Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Hellraiser: Revelations

This franchise just keeps going even though the rubber burned off the rims years ago. The first Hellraiser was a cut above the horror movies of the time and remains a classic. After 3 subsequent theatrical efforts to repeat the formula (the third being an effort to reinvent the franchise as a mainstream slash 'em up and the fourth taking the cenobites into space), the series finally ended.

But a few years later Dimension started crapping out direct to DVD installments of the franchise, the first couple of which weren't bad. The fifth film, Inferno, starred Craig Sheffer and had a decent standalone story. True to the original, it featured the cenobites very little, but got criticized for it. The next installment, Hellseeker, brought back original franchise heroine Kirstie, but the role was not originally written with the character in mind so it came off a little half hearted.

Then things took a turn. I like Kari Wuhrer, but whenever you bring her into a series it's like the official announcement that it's over. Her installment, Deader, offered very little but was a masterpiece compared to its successor, Hellworld, which ambitiously aimed to take down Hellraiser and Lance Henricksen at the same time (as if the Pumpkinhead franchise weren't already taking care of him). For the record, all horror movies that take place at a rave are horrible. The only next logical step for this franchise is for the cenobites to throw a rave in space. With the Leprechaun.

Revelations is a reboot that's clearly intended to return to the original formula, but it's so amateurish in its execution that it just shows there's nothing left. At this point they're just returning to the well in order to poison it.

The iconic Pinhead is no longer portrayed by Doug Bradley, and he's become a caricature of that original performance in the same way this movie is a mockery of the original story. There are numerous elements meant to pay homage to the original film and its story, but it feels like you're watching a fan film. It's that familiar sensation so common in genre films where they seem to know the words but not the music.

It's time someone said it definitively: Just like Highlander and the Crow and a lot of one hit wonder genre franchises, Hellraiser was never meant to be a series.

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