Although it has so far generally escaped the attention of audiences at large, one of the biggest projects bubbling just under the surface of the film industry is that there is another Hellraiser movie in the works. Normally, this wouldn’t be that big of a deal. Helraiser movies have been a mainstay of the horror genre — and especially the straight-to-DVD horror genre — since the 1980s.
By this point, the franchise has become a pretty known quantity: the first one is a classic, the second one is great, the third one has its moments, the fourth considerably less so and the fifth onward have been pretty unremittingly terrible. They tried to remake it a few years back when every 80’s horror franchise was doing the same (e.g., A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th) and it never quite got off on the ground (likely because of the incredibly mixed reception those other films received at the time). It languished in developmental Hell for a few years and the rights to it nearly returned to horror author Clive Barker, although a last minute sequel — filmed and released for the sole purpose of meeting the legal requirements for the studio to hold onto the property for a few years more while they finalized a real sequel — kept that from happening.
For the last year, this movie has been in quiet development, only really being paid attention to by diehard horror fans. All that they’ve had to go on, however, are some promotional production stills and vague promises by studio executives that the movie is actually going to be a sequel, rather than a remake: promises that virtually nobody believed, since iconic Pinhead actor Doug Bradley was retired from the role and previous interests in reboots that studio heads had already expressed.
And besides, every indication saw the film leaning hard on the franchise’s earlier installments. The ostensibly “new” design for Pinhead returned to the austere simplicity of the original films. The film’s director, Gary Tunnicliffe, had done the makeup effects for every film in the series since Hell on Earth and even wrote the surprisingly solid script for Revelations. And although Bradley is out as Pinhead, Heather Langenkamp, best known as A Nightmare on Elm Street‘s Nancy, is a welcome addition to the series.
And now we finally have a release date for the film: on that’s fast approaching and gives it the potential to make some serious money as adult-centric counter-programming to Marvel’s on-deck superhero movie. Hellraiser Judgment is currently scheduled to release on February 13, 2018, just ahead of Marvel’s Black Panther.
Happy birthday to me.
At this point, I’m just happy that the movie’s releasing at all. It has been so long in the making and so bereft of news over the last year that I had all but given up on it by now. It was most recently supposed to release opposite of It earlier this year, but the date came and went and not a word came out of Judgment‘s production. It looks like we’ll be able to see for ourselves just how worth the wait the movie was a month and a half from now.
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