There were key movies in my life that helped to make me who I am today. Movies that I have loved from the moment the opening credit rolled and still love now. This blog series is about those, My guilty pleasures, my favorites, my escapes. Some were very popular, others not so much. Some of these will have some real life take-aways, others are just for fun.
Today we continue our discussion of the Hellraiser franchise with the final Hellraiser film to feature long-running Pinhead portrayer Doug Bradley. It is Hellraiser meets modern tech in a new take on an old tale.
Today’s Key Movie:
Five gamers are invited to a party thrown by Hellworld only to experience a horror like they never knew could exist outside of the games they play. Starring Doug Bradley, Lance Henrickson, Henry Cavill, Katheryn Winnick, and Christopher Jacot, this is Hellraiser Hellworld.
Why this movie?
Hellraiser is one of those franchises that I loved early on but never finished because, well, I pretty much gave up on it when it’s creator, Clive Barker walked away from the series. Having rewatched all of the classics I had seen, I figured I may as well keep going and finally watch the remainder of the films I missed out on. So far, those films have been a mixed bag of not bad, absolute crap and not bad but not Hellraiser so, it seems I didn’t really miss all that much. So here we are at the last of the films to feature the original Pinhead actor and imagine my surprise when I saw some very recognizable names in the cast, including Superman himself Henry Cavill!
Not only that but Hellraiser Hellworld takes the franchise to a whole new direction by making the franchise more of a Meta thing by bringing Hellraiser and even Pinhead into the real world. No longer bound by films, Hellraiser has become a video game phenomenon and, on Halloween Night, a small group of Hellraiser fans congregate for a secret ‘by invite’ party (hosted by Lance Henriksen) that promises to offer some serious ‘delights’.
What follows is a dark take on the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory story where the golden ticket brings about a darkness that goes beyond the nightmare of a world of pure imagination. This time, it’s a world of pure terror and nightmares. The question is, are the nightmares worth while? Well..
You like it, but is it really a ‘good’ movie?
According to my research, this film was made immediately after the previous film with any actors who were available in the area of Romania that they had to film in. I have to say that this was likely a serendipitous event as they found a phenomenal cast to perform in a film that is actually quite interesting.
My biggest complaint about the previous film was that, while it was good, it was not a ‘Hellraiser’ film as it didn’t really fit in with the Hellraiser mythos. Somehow, Hellworld manages to flip this concept into something unique by creating a meta world where Hellraiser is something that is known to the characters in the film but is believed to be fiction. This gives the myth a power it did not have before as it plays on the known fears of the characters while the audience sees things for what it really is. Imagine being a fan of a video game series like Resident Evil and, after being invited to a themed party of that franchise, discovering that the Umbrella Corps and the T-Virus itself was very real. In fact, there was every chance it would be your death that very night. This is what Hellraiser Hellworld is and taking it from that perspective, it works despite not being in the same ‘universe’ at the rest of the franchise. In fact, there are even self referential moments where the characters question events transpiring because none of them ‘Opened the Box’. The thing is, one of them did open ‘a’ box just not the one they thought they were opening.
Hellworld may be the final film with Doug Bradley as Pinhead but I have to say, it is a fitting end to his legacy. Pinhead has become a horror icon in large part because of Bradley’s portrayal of the Cenobite King. His visage has become synonymous with the franchise and, to me, his character probably should have been retired upon his departure. Sure, I can’t really judge the other actors playing the role as I have not seen those films yet but it is going to be hard pressed to wear Bradley’s pins.
Bottom line, while Hellraiser Hellworld may not be a ‘real’ Hellraiser when everything is said and done but it fits in the mythos in a unique and clever way. It’s dark, frightening and has a turn that you will never expect. Plus any horror film with Lance Henriksen is going to be worth your while, I mean, this is the guy who has faced Aliens, Pumpkin Head and even a Terminator. So it’s pretty fitting that he face the real Pinhead before it was too late.
OK, where do I get this movie?
You can pick this one up via the Four Movie set which includes Bloodline, Inferno, and Hellseeker. Honestly, it’s not a bad collection for anyone who loves this franchise. Next up, Hellraiser Revelations. Until then…
Late To The Game 7/22/2021
If you would like to read more reviews please check out the rest of the Key Movies Of My Life that comes out every Thursday.
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