Hellraiser: to even the most casual of horror fans, the very word spawns images of the black-and-gold puzzle cube, the Lament Configuration, and the black leather-clad supernatural torturers who are summoned by it. What began as a small, surreal horror film by Clive Barker, based on his novella The Hellbound Heart has become a film institution. An institution which, despite the departure of Barker following the fourth film and that of star Doug Bradley following the eighth, is still going strong. The new trailer for the most recent installment, Hellraiser: Judgment, promises a fresh take on demoniac priest Pinhead and his squadron of Cenobite followers in all their chain-wrapped, hook-tipped, gore-dripping glory.
Written and directed by Hellraiser: Revelations writer Gary J. Tunnicliffe, Judgment shows us a police investigation that seemingly takes a wrong turned into a sepia-toned world of Cenobite torture. In addition to Pinhead himself, the trailer reveals classically-designed Cenobites such as a Chatterer and a pair of disfigured twins alongside new and unusual Hell denizens including a lumbering thing with a baby doll face and a rubber-clad, gas masked entity wielding fearsome blades. Tunnicliffe seems to have been given full run to put his extensive background in makeup effects into play for this film and we are shown brief snippets of what is some truly lovely mayhem and gore.
Hellraiser: Judgment will not be the first time the franchise has ventured into the police procedural genre, having last done so in 2000’s Hellraiser: Inferno, which proves to be one of the stronger post-Barker sequels. Perhaps a return visit to this style of story combined with innovative creature and makeup designs will give the series fresh life. For many, however, it simply is not Hellraiser without Bradley as the iconic Pinhead, and many fans disregarded the underrated Revelations – the first film without Bradley – on that principle alone. Hellraiser: Judgment boasts some gorgeous visuals and promises a hallucinatory storyline in keeping with the series’ traditions. An appearance by scream queen Heather Langenkamp (A Nightmare On Elm Street) won’t hurt it either.
Hellraiser: Judgment will be available on Blu-ray, DVD, Digital, and On Demand on February 13th 2018.