It was announced back in October that Patrick Lussier would direct the long-gestating Hellraiser reboot and that his My Bloody Valentine and Drive Angry 3D collaborator Todd Farmer would write the script.
While their involvement was seen as an improvement over the Weinsteins’ previously rumored “teen-friendly” approach, the duo’s past work didn’t do much to alleviate the skepticism surrounding the project. Hellraiser fans have been quick to point out how different the series is from the other 80s slasher franchises it continually gets lumped in with.
So while there’s little doubt that Lussier and Farmer can deliver a film that’s suitably gory, there’s still some concern that the thematic substance of Clive Barker’s original film will be lost. Are the Weinsteins really invested in updating Hellraiser‘s mythology or are they simply interested in an audience’s recognition of its imagery?
We’re still a long way from a definitive answer to that question, but Cinematical‘s recent chat with Lussier might ease your apprehension just a bit. He assures fans that he doesn’t intend to deliver something that’s merely a big-budget retelling of the first film:
“One of the things we didn’t want to do… We think Clive’s film stands on its own. We think it’s brilliant and it made such a specific, dark vision at that time unlike anything that had come before it. So going to do just a remake of his movie but with more money is not something we wanted to do. We wanted to work within the ‘Hellraiser’ lexicon.”
More importantly, Lussier suggests that even though the Hellraiser reboot has gone through dozens of interpretations, the answer of how to best approach it was always right there in Barker’s film:
“We want to pull from the world that Clive created. Specifically that’s what we wanted to do. In that original film he opened so many interesting doorways and opportunities that that’s what we want to explore– always keeping in mind what he had done and how he did it and just working within that world.”
It would be difficult to argue that the Hellraiser series has been stuck in something of a downward spiral – a process that was greatly accelerated by its straight-to-video sequels. Lussier indicates that it’s essentially the earlier films he’s looking to for inspiration and that instead of telling smaller stories, it’s time to really open up the universe Barker created:
“If you’re going to make a ‘Hellraiser’ movie… you’re basically looking at a franchise that went from Clive’s movie up to the ‘Hellraiser’-in-Space movie, ‘Bloodline,’ which had some great stuff in it, actually; the way it goes backwards and forwards in time, and Angelique is such an interesting character … The thing is, it went on to do 4 or 5 sequels that were all smaller in tone and scope, so the idea was that if we’re going to do it, let’s be epic. There’s a part of this world that we’re never allowed to see because there’s never been the resources to show it, so let’s show it.”
This actually sounds pretty similar to the approach Pascal Laugier was hoping to take when he was attached to the film. I’m still somewhat disappointed that we’ll never get to see his version, but Lussier is certainly talking a good game here. At the very least he demonstrates an understanding that there’s more to the franchise than its iconic visuals.
You might remember that before the Hellraiser reboot, the Weinsteins asked Lussier and Farmer to take charge of Halloween 3D – a follow-up to Rob Zombie’s somewhat controversial remake of Halloween and its sequel. The last we heard, the Weinsteins had decided to hit the brakes on that version and were accepting new pitches for the film.
Regardless, Lussier remains hopeful that he’ll still get a crack at Halloween 3D – he’s just not sure that it’s even still being developed:
“You’d really have to ask Dimension Films and Bob Weinstein. We were very excited about the script we wrote. Malek Akkad was very excited about the script we wrote. We loved Malek and we’d love to make the movie with him, but that’s up to the grown-ups who are above our pay grade, so who knows. I am frequently surprised by whatever happens next.”
I’ll admit that I think Lussier and Farmer seem better suited to tackle a Halloween sequel, but it’s understandable (and encouraging) that the Weinsteins want to take their time rethinking the direction of that franchise. If the Hellraiser reboot turns out to be a success, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the duo gets another shot at Halloween 3D.
For more of Lussier’s thoughts on Hellraiser and a lengthy discussion about Drive Angry 3D, be sure to check out the full interview.