Expansive World VS Personal Hell: Hellraiser Franchise

Oct 10, 2020

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I love Hellraiser. The first film? Absolute classic. The second? Just as classic as the first. The third? Well, this is where people’s opinions of the franchise divide off. Me? I actually enjoy Hell on Earth. I mean, the acting is lacking, but it showed more of “Hell” and showed off some brand spanking new Cenobites… and also cemented the fact Pinhead was now the main focus of the films, whereas in the first film, all the Cenobites were relatively equal in presence.

But, I can watch all the films in the Hellraiser franchise and be content (except for that one they made without Doug Bradley, in one room, and on a shoestring budget just so the company could keep the copyright… no thank you!). Here’s my major question though, expansive world, or personal Hell? The first two films expanded upon the world of Hell, where Leviathan reigns, and where all the Cenobites live. The third and fourth focused on a central character who somehow have ties to the characters of Hell; Hell on Earth has a news-reporter helping the human soul of Pinhead try and conquer his Hellish half, and Bloodline focuses on the Merchant, well, bloodline, and how they created the Lament configuration, AKA, the box. The rest of the franchise (barring Hellworld, as that was just a way to make the franchise acknowledge the age of the Internet) seems to focus on one person, and one person alone, in their personal Hell (which isn’t revealed until the latter half of the film).

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Now, see, I thought that was an interesting take on the Hellraiser franchise. Instead of just talking about Hell, and the demons within, if then focuses on what actually happens within Hell, how people are actually tortured in the afterlife, in their own personal slices of Hell. It’s not the “wonderful suffering” Pinhead kept talking about, but it was still a form of suffering, none-the-less.

There’s been talks about a remake, or at least a reboot of the franchise for quite some time now. I remember a teaser of sorts with Doug Bradley reprising his role, but it was so short, and nothing ever came out of it. To me, no one else can portray Pinhead like he can… so what now? We need a new Pinhead? And if we find one… what is the route the films will take? Expansive world of Hell, or the personal Hell of the main protagonist? Both are interesting, and both can create some immersive storylines where Cenobites can absolutely be created and free to roam on screen.

My suggestion? Films and comics/novels. Hellraiser was based off a Clive Barker story, yes, but it screams for more stories to be told! If we get new films, I say, go for the expansive world of Hell, show us all the creatures, show us the tortured souls, and show us their attempt at taking over the world. Use the medium of books and comics to tell the tales of personal Hells. The world of Hell is better for the big screen, whereas the tales of individuals is better suited for a more personal medium.

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But what say you? Do you have any opinions on the Hellraiser franchise? Do you think it should even be touched for a reboot? Let us know!

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