SPOILERS for Hellraiser: Judgment ahead!
Hellraiser: Judgment writer/director Gary J. Tunnicliffe feels the movie’s surprise ending could lead to one Hell of a clash in a possible sequel. While Pinhead may be an iconic figure among horror fans, the Hellraiser series was never as mainstream as rival franchises, including Halloween and Friday The 13th. In fact, the series has been going direct to video since 2000’s Hellraiser: Inferno - which also marked the debut feature of Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson.
Most of these straight to video Hellraiser sequels began life as original horror screenplays owned by parent company Dimension, which were re-written to become sequels after the fact. Following the release of the eight installment Hellworld, Dimension spent several years trying to remake the original, but once they realized their option on the series was due to expire, they rushed 2011’s Hellraiser: Revelations into production on a tiny budget. The reaction to the movie was universally negative, but after another period of failed development on a reboot, another sequel - Hellraiser: Judgment - was put in motion to hold onto the rights.
Reviews for Hellraiser: Judgment, on the whole, have been more positive than previous sequels, but the reaction is still divided. The movie ends on something of a twist ending too when Pinhead defies the orders of Heaven; he is stripped of his powers and banished from Hell to live in the real world as punishment. Some feel the movie is setting up a sequel with this cliffhanger, but Tunnicliffe told Comic Book that wasn’t really the case:
I had no concept of a sequel, a spinoff, nothing at all. People suggest, 'Oh, you're trying to write a sequel for the auditor and stuff like that.' It's like, 'Are you f***ng kidding?' I was just trying to swim to other bank and survive without being eaten by the sharks.
Since finishing the film, however, Tunnicliffe has mused on where the series could go next if it continued:
I have thought about it afterwards, what I think would be great fun. Maybe a new Cenobite ruler comes in, or takes over, and a new head priest comes in, and it's not working out and clearly this person, this Cenobite's not doing a great job. And underhandedly, the Auditor is leaving a trail of breadcrumbs for the guy who is Pinhead to find his way back, and he gets pulled in. And then it's like, he turns up, and it's like a showdown between the newly born Pinhead and this guy who's taken over his mantle. It's like, and we do a bit of a standoff, and it's like battle of the Hell priests.
While that concept has potential and Pinhead battling to regain his throne would be a new angle for the series to take, it seems unlikely to happen. Hellraiser: Judgment managed to do a lot despite a tiny budget, but Tunnicliffe’s idea sounds like it would require more funding than another STV sequel could afford, and it's doubtful the fanbase wants the series to continue in its current shape.
Hellraiser: Judgment has received a warmer response due to its new additions to the mythology but the reviews are still lukewarm, and it feels like the franchise would benefit from a total reinvention. The Hellraiser brand has been damaged by one too many shoddy sequels, and if it’s going to continue at all, it needs to lure back viewers who left when the series went straight to DVD instead.
Source: Comic Book
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