Hellraiser: Revelations (2011)
Directed by Víctor García
Hellraiser: Revelations, the ninth and most recent entry in the series, seems to be universally hated. It was hastily written, filmed in a few weeks, and released without fanfare. The studio made no attempt to hide the fact that they only made Revelations because they were contractually obligated, lest they lose the rights to a potential remake. All of this makes perfect sense when you watch the film. I’m not about to claim this is a great movie, but it’s certainly not as bad as you think.
Many diehard horror fans join the community because they are, in one way or another, outcasts. Everyone wants to belong somewhere, and horror fans won’t judge you by what you look like or how you dress. This makes sense, considering most interactions within the community occur in forums or elsewhere online. You will be judged quite harshly, on the other hand, by your taste in movies. On the horror message boards, it’s “conform or be flamed.” There are a number of unwritten rules, such as “remakes are never better than the originals” or “never badmouth Bruce Campbell.”
Revelations is at least partially a victim of horror fan mob mentality. It’s the only film to feature someone other than Doug Bradley as the iconic Pinhead, which instantly reduces its cred in the eyes of the horror mob. Clive Barker’s name was used to promote the release, and he responded by publicly disowning the film. Of course, he’s had less involvement with the series with each new sequel and never has good things to say about them, but his name is synonymous with the franchise. Even so, fuel was added to the fire, and horror fans had one more reason to dislike Revelations.
Yes, it is a bad film, but is it that much worse than the other Hellraiser sequels? I’d say it’s on par with the likes of Inferno, Deader, and Hellworld. Bradley’s absence is unfortunate, but is it enough to disregard this one completely? Stephan Smith Collins, the new Pinhead, doesn’t add anything new to the role, but it’s not like he single-handedly ruins the movie either. That’s an impressive feat in its own right, considering how much time Pinhead is on screen in Revelations. Overall, this is an amazingly faithful sequel, and the worst flaws are a low budget and a less-than-enthralling story.
Imagine if we as fans had never known this movie was only made to retain remake rights for the studio. Imagine if they had spent some extra cash to bring back Doug Bradley. Imagine if the film was marketed as “one more direct-to-video sequel for the diehard fans who can’t wait any longer for the upcoming remake.” They still could have filmed it in three weeks for practically nothing, and it would still be yet another bad Hellraiser sequel. Instead, it’s widely regarded as possibly the worst entry into any horror franchise.