I’d been calling this Hellraiser 9, deciding the 2011 semi-reboot Revelations shouldn’t count, but then, do any of them count? Everything since part two has been direct-to-video fan-fiction. It’s time to admit there will never be another good Hellraiser (but it’s not time to stop watching the damned things, juuuust in case). At any rate, it was funny to watch this immediately after the comic book bondage movie.

Getting a lotta mileage out of those hipster lightbulbs:

New director Tunnicliffe wrote Revelations, has been doing makeup and effects since the Candyman / Hellraiser III days, and has written in a talkative new cenobite called The Auditor, played by himself. “I loathe the modern world.” Auditor and the new Pinhead (Rainn Wilson’s dad in Super) seem to be complaining about internet pornography, to which their solution is a sin-confession house populated by a sin-eater (The Assessor: Clu Gulager’s son), three half-naked women, and a leather gimp with skin-removal blades. I replayed the opening dialogue a few times, and it’s not clear why this house is an improved soul-harvesting mechanism – because nobody plays with puzzle boxes anymore?

While they do their Hostel/Saw torture house routine, our hero Sean “Jay-Z” Carter (Damon Carney of a Hitcher remake) is a burned-out cop pretending to track down a Se7en-style serial killer. After a while the only characters are him, his straightlaced brother (Randy Wayne of bowling horror The 13th Alley) and newly assigned detective Alexandra Harris (of lake house murder movie Rising Tides), so I figured one of them must be the serial killer, and it’s Sean. Sean being the lead detective on his own case means nobody has appreciated all the literature references he’s peppered among the killer’s crazy notes, or even bothered to google their sources until the brother discovers an out-of-copyight novel with a familiar line highlit.

Cop brothers:

Hell brothers:

The days of an obsessed doctor tricking a puzzle-genius girl into opening the hellbox in part two are long behind us – in this one, a panicked cop with a gun to his head figures it out in three seconds (I noted it took seven in Deader). We get dialogue callbacks about the sights to show you and the weeping Jesus, and for some reason, a repeated Clockwork Orange reference and a Nightmare on Elm Street actress cameo.

I always knew Jenna Maroney was an angel:

In the end, a heavenly angel with bouncy hair arrives to rescue the serial killer from demons (this is some nonsense like the internet pornography thing) then he is immediately shot to death by the Lady Detective. Pinhead has some fun with the angel, tearing her apart with his chains in the usual way, then she banishes him from demonic reign and he wakes up as some mortal loser living on the street. On one hand, I couldn’t care less about any of this, and on the other, I hope there’s another movie really soon (make a good one this time!).

Why have I not thought of this before? Instead of watching the ends of bad movies I’ve never seen, rewatching the ends of bad movies I saw years ago and don’t remember anymore – and checking out where the idiots who made ’em ended up. Idea sparked by noticing that fondly-remembered Charlie Sheen alien-invasion movie The Arrival was on hulu, so let’s begin with…


The Arrival (1996, David Twohy)

Unshaven Charlie Sheen and panic-eyed Teri Polo (a cut-rate Sharon Stone) are locked in a box, when suddenly a van crashes their party and a quick-thinking Charlie attacks a canister of liquid nitrogen with an axe, causing the van’s (presumably alien) occupants to make like T-1000 (but without the one-liner and the shattering). They drop their floating spherical puzzle box – a Hellraiser-meets-Phantasm device which fails to stop Charlie from retrieving a MiniDV tape from an Alien egg, then Charlie waves the tape at a kid whose knees reverse (the only detail I remembered from this movie) as he runs off, ostrich-like. Ends with Charlie exposing the alien conspiracy over television, exactly like They Live. Hey, if you’re gonna steal, steal big. Editing and effects (including some early CG) are inept.

Twohy cowrote some big-deal films in the 1990’s: The Fugitive, Waterworld, G.I. Jane, then created the Riddick character in Pitch Black and focused entirely on that for the next 15 years. Teri Polo played the mom in The Hole and appears in the acclaimed Meet The Parents trilogy. Sheen appeared in Machete Kills and I don’t know what else he’s been up to.


Cube 2: Hypercube (2002, Andrzej Sekula)

Lot of equations and diagrams scrawled on the walls of this here cube, as a tattooed V-Mars woman narrates to herself everything that we’re seeing. Her previously unnoticed friend Sasha says the realities are collapsing. On top of all the time-and-space-warping, Criminal Simon drops in and there are murders, then dodgy effects a-go-go and V-Mars wakes up in a military puddle. Some floaty device is recovered from her and she’s shot in the head, an anticlimactic ending to the Cube saga.

Sekula is mainly a cinematographer (shot Pulp Fiction and American Psycho). Writer Sean Hood worked on the Halloween sequel with Busta Rhymes. V-Mars was Canadian Kari Matchett of many generically-titled TV shows and Mad Simon had his own show Forever Knight in the 1990’s.


Hellraiser 5: Inferno (2000, Scott Derrickson)

Ah why is this Tim Robbinsy Bruce Campbelly guy shotgunning naked women in showers? Why is the camera shaking so hard? This is the part where tormented Tim/Bruce confronts all his dead friends and has to kill them again. Pinhead arrives to make fun of him, seeming more moralistic than usual (Pinhead’s message is that we should be nicer to people?). After getting his face exploded by hell-chains, Tim Bruce wakes up and goes to work, then kills himself, then wakes up again, living a Hellraiser Groundhog Day.

Derrickson made some popular recent horrors about which I’ve heard nothing good, is working on a major Marvel feature. Lead actor Craig Sheffer (who gets to yell both WHYYYYY and NOOOOOO in the last ten minutes) was the star of Nightbreed and more recently did 60+ episodes of One Tree Hill.


Hellraiser 6: Hellseeker (2002, Rick Bota)

Cenobites are being dramatic in front of bland Trevor, kind of a young Michael Madsen/Ben Affleck type. Trevor seems an arrogant businessman, is rude to the demons, gets himself chained and cues a buncha flashbacks in which Ashley Laurence is working with Pinhead to collect souls. It’s like they’ve combined the episodic post-Bloodline movies with the original story, good move.

Bota keeps busy, though he’s done nothing I’ve heard of since Hellworld. Oh man I recognized Trevor but didn’t realize who he was: Dennis, Tina Fey’s pager-selling boyfriend in 30 Rock. In the last year he’s got his own show Battle Creek, and is appearing on Brooklyn Nine-Nine.


Mortal Kombat 2: Annihilation (1997, John Leonetti)

I love Jax for the grunts and cries he’s always making. There are lots of simultaneous fights, and the bad guys always seem to be winning then the good guys turn that shit around. Sonya kills Red Scorpion with her sexy legs, but it looks like she couldn’t do the stunts so they edited around it. Fuck, Liu Kang is a dragon. It’s kind of nice to remember that comic movies used to make it into theaters even when they looked like cheap garbage. Still, that techno theme song counts for a lot. Anyway Liu Kang defeats some deep-voiced baddie and the world’s landmarks (including the twin towers) are restored to peace. Where’s Christopher Lambert?

Leonetti works as a cinematographer on horror movies. The five(!) writers include a producer of C.H.U.D. II: Bud the Chud, a writer on the Prehysteria! sequels, and the chairman of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Of the actors, I saw Liu Kang in Death Race, Sonya played Viper in an early Marvel/Shield TV movie, and Omaha native Jax was an American Gladiator and did a couple episodes of NightMan.


The Mummy Returns (2001, Stephen Sommers)

Man this movie was long. Brendan Fraser quotes The Monkees then screams at Comic Relief Jonathan then gets attacked by one of my favorite bad special effects: a digital scorpion with a Toy Story version of The Rock’s face crudely pasted on. Rachel Weisz gets a brief action scene, then they’re all saved by Airship Izzy. Seems like the kind of movie that has no reason to exist after its digital effects had badly aged, which happened before it hit theaters.

Sommers is a Last Ten Minutes veteran, having made G.I. Joe 2 and Odd Thomas – and 1994’s live-action Jungle Book, which Disney is hoping nobody remembers right now. Brendan Fraser is apparently still working, but in nothing I’ve heard of since 2008’s Inkheart. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was governor of Minnesota from 1999 to 2003. Comic Relief John Hannah starred in Charlie Brooker’s A Touch of Cloth. And Rachel Weisz was so excellent in The Deep Blue Sea that I’d like to forget her dark Mummy-sequel past.


This might not be a recurring feature, since the streaming services’ catalog from 1990-2004 is pretty poor. Taking 1998 as an example of a particularly undiscriminating year, bad movies I watched included The Siege, Emmerich Godzilla, Spriggan, Armageddon, Bride of Chucky, Deep Impact, U.S. Marshals, Mighty Joe Young, The Faculty, I Stand Alone, Halloween H2O, A Simple Plan, The Avengers, Star Trek Insurrection, Urban Legend, The Negotiator, Very Bad Things, Enemy of the State, GVS Psycho, Meet Joe Black, Ambushed, The Dentist 2 and John Carpenter’s Vampires. Netflix has three of those (13%) and Hulu has NONE – though I appreciated its suggestion of Hollis Frampton’s The Birth of Magellan: Cadenza I for Bride of Chucky.

First time I’ve watched this in HD.

Larry: Andrew Robinson, a regular on Deep Space Nine, formerly a soap opera star, bad guy in Dirty Harry, also in Pumpkinhead 2 and Child’s Play 3

Julia: Clare Higgins, apparently I missed her in season 3 of Downton Abbey

Kirsty: Ashley Laurence returned in three sequels, including Hellseeker which I don’t remember too well, also in a Lovecraft movie called Lurking Fear with Jeffrey Combs

Frank: Sean Chapman was in Barker’s Transmutations, and much later a Charisma Carpenter movie called Psychosis

Besides playing Pinhead, Doug Bradley has been in Pumpkinhead 3 and Proteus, and appeared in Nightbreed with two other cenobites.

Clive always claims to have a bunch of movies in development, but nothing has come out since the burst of originals in 2006-2009: Dread, Book of Blood, Midnight Meat Train and two (not great) Masters of Horror episodes.

Hellraiser: Revelations (2011, Victor Garcia)
This is not a real Hellraiser movie, so I don’t feel bad about not watching it properly. Jay Gillespie (of 2001 Maniacs) is intimidating his family, poorly. Same old box and chains, but two pinheads, one of them puffy-cheeked with a crap monster-voice. Man, the script and this fake-ass pinhead are so terrible. Victor Garcia’s suffering will be legendary – though honestly, it’s still better than the fan-made Hellraiser Prophecy.

Sleeping Beauty (2011, Julia Leigh)
Well-dressed woman Clara (Rachael Blake of The Prisoner remake) looks concerned about carsick Beauty (Emily Browning of that shame of a Lemony Snicket movie). Whoa, full nudity. Now beauty is in a room with white-haired man, who drinks special tea, goes to bed with her, and possibly wakes up dead. Claudia has a hard time waking Beauty, who screams a bunch, then another shot of her sleeping next to that guy. WTF? It’s a shame when movies don’t work in Last Ten Minute doses, yet also don’t look good enough to watch all the way through.

The Conspirator (2010, Robert Redford)
James McAvoy, forgetting that he’s in a period piece, is being told by evil Kevin Kline that justice matters less than restoring order. Wicked guards take innocent, bonnetted Robin Wright off to be hanged, to the screaming protests of Evan Rachel Wood. Civil War is over, “peace at last” says somebody or other. Is Robert Redford for or against the death penalty? I can’t tell (haha, just kidding). I’m sorry I didn’t see Stephen Root.

The Skulls (2000, Rob Cohen)
Coach proposes a toast, but chubby-cheeked Joshua Jackson (formerly a Mighty Duck) barges into the secret society with a rule book in his hands and reads them rule 119b, line 15. Busted! Now Paul “2 Furious” Walker has to duel with him, but shoots Coach instead. Hmm, Jackson says that he and Walker are soulmates. Which one was supposed to be GW Bush? The studio made two sequels to this, but its director moved on to bigger things (The Mummy 3, a Rammstein video) and the writer to possibly worse things (Ghost Ship, Quarantine 2).

Quarantine 2 (2011, John Pogue)
Jenny is beat up by a CG-ass zombie before her little brother wastes it. Fire! No need for night-vision goggles anymore. I thought this movie took place on an airplane. Anyway she turns into a zombie and the kid escapes.

Paranormal Activity 2 (2010, Tod Williams)
More fake-footage fun. The maid says that a cross and olive oil might help. Are these flashbacks? The bad jumpcut editing can’t be explained by the found-footage conceit. Some woman in bed is really a monster. A ghost hurled a dead guy into the camera, startling Mike.

The Passion of the Christ (2004, Mel Gibson)
Damn, poor Jim Caviezel, who had a promising career with Thin Red Line and Frequency, but hasn’t been in anything good since, is in a sorry state, and is speaking some damn language I’ve never heard. Crazy CG raindrop unleashes a horse-startling, stairway-splitting earthquake. Guard pokes an unreasonably bloody hole into the dead Caviezel. A vampire shrieks in the desert? Did Netflix screw me like they did with Body Snatchers and stitch in a clip from a different movie? Some woman (Monica Bellucci?) stares accusingly at us. But holy shit, Jesus has risen with revenge in his eyes.

Initial bad signs:
Characters live in a universe where the hellraiser movies exist, wear hellraiser t-shirts.
The story centers around an online game
Lance Henriksen is the special guest star

Hellworld 1

Amazingly it isn’t the not-even-clever inside references, the netspeak or the video game nonsense that sinks this movie right into the crapper… it’s the stupid story and corny acting. Never since Blair Witch II has there been so much teen-actor mugging in a horror movie! The story falls into the twilight-zone groove of Inferno, but not as good… Lance very obviously drugs their drinks and they’re asleep the whole movie. Two kids get rescued by the cops, and Lance gets chopped to bits by a cenobite for mis-using Pinhead’s props for a lame it-was-all-a-dream ending. Possible Aliens reference:

Hellworld 2

So… super underground investigative journalist comes across videotape of death cult. Girl shoots herself in head, comes back to life. Journalist follows story to Bucharest where, coincidentally I’m sure, it’s much cheaper to film a horror movie than it is in the States. Finds a nearly-dead girl with a hellraiser box in her hand

Deader 1

Gets the box. Solves it in about seven seconds.

Deader 2

But that was maybe a dream. Lotta people are in some kinda state of dead or living and maybe dreaming I’m not sure. Also the reporter has occasional flashbacks to her abusive father. Eventually, Pinhead ain’t putting up with this bullshit anymore, shows up, kills everyone.

Deader 3

And the twist: the reporter’s boss (also her ex boyfriend or husband) hires… yes, ANOTHER REPORTER! I don’t get how that’s a twist, but the movie seems to think so.

Whole movie has stupid jerky editing including, get this, the bootleg videotape of the death cult! It’s all grainy and low-light but shot with a buncha cameras and edited by the same spaz who did the rest of the movie. Unbelievable, that. Pinhead has little to do except summon a few chains and say some catchphrases. A confused buncha nonsense overall, not even a tight little small-thinking twilight-zone story like the last few. Makes me think Inferno and Hellseeker were actually kinda good.