Well, he we are. Last stop. The final Hellraiser movie. Hellraiser: Revelations. The Omega. The infamous ashcan film. The Hellraiser film panned hardest by fans and critics alike. Even Doug Bradley, beloved actor for Pinhead since 1987 opted out because this was below him. He showed up for Deader and Hellworld to collect a cheque and offer thirty seconds of his face and voice, but this was too much of a hack gig for him to take. I want you to think about that as we dive into this thing.
Hellraiser: Revelations starts the way every good Hellraiser should start: with shakey found footage of dipshit teenagers (played by twenty-somethings). Two guys, Nico and Steve are on their way to Tijuana (constantly pronounced TI-OU-HHHWA-NAH) for a vacation, and they’re ready to record all of their crazy escapades. While out partying one night, Nico drunkenly kills a prostitute with a toilet (yes, really) and while trying to drink away the rest of the night (as I did after watching this) they’re offered an intricate puzzle box by a grubby homeless man. Totes obvi, this is the Lament Configuration, and when they start messing around with it, Pinhead and the Cenobites appear to reap their flesh and souls.
Turns out, all this footage has made its way back to Steve’s parents who are having a dinner party with Nico’s parents. They’re all mourning the loss of their boys while Steven’s sister, who has not yet seen the tape, wants to find out what really happened to them. She gets her hands on the Lament Configuration because apparently it somehow came back to L.A. into Steven’s room and once she begins solving it, Steven appears! His family, shocked and astounded to see him alive brings him inside where he can recount the events of that fateful night in Tijuana first hand.
YEEEAAAAHHHHH. It feels good to be back. It’s been almost three months since we last opened the Lament Configuration and watched a Hellraiser movie. I mean, I’ve seen a couple existential and nihilistic films since Hellraiser VII: Deader, but man, watching this last ‘Raiser flick is on a whole other level. Hellworld is the eighth and second-to-last bowel movement in the Hellraiser franchise. Released in the same year as its predecessor, I think this movie is the culmination of everything wrong that the later Hellraiser flicks have done.
Hellraiser: Hellworld takes place no discernible time after the previous movies, and honestly, it doesn’t even matter. We’re introduced to an intrepid band of super edgy goth nerds whom are all mourning the loss of their friend Adam. How did Adam pass? Oh, y’know, video games killed him! Pretty topical for 2005. Immediately after Adam’s funeral, they continue to play Hellworld, the Hellraiser-themed MMORPG that allegedly killed their friend because they’re insensitive fucks. Wait, back up. A Hellraiser-themed video game? What the fuck? Is the Hellraiser mythos that popular in this movie world that somebody made a video game about it?
Whatever, it’s not worth trying to fight this movie’s stupitidy.
They all individually beat the game (which usually isn’t possible in games like this, but whatever) and get invited to a secret and private Hellworld Party. It’s a super edgy mid-2000s Hard Rock And Metal Rave™ at a massive mansion owned by The Host (Lance Henriksen, looking for a paycheque). Sex, drugs, and rock and roll ensue in this Bacchanalian party, and this movie be like it do as it slowly picks off our main characters one by one in increasingly stupid and frustrating ways.
For those out of the loop on my self-imposed suffering: Hellraiser (1987), Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988), Hellraiser III: Hell On Earth (1992), Hellraiser IV: Bloodline (1996), Hellraiser V: Inferno (2000), and Hellraiser VI: Hellseeker (2002). Let’s get down to business.
Hellraiser: Deader is the seventh and worst titled sequel in the Hellraiser franchise. At this point, the franchise is past dead (you could say it’s deader?), with both this and its successor Hellraiser: Hellworld being released straight to TV in the same year. Rick Bota, often credited with singlehandedly destroying the Hellraiser name was directing this entry, as he did with the sixth and was going to do with the eighth. Again, this is a movie made from an unrelated horror script that Miramax and Dimension Films had laying around where they shoehorned Pinhead in and sprinkled the Hellraiser mythos over top.
This time, we follow Amy Klein (Kari Wuhrer, Anaconda), a hardened guerrilla journalist for a British paper who often goes deep undercover to get her story. We’re introduced to her pretending to be a hard drug addict in a crack house, taking pictures and doing journalist stuff, not that the story she’s working on is ever explained, but whatever. When she returns to the paper that she writes for, her boss gives her a grisly new assignment: investigate the alleged suicides and resurrections that have been happening in an underground scene in Bucharest, Romania. The people who kill themselves are brought back to life by a cult leader type figure named Winter where they are new referred to as “Deaders”. I hope somebody got fired for writing that in the script. There’s been a leaked VHS tape of one of the necromantic rituals, and going off of only the return address on the package, Amy needs to track down this cult to expose them to the world.
Aaaaaaaaand we’re back to your regular programming. For those out of the loop on my self-imposed suffering: Hellraiser (1987), Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988), Hellraiser III: Hell On Earth (1992), Hellraiser IV: Bloodline (1996), Hellraiser V: Inferno (2000).
Hellraiser IV: Hellseeker is the sixth and worst installment (so far) in the Hellraiser franchise. It follows Trevor, a total douche who is married to Kirsty Cotton from the first two Hellraiser films. While driving, they almost get in to an accident and swerve off the road into a river. Trevor is able to escape the car, but Kirsty ends up drowning to her death in the sinking car. He eventually wakes up in the hospital, and then a bunch of stupid bullshit hallucinations start happening, and Trevor is unable to discern what is real and what isn’t.
As he tumbles further down in his own mind, he begins to see visions including the Lament Configuration, the puzzle box that calls Pinhead and the Cenobites into our world and some strange, disfigured people that are lurking around in the corners of his eyes. It slowly becomes apparent that Trevor is a suspect in the investigation surrounding his deceased wife.
For the uninitiated: Hellraiser (1987), Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988), Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth (1992), Hellraiser IV: Bloodline (1996).
We’ve crossed the threshold now. Currently there are nine Hellraiser films (although a tenth is allegedly on its way), so we’re over fifty percent through the franchise. Too bad we can’t just round it up and call the whole thing done.
Hellraiser V: Inferno is the first direct-to-DVD Hellraiser sequel, and a big departure from the previous films. Inferno follows Joseph Thorne, a crooked detective who discovers the Lament Configuration at the scene of a brutal crime, and after solving the puzzle box begins to have vivid and disturbing hallucinations all while more ritualistic and sadistic murders begin happening to people he knows. Thorne finds out that someone or something known as The Engineer is behind the killings and that he has kidnapped a child, leaving a severed finger at the scene of every murder. (more…)