Hellraiser Remake Is Shooting Now And Will Be 'Beautiful And Scary'

Fresh from the "Foundation" press day, /Film's own Jacob Hall spoke with David S. Goyer who is currently co-writing and producing the highly-anticipated "Hellraiser" remake directed by David Bruckner.

"[We're] shooting as we speak. We're about two-thirds of the way through it, and it's going to be pretty neat," says Goyer. "David Bruckner is definitely sticking true to the mythology, but also reinventing some of it. I think it's going to be beautiful and terrifying."

The Legacy of Hellraiser

Based on the novella "The Hellbound Heart" by English author Clive Barker, who also wrote and directed the original film adaptation of his story, "Hellraiser" is centered on a mysterious puzzle box that opens a portal to the hellish realm of the Cenobites, a cabal of extradimensional sadomasochistic monsters who capture mortal souls to torment in increasingly sadistic ways.

The "Hellraiser" franchise already boasts 10 films and countless novelizations and comic books. But with a writing team that includes "The Night House" screenwriters Luke Piotrowski and Ben Collins in addition to Goyer and Clive Barker, there's plenty to be excited about.

Why Remake Hellraiser?

When Clive Barker worked on the first "Hellraiser" film, he signed away the story and character rights to Dimension Films, unaware of how successful and iconic the franchise, especially the villainous character Pinhead, would become.

Unfortunately, after "Hellraiser" and the psycho-sexual fantasy nightmare that is "Hellbound: Hellraiser 2," the franchise objectively took a massive dive in quality. The fourth film, 1996's "Hellraiser: Bloodline," was the last to receive the theatrical treatment but was credited to the Alan Smithee pseudonym after director Kevin Yagher's film was dramatically re-edited, re-shot, and re-imagined by Dimension Films to the point where it was unrecognizable as his work.

What followed were six direct-to-video sequels starting with "Hellraiser: Inferno" from future "Sinister" and "Doctor Strange" director, Scott Derrickson, and ending with "Hellraiser: Revelations" and "Hellraiser: Judgment," both made specifically so Dimension Films wouldn't lose the rights to the franchise.

This upcoming remake from Bruckner, Goyer, and the rest of the team is arguably the first time since "Hellbound: Hellraiser 2" that a major studio is genuinely giving this franchise the respect and care it so deserves. Fortunately, the iconography of Pinhead and the rest of the Cenobites are terrifying to look at no matter how lackluster the franchise became over the years, and Bruckner has more than proven his talent at crafting scares with "The Night House" and "The Ritual." However, he's got his work cut out for him considering just how dreadful the latter installments are.

What Do We Hope for the Remake?

The hellish terror of "Hellraiser" is so memorable due to its highly stylized practicality. Few can forget seeing Frank Cotton's skin ripped off of his muscles by chains or the horrific realism of the mouth of The Chatterer. If Bruckner can bring back the visceral power of the gore and nightmarish imagery, he's golden.

Most importantly, however, if Bruckner wants to succeed ... he better make it gay, damn it.

"Hellraiser" is a horror movie, yes, but it's also a movie about sexual obsession and an exploration of extreme sexuality. Clive Barker is a horror icon, but he's also a queer icon and his lived experiences have a massive impact on the works he's created. "Hellraiser" looks like the leather dungeon of the underworld, and the undercurrent of the entire series is that pain is the ultimate pleasure. The Cenobites are modeled after the people Barker witnessed engage in blade, knife, and piercing play at the New York underground club Cellblock 28 during their hardcore S&M nights. Extreme queerness and sexuality are interwoven into the very DNA of the "Hellraiser" franchise, so here's hoping the "beauty" Goyer mentioned is a part of that.