You may or may not be aware, but Hellraiser, one of Dimension’s classic horror franchises, has kinda been stuck in direct to DVD/production hell (sorry), for quite a while now.
While the 8th movie, Hellraiser: Hellworld seemed to finally put the nail in the coffin of the series, an attempt at a remake/reboot has been underway for years now. Initially the film was helmed by Alexandre Bustillo & Julien Maury, who were best known for ‘Inside’, but they departed from the project. It picked up steam again, when Pascal Laugier, who is most well known for his unflinchingly brutal ‘Martyrs’, a film that will deeply affect even the most jaded horror-hound set his sights on the film. It seemed like it was headed to being fast tracked, but he then left the project entirely as well. Then yet another team of directors picked up the project, Patrick Lussier and Todd Farmer, but the studio wanted them to make it a watered down PG-13 affair, and goddamned HELLraiser should be anything but PG-13, as Lussier and Farmer expressed.
via [Empire Online]
“We developed several versions for Dimension, but in the end we never saw eye to eye,” says Lussier. “The current story is extremely different from the story we pitched. It’s changed dramatically since we started, and it will probably change a lot more before it’s all over. Originally what they wanted was epic and dark, rated R. It was in our contract. So… if we do Hellraiser, it’s rated R; if they want to do PG-13 then they have to get rid of us.”
So thankfully we were spared some horrific PG-13 Hellraiser abomination, but this has again, unfortunately left the entire project on the back-back-back burner, destined to become whatever the celluloid version of Vaporware is. What am I getting at then? Well while the project does seem doomed, little tidbits here and there sprinkle out from the production being done, like the infamous “New Pinhead”, pictured below:
But more interestingly, and hopefully, there’s the recently released early concept art, for…. some version of Hellraiser, at some point of production, indicating just how much the conceptual team truly got what Hellraiser should be.
“In July Paul Gerrard and Mike Le Han produced a teaser trailer to accompany the pitch document which has many more conceptual designs that revision Hellraiser. Paul designed the new look for Pinhead and was production designer on the shoot and Le Han pulled in all of his film resources and directed the teaser on the new Alex 4:3 camera with anamorphic lenses.
With a crew of 47 an over 100 bloodied extras, the shoot was completed and is now in the depths of post production with a massive amount of VFX work being undertaken. Method Studios, Fugitive Studios and Flipbook Animation are helming the chi/VFX with the talented Glen Southern designing the new Hellraiser box.
When the teaser is complete they’ll be presenting it to Dimension Films along with an outline of the first film story and conceptual art pitch document with the hope to work on rebooting the Hell raiser franchise and bringing it into the 21st Century.”
That art is amazing. Some of it looks like a re-imagination of the Hell we saw in Hellbound: Hellraiser 2, which in my opinion, is the best of the series. Even concept art like this is something I’m chomping at the bit to see, because the Hellraiser franchise is one that is just begging to be brought back to life, with a creative mind behind it to explore all the brilliant ideas put out by the first two films. Hopefully, someone will pick it up soon, and make it happen for real this time.