here on out, I haven’t seen any of these movies.

But how’s this movie, the final one that anybody sensible should consider watching? I think?

The bluray version is quite nice. They digital effects look somewhat janky, but it’s from 1996, so…

We get presented with the history of the Hellraiser puzzle box throughout the centuries, and the same hapless actor plays a number of people from the same family.

It’s the most mainstream of the first four movies… it’s a normal, professional American horror movie. It’s not very scary, but it’s plenty gross.

This post is part of the A Weekend of Blood blog series.

AWOB92: Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth

Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth. Anthony Hickox. 1992. ☆☆★★★★

After two movies that have a quite homey feel to them, this seems more… professional. I’m guessing it was made in the US? It has that American feel to it. Grips and best boys that are in the union.

The first two Hellraiser movies may not have been, like, good, but they had something going for them. This is a bog-standard early-90s horror movie, with unremarkable (but professional) actors and all.

On the documentary about the first movie, one wit said “no teenagers were hurt during the making of this film”. This one is all about killing off teenagers, so it reverts to horror clichés there, too.

It’s not very scary, either.

This bluray version is odd. Random scenes are super-blurry, as if they had been sourced from… well, I don’t know. It doesn’t look like VHS, but it’s blurry enough to be VHS. I guess they lost some of the film footage?

This post is part of the A Weekend of Blood blog series.

AWOB88: Hellbound: Hellraiser II

Hellbound: Hellraiser II. Tony Randel. 1988. ☆☆☆☆★★

Well, that’s an odd way to start a sequel: We get a very… intense… recap of the first movie! Before the titles! All the famous one-liners and excerpts from the most gruesome scenes.

I don’t think I’ve seen it done that blatantly before.

And then we’re off: Several actors return, like Ashley Laurence and Clare Higgins, and, of course, the guy that does Pinhead.

It’s like… “what if there was more?” So we get some of the background on the monsters, and we get to visit hell (which, it turns out, consists of two corridors and some matte painting).

It’s… more.

The filmmakers pretending that these movies are set in the US is even more amusing this time out, what with unconvincing police uniforms and everything.

So is it scary? Yes. But Tony Randel isn’t as good a director as Clive Barker. So many scenes are without nerve and look, frankly, rather cheap.

But the actors are better. Even the ones that were already good in the first one are even better here. In some ways this is a better movie than the first one, but it’s gone some interminable scenes.

Heh heh::

It is simply a series of ugly and bloody episodes strung together one after another like a demo tape by a perverted special-effects man.

This post is part of the A Weekend of Blood blog series.