Thursday, October 20, 2011

Halloween Horrors 2011 #14 Hellraiser: Revelations

Yep, Doug Bradley doesn't play Pinhead.  Yep, the new guy doesn't look very good or sound right.  But this is the NINTH film in the Hellraiser series!  Anyone that gets really revved up over the honor or dignity of this heavily exploited series may want to really relax and be surprised by this incredibly short-yet nasty-follow up to the last batch of straight to video episodes.  Unlike several before it, Hellraiser: Revelations is not a retooled idea with a cenobite or two jammed in. Nope, this one is what it exploitation of Hellraiser. The first one at that.  Ninja Dixon can add some perspective to the series by the way, check it out here.

I love these direct to video sequels-not so much for each one that appears, but for the fact that they define what horror fans sometimes forget.  These are made to be cash ins.  I used to marvel at the amount of people cursing as the screen as they would leave movies like Friday the 13th Part 7 or Halloween 5 in the theater.  Why?  You know when you pay your money that you are most likely getting an echo of what you once loved, but sometimes you get one that is so much fun it either makes you appreciate and enjoy the spirit of the original or admire the spunk of the guy that had to make the 8th sequel to a film that was made 25 years ago.
And sometimes they suck. Badly.  Ah well...

So Hellraiser: Revelations, what is it?
This time around we meet two strapping young lads (and their video camera) as they go to Tijuana for some thrills. They find them, leaving behind warm puke and a cold dead hooker in their wake.  They also get offered "THE BOX" (yeah, I know what it is called...but I like the word BOX) by a spooky word spouting vagrant.  They take it...THEY come.  Flesh is peeled.  But whose?
The kids parents (one of the families is named Bradley, they had to shoehorn the name in there somehow right?) get together to drink wine and wonder about the boys, and lucky for us there is a hot sister, Emma (Tracey Faraway) that was also dating the other kid.
When Emma plays with the box it brings back her brother from hell!  But...uh, who is Pinhead initiating into Cenobiticism in hell.  Who is wearing that flesh?  I saw the original Hellraiser in the theater and know what is up of course, but it is still worked in nicely.
In the "Budget Stretch" section of the still short film there is an extended showdown in a living room before the Cenobites show up and whoop ass, flay flesh and make blue light go through hellish shutters.

Hellraiser: Revelations is a gory flick, though very little is unique stuff that we haven't seen, it is well handled and barring Pinhead's bloaty face the Cenobite make-up is really solid as well. The filmmakers are at a real disadvantage since the HD video bits will expose every rubbery bit-yet they still pull it off.  There is one new Cenobite the plot puts in and I loved his look.  I was also surprised how many effects, between creatures, hook flesh rending and smashed heads the film crams in. Even "Skinned Frank-furter" makes an appearance!  Also, on the cheap the "mobile hell" of the Cenobites looks surprisingly accurate.

Dear Clive Barker. You signed off on CD FACE, how the hell can you not sign off on this? The checks are probably smaller, but the reputation doesn't shrink any further in my opinion.

As a film it is alright at best, I think the "found footage" aspect is handled so ineptly that it becomes a weird style of it's own. We watch a character watch video footage, which switches between handheld and the situations the camera was held in.  Uh...well, so it goes.   The performances are all over the board. Nick Eversman has the unenviable task of doing the "Frank" routine and definitely tries his best.  It just runs too long at times and shows the weakest element of the film isn't the make-up, but getting solid delivery on grand fleshy proclamations from actors.  Speaking of unenviable, I wouldn't want to have been Stephan Smith Collins when he looked in the mirror headed to set.  Pinhead IS Doug Bradley-even though he is bald and has a thinish face, he looks like he ate Butterball! Also, how hard would it have been to deepen his voice a bit more on the soundtrack?  Ah well, Chatterer looks groovy.

If you already hate this movie, don't bother.  If you want a short and surprisingly nasty Hellraiser film that is actually trying to be one instead of a script or two being combined and remixed like some of the early films than give it a shot.  Skip the end credits and you are out before an hour and five minutes pass.

One thing that is a little puzzling, though few will Lament it (har har, see I know my Hellraiser) is that IMDB has this listed as a one shot from PUZZLE BOX FILMS which would suggest that Dimension went and found the lowest priced company they could.  However, Neo Art & Logic is credited right at the top of the opening scene.  They have worked on the series since Bloodlines (with additional filming) and also produced the FEAST films.  So, why is this important? I don't really know, but it suggests that this isn't something that was handed to complete amateurs or even those unfamiliar with the series.  They probably did have a lot less money though.  

And here is a clip from the awesome DAILY GRINDHOUSE interview with Doug Bradley as to why he chose not to appear.  He is far less negative than most horror fans or Clive Barker.  Read the entire thing, it is a fascinating look at the man behind the pins!

"No, that was offered to me and I turned it down. It just didn’t seem like a serious attempt to revive the franchise or move it forward. My understanding is that it was made for political reasons. It was shot in two weeks and had a minuscule budget. I read the script and it was okay but it was 8 years since I had the latex and nails on and I had drawn a line in my head with it. I was looking for somewhere to go with the character, something new. The screenplay just didn’t have it. It had a germ of something but it wasn’t screen ready but good luck to everyone involved."

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