Friday, September 9, 2016

Retrospective: The Hellraiser Series, Part 2

So where things are gonna start getting icky.

Frankly, I was surprised at how poorly 2 held up in retrospect, and 3 has never been a good film by any metric (except maybe putting butts in seats, but given how much the (ugh) franchise vanished off the radar after 3, I wonder if it even performed well there), and the nature of sequels is such that invariably, at least where horror is concerned, there are going to be increasingly diminishing returns. So films 4, 5, and 6 are by all rights pretty much guaranteed to be disappointments.

That said, the experience wasn’ bad as I thought it was going to be. A couple of these films are actually not bad. I wouldn’t call them great, but much better than I expected. Unfortunately, what does start to show through at this point are the nakedly mercenary considerations that went into their production, which sort of cast a pall on whatever strengths they have, and one of them is just, by any measure, ass. Only 4 was even originally intended as a Hellraiser film, and the director felt enough pressure to make it more commercial that he ended up disavowing it. The other two are from (fairly similar) repurposed scripts that have the mythology of the first films inserted to wildly varying degrees of fit and effectiveness. So at this point, it’s really just about product now, and that’s a pretty dispiriting thing to realize when you’re trying to take these films seriously as creative works. A lot of things have been conspiring to keep me from working on this thing of mine for awhile now, but I’d be lying if I said that the prospect of having to grapple with such obvious cash grabs wasn’t part of it.

But here we are, with three more films out of nine to consider, so once more into the breach...