Clive Barker created the Hellraiser series back in 1987, basing it on his novella, “The Hellbound Heart.” His original film was a unique horror movie that had some fairly extreme S&M imagery for the time. Barker is a real artist, and Hellraiser was a genuinely interesting horror film, even though I think it’s weaker than Nightbreed or Lord of Illusions. He’s an esteemed writer and painter as well, and at that point he was the big deal in horror cinema, with Stephen King proclaiming him “the future of horror.”
So it’s a real shame that the subsequent films have quickly degraded the Hellraiser franchise. Barker was not really involved after the fourth film due to various factors. These films now are just the lowest-common-denominator bad slasher movies with incredibly incoherent plots, some of the worst acting you’ll ever see, low budgets and a cheap look. They were clearly a cynical cash-grab by Bob Weinstein’s Dimension Films, leveraging on a unique film to spawn increasingly bad sequels.
These two in particular cost next to nothing—as often happens, they were essentially made because Weinstein would have lost the rights if he didn’t make something. He basically gave some kids money to make some crappy movies fast, butat 75 and 80 minutes they still manage to be boring. The plan had always been to make a big remake, but that never happened. In Hellraiser: Revelations, which was made in a matter of weeks, the “plot” is around a bunch of kids going down to Mexico to party—not something Barker would have any interest in doing a film about. In Hellraiser: Judgement they tried to make a slasher/police procedural, but without enough money. Doug Bradley, who plays Pinhead, had always agreed to appear up and including the eighth film. He’s the guy you think of when you think of Hellraiser, but they refused to give him the script to read on Judgement Day unless he would sign an NDA, so he declined. On Revelations he just outright turned it down they replaced him with some overweight doofus who just looks ridiculous in the makeup.
They basically play like bad fan films—but if you were an actual fan of these movies, you would not make films this bad!
Of the two, Hellraiser: Judgement at least tried to do something interesting with their chance. Sadly they failed. It’s a franchise that probably should have started and ended with Clive Barker – but it looks like in the end, it might. The rights have now reverted to Barker at last, and he is working on a Hellraiser TV show and his own new film.
The only extras are seven minutes of deleted scenes and a gag reel from Hellraiser: Judgement.