Saturday, 25 January 2014



So it's come to this: a genuinely rubbish Hellraiser film. Even though the bar had been drastically lowered (to the point of sticking it in the basement) by Rick Bota's quickie triptych of Hellseeker, Deader and Hellworld, and was already on the floor after the uninspired Inferno, this is far below the level where "more or less professional" or "technically nearly competent" are the kind of things you can say in its defence as Part Nine of a wildly variable franchise that in truth was lucky to get to Part Three. It would appear that, since the film's only been made as a contractual obligation so Weinstein and Dimension can retain the rights to bugger up the Hellraiser legacy on a far bigger scale, anything other than shoddy fanfic slung together in a few weeks counts as too much effort. I'm not surprised Clive Barker's disowned it: if I'd been the second unit assistant grip or in charge of lettuce sandwiches for the FX crew, I'd disown the damned thing.

Despite the title, Hellraiser: Revelations has no sights to show you. It kicks off in pretty much the worst way possible short of a showtune: found footage from the camcorders of two instantly tiresome dullards heading for Mexico to get drunk and pick up hookers (because apparently you can't do that in California). When their first conquest ends up dead in a toilet for no good reason, they're approached by a vagrant who gives them the Lament Configuration, again for no good reason. Like idiots, they open it, and Pinhead and chums immediately turn up....

Except, of course, it's not the Pinhead we know and love: since Doug Bradley also apparently told them to take a long walk off a short pier, they've simply stuck the Pinhead makeup on someone else, and the fact he's now got the inherent scariness of a strawberry blancmange scarcely matters. Anyway, one of the two dullards escapes the Cenobites' realm and somehow manages to get home to his family - but that's where the Lament Configuration is, and all that's required is for some idiot to open it again...

But merely throwing in a couple of recognisable Hellraiser motifs (calling one of the families Bradley after the absent Doug) doesn't make this any more than fan fiction any more than Stephan Scott Collins is Pinhead just because he's wearing the Pinhead makeup - even Jackie Earle Haley made more of another actor's copyrighted character as Freddy Krueger in the pointless Elm Street reboot. This is a mess: the found footage stuff includes stuff they would never be filming, it's intercut with "proper" film, and the bulk of the movie consists of drably photographed arguments with the missing boys' families. It's impossible to care anyway since one of the guys is a weedy drip and the other is an arrogant dickhead, and you just end up wondering how the hot girl was ever the dickhead's girlfriend

Director Victor Garcia has tended to specialise in direct-to-disc sequels to films that didn't really need them: Mirrors 2, Return To House On Haunted Hill. Those were at least competently put together and reasonably entertaining, but Hellraiser: Revelations is absolute rubbish and it's hardly surprising that it hasn't shown up on British DVD. Hell, it was tossed out solely to satisfy a subclause in a contract, so its mere existence is all that's technically required. Well, congratulations, it exists. I hope you and Harvey are pleased with yourselves. Because I'm bloody not.


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