As you have undoubtedly heard, there is yet another entry into the once-beloved Hellraiser franchise. Early chatter on the internet has been (surprise) mostly negative, as longtime Pinhead Doug Bradly confirmed that he will not be involved in the project in any way, shape, or form.
In fact, Bradley also claims that creator Clive Barker is also absent from the film. This is shaping up to be Hellraiser: Revelations all over again. . . or is it? Once you dig a little deeper, you may actually start to appreciate what’s happening amongst all of this chaos. Here’s everything we know about HELLRAISER: (JUDGMENT?).
It’s Filming Right Now.
While staples like Bradley and Barker are absent from the production, long-time franchise effects artist Gary Tunnicliffe is directing the film. They’re actually shooting it right now in Oklahoma. This means two things:
- It’s actually going to happen (looking at you Hellraiser: Origins)
- It’s going to LOOK like a Hellraiser film.
This project has been in the works in one form or another for a very long time, and it has had a troubling history. French directing duo Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury were attached to the project at one point (when it was a reboot), but they left; stating that the studio was pressuring them into making the film more appealing to mainstream theaters and moviegoers. Who the hell wants a toned-down Hellraiser? Not this guy.
Thankfully for us, it looks like the studio has had a change in heart (thanks, Deadpool).
It’s Probably Rated-R
I understand that a PG-13 Hellraiser is something that should never even be considered, but movie studios do crazy things–especially here lately. That said, if confirmed casting information is to believed, nudity will be required for at least 5 actresses. Assuming a nipple does, in fact, make an appearance–I believe that alone will secure us an R rating. Not even FX can get away with a nipple.
Beyond the frequent NUDITY REQUIRED labels, the casting call shines some light on the plot as well as some very gritty and nefarious sounding characters. Our friends at Fangoria snagged the original text. Here it goes:
- ALISON CARTER – Female, 28-35. Sean’s perfect, adoring wife. But something is missing. Her husband has been distant, even cold. He has forgotten her on her birthday. Alison makes it her mission to help her husband, but she hides a very dark secret. TOPLESS/PARTIAL NUDITY; SIMULATED SEX
- THE AUDITOR – Male, 40-60. All business, very matter-of-fact. Clearly not of this earth. He learns of your sins, your transgressions, your evils, and takes careful note of them before passing them on to the Assessor for judgment. Think of him more as an accountant from Hell. A great character actor with a great face is needed to bring this role from the other world to ours. SUPPORTING
- THE JURY – Females, early 20s. These three naked, perfectly beautiful girls have faces that have been shredded away; blood, bone, muscle, sinew, and teeth exposed. They pass the horrific verdicts onto all offending mortals. They will also wear tight-fitting body suits and portray our “stitchers.” Dance experience might be fun here, but not required. (NUDITY REQUIRED) 4 SCENES
- HODGES – Male, 50s. He is the rotund Medical Examiner; a Hawaiian shirt-wearing, basement-working bureaucrat with information on Crystal Lanning’s murder—but the information doesn’t come without a slimy proposal for Detective Egerton. 1 SCENE; 10 LINES, 3 SPEECHES
- CRYSTAL LANNING – Female, 21. She is a beautiful socialite. She wears a black, designer micro cocktail dress, carries a Chanel purse, and barks into her bejeweled cell phone, wobbling out of her Uber Black on ridiculous high heels. She is also never far from her beloved little dog, “Baby.” She will suffer a grisly, horrific end, and it is her murder that sets our story in action. Must be comfortable with her body. Will be seen in a thong. 2 SCENES
- CLEANERS – Females, 65+. These terrifying, aging, naked women clean bodies for punishment by licking them head to toe. They tear away their victim’s clothes, not unlike a pack of wolves, forcing their tongues upon Watkins. NUDITY REQUIRED
- VAGRANT – Male, 55+. Rough, disheveled, homeless man. Perhaps he is hairy, perhaps he is missing teeth. You can almost smell him through the screen. So it is odd and out of character for him to eloquently quote Charles Dickens in a whisper to Sean. 1 SCENE
- LANDLADY – Female, 50+. A cigarette dangles from her mouth as she snorts obscenities to the police. 1 SCENE
- SOCCER BOY – Male, 8-11. A small soccer boy whose ball clearly bounced in the wrong yard. 1 SCENE; 1 LINE
- MORMON 1 – Male, 20-28. MUST SPEAK GERMAN. He shows up at the door on his bicycle, in typical black pants and white short-sleeved shirt. 1 SCENE; 1 LINE
- BUTCHER – Male, 30-45. A huge, behemoth of a man. A huge bouncer/doorman type. With his giant scythe, in large, hack-like movements, he slices meat from Watkins’ back. 1 SCENE; NO LINES
- SURGEON – Male, 30-60. The skinniest guy we can find. A full or partial lower limb amputee. Either a dancer or martial arts expert, or perhaps even a full or partial lower-limb amputee, giving him a real ROAD WARRIOR feel. He is lowered on a harness, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE style. With surgical precision, he vivisects Watkins on the gruesome operating table. 1 SCENE; NO LINES
There’s a Chance it Wasn’t Intended to be a Hellraiser Film
Back in 2013, a horror film titled JUDGMENT went to Kickstarter seeking around $200,000. The film was to be directed by none other than the aforementioned Gary Tunnicliffe, and it was an absolute failure–falling $192,000 short of its crowdfunding goal. The creators cancelled funding before the campaign could come to a close.
The teaser for JUDGMENT wasn’t incredibly shot, and it didn’t have an abundance of jaw-dropping visuals, but it was an intriguing concept. It also features characters that mirror the exact same names from the new Hellraiser casting call. Coincidence? Nope. Here’s the original concept trailer (along with some concept images) that was, admittedly, filmed for $0. Sell yourself on the idea, not the quality.
So yeah – there’s some potential there. But was JUDGMENT moonlighting as Hellraiser the whole time? This sort of strategy is common in the technology world, but I’d have to say that isn’t the case here. I have no doubt that JUDGMENT was intended to be it’s own film. So why would Dimension Films resurrect a failed Kickstarter project as a Hellraiser sequel? Well, because it’s easy, and..
Dimension Was on the Verge of Losing it’s Rights to Hellraiser.
Here’s how it goes: As the rights holder, Dimension has an obligation to release an owned franchise title within X amount of years. If they fail to do so, then they lose the rights. There are, of course, myriad variables that come into play here, but they just went through this with their other big money horror franchise, Halloween. In that case, they lost out on future Halloween properties. I’d be willing to bet that they would do almost anything to keep the Hellraiser franchise in their grasp. Easiest way to do that? Adapt a screenplay that’s been sitting around for 3 years (Judgment). It may sound kind of dirty, but this type of thing is not uncommon.
What Does it All Mean?
No one can say, at least–not on the record. There’s a chance that this new film will be steaming hot garbage, yes. There’s also a chance that we get an unexpected treat. After all, the concept art for Judgment looked pretty rad, and those character descriptions sound like something that belongs in a Hellraiser movie. If Dimension had to adapt a screenplay quickly to churn out another Hellraiser entry, they could have done a lot worse than Judgment. It already felt like a story within the same universe as-is.
But what do you think? Will Dimension scramble onto its feet and shock the horror world with something fresh and unexpected? Does Pinhead even need to make an appearance? Is avoiding a theatrical release advised? We have the same questions as you do at this point. Hit us up here in the comments or on Twitter/Facebook with your thoughts. We’ll be keeping an ear to the streets on this one. Stay tuned.