Hellraiser Revelations: a movie so horribly criticized you’ll want to watch and immediately wish you hadn’t
Hellraiser Revelations revealed to fans how far Dimension films would go in retaining the rights to long loved franchise. Opening back in 2011, with one theater screening for the crew and then subsequently released to DVD, Hellraiser Revelations has since been received, unanimously, with negative reception. Film critic Scott Weinberg from Rotten Tomatoes had this to say regarding the new Hellraiser: “contractually-mandated piece of intentional garbage that exists for no other reason than pure, simple greed…This is amateur hour stuff all the way, and it’d be almost endearingly, stupidly enjoyable if this witless cinematic refuse wasn’t dancing on the grave of a true classic of the genre.” Couldn’t agree more. Watching this movie, you definitely feel how rushed everything was. From the script, casting, and even the one thing marginally making it bearable, the special effects. (More on that later.)
In review, lets take this piece by piece. The film opens with the recently popular “home camera” shot. Friends, Steven Craven and Nico Bradley are taking a trip south of the boarder for a little impromptu getaway, full of booze, parities, and women…keeping somewhat to the whole “pleasures” bit familiar in the Hellraiser lexicon. The “home camera” beginning is, in my humble opinion, an interesting introduction into this new story. Thanks to movies like Cloverfield and Paranormal Activity, if done right, this style of filming is popular and could have created some rather terrifying moments. However, in Revelations, the feeling wasn’t real; it was horrible and cheesy. Instead of having the puzzle-box glowing blue and Pinhead walking into the room all polite, asking for young Nico to come with him to hell, the camera should have been unsteady and full of static. If my horror watching obsession has taught me anything, its that when another dimension is opening up, signals get broken. If hell is at your door step, the camera is the last thing on your mind. And then there was Pinhead, just standing…retarded. Save the duke of pain for a later shot; use the tension home videos are best at with the less is more concept. The only thing you should have been able to make out during this bit of videoing are chains, a flash of spatter and some screams, nothing else.
Revelations continues in a confusing back and forth between the present dinner party and Steven and Nico’s bogus adventure. So much so that a lot of the plot gets lost in translation, with a ton of information being given in the beginning and not enough towards the end. The casting was also horrible. I have a hard time following character portrayal’s, such as: the mother, father, son or daughters when the acting is terrible. And lets not even mention the script, yuk. In the midst of all this B-ness, the only positive thing was the special effects. Thank God they didn’t go all CGI with this one, but again, that was probably due to production time limits than actually making a genuine Hellraiser. Despite the positive, the gore was still only marginal. The big blemish for me was how white the cenobites teeth were… wow, shiny! A lot of critics didn’t like the look of Pinhead, but I think the problem has more to do with the guy under the nails (Stephan Smith Collins) then the effects itself. Just look at him in the picture gallery below. And the list goes on and on. Here are a few more unforgivable mistakes I jotted down during the hour long screening:
1. No Doug Bradley- because the film was being rushed, Bradley didn’t want anything to do with it. Eventually Doug will physically no longer be able to wear the mantle as Pinhead, but that day is still a long way off. But I am thankful he refused this mockery, seeing it for what it is or was going to be.
2. No Clive Barker- originally, neither Doug or Clive had any comment regarding Revelations, but after the movie poster credited to be from the mind of Barker, the Hellbound Heart king released the following statement on twitter:
I have NOTHING to do with the fuckin’ thing. If they claim its from the mind of Clive Barker,it’s a lie. It’s not even from my butt-hole.
— Clive Barker (@RealCliveBarker) August 21, 2011
3. Goofy Puzzle Guardian- sitting down at the bar is understandable, but not showing up at the dinner party with a knife. The guardian should only have a small part on screen, if you want to keep to the original mystery of the character.
4. Obligation trumped Storytelling- as mentioned before, in a mad rush to retain franchise rights, Dimension Film skipped over responsible story crafting and basically pooped this film out with the name “Hellraiser” on the cover.
5. Toilet paper script- enough said….hire real writers!
6. Victor Garcia is no del Toro- there have been many and fine directors south of the boarder, but Garcia just ain’t one of them. His last film was Return to House on Haunted Hill for Pete’s sake!!! Though I doubt Guillermo del Toro would have touched something as graphic as a Hellraiser picture; could you imagine if he had or even Babel (2006) famed Alejandro Gonzalez had directed Revelations with a multiple story concept? Mind = blown!!!
Bottom line: Hellraiser Revelations could have been good. There were some interesting concepts that simply needed further development. Because, I think, Hellraiser fans are ready for a new original story. Its long overdue. But this movies script was awful and needed more time. The actors needed more time researching their characters and motives. The special effects guys needed more time. Everything needed more time. For me, the ending was the only part worth seeing, though I’m still questioning how long it would take to die from a shotgun wound in the gut. Though now regretting it, thanks to how horribly criticized Revelations was, I had to watch it, I was curious. Satisfied and blogged, its now time to delete the last hour and fifteen minutes from my memory.
Ever since Thomas Edison’s silent film, Frankenstein, debuted back in 1910, horror movies have resided in the imaginations of those disturbed enough to actually enjoy them. According to the documentary, Nightmares in the Red, White, and Blue, between 2003 and 2008, horror movies grossed over a hundred billion dollars at the box office. Sure, one Nolan or Jackson movie could top that margin with just one film, but we’re talking horror and horror movies are typically done on a lower budget with lesser known actors. Understandably, horror is big business. Horror sales and because horror can be done on any kind of budget, we end up with a rather large pool of productions to choice from, some good and some…well…you know. The horror movies that end up flopping, not only in the box office but with fans (because lets face it, box office rating matter little when it comes to horror), sometimes carry a glimmer of hope to ever being re-imagined into something better.
These remakes/reboots can be, though rarely, actually better than the original film. Some may disagree, but the original Omen (1976) was a real snoozer, while the remake was freaking amazing. Then, there are those reboots that should never have happened because there is no reason to touch the original, or, it simply cannot be done. This kind of film would include John Carpenters The Fog (1980). Carpenter’s vision was so much better developed than Rupert Wainwright’s piss poor attempt; my first (and only) viewing of the 2005 disaster made me want to vomit, and not in the “good God, gore” kind of way. And finally, there are horror movies so horrible that they should never, never — ever, be remade, because they were bad enough the first time around. This is not a challenge for Hollywood. Please, heed my warnings and never remake the following movies– ever — for real — no joke.
5. Pinocchio’s Revenge (1996)
First up, Pinocchio’s Revenge, released back in the good (laugh) old 90’s. Defense attorney, Jennifer Garrick, (somehow) acquires a Pinocchio puppet from a condemned serial killer (opps, I think we’ve seen this before)…and then suddenly bad things start happening. Yikes, how did producers think this was ever a good idea? Pinocchio’s Revenge sounds like a cheap attempt at riding the coattail success of the Child’s Play franchise and that alone really makes me want to hate this movie.
4. Thankskilling (2008)
You know those movies that are intended to be horrible movies from the start? Kind of like B-rated flicks so horrible their actually good. Well, sometimes these already intended atrocities end up just being plain old rotten. In Thankskilling (2009) a, you guessed it, turkey rampages through a small town, killing off college kids (this is what our generation has to offer?)… the end. Oh wait, and the turkey talks because it is possessed by the spirit of a ticked off Indian warrior who was murdered some time during the good old pilgrim days. I know this movie was intended to be a horror-comedy, but if your name isn’t Stuart Gordon, Sam Raimi, or Edgar Wright, your already working uphill.
3. Humanoids from the Deep (1980)
This 1980’s blockbuster (insert sarcastic remark here) has all the trimmings for a xenophobic movie of the year award. There could have been a story here, but where the bus left the station was with the subtext. Sea creatures coming to the surface to mate with women and kill off the men…I’m just going to leave that where it is. The story could be salvaged because it already has a little Lovecraftian “Dagon” ring to it. However, even the late, great man himself was as culturally competent as Kristen Stewart is at acting (oh snap!). But really, xenophobic themed movies just seem too disconnected nowadays. If this was ever to be remade, it should only include the idea of creatures from the deep wreaking havoc on those living on the surface…hmm…sounds familiar, right? Now, if we can only find giant robots to fight them off…
2. Hobgoblins (1988)
Do I really need to explain this one? Lets just say, back in the 80’s, while Gremlins was enjoying their blockbuster success, a few other lesser known producers thought…”hmm, maybe we can do the same thing,” and thus, Hobgoblins was born. Unfortunately, but predictably, they could not do the same as director Joe Dante did, or ever will. Watching the trailer, I can’t even understand what the movie is even about. Goblins making you do stuff…and then what? Lower budget movies usually means you have to work harder in developing the story, but apparently these guys didn’t get the memo.
1. Leprechaun (1993)
Finally, we arrive with Leprechaun. If you have been keeping a mental list of horror movies you know that should never be remade because they were so dang horrible the first time around, and Leprechaun so happened to be on your list, then you, sir or madam, have excellent taste in horror. For some odd reason, unknown to myself, the 90’s was one of the worse decades for horror films. Sure, some did mange not being tarnished; movies such as, Candyman or even Scream (don’t judge me) were actually really good. But when we see films like Leprechaun…well, it makes me want to file away the entire decade. The plot surrounds an “evil” leprechaun who goes on a murder spree, after his stolen bag of coins doesn’t really feel like a sound story plot. Don’t get me wrong, you can use mythological creatures as the antagonist and still be good, but you need a solid script to back it up. Check out the movie, Wishmaster, for one of the better examples I could give of using a mythos, combined with a descent story.
Well, there you have it folks. My top five movies that should never, ever be remade because they were bad enough the first time around. Trust me, the world doesn’t need more wooden, magic little monsters; we’ve hopefully outgrown the cheap 90’s wave of horror. If you have your own suggestions, please leave them in the comment box, God knows, there are plenty of them out there!