REASONABLE REMAKES: Hellraiser

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Under The Gun is continuing our efforts to bring you more original and engaging content with REASONABLE REMAKES. Written by film-nerd Justin Proper, this column aims to highlight Hollywood’s forgotten gems and spark debate.

You see, we’ve grown tired of Hollywood rehashing ideas we’re old enough to remember. Why remake something the majority of the planet still remembers and loves deeply when there are tons of films that deserve a chance to be as great as modern technology and skill can make them? If you agree, this column is for you.

Everyone has their favorite horror franchise. Usually what decade you grew up in determines whether you’re a fan of Dracula, Freddy, Jason, Chuckie, or even Jigsaw. Much in the way that my mother still can’t watch the original Nightmare On Elm Street (which makes getting the tv to myself as easy as saying “one two, Freddy’s coming for you…”) the Hellraiser series has always left me looking uneasily around corners. Now that every horror franchise from the 80’s has been remade it is time to bring Hellraiser back, and hopefully make it better than ever.

Its not like they could make it any worse than Hellraiser: Revelations...

In case you aren’t familiar with the Hellraiser series here is a brief summary: There is a puzzle box. If you solve it, the cenobites (Pinhead and his crew) show up and take you to a world of extreme pain and torture (also they usually rip your skin off). In the first film Frank Cotton solves the box and is taken away by the cenobites. Some time later his brother and sister in law show up to move in to his house, as they assume him dead or off committing crimes or something (he was not exactly a stand up guy). In the midst of the move Frank’s brother cuts his hand and the blood ends up on the spot Frank was taken away at, which makes him start to regenerate and come back to life. Frank’s sister in law finds Frank (who is now a skinless mess) in the attic and he convinces her to bring him victims so he can absorb their essence and regenerate his body. Eventually Frank’s niece, Kristy, sees her stepmother bringing people to the house and decides to follow her, witnessing skinless Frank murder someone. There is a confrontation and Kristy escapes the house with the puzzle box. She later solves it and when the cenobites come for her she makes a deal with them to give them Frank in exchange for her safety. She goes back to the house, the cenobites take Frank, they try to take Kristy too but she reverse solves the puzzle box and defeats them, the end.

Don't worry Frank, you hardly even notice the lack of skin when you wear that snazzy shirt!

With a rich mythology that came with the puzzle box the Hellraiser series kept cranking out movies. After four theatrical releases (including a zany adventure in space) the series went straight to DVD with the next five movies. Unfortunately the last few releases have been lacking in entertainment value to say the least. This means it is time to remake the series and breathe new life in to the corpse of a former horror staple. One of the biggest problems I have with the original Hellraiser movies is that they really do not stand the test of time. The special effects used to make the horror come to life on screen are claymation, stop motion, and paint on film. These techniques were great in the late 80’s and early 90’s, but they do not hold up now that we have amazing cgi and other techniques. With a revamped story and updated film techniques Hellraiser could become the new series to look for every Halloween for the foreseeable future.

They still look more masculine than the cast of Twilight.

When this remake was first being discussed Pascal Laugier (Martyrs) was in talks to direct. This was completely perfect for the franchise. Laugier already made a movie based on torture and had an element of skinlessness to it. Unfortunately he split from the project due to creative differences with the producers. So who would be a worthy director of the Hellraiser remake? I recently saw a movie that made that decision pretty obvious. This movie had a completely green director but still delivered in ways I had not anticipated. This movie even had some great Hellraiser references. I am talking about Cabin In The Woods which was directed by Drew Goddard. Usually a studio would not give a franchise they want to see continue past one film to such a rookie director, but Goddard proved he has the chops with Cabin and then some.

Image and caption redacted to preserve Cabin In The Woods spoilers. It was really funny though, trust me.

Now comes the question “Who should be the new Frank Cotton?”. We need someone who is not afraid to act a little crazy and have a very quirky and despised personality. Someone creepy and edgy with a hint of psychotic. Those adjectives bring one actor to mind: Nicolas Cage. Cage’s off the wall method acting would fit perfectly for a guy who is missing his skin most of the film because he was captured by torture demons. His exaggerated facial expressions would cut through the gore makeup perfectly and leave you with a truly unsettling creature on screen. I am one of the tens of people who enjoyed Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance and based on that performance I believe Cage can do just about anything. Plus, he has already had his face off on camera before (heh).

Mr. Cage is not overacting, the rest of Hollywood is underacting.

The hardest casting bit is the iconic leader of the cenobites, Pinhead. You can not just go about this decision lightly, it must be carefully considered. Doug Bradley has always been Pinhead (we are not counting Hellraiser: Revelations, it was terrible) so replacing him is quite the task. There is one actor that I think is perfect for the job: Tom Hardy. Hardy proved in Bronson that he can be a heartless villain, and if his performance in The Dark Knight Rises holds up to the trailers he can clearly play an intelligent man of few words. If you still do not think he is right for the role take a look at him from Star Trek: Nemesis and tell me I am wrong.

This just screams "Pinhead".

With the right cast and the right director Hellraiser could definitely come back from the dead and rise up to modern horror standards. With a rich mythology and interesting, scary characters this series is just ripe for a remake. Hopefully the studio and producers will solve their puzzle box of red tape and logistics soon and get this project off the ground, but until then we can keep suggesting things on the internet. It worked for Snakes On A Plane, right?

 

Justin Proper is not a hologram of a dead rapper. You can follow him on Twitter

 

 

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