As Bad As You Thought?: Hellraiser Revelations
We all know and love Pinhead and his Cenobites, they are some of the most iconic characters in
horrordom. But it is no secret that over the years the franchise has slipped in it’s quality, but it is this film out of all the terrible entries in the franchise that garnered the most attention. It all started with the fact that Doug Bradley would not return to reprise his famous role which put many on edge and once the creator of Hellraiser, Clive Barker claimed this movie was “not even from my butt hole” it was a done deal with fans that this movie would suck worse than the later Cenobites. But we here at As Bad As You Thought (by we I mean me) like to give bad movies a chance to redeem themselves though as of yet it has not happened, but who knows this might be the movie that changes that, but I doubt it.
Our story of romance, drama, and adventure beings with two frat boys heading to Mexico with the hopes of drinking and romancing ladies, as you might guess things don’t turn out too good for them. Oh and all of it is shot with a video camera, I hate this whole found footage style already but the camera here moves so erratically that I have to get some Dramamine. As trips to Mexico usually end up, one of them finds a puzzle box which summons forth Pinhead who does his whole overdramatic thing. The problem is that when Doug Bradley played this role he had a sense of dignity, charisma and screen presence that he completely sold the part; unfortunately Stephan Smith Collins is just some guy who was cool with people putting spikes into his head and reading lines in front of a camera with none of the gravitas that Bradley had.
It turns out that the mother of one of the boy’s, the one named Stephen if it matters to you, is watching the ordeal on video. It’s nice that her son met a mysterious fate at the hands of a spiky headed freak and she can watch it anytime she wants. Later that evening she attends a fancy dinner party where the guests are the parents of Miko, the other boy who disappeared. Stephen’s sister irritates everybody at this party by bringing up dumb topics of conversation like how did the children of these two families disappear? And why don’t they even acknowledge that this happened? And did they watch Dr. Oz this afternoon, you know boring crap like that. That night the sister, Emma, sneaks into her brother’s room to watch the video from their Mexican vacation…..to HELL!!!!!!
Emma sees how the drunken duo get drunk at a club and hit on a girl who must have a boyfriend or husband or something because there is no way a woman this unbelievably gorgeous is just sitting by herself in a bar in the middle of no where, unless she’s a prostitute. Apparently she was dating Miko and is disgusted to see him on the tape scoring with the lady before the two guys wake up in a public restroom. As they try to recover from the previous night’s festivities they find the woman covered in blood and dead, which Miko claims happened on accident. I’ve been in a lot of accidents in my day and only like three have ever ended with a woman me and my budddies just met being brutally murdered. In the living room, the parents of the two boys discuss what they might do in efforts to actually find their kids and what happened on the tape and how to set their DVR. How do these people take the mysterious and supernatural disapearance of their children with such coolness, they’re not even the least bit shocked about the bad actor with nails in his head on the tape.
Outside by the pool, Emma wanders around fumbling with the infamous Puzzle Box, leaving audiences to go “how the hell did she get that?” (Un)Luckily before she can summon the Cenobites a hand from behind grabs her, it’s the long lost Stephen. Upon this discovery the two sets of parents pretend like they’ve cared all along about the boy and wonder where his friend is. As they bring him inside they try calling the cops from their mobile phone but they don’t have signal which is why the family has a land line; I’m sorry but from the looks of it this is easily an upper-middle class family in the suburbs how do they not have cell reception in their house, even the basement I live in gets reception. But the land lines have been cut and the car the guests drove in disapeared, no mention of the car(s) the family who lives their has, but I’m gonna assume it’s gone too. The parents go from apathetic to freaking out in a matter of seconds as the hysterical kid shivers away on the couch.
Back in hell, the guy pretending to be Pinhead tortures poor Miko with his acting and by driving nails
into his head to make him look like a third rate Pinhead. Remember when Pinhead used to come up with brutal and/or creative ways to take out his victims, because apparently the filmmakers don’t. In the house, Emma openly plays with the Puzzle Box and her mother wonders where she got it, which I’m wondering the same thing. Like the idiot she is, she solves the puzzle and Pinhead and his posse get exicted, and I must say the Cenobites look just as silly as Pinhead in this flick, where did the wardrobe guys get these costumes, K-Mart? They have on crappy masks, and the rest of the suit just looks like just regular clothes on people. The ground shakes and such but the Cenobites stay where they are and Stephen wanders outside.
Before we know it, it’s flashback time as our young adventurers reminisce about their trip to Mexico and the dead woman and how a scruffy alcoholic sat next to the m and starts up a nice conversation about how they need help, being pillager Americans in Mexico. Naturally this man gives them the Puzzle Box and tells them it leads to “ultimate arousal” in a way that makes him creepier than Pinhead has been thus far. And you can pretty much guess what happens next with the Pinhead and all but after that Stephen is left wandering down the back alleys of Mexico, which look a lot nicer than the actual back alleys of Mexico and meets an Oriental prostitute who speaks flawless English without the hint of an accent, globalization at work. She takes him back for some bidness but with some moral encouragement from his buddy’s disembodied voice, Stephen bashes her head open. In a true bit of disturbing imagery (but not in a good way) Miko’s skinless self appears on the bed excited about the woman’s blood and demanding more.
Back in the living room stupid Emma keeps playing with the Puzzle Box and making a move for Miko’s dad, before being sent to take soup to her poor insane brother. She asks why he left and if she were one of the things he was running away from with all the emotionality of a bucket of sand. I’ve seen thrid graders at school plays who have better acting chops than her. Emma does get all excited when Stephen tells her the box was a gift for her and starts putting the EWWWWW in incest. Add this to the list of things in this movie creepier than Pinhead.
Elsewhere the neglectful parents decide to arm up and go wander around outside until something gets them. Naturally once they are sure everything is safe they find a guy waiting outside looking ominous. It’s Scruffy Joe who gave them the Box in Mexico, who gets blown away, that was easy enough….until he gets up and slices up Miko’s father in his face. As they try to recoup from this horrible loss, Stephen reappears with a gun and blows his father away. Stephen starts taunting the guests in a way which I’m sure was supposed to be scary but instead he comes off as hammier than the International Pork Festival. It turns out he has made a habit of killing prostitutes for his undead BFF Miko until one night he discovers one of his intended victims has a kid and refuses to do it, but he loses the moral high ground when he let’s Miko take care of it without a fuss. Later we see that Miko skinned Stephen alive and has been impersonating him while Stephen has been in Hell. He pretends to be intimidating and all while Emma goes after the Box for him. She opens it up and it is the right time for Pinhead and Co. to show up, because they couldn’t last time the Box was opened because….hey look a plot hole!
They go to Hell where the guy dressed up as Pinhead gets to work, killing Miko’s mother, while Miko tries to negotiate trading Emma for him, which goes as well as expected. He then goes on for a long time while basically just saying Emma will be back to see him later. Because knowing the guy who betrayed and murdered his son would suffer for all eternity was not good enough, Stephen’s dad shoots the kid and ends his torment, and is thanked with the kid’s last words. Pinhead just kind of shakes his head at the idiot and brings up that he now owes him another person to torture, well that’s the basic jist he kinda went on and on with it. Thus his wife is hooked onto some chain and….that’s about it, I assume something bad happens later. After that Pinhead gets bored and sends them back to earth, and I’m not really sure what that was all about. The movie ends with Emma grabbing the Puzzle Box and looking at the camera, I say if she wants to go back to Hell and be hacked up even after she’s seen the whole shebang, go right on ahead.
Was it as bad as I thought? Not so much bad as it is really really really stupid. Let’s start with the first problem; the story, two guys go to Mexico and disappear mysteriously which is a decent way to start the flick, but when it gets into their stupid families and skinning alives and living off dead prostitutes is when the movie takes that turn into the world of ridiculously stupid. The second problem is the acting, let it be known I have never wanted to see Doug Bradley more in my life than when watching this flick, the new guy taking on the iconic role just kind of does a bad almost comedic impersonation of Pinhead and it seems like every five minutes the camera cuts to him chewing scenery and wringing his hands together and doing nothing relevant to what little there is to the story line, come to think of it Pinhead, the main character has little or nothing to do with the overall movie. In the end, I can not think of anything particularly good to say about this movie, it takes the memory of one of the horror genre’s most beloved franchise and craps all over it to the point of near parody.