Hellraiser: Revelations

Some of the Hellraiser sequels (if you could really call them that, as Pinhead often factored very little into many of the latter films carrying the name of Clive’s original Cenobite or those with him inside the puzzlebox) didn’t exactly qualify as Grade-A quality beef. They had the good fortune of the Hellraiser label (of course by the seventh film, Hellraiser perhaps didn’t carry the same significance it might have at #3) but that only carried them so far. At least Bradley’s mug on the DVD cover maybe helped to lure curious shelf searchers into opting to try the Headers and Hellseekers. But even Revelations doesn’t have that advantage. In fact it has no advantage at all. It can go off somewhere, as far as I’m concerned, and die. Or at least the damn monstrosity could be carted off to the Black Lodge with the Arm keeping it from ever leaving. Even Bob or a doppelganger would suffice next to Revelations. Okay, enough with Twin Peaks references. I could have just watched Cooper wearing a tie on his head or “following the flame” to slot machines accompanied by “Hellooooooo”. But I digress…

Two suburban college cretins take off to Tijuana to have lots of sex and invite all kinds of debauchery, eventually even partaking in some murdering. At some point the two come across the scruffy, homeless guy who offers them pleasure beyond the limits of sex and booze mere mortality could offer. The puzzlebox is opened and once called, the Cenobites come to claim he who requested their presence. That person is Nico (Jay Gillespie), a degenerate scum looking for whatever kicks will satiate his thirst for the next depravity certain to satisfy him. Steven (Nick Eversman) is the pal that accompanies him, soon realizing that Nico is mental. Nico kills a few hookers, opens the puzzlebox, and returns from where the Cenobites live looking to gain strength, form, and eventually flesh. Rushing through it all, we are introduced to Steven and Nico’s family, their fathers and mothers who are friendly, worried about where their sons are after not returning from Mexico. Steven has a sister, later realized to be quite naughty and considered by Pinhead to have potential to join him someday. While the adults discuss what went wrong and eventually welcome home Steven (or is it Steven?), the puzzlebox could very well be operational soon and the Cenobites might just introduce themselves to the family.

I summed up my feelings for this quite excessively in 2012. It was a miserable experience, and tonight’s revisit certainly didn’t improve one iota…

Lousy "sequel", even by Hellraiser series standards (which is not an
easy feat), truly shows its putrid budget and should never have been
made. Say what you want to about Rick Bota's movies, at least they had
a semblance of professionalism. This is a turkey in every sense of the
word, from the plot (what little there is) and acting (the cast really
try for brevity and come off instead as obnoxious) to the
cinematography (it is shot in a hand held style that is nauseating and
there are too many close-ups of faces) and paltry casting of Pinhead
himself (Bradley's power and charisma is substituted by a non-actor
wearing his make-up but lacking in everything else that made the
character so iconic). Two privileged young men go to Tijuana looking
for a good time, to get wasted and bang some "putas", instead
encountering accidental death in a grimy bar bathroom stall, a vagrant
with a puzzlebox offering them "freedom", and Hell itself. "They want
to experience your flesh." Yep, Nico needs blood, flesh, so he can
become whole again. Who better to satiate this flesh craving that his
mom and dad. Yeah. So he has buddy Stephen seek out Tijuana whores (the
movie never successfully convinces that the boys were in Tijuana, this
looks like a single set, with some crummy video camera recordings in a
car where the two suburban jerks talk about going to Mexico) so Nico
can kill them and become his ole rotten self. Nick Eversman, at the
end, tries to evoke homicidal menace, shot gun in hand, waving it about
as the women sob and weep uncontrollably (embarrassing themselves), and
it goes on for like fifteen minutes (…but seems a lot longer), but he
is about as menacing as Snoopy. There are revelations (Nico and Steven
were unhappy living in such prosperous surroundings; there was an
affair going on between Nico's mom and Steven's psychiatrist dad; Nico
had taken Steven's sister's virginity; there's this warped incestuous
lust between Emma and Steven (well, Nico as Steven, but still it is
rather unsettling), certainly unveiled as the film continues (it is
little over an hour with "credits padding" filling out the remainder of
the film to get it to 75 minutes). It seems like one victim, gut shot,
his entrails barely staying put, will never die. Fred Tatasciore has
black eye contacts in an effort by the filmmakers to provide him with a
sinister presence, but he fails miserably at taking Bradley's place,
that's for sure. Chatterbox Cineobite returns and is probably the
creepiest of the choice few members of Hell that appears. The gruesome
make-up effects, some better than others, are the chief reason to waste
your precious time; faces are left mangled, flesh ripped away. When
Clive Barker even condemns a Hellraiser picture (and, let's face, he
has executive produced some stinkers), you know the film sucks ass.
Daniel Buran is probably the worst actor of the cast (and that is not
exactly an accomplishment one should set the bar for), portraying the
vagrant who passes the puzzlebox onto sociopathic Nico (Jay Gillespie,
certainly never deterring in his portrayal of quite the scumbag). Buran
snarls and speaks in a gravel voice, trying to disturb with his
presence and demeanor, this character is just a laughingstock. The
description of the plot couldn't be more apt for the film itself: Your
suffering begins here. This film looks positively impoverished from the
first scene and to let the director off by saying "He didn't have a
budget to work with…" doesn't work because Barker himself directed the
first film with little financial resources and come away with quite a
little freaky horror classic(k). It still comes down to talent—behind,
and in front of, the camera. After this abomination, I'm not sure a
remake would be wise. I say let Pinhead lay to rest.