Ladies and Gentlemen…I’m a Hellraiser junky. I know the mythos better than my Family tree. I can tell you how many boxes were made during LeMarchand’s reign of terror. I can tell you all about the entity known as Pinhead or Xipe Totec before Elliot Spencer became its human host. I have several copies of the books as well as the comics and graphic novels. I finally have all of the movies as well.
Hellraiser has been on a long journey. Hellraiser was a classic. Hellraiser 2 was an amazingly solid and eerie follow up. Hellraiser 3…crap. I wasn’t happy with it mainly because they had Pinhead filling the role of supernatural slasher bent on world domination, which was never the Hellraiser “thing”. Bloodline was atrocious and my least favorite in the series. After Bloodline, they claimed there would be no more Hellraiser films.
That is…until Inferno came along. A strange, nightmarish journey through the personal Hell of a man already caught in the grips of Leviathan’s realm. How awesome! We finally were offered a glimpse into the pain and agony of one of Hell’s captives. I found Inferno refreshing and interesting. They even served up some original and truly inspired Cenobites. Parts 3 & 4 missed the mark in my opinion (aside from Angelique’s design and her Cenobites which were deleted from the film).
Hellseeker was released a couple years after Inferno and though most disliked it, I felt it actually fit far better into the series by continuing Kirsty’s story after the events that took place in 1 and 2. It’s almost as if they could have made it part 3 and wouldn’t have skipped a beat.
Now Deader…a movie wrought with problems from the beginning. One of the biggest being the script. Deader was to be a stand alone horror film, not a Hellraiser entry. After changing and rearranging, Deader became a Hellraiser film, but a Hellraiser film with far too many problems to ignore.
The film is about Amy Klein a daring journalist who’ll do anything to get her story. Her boss presents her with a tape of what appears to be a cult that has members commit suicide. After the deed is done, the groups leader, Winter, brings them back to life. So what does this have to do with Hellraiser? Well, insert the box into the hand of one of the Deaders and BLAMMO! A Hellraiser sequel that doesn’t make sense. You’re left asking yourself how Winter is related to LeMarchand, the creator of the box, and why the Deaders need Amy Klein to join their ranks and open the box. The loose ends are never tied up. From what I garnered, Winter needs somebody to open the box for him…but why? Why does he need somebody to open the box and join the Deaders and how does Winter have this ability to bring back the living? What is it benefiting him by bringing them back? Pinhead seems pissed because he’s bringing back the dead and Hell doesn’t get them, which might make sense but it’s never really spelled out that way.
None of these questions really get answered. It’s a confusing mishmash of 2 movies and it shouldn’t have been made. The look of the film is solid and the FX by Tunnicliffe was wonderful (he even has a guest appearance). Bota seems to know how to make good movies and he did a fine job on Hellseeker, but this was a poor entry. They didn’t even bother with a jump scare or two. Pinhead does get off one solid sound bite…”I am The Way!!”
This film is a mess. If you’re looking to catch Kari Wuhrer side boob, front boob, nipple shots and her poor attempt at “grungy young reporter”, this is your film. Wuhrer came off like a middle aged mother caught in the middle of a midlife crisis.
This, for me, is the lowest point of the Hellraiser franchise and the worst part is…I didn’t hate it. It was an okay film for what it was and I purchased it. Rent first, cry later.