“A little clichéd in spots, drags too – but on the whole, it’s a vigorous, and reasonably well-written horror film” – Clint Morris
Doug Bradley, Kari Wuhrer, Paul Rhys, Simon Kunz, Georgina Rylance
The guy with the pointy things in his cranium is back – that’s Pinhead, not Tommy Lee and his horrendous mane ornament, I’m referring to – and tear my skin off and eat it for Sunday brunch if it isn’t his finest hour in quite a few moons.
The latest sequel to Clive Barker’s truly terrifying – just the mere thought of it and I have to change out of my Spidey jammies and into the back-up Batman ones – “Hellraiser” (1987) shrewdly leaves the sequel number (what is it 7?) off the title and sleeve and heads almost into ‘restart’ territoty. For good reason too, take the pins from the skull and the thing – the movie, not the character – could really stand on it’s own. Granted, even the title character seems to be a supporting player in his own franchise these days, so having tale come before titular terror isn’t new territory for this series.
Our ‘Tastier than Cheesy Fries’ lead Kari Wuhrer – a bit of a Dimension ‘flavour-of-the-month’, having also starred in their “Prophecy : Uprising” – plays a journalist who takes on the assignments that others won’t (sounds familiar – buy my book, coming 2012). She stumbles upon an underground cult named ‘The Deaders’, whose leader can apparently resurrect its members once they’ve killed themselves. As our journo gets more and more immersed in the world, she comes across that all-too-familiar box (from the previous “Hellraiser” films), ultimately unleashing Captain pins (played with relish by the slightly typecast Doug Bradley) back onto the unsuspecting world. Cue the corn syrup.
Direct-to-video sequels are seemingly getting better by the mile. Whilst “Hellraiser : Deader” isn’t a chunky shiny gem, it’s still a small spec of gold in a pan filled with middle-of-the-road neighbours. It’s a little clichéd in spots, drags in some others too – but on the whole, it’s a vigorous, and reasonably well-written horror film. Bring on ‘Pinhead Strikes Back’.
Extras-wise, there’s some goodies indeed: Storyboard to film comparisons, a number of deleted scenes (a Cenobite dog got the chop), a bunch of bloopers, a comprehensive featurette and two – yes, two, they actually gave the supplementary features section a budget! – Commentary tracks, both reasonably enlightening and entertaining, if even only for fans of the series.
Reviewer : Clint Morris