Following years in development hell, the reboot of Clive Barker’s horror classic Hellraiser has wrapped filming for a 2022 release.
The diabolical story of a puzzle box that promises pleasure and pain to those that can solve it, and summons a bunch of demons (angels to some) known as Cenobites, Hellraiser marked the directorial debut of British author Clive Barker, adapting his own novella The Hellbound Heart to the screen in 1987. The result was an instant horror classic that added an iconic new villain, Pinhead, to the horror hall of fame and spawned nine sequels.
After over a decade of attempts to remake/reboot the original for a new generation, a new version of Barker’s vision has finally been completed for the US-only streaming service Hulu under the direction of David Bruckner (The Night House), from a story by David S. Goyer (The Dark Night, Foundation).
What’s likely to polarise diehard fans (besides remaking it in the first place) is the casting of transgender actress Jamie Clayton (Sense8) as Pinhead – a role that actor Doug Bradley made his own in the original Hellraiser and several of the sequels. While it’s hard to imagine anyone other than Bradley playing the role, wait just a moment before you cry, ‘What the hell?”
The new film purports to be a very faithful adaptation of Barker’s original novella, in which Pinhead and the Cenobites were described as being genderless and androgynous creatures, so Clayton’s casting not only makes perfect sense, it could prove to be a masterstroke!
“From the moment I first read The Hellbound Heart, Clive Barker became one of my literary heroes,” said Goyer in a statement. “His work is transgressive and completely redefined the horror genre. Under the guiding hand of David Bruckner, we’re going back to the source and taking our inspiration from that original novella.”
Moreover, Barker himself – who will regain the rights to Hellraiser next month after years of legal wrangles – is enthusiastic about the reboot, adding: “Having seen some of the designs from David Bruckner’s new Hellraiser film, they pay homage to what the first film created, but then take it to places it’s never been before. This is a Hellraiser on a scale that I simply didn’t expect. David and his team are steeped in the story’s mythology, but what excites me is their desire to honour the original even as they revolutionise it for a new generation.”
At last, a reboot to look forward to?