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Hellraiser: Revelations

Maryland Matt   (2 reviews)

Posted: 05/22/2012 | Comments: 13 | Rate:

Actors: Nick Eversman, Steven Brand, Fred Tatasciore, Stephan Smith Collins

Synopsis: Two well-to-do friends leave their affluent family lives behind to seek excitement in gritty Tijuana. Their trip takes a horrifc turn when they cross paths with a puzzle box that dooms them to eternal torment at the hands of servants of hell.

Here we have Revelations, the ninth installment in the Hellraiser saga. Regardless of the many missteps that this once heralded franchise has taken in the over two decades since its inception, it still holds a place in my heart as one of my favorites. As a child, I would sneak into the living room late at night on the weekends to watch whatever horror movies were being played on cable at the time. At some point in the mid-to-late 80’s, my pre-pubescent self crossed paths with the morbid tale of Hellraiser (based on the novella “The Hellbound Heart” by Clive Barker). It was the story of a man named Frank that purchases an antique puzzle box in London, who upon solving it opens the gates to hell. Through this portal comes the sadistic servants of hell, the Cenobites. They, the black cloaked and leather clad torturers, are lead by the now iconic antagonist… Pinhead (played by Doug Bradley) and promised him pleasures beyond the realm of human comprehension. Instead, Franks’ physical body is torn to shreds by the Cenobites upon their summoning via their trademark chains and hooks, with his soul being imprisoned in hell. Franks’ brother Larry and his family, with whom Frank has very little contact, are unaware of his demise as they move into a new home. Larry is unaware, but his new wife Julia had previously been intimately involved with Frank… and was still very much in love with him. While moving their belongings into the house, an accident causes Larry to cut his hand and drip blood on to the attic floor. This blood drains through the floorboards and makes its way to Frank… somehow partially restoring him to the realm of Earth, albeit at first as a grotesque pile of gore that barely resembled a man. Julia eventually discovers this form of Frank in the attic and swears to bring him fresh blood to further restore him to his normal state. As to not the ruin the ending for those of you who have not seen it… I will just say that the original Hellraiser is by far, one of my favorite horror movies and I highly recommend it.

In regards to the numerous sequels that were spawned from this legendary film, I truly enjoy parts 2 and 3. After that, I really feel that while some films had strong aspects and at points even great potential… the series had mostly gone off the rails. It really felt as if Dimension Films had taken pre-existing low budget horror movies and shoehorned Pinhead, the puzzle box and the Cenobites in to make them part of the sequel chain. I came to find out that it is alleged that this is actually what they did with some of these. It is also alleged that they did this as a means to pump out another film in the franchise every so often so that they could retain the rights to the name “Hellraiser” due to a planned reboot (that is apparently in some form of production). Keeping that in mind, I give credit to the filmmakers of Revelations because this is at least an actual Hellraiser film… although an abysmal excuse for one.

Revelations is the story of two affluent young men (Stephen and Nico) who want to escape the minutia of their privileged lives and seek adventure in Mexico. While in Tijuana, they cross paths with a strange vagabond who offers to give them the legendary puzzle box. Much like the original (and every sequel after), the box is solved by Nico and he unknowingly summons the Cenobites. His fate is much like that of Franks’ in the original film, leaving his friend Stephen to murder various innocents to supply him with the blood needed to return to this world. I know this sounds like modern take on the original story, but I assure you they missed the mark on nearly every opportunity they could. Long gone is the phenomenal make-up, prosthetics and practical effects of the earlier films… but most notably, long gone is Doug Bradley as Pinhead. This is the first film in the franchise to introduce a new actor in the role and to be honest, I wish they would have taken a few more auditions. Now under the slightly-better-than-Halloween-costume Pinhead garb is actor Stephan Smith Collins. His take on the character leaves a lot to be desired. The solemn and matter-of-fact tone that Bradley had brought to the character has now been replaced with over-acting and an unneeded angst that takes away from the cool and calculated demeanor that you may be used to. Another point I’d like to make is that the Hellraiser series typically hold a higher standard when it comes to practical effects and gore. While some work is adequate, most is barely above the level of a college freshman film class project. For me, this at least added a comedic value to my viewing experience… but I know that was not intended. My biggest gripe with this film is the story. It borrows far too heavily from the original film in regards to its “blood resurrection” plot points. If handled properly, I really think this could have been a respectful nod to the original film but instead we are treated to a trite story full of telegraphed twists that you see coming from a mile away.

The bottom line is that if you love this franchise and you’ve already bulldozed your way through 8 of these films… might as well go for number 9. If you have never seen any of the Hellraiser films, or only seen the first few… quit while you’re ahead.

Comments
Nightmare Feddy
48,802 Posts
31/M/PA
Will never watch
mr. birthdaysex
8,194 Posts
31/M/NC
same.
que te follen
20,131 Posts
30/F/PA
I still haven't seen the first one, I plan on doing that soon. I'll probably just watch the first three and leave the other 6 to the imagination.
dogfood meatballs
6,337 Posts
36/M/NY
lol, that sounds awful. ....and emo-pinhead ftw.

it really is a shame too, because the franchise really did have a lot of potential at the start. 1 & 2 are classics; by 3 they were already feeling like a costume drama but passable thanks to doug bradley like you said. but the rest have felt like fake copies with painted-on knobs and no functioning parts save the walk-thrus by bradley.

i think it really comes down to a failure of writing, and of imagination, i guess. effects are important, but good writing, backed up by good direction and acting can make even the worst rubber-suit effects go unnoticed. [see most british sci-fi]

but now i want to get drunk and watch 1 & 2 back to back . total classics.








***just saw that ALL of these including the one being reviewed are on netflix streaming.
still oh so ill
8,189 Posts
32/M/MD
4 isn't terrible... but that's when it starts to go downhill... and fast.
Nightmare Feddy
48,802 Posts
31/M/PA
The first 2 are easily in the top 20 horror films of all time. Hellbound being in the top 10. The 3rd was a change in approach (more slasher than psychological) but was still a very solid movie. 4 was definitely jumping the shark though. Anytime you proceed to go to space with your story, you know you are fucking up. That is unless you take the "we're clearly not serious" attitude like in Jason X. It wasn't a terrible film but by the films conclusion it was beginning to get corny.

The next 4 films didn't even make it to theaters and only 1 of them wasn't a rewrite for another film. Coincidentally it's the best of the direct to DVD films as well and probably the best since 3. That one is called Hellseeker and it was the 6th film released. It actually comes back to some of the story from the original 2 as well.

Inferno is the only one that I would say you can straight up avoid. The other 2, Dead and Hellworld, were entertaining but don't except anything special from either of them.

Doug Bradley's performance as Pinhead was a saving grace in alot of those films. Losing him is a bad idea all together. Honestly he's like Robert Englund is to Freddy Krueger. He was the personality of the character. Instead of just being a big guy behind a mask that breaths heavily.
still oh so ill
8,189 Posts
32/M/MD
Just watch this one, Wren.
Nightmare Feddy
48,802 Posts
31/M/PA
Nah. I own all of them up until this point. Only 4 and 6 got more than one viewing and I haven't watched any of them (4-8) since the last one was released on DVD. Without Bradley, there is literally no reason to even both with this. I just read it was made on a $300,000 budget. I'm sure it looks wonderful.
mr. birthdaysex
8,194 Posts
31/M/NC
the first film in this series is my all time favorite horror film second only to evil dead 2. the original hell raiser film is quite literally one of the most frightening and psychologically thrilling movies in the history of the horror genre imo.


clive barker's comments on this film are great. “Hello,my friends. I want to put on record that the flic out there using the word Hellraiser IS NO FUCKIN’ CHILD OF MINE!” he screams via Twitter. “I have NOTHING to do with the fuckin’ thing. If they claim its from the mind of Clive Barker,it’s a lie. It’s not even from my butt-hole.”
que te follen
20,131 Posts
30/F/PA
So many better things could have happened with that $300,000
hey hi
41,050 Posts
30/M/NY
This was written and shot in about 2 weeks and was made to keep the rights to the hellraiser franchise (contract stipulation). There is literally no reason to watch this.
still oh so ill
8,189 Posts
32/M/MD
My reason for watching it was to provide you guys with a report on how it was.

My report: (fart noise)
hey hi
41,050 Posts
30/M/NY
I am grateful for your review, mary land matthew

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