Adapted for the screen from his own novella, The Hellbound Heart, by Clive Barker in 1987, Hellraiser is a bonafide horror classic. The rest of the franchise? Not so much – about two movies worth of interesting stuff spread across eight sequels, of which only the first three are worth watching in their totality. The rest? A rolling garbage fire.
The reasons are complicated, but boil down to Dimension Films not having the faintest idea what to do with the property, but churning out a movie as cheaply as possible every so often just to retain the rights – most Hellraiser sequels began life as original scripts that were given a light dusting of Cenobites before being greenlit and kicked out into an uncaring world. Seriously, read this.
But not this one! Hellraiser: Judgement come to us courtesy of writer and director Gary J. Tuncliffe, an old Hellraiser hand, having crafted make up effects on every installment since Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth, who’s been trying to get this latest episode off the ground for ages. And now, with almost no fanfare, here it comes.
The plot? “The dreaded Pinhead returns in the next terrifying chapter of the classic Hellraiser series. Three detectives trying to stop a diabolical serial killer are sucked into a maze of otherworldly horror, where hellish denizens including the Auditor, the Assessor, and the Jury await to pass judgment.”
Sounds pretty rote, but the trailer looks the business – there’s a sheen and a mood in place here that’s long been absent from the series. The cast includes few notable names bar A Nightmare on Elm Street star Heather Langenkamp, and Pinhead is now being played by Paul T. Taylor, original hell priest Doug Bradley having bowed out a couple movies back.
Hellraiser: Judgement is getting a digital and home release in the US on February 13, 2018, which means we can expect the box to open for Australian audiences around the same time.