Posted on Wednesday, October 20th, 2010 by Russ Fischer
The story of the Hellraiser remake that has long been in development at Dimension just keeps taking new turns. Quite a few possible directors have been attached to the project in the past few years, and just this week there was a rumor that Christian E. Christiansen, recently in talks to direct, then supposedly off the project, was not only back on but ready to make a PG-13 version of the story. Cue a massive wave of fan disinterest at the notion of a PG-13 Hellraiser.
Whether in response to that backlash (highly unlikely) or just because things hadn’t actually been sorted out yet (far more likely) there’s a new report that My Bloody Valentine 3D and Drive Angry 3D creators Patrick Lussier and Todd Farmer will direct the new take on Clive Barker‘s horror landmark. Let me guess: it’ll be in 3D.
Not a lot of info on this one yet but Collider reported the duo would direct, and Bloody Disgusting says it has “confirmed without a shadow of doubt that Patrick Lussier and Todd Farmer are the duo who will be bringing Pinhead back to theaters.” With the news out in the wild, hopefully Dimension will drop a statement that clarifies the studio’s overall approach to the remake.
Let’s hope they’ll bring an R-rating with them. Because, while there can be good PG-13 horror, Hellraiser is rooted too firmly in notions of naked lust and unusual sex to have any power as a PG-13 film. I’m not happy in the way I would have been if earlier directing deals had come through (like Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo (Inside) or Pascal Laugier of Martyrs fame) but this is a start. I didn’t love My Bloody Valentine 3D, but it was at the very least bloody and violent, which is one reasonable place to start for Hellraiser.
Still: I’m not wildly confident. Clive Barker’s story has the potential to birth a film that could be provocative and uncomfortable like the best of early David Cronenberg, but it gave birth to a film series that was increasingly devoid of ideas. Blame that in part on the early popularity of Pinhead, the minor character from the first film who was so visually distinctive and blessed with such quotable dialogue, that he became a too-prominent part of the films. Easier to focus on him and other wild-looking fellow Cenobites than to write perceptive horror.
I’d love to see a remake that tackled the material properly. The best possible thing this new film could do, as a creative beginning, is scale Pinhead back to being representative of the consequences one has to face for indulging desire in an all-consuming way. (Not for nothing was Clive Barker’s source novella called The Hellbound Heart.) Step two would be to give us characters who are really wallowing in that desire. But I have little faith, especially after all this waffling, that Dimension is going to let Hellraiser grow what it could become.