Movie Review: 'Hellraiser 9: Revelations'


We've included the numeral "9" in the above title as sort of a consumer warning. The uninformed or casual horror fan may notice a film called, for example, Hellraiser: Revelations and think it's something fresh or new or (heaven forbid) worthy of 71 minutes. Alas, no. What we have here is yet another contractually-mandated piece of intentional garbage that exists for no other reason than pure, simple greed. Yes, all filmmakers (and all grown-ups who hold jobs) are "greedy" in the respect that they need money to survive, and to buy cool things, but mixed in with that natural greed is (hopefully) the intention of making a half-decent movie. Yes, even if it happens to have a number like "9" in the title.

But here's how certain things work: a company called Dimension currently owns the film rights to the word "Hellraiser." But those rights COULD revert back to someone else (say, I dunno, Clive Barker) if they simply squat on those rights forever. And since Dimension has vague plans of making a Hellraiser remake someday, they simply have to churn out "a Hellraiser movie" in order to retain those oh-so-valuable film rights. I'm sure I'm not the only one who sees the moronic irony here: the more of these worthless sequels you keep churning out, the less of an audience you'll ever get for this masterful freaking remake you keep talking about. But, as mentioned above, greed rules the day here. Not a kernel of a good idea or a young screenwriter taking a crack at a franchise s/he loves. Just commerce, pure and simple.

But since the thing walks and talks like a movie, here's the deal: two obnoxious morons go to Mexico, murder a whore, meet a hobo, acquire a golden puzzle box of pure evil, and suffer mightily for it. And just so none of this sounds too familiar or tiresome or grating, we'll also keep cutting back to (get this) three years later! A dinner party with the parents of those two (now-long-missing) stooges! Someone goes and caresses that nasty old puzzle box and one of the missing kids is back. He's seen Cenobites! He talks about them a lot! Endlessly. Mercilessly. Talking.

If this were one of the older Hellraiser sequels, one would probably lament the relative lack of Pinhead found in this chapter. But since, for the first time ever, Pinhead is being portrayed by someone other than good ol' Doug Bradley, and he's a goofy, chubby guy at that, one may take his absence as a blessing. Then again, Pinny does pop up in Act III and delivers some of the mostly stupidly florid threats you'll ever hear. Stuff like "Not even in hell will your suffering begin to know what actual pain is all about, sister!" I'm paraphrasing. But there's no getting around the wondrous ineptitude of the Hellraiser PART 9 screenplay. A scene in which a character goes missing ends with someone yelling, from off camera, "I'll go this way!" (The movie actually plagiarizes a cool line of dialogue from Ridley Scott's Legend, of all things.) This is amateur hour stuff all the way, and it'd be almost endearingly, stupidly enjoyable if this witless cinematic refuse wasn't dancing on the grave of a true classic of the genre. (Hell yes I mean the original Hellraiser. Part 2 isn't bad either!)

Forget that the flick looks like it was shot in a strobe-lit warehouse, that the actors (particularly the noxious lead kid) are more or less wholly inept, and that the script is an endless deluge of unintentional hilarity ... we expect bad horror sequels to be bad. But garbage like Hellraisers Bloodline, Inferno, Hellseeker, Deader, Hellworld, and Revelations have gone from laughable to punishing to downright insulting. And yes, I'll be back for Part 10. Dimension will give up on Hellraiser before I do.