Hellraiser Reboot Director David Bruckner Is Ready To Make A Sequel

"Hellraiser" is like many horror franchises in that it starts out with a classic and gets off a couple of worthy sequels before turning into absolute dreck. It is, however, unlike your typical slasher series in that there's no reason it should go sailing off the rails.

The premise is evergreen: in a moment of curiosity, a person futzes around with the Lament Configuration, unleashes the sadomasochistic Cenobites, and scrambles to bargain their way out of, or simply forestall, eternal torture. Clive Barker's first film juxtaposed the wanton sexual adventurousness of Frank (Sean Chapman) and Julia Cotton (Clare Higgins) against the teenage innocence of their niece/stepdaughter Kirsty (Ashley Laurence). Director Tony Randel continued this narrative with the wondrously depraved "Hellbound: Hellraiser II," while Anthony Hickox broke off from the Cottons for the interesting "Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth." The next six sequels were excruciatingly awful.

This streak of wretchedness is hopefully about to end with David Bruckner's "Hellraiser" reboot. Having earned his horror bona fides with "The Signal," "The Ritual" and "The Night House," Bruckner is easily the most talented director to tackle this material since Barker. Even better, he respects the universe enough to maintain that this is set in the same realm inhabited by Doug Bradley's Pinhead — though he is introducing a new variation on the chief Cenobite, who is now played by Jamie Clayton. Hopes are high for Bruckner's film, which, if it hits the mark, means the puzzle-box faithful are going to be clamoring for more. If the filmmaker has his way, "more" is precisely what they're going to get.

The further, freakish adventures of the Cenobites

Speaking with Entertainment Weekly's Clark Collis, Bruckner said that if "the movie gods allow," he will happily stick with these carnal explorers over multiple movies.

"'Hellraiser' is a unique challenge, I think, for a group of filmmakers because, you know, it could be a guy in a mask, but it's not, it's inter-dimensional demons that shoot chains at you from an endless labyrinth. It's complicated and not just conceptually but also logistically. I feel like I speak for our whole team, the SFX, the VFX, the production design, we learned a lot on this. It is tempting to think we'd have an amazing grip on it going forward, should there be an energy and an appetite for it."

As a massive "Hellraiser" fan who abhors how horrendously the series has been treated in the past, this is a relief. Finally, the franchise is back in the hands of someone who understands its endless potential. The box and the Cenobites are the stars. The protagonist should change from film to film. You start with a character struggling through some kind of life crisis (in Bruckner's film, it's an addict played by Odessa A'zion), which leads them to the Lament Configuration. What happens from there, and whether they deserve to have their flesh ripped apart by fish hooks, is up to the filmmaker.

There should be a new "Hellraiser" movie every other year. Here's hoping Bruckner's film is worthy of the franchise's few good entries (and that composer Ben Lovett has found a way to reincorporate Christopher Young's lushly menacing themes).