Tag: Doug Bradley

Hellraiser : Hellworld

by on Oct.10, 2010, under Daily Review

Rick Bota Directs his 3rd Hellraiser film, this time taking the franchise in a totally different direction and to some degree, making a film which seems less about what Bota wanted and more of a push from the producers with pressure from the fans. It still wortks for me though.

We have a simple plot, collage kids obsessed with an online Hellraiser based virtual world, Hellworld. The film starts at a funeral, one of the kids had taken it all a bit too far and ended up 6 feet under. Some time later, the rest of his friends are still into the social network of their favourite film and get invited to the official Hellworld convention. Horror Legend, Lance Hendriksen plays the Host at the Con and soon makes all the invitees welcome, but of cause, the events turn sour when cenobites turn up to claim some souls. But is it real, part of the con, or is something else at play.

This is a basic twist on the story and an easy outing really. It’s fresh and light with plenty of glossy gore, more than we’ve seen in the rest of the series for a long time. The young cast are all quite good, Katheryn Winnick, Chris Jacot, Khary Payton and Anna Tolputt to name a few. Obviously, no Hellraiser flick would be complete without an appearance from Pinhead, Doug Bradley returns once again for the role.

Although enjoyable and easy to watch, I can’t help but feel that Bota was forced into this one. The other two deal with inner demons and to a degree, this one does too with guilt and regret, but it lacks the charm and character of his other two, shot as a run of the mill teen slasher.

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Hellraiser : Hellseeker

by on Oct.08, 2010, under Daily Review

The series continues, this time taking a very different direction which works to a degree, but on other levels fails deeply. Ashley Laurence returns to make another impact on the franchise, but is truly wasted whilst the story focus’ on her death and her husbands derangements whist getting through grief.

A car crash winds up with Kirsty (Laurence) and Trevor (Dean Winters) sinking in a lake. Kirsty drowns, Trevor makes it out. Waking up in hospital, he’s questioned by a cop. No body of Kirsty was found at the scene. From this point on, Trevor experiences strange hallucinations and seems to be attracting every woman he comes into contact with. So what exactly is going on here?

I’m not about to mentin what is really going on, but it’s quite obvious really and anyone used to the series will be aware that all is not always as it seems. It’s a clever film, and an interesting plot, but it’s very different to any of the other Hellraiser films, mainly due to visual style which is clean and focused and very real looking. The plot is one of derangement. Cenobite, when they do appear, are nasty vicious little things, one brutal scene has a woman suffocated with a plastic bag; this is a distance from the cenobites from the first few outings. All becomes clear and all fits into place late on in the film.

Doug Bradley takes on the role of Pinhead once again, but for the small scenes which he turns up, he’s not really convincing with a weak script, which doesn’t work with the rest of the film. Lat on, he’s great though and as good as ever.

It’s worth giving this one a look, it’s very different and taken from a very different point of view. I can’t help but think that it could have been better offering more of Laurence, getting Kirsty’s plot a bit earlier on, but it is what it is.

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Hellbound : Hellraiser II

by on Oct.04, 2010, under Daily Review

Sometimes, sequels just don’t live up to the original. A tricky follow up, plenty of expectation, but to get it right, means credence. Many have failed but for those that succeed, Empire and Godfather spring to mind. Not that I’m comparing Hellraiser to either of these franchisees, but to achieve a greatness, creative and otherwise.

Kirsty is back, immediately after the previous film’s antics. She awakes in a mad house, obviously, condemned blabbering on about demons and puzzle boxes. One man takes her serious, although he’s got other ideas. Dr Channard (Kenneth Cranham) dedicates his life to exploration of the mind, madness and reasoning, but his obsession lies within desire and ultimate pleasure, all of this gained by mastering and study of the Lament Configuration, the puzzle box. We learn that there is a whole universe of boxes, Channard has a few. We learn that every player has their own hell, and eternity to live by the hand of the Cenobites, who also, we discover have their own history and reasons. So Channard brings back Julia in an attempt to get a bit closer to the Cenobites, but maybe he gets a little too close, and Kirsty spends the rest of the film, running around hell attempting to crack a deal to get her dead father back.

This is a big film, dealing with a lot of issues and questions which arose from the first flick. Made on basically peanuts, it looks very impressive. The cenobites are back and better than before, looking sleek and cool and nasty. Channard is a stunning character who fits right into the mythos really well and it’s great to see a return of Kirsty and Julia, here who seems to have a bit more depth to her character.

The film looks great, it’s interesting to see a big Argento influence here, loads of red and blue gels. The script is sharp and clever, very comic book, each scene perfectly framed with lines executed to precise timing, ‘The Doctor is in’, ‘I recommend Amputation’, and of cause, Pinhead (Doug Bradley) has a few gems too, ‘We have eternity to know your flesh!’

I was concerned about revisiting this one, more than any other on the list so far. Pete Atkins (Script) was a great friend of mine in my youth, and it’s difficult to critic a film when you are close. I was concerned that I could have just been swept along at the time, but how glad am I that this wasn’t the case. It’s a fine example of how to take an original film, and original plot and recreate a perfect sequel, one which expands the universe, pushes the characters and gives back to the audience, everything which they wanted.

Last words must go to the score. Chris Young creates a huge sound, dramatic, powerful, classic. Very sci-fi TV of the 70’s, all horns and strings which just blast out over the whole film giving some pure power and dynamics to the visuals.

This is great stuff and evidence of some real talent from the UK in the 80’s, obviously at time of struggle, especially for the horror genre and cinema/the arts as a whole.

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by on Oct.03, 2010, under Daily Review

The world was a very different place back in 1987. Horror was a very different kettle of fish and was mostly all but restricted to low budget straight to video releases. Hellraiser came out that year to stir things up a bit. A low budget British horror film, which got a full UK cinema release, here to change British cinema forever.

Based on a short novella by Clive Barker, which was re-written as a screenplay by Clive, who took on the task as director. It’s a brutal fantastical story of love and revenge, desire and lust. A rogue in search of the ultimate fix discovers a magic box, one which can give ultimate pleasure and pain, but at a price. Dead in the attic of a London home, his brother and missus arrive from the States, move in and through pure flook and chance, some blood gets spilt, causing the devilish Uncle Frank (Sean Chapman) in the attic to gain a bit of life. His Brother Larry (Andrew Robinson) unaware of this and unaware that his wife, (Clare Higgins) is having an affair with the corpse, who now requires more victims, more blood to get a bit better so they can run off together. Meanwhile, Larry’s daughter Kirsty (Ashley Laurence) shows up, doesn’t trust her evil step mother and soon becomes wrapped up in the whole thing, including, playing with the puzzle and making a deal with the Cenobites.

It’s easy to watch, very entertaining and very gruesome, even by today’s standards, Frank and Julia are wicked characters. The murders are brutal and nasty; it’s never nice getting hit with a hammer. At heart, this is classic vampire and Frankenstein spun together, with a real undercurrent of S&M. This was something which still shocks as the characters are enjoying their experience, even though they are without skin. Even when Frank eventually gets some skin to wear, it’s as if he’s parading in a rubber gimp suit. Uncomfortable at times and very close to home when it comes to violence.

Barker directs to a very good standard, but it never gets beyond that. It’s not artistic or beautiful. It’s grim, dark and steady. The script too fails to ignite in the same way his literature sparks the mind of the reader. Here, we have quite stilted dialogue, although full of brilliant comic book one-liners.

The Cenobites need a mention here, as for many, they are the reason to watch. Doug Bradley plays Pinhead, the main man when it comes to the cenobites who are in effect, angels from hell. Pinhead is a legend, an amazing figure, leather clad, open flesh on his chest with a perfect array of nails in a grid across his face head. The effects for the Cenobites are pretty good, as is the gore, but the Engineer really lets the film down. A shoddy, flesh demon with crappy little hands, and a phallic shaped body who runs up and down passageways. I’d be happy for the engineer to be removed, it would make the film a far more enjoyable experience.

As a whole package, this is a great achievement. It was made on a super low budget with the heart and dedication of a single man with a bunch of disciples. It launched the cinematic career of Pinhead, which has always been a good thing and propelled the name, Clive Barker to an international level.

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