Update: The article mistakenly referred to the script as Hellraiser Into Darkness; its actual title was Hellraiser Enter Darkness. The original article follows.
Hellraiser: Judgment director Gary J. Tunnicliffe has revealed his alternate story pitch for the movie. The Hellraiser franchise has – no pun intended – been trapped in development hell for awhile now. Dimension has been trying to put together a remake of the original for at least a decade, with directors such as Patrick Lussier and Pascal Laugier being attached to the project at different stages; even series creator Clive Barker wrote a potential reboot script. Developing the remake has proved difficult, however, since the key themes of the series include sadomasochism, damnation and explicit gore, making it hard to market to a mainstream audience.
In the meantime, Dimension has had to churn out straight to DVD sequels periodically to keep the rights. This includes 2011’s Hellraiser: Revelations, which was thrown together in a matter of months on a tiny budget and was roundly lambasted by critics and fans for its shoddy quality. The latest sequel, Hellraiser: Judgment, has received a slightly warmer reception, mainly thanks to its creative additions to the series mythology, and the performance of new Pinhead Paul T. Taylor.
Now in a new interview with Midnight’s Edge, writer/director Tunnicliffe reveals that when the studio was hesitant about his Hellraiser: Judgment concept, he pitched another idea dubbed Hellraiser Enter Darkness. The pitch was intentionally a little safer than Judgment’s, but also he states he only came up with it to show the studio he could compromise.
So I went away and rewrote Judgment, the treatment, and at the same time, I banged out a treatment titled Hellraiser Enter Darkness – which I still think is a really good title. And the story was about a psychiatric hospital, and some interns and they’ve been studying these patients who’ve got this kind of shared experience, and we discover it’s all about the Lament Configuration. And the doctor who runs the institute is basically collating all of these victims so that he can create his own grimoire [a book of magic or spells] and his information about Pinhead because he wants to encounter the experiences of the Cenobites. And these interns while they’re collating the information from these victims, starts to seep into them, and it’s like that.
While the studio was more excited for Hellraiser Enter Darkness, the script for Judgment convinced them to greenlight it. While fans have been mixed on Judgment, they’d probably agree the film at least tries to mix things up and do something new. Hellraiser Enter Darkness, on the other hand, sounds like a remake of Hellbound: Hellraiser II, which also featured the director of a mental institute obsessively studying the Cenobites and the Lament Configuration puzzle box, and is eventually transformed into one himself.
It will interesting to see where the franchise goes from here. Hellraiser: Judgment was produced on a budget of less than $500,000, so it’s all but guaranteed to turn a profit. The film features a surprise twist that could lead to a further sequel, and Tunnicliffe has even suggested the next entry could see Pinhead fighting to regain his throne in hell. That said, most fans would likely rather the franchise get rebooted, and start fresh after years of disappointing sequels.
Source: Midnight’s Edge