With a franchise spanning 30 years, Hellraiser is one of the most enduring horror series in part because its very concept lends well to telling new and interesting stories over films that have a human antagonist. With nine films (so far) in the series, it’s time to look back at the scary – and the scary awful – films of this iconic franchise.
9. Hellraiser: Revelations (2011)
The most recent addition to the Hellraiser franchise is also easily the worst. The film’s story, one of the first in a long time that was written specifically to be a Hellraiser sequel, is boring and moves at a slow pace; and no amount of call-backs and nods to the previous films can help to alleviate the tedium.
However, the biggest problem is the lack of Doug Bradley as Pinhead. There is enough scope in the Hellraiser mythology for the series to be able to work without Pinhead, but Pinhead can only be played by Bradley. If the Hellraiser franchise is to continue, it has a huge amount of damage control to do after this terrible entry.
8. Hellraiser: Hellworld (2005)
Hellworld is what you’d get if you mixed a teen slasher film with Hellraiser; and it’s as awful as that idea sounds. It feels like another project completely that ended up having the Hellraiser franchise crammed in at the end (which is actually what happened). As such, you can get through most of the film forgetting that it’s supposed to be part of the franchise.
Not even the appearance of horror veteran Lance Henriksen can help to elevate what is at best a mediocre slasher film.
7. Hellraiser: Bloodline (1996)
Bloodline is the entry in the series that I’m most disappointed with. Horror and sci-fi go so well together, and the prospect of setting a Hellraiser film on a space station is genuinely intriguing and disturbing as it’s an ultimate inescapable haunted house.
Unfortunately, Bloodline tried to cram too much into one film. Telling three interconnected stories over multiple locations and time periods, it became too bloated under its ambition and ultimately failed to excite.
Stories of extensive studio interference and both the writer and director claiming that they’re disappointed with the final product not being what they intended explains a great deal of the problems the film experienced.