Hellraiser Cenobites

In 1986, Stephen King staged a challenge to the many respected directors who had envisioned his famous books as films: he posited that a horror writer could best any horror director given their supposedly unique relationship to the subject matter. The result of this challenge was the insanely entertaining but not at all scary Maximum Overdrive, a fascinating but notable failure of a creator’s attempt to move from one medium to another. A year later, another horror writer tried his hand at filmmaking to considerably different results. Clive Barker, who King famously christened “the future of horror,” made himself known as a force to be reckoned with in cinematic fear with Hellraiser. Barker is perhaps better known in many circles for his novels, plays and video games than his feature films, as he has only helmed three, with his most recent released almost twenty years ago. But Barker’s imagination has had a serious influence on horror cinema, producing images of violence and monstrosity that have resonated, as evidenced by the strong legacy of his work as well as his notable influence on other filmmakers like Guillermo del Toro. So here is some free film school (for fans and filmmakers alike) from an artist who has made a career out of raising a bit of hell.


Pan's Labyrinth Pale Man

Most horror films fall apart in the third act. This is an indisputable fact. Think about how good Insidious was up until they point that they showed the goofy Darth Maul wannabe demon. Remember how stupid it was in The Happening when it turned out the trees were killing people? These are not outliers. A lot can hinge on the reveal of the monster (even if it’s not a monster-monster) in a horror movie. If a film can’t deliver on its antagonist, it’s going to end on a ridiculous note instead of a scary one, letting us walk out of the theater laughing in urine-free pants. So here are some monster reveals that aren’t crappy! (But they are spoilerific. Beware.)


Screen Gems

Christopher Young knows horror. After 32 years in the business and countless horror movies under his belt from Hellraiser to The Grudge to Drag Me To Hell to his latest, Deliver Us From Evil, Young is a wealth of information when it comes to talking all things fear. A composer, but also a big fan, Young’s appreciation for the genre has in turn helped him give it some of its most terrifying scores. Young didn’t seek out the horror genre, it just happened that he was coming up in the business when films like Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, and Freddy the 13th reigned supreme. Deliver Us From Evil marks the third time Young has worked with director Scott Derrickson, and Young is clearly a fan of the rising filmmaker, noting that he is one of only a handful of directors whose specialty is horror.  “He’s one of two or three horror directors that I’ve worked with who are extremely intelligent and concise about what it is they’re trying to do with their movie as a director, but equally — and more importantly from my perspective — is what needs to be done with the music,” Young says.


news hellraiser reboot

When Clive Barker unleashed his directorial debut into the world in 1987 it was unlike most anything else in the horror genre. Based on his own novella, “The Hellbound Heart,” Hellraiser mixed murder, demons, S&M, infidelity, and some incestuous shenanigans for good measure. The film didn’t exactly blow up the box-office, but the character of Pinhead (Doug Bradley) found a success all his own turning him into a franchise star. This was especially impressive as he only had a few minutes of screen time in the first film. There have been eight sequels so far, most of them direct to DVD (and most of them pretty terrible), but talk of a big screen reboot has been in the air for years. Possible writers and directors have come and gone over the years including the various talents behind Inside, Martyrs, The Collector, and My Bloody Valentine 3D, until the idea seemed to die a quiet death. But now there seems to be good news on the horizon. According to Barker’s Facebook page (h/t Fangoria), he recently had a meeting with Bob Weinstein of Dimension Pictures where he pitched a remake of his own, and now he’s been officially hired to write the screenplay.



There’s really no such thing as pleasant renewal when it comes to metamorphosis in a horror movie – only flesh falling off to expose whatever nightmare lurks beneath. It’s not unlike puberty, actually. Since we’re almost hitting the dark lord’s birthday, I thought we could celebrate by remembering some of the most nauseating horror movie transformations ever mashed onto the screen…



FACT: For millions, the Bible is a wellspring of hope and inspiration for daily living. FACT: For decades, horror filmmakers have also turned to the Bible and Biblical lore for inspiration. Why? For starters, there’s some gruesome imagery there. Let’s not even start on the eye-for-an-eye, tooth-for-a-tooth gore of the Old Testament. In the kinder, gentler New Testament there’s death by stoning, death by beheading and (SPOILER ALERT) death by crucifixion. So, if seeing The Last Exorcism 2 this weekend left you wanting something more (and I’m told by a reliable source that it might have), here are seven great ways to scratch your religious horror itch. Just don’t scratch too hard. Unless, of course, you’re a practicing flagellant.


The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

From 12 noon on Saturday, October 15 through 12 noon on Sunday, October 16, horror fans will descend on the Grandview Theater in Grandview, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus. The line-up includes 35 mm prints of rare, historic, and foreign films along with trailers, cartoons, and various short subjects. Other activities during the movie marathon will include the annual costume contest and scream contest. Just this weekend, marathon organizers announced the final line-up of films, which includes a rare 35 mm screening of the controversial A Serbian Film, presented unrated and uncut. This will likely be one of the few times horror fans in Ohio will be able to see Srdan Spasojevic‘s international shocker on the big screen. The other anchor film will be the Midwest premiere of Midnight Son. Although Shock Around the Clock is only the third annual horror marathon at the Grandview Theater, these events go back to 1988 with the Night of the Living Drexel 24-hour horror movie marathons. All-night horror marathons struggled to find a home in Columbus during the 90s after the historic Drexel North theater was turned into a drug store and later a health club. Various incarnations of the event took place at different theaters in the central Ohio area, sometimes only in the form of 14-hour marathons from 10 pm until 12 noon the next day. With the opening of the Grandview Theater in 2009, the 24-hour line-up returned.


Chainsaw Massacred

When I was talking with some friends a while back about how much my wife and I enjoyed Insidious (probably one of the first genuinely well-made horror films in ages), I started thinking about how they’re almost sure to greenlight a sequel any day now (still waiting on that) for some studio to run into the ground like James Wan and Leigh Whannel’s previous collaboration, the Saw series. Saw got dumber and shittier as it went on, probably due to the fact that by fourth film or so the plot was incomprehensibly stupid. What’s the point of all this again? And Jigsaw had how many apprentices now? By the end of the series, I was expecting him to have solved the financial crisis by employing the majority of Americans to set moronic traps for each other. But the thing that’s easy to forget is that the first Saw movie was actually a pretty damn good movie. It wasn’t unique by any means. It owes a lot to Dario Argento and his fellow Italian Giallo filmmakers, but that’s not the point. The point is, Wan and Whannel paid attention. They actually put forth an effort to make a film that wasn’t a remake or a sequel or a cheap knockoff. They showed their hand as far as influences go, but fuck, so does Quentin Tarantino. Hell, even Saw II and Saw III weren’t bad. So maybe that’s the secret to making a horror film that’s not ball-crushingly idiotic. Maybe it just […]



Apparently concerns that the new Hellraiser was going to be PG-13 were either 1) prematurely false or b) spot on and in major conflict with the duo tapped to make the film. That duo is going to be director Patrick Lussier and screenwriter Todd Farmer (who you may remember from being naked in movies like My Bloody Valentine 3D and from your nightmares afterward). Both are just finishing up Drive Angry 3D, and this will most likely be a project that Farmer jumps into immediately while Lussier directs Halloween 3(D?): No More Zombie. Oddly enough, Lussier was the editor for a short a few years back called No More Souls: One Last Slice of Sensation which actually featured Pinhead in a world where mankind was gone, he was bored and immortal, and he chose to open the puzzle box himself. [STYD]



The Weinsteins have been planning a big budget remake of Clive Barker’s Hellraiser for years now, and the names associated with it have been a roster of hardcore horror directors. Well, a small roster of French directors anyway… Pascal Laugier (Martyrs) was attached briefly followed by the duo of Alexandre Bustillo/Julien Maury (Inside), but then the announcements and rumors went silent. Until now. Per BloodyDisgusting, Dimension Films is hoping to bring Hellraiser back to the big screen in a teen friendly format and a possible PG-13 rating. To that end they’re talking with director Christian E. Christiansen who’s currently finishing up the young adult thriller, The Roommate, for Screen Gems. BD is also reporting that Dimension is after Amber Heard for the lead, and yes, that is the closest thing you’ll get to good news in this entire post.



It’s Halloween time (close enough, jerk bags!) so I’m turning the Coroner’s Report into a horror column! Wait what? Exactly. This is always a horror column, because that kind of thing is my bag, baby. But now it’s also part of the 31 Days of Horror and in honor of that, I’m jumping into the way back machine and traveling to 1987 to bring you an in-depth look at Clive Barker’s Hellraiser. This dark, gothic horror film follows Larry, his daughter Kirsty, and his second wife Julia as they move into a house previously occupied by the bad boy brother Frank. Written for the page and the screen by Clive Barker, who also directed, Hellraiser gave birth to one of the iconic characters of the genre: Pinhead. He’s what’s known as a Cenobite, an interdimensional traveler who bills himself as an angel to some, a demon to others. If your religion is all about hooks tearing your body apart, he’s an angel. If that’s your idea of hell, well… The crux of the story is Frank, who has escaped from the Cenobite Hell and seeks Julia’s help in returning to form. To do this, there will have to be murders and sacrifices. Duh.



Don’t call it a come back on the account of the Blu-ray Report charging in with awesome recommendations, call it a comeback because Mickey Rourke is making his comeback in HD this week.



Rob Hunter continues his DVD buying rampage with a Battlestar Galactica spin-off, a major horror franchise box set and 2008’s great comeback story.



This is one of the reasons we began the Officially Cool feature here at FilmSchoolRejects. When we come across amazing art from an amazing artist, it makes us feel all warm and tingly inside…and it makes us empty our wallets.


Just when you thought countless piss-poor sequels had diluted the Hellraiser franchise to a horchata-like potency, Clive Barker himself has wicked-good news.

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published: 01.31.2015
published: 01.30.2015
published: 01.30.2015
published: 01.29.2015

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