You Need This Pinhead Like You Need, Um, Pins in Your Head
You Need This Pinhead Like You Need, Um, Pins in Your Head In 1987’s Hellraiser, the kinky work of body horror from writer-director Clive Barker, sex was the motivation for everything.
It moves delight searcher Candid Cotton (Sean Chapman) to buy a baffling riddle box that vows to open an entrance loaded up with extraordinary open doors for tactile rapture, just to have his body destroyed by meathooks. That is on the grounds that to the Cenobites, the odd animals gathered when the riddle box is addressed and driven by the purported Pinhead, joy and agony are interchangeable.
Sex likewise drives Julia Cotton (Clare Higgins, dressed up in an ’80s style and neon eye shadow) to assist the skeletal remainders of Plain with modifying his actual self. She lures men in bars, brings them home, then, at that point, forfeits their tissue to her brother by marriage, with whom she had a sweltering illicit relationship before wedding her better half. Her objective: Set up Straight to the point back, then, at that point, take off with him so they can bang with similar leave they once did.
In that version of Hellraiser, the intersection of the titillating and the grotesque is the whole point. By the time you reach the end of the film’s tight 90 minutes, you may feel like you’ve been transformed into the window-peeper from the sicko meme, and that’s part of the point, too — that as human beings, our hunger for new and greater orgasmic highs can be dangerous. Yes, that’s true even for you, allegedly innocent viewer.
35 years and nine spin-offs later, there’s another variant of Hellraiser spilling on Hulu that motions at comparative thoughts and gets recognizable plot focuses however commits the exemplary reboot error of adding an excess of story to what ought to have been a more thought rethinking of the Pinhead universe. In the possession of chief David Bruckner and screenwriters Ben Collins and Luke Piotrowski, who worked together on 2020’s frightening, successfully engaged The Night House, this Hellraiser heaps an excess of piece and such a large number of turns onto what was once a really direct, if odd, animal component. It’s as though the 2022 Hellraiser — on which David S. Goyer gets a story acknowledge and Barker fills in as a maker — is the reproduced rendition of Straight to the point from the first yet with a lot of superfluous, additional layers of skin.
Like the original, this iteration opens with the acquisition of that puzzle box, this time by a woman named Serena Manaker (Hiam Abbass of Succession) who works for the wealthy, eccentric, and horny businessman Roland Voight (Goran Višnjić). Serena brings the cursed toy to Roland’s palatial home in the Berkshires, where he regularly hosts orgies. Inevitably, he solves the puzzle, sacrificing the body of a random young guy to the Cenobites, at which point the movie jumps ahead a few years to what appears to be New York, where Riley (Odessa A’zion, previously seen in Netflix’s Grand Army) and her boyfriend, Trevor (Drew Starkey of Outer Banks), are having sex.
Trevor convinces Riley, who is in recuperation and attempting to financially recover, to take the riddle box from where it’s been secured in a storage space, then sell it and split the money. Obviously Riley needs to tinker with Satan’s Rubik’s Solid shape, incidentally penance her sibling Matt (Brandon Flynn, a.k.a. Justin from 13 Justifications for Why) to the Cenobites, then, at that point, go on a journey to settle the riddle and get her sibling back. That delight/torment division fills in as an illustration for dependence here and, digressively maybe, an editorial on the exorbitant pride of the exceptionally rich. Which might have been a fascinating area to mine on the off chance that the film didn’t drag so frequently.
While this version of Hellraiser can’t be accused of completely avoiding the in-your-face gore of its predecessor — we do get treated to the sight of knives slicing into hands, hooks tearing into human tissue, and, in one case, a view of a needle penetrating a person’s neck, partially shown from inside that person’s neck — it still feels like a safer version of the film that inspired it. As corny as some of the practical 1987 effects may look today, there is still something visceral and grimy in the aesthetic of the first Hellraiser that isn’t matched by the more glossed-up grit of the remake. Perhaps that’s to be expected from a Hellraiser that is technically being brought to you by the Walt Disney Company. (“From the corporate entity that gave you Encanto and Jungle Cruise, it’s … Hellraiser!”)
The presence of a few of the Cenobites — including the one whose whole face is overwhelmed by a threatening arrangement of jabbering teeth — is practically indistinguishable from the vibe of the beasts in the first. The most remarkable deviation comes as Pinhead, the alarming, nail-loaded face of the Hellraiser establishment, involved in the initial eight movies by entertainer Doug Bradley. Here that job is taken on by a lady, Jamie Clayton of The L Word: Age Q, which offers the chance for a possibly reviving new course for the person. Sadly, the outcome isn’t close to as threatening as one would trust. Rather than featuring, say, the gleams of fiendish in her stifled eyes, this Pinhead — referred to in the content in fact as The Cleric — is relaxed, made up, and shot such that seems to be more ethereal than unnerving. Clayton plays her with a save that is legitimate however not especially expressive. With her purplish blue skin and gleaming needles, the subsequent impact is that of a multi dimensional image simply back from Sparkle Night at the neighborhood needle therapy joint, instead of the replacement to a notorious ghastliness lowlife.
Which is a shame because A’zion, with her raspy, Natasha Lyonne–esque aura, makes for an effectively panicked yet determined heroine, one who is clearly swapping her fixation on pills and alcohol for an obsession with a puzzle box and her missing brother. If she had been forced to face off in a meaningful way with a more competently rendered female Pinhead, the movie might have had a better shot at reigniting the kink and sadomasochistic fuckery of the first Hellraiser. Instead, we get a reboot that takes no risks and steers away from the uncomfortable sexual jolts of its predecessor. This movie doesn’t raise hell. Honestly, it barely raises heck.