With the fate of a reboot of the Hellraiser movies currently trapped in limbo with neither studio Dimension Films nor creator Clive Barker able to agree on the direction the movie should take, yet another sequel has been developed in an obvious bid by Dimension to keep the production rights to the franchise. The tenth movie in the aging franchise, Hellraiser: Judgment will be the second of the saga not to feature British actor Doug Bradley as the deliciously evil antagonist commonly referred to as Pinhead. This time around the high priest of the Cenobites will be portrayed by American actor and writer Paul T. Taylor who, thanks to a promotional image released by Dimension Films (pictured below), seems to bear more resemblance to Doug Bradley's incarnation of the character than Stephan Smith Collins did in 2011's Hellraiser: Revelations.
Judgment began filming earlier this year, written and directed by British director Gary J. Tunnicliffe, a makeup effects artist who has worked on many movies in his twenty-three-year-long career including all but the first two installments of the Hellraiser franchise. Currently in post-production, the movie will star Heather Langenkamp, star of the original 1984 Nightmare on Elm Street and 1994's Wes Cravens' New Nightmare. The movie's official synopsis is as follows...
Detectives Sean and David Carter are on the case to find a gruesome serial killer terrorizing the city. Joining forces with Detective Christine Egerton, they dig deeper into a spiraling maze of horror that may not be of this world. Could the Judgment awaiting the killer’s victims also be waiting for Sean?
Director Tunnicliffe also wrote and directed the 2004 short No More Souls: One Last Slice of Sensation (watch it below), in which Tunnicliffe stars as Pinhead, pondering his existence following the apocalyptic ending of mankind on Earth. Included as a hidden extra on the DVD for 2005's Hellraiser: Deader, the short has amassed a cult following among fans, with calls for Tunnicliffe to direct a sequel. The last installment Revelations, though critically panned for its acting and direction, was praised for its plot, which revisited themes from the earlier movies - it was written by Tunnicliffe.
Speaking to Fangoria in February director Tunnicliffe had this message for the fans...
"To the fans, I would say this… I know you’ve been let down, and trust me, I have too, but simply give me a chance. I know we can NEVER make a film as great as the first two HELLRAISER’s, I wouldn’t even attempt to do so, but I think we have a fun script here an opportunity with an amazing cast and crew to give you all something that feels a little familiar, a little different, completely terrifying and is a worthy part of the HELLRAISER Canon….. oh and of course if you want blood?…. well you’ve got it!"
British actor Doug Bradley, famous for portraying the delightfully devilish Pinhead for the first eight movies was asked to reprise his role after the overwhelmingly negative reaction from fans of the villains depiction in Hellraiser: Revelations. Unfortunately, because Bradley refused to sign an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) before reading the movie's script the offer for him to return to the role was rescinded.
While Tunnicliffe (pictured above with Doug Bradley in full Pinhead makeup) seems like the best choice to write and direct a Hellraiser sequel, fans will agree that the franchise has long since deviated from the seductively dark mysticism that emanated from the earlier movies, especially the 1987 original which was written and directed by Clive Barker, based on his own novella The Hellbound Heart. While I understand Dimension Films' possessiveness over the production rights to the franchise, as a fan I would rather the studio work with Barker to realise a reboot of the franchise, with sequels to said reboot being planned beforehand and an extension of the narrative and the lore, rather than cheap cash in movies being produced every six years.
Hellraiser: Judgment, which will also star Damon Carney, Randy Wayne, Alexandra Harris, John Gulagher, Mike Jay Regan, Diane Goldner, Andi Powers, Jeff Fenter, Helena Grace Donald, and Grace Montie, is expected to be released straight to DVD in early 2017.