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Review reveals details of Clive Barker's Hellraiser remake script

12.12.2017by: Cody Hamman

Hellraiser Clive Barker Ashley Laurence

Dimension Films has been trying to get a remake of writer/director Clive Barker's 1987 classic HELLRAISER off the ground for a long time, with the project passing through the hands of MARTYRS director Pascal Laugier, INSIDE and LEATHERFACE directors Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo, and the MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3D and DRIVE ANGRY team of Patrick Lussier and Todd Farmer. Back in 2013, Dimension hired Clive Barker to write a draft of the remake script. Who better to do it than the man who created the concepts in the first place? But even though Barker turned in his script years ago, the remake never moved forward. Dimension ended up putting a low budget sequel, HELLRAISER: JUDGMENT, into production so they could hold on to the HELLRAISER rights while continuing to look ahead to a remake.

According to longtime HELLRAISER special effects artist (and director of JUDGMENT) Gary J. Tunnicliffe, it was the dark and twisted sexual aspect of the original HELLRAISER story that made Dimension hesitant when it came to remaking it. That may be off-putting to the mainstream audience!

It remains to be seen if the HELLRAISER remake will ever go into production, and if Barker's script will be used if/when it does. While we wait to see what's going to happen with this property, Rob Ridenour over at The Clive Barker Podcast got his hands on Barker's script and wrote up a review of it.

According to Ridenour, Barker's script "would keep faithful fans engaged, while also bringing in a whole new legion of fans." He also shared some details on this version of the story: 

The script opens on Devil’s Island in the 1700’s where toymaker Philippe Lemarchand is being held prisoner by an evil warden who wants him to finish building the infamous box—its design closer to The Hellbound Heart here—known as the Lament Configuration. Once done, Lemarchand only wishes to be free and return home to his family. The warden has other plans and wants Lemarchand to open the box, so he can show the toymaker what it does. Things turn quite grisly when a familiar lead cenobite shows up and wreaks havoc on the unsuspecting prison custodian.

With this opening prologue, Barker introduces fresh elements into the story, especially involving Pinhead. ...

The story then moves to present day Massachusetts where Larry Cotton, a college professor, and his unhappy wife Julia are moving into the “old homestead” along with Larry’s daughter Kirsty. Also, to their surprise Larry’s brother Frank has been occupying the upstairs attic for the past few months. Larry allows Frank to stay in the attic until he can get back on his feet. Little does Larry know, that Frank and Julia have been having an affair. This pleases Julia immensely, so they can continue where they left off. They’re literally out of their knickers as soon as Larry turns his back to go see the rest of the house with Kirsty. These early parts of the script—other than Larry letting Frank live with them—stick very close to the basic structure of the original film, but Clive writes all this in a new way that makes the material feel fresh. Eventually, Frank opens the box and is torn apart (another fine gory moment) during a ritual where he summons the Hell Priest which forces Julia to once again find him victims, so he can have a new skin. This time around, Julia is much more savage in the way she dispatches her victims. She’s a much nastier character who never garners any sympathy from the reader. While Frank is still… Frank. The bastard that the reader either loves or hates.

It’s only when Kirsty escapes from Frank and steals the box, that this story really starts to develop its own identity. The sequences of Kirsty in the hospital are some of the strongest in the script. This is where Barker begins to introduce his new mythology and let Pinhead have some devilish fun. There are a couple of disturbing scenes involving the creation of two cenobites (dubbed SCALPEL and BLOAT) that really bothered me. Without giving away any details, I’ll just say it involves a maternity ward and a morgue. Also, don’t expect Barker to tread familiar ground with going back to the labyrinth when a character opens the box. The box acts differently in this version ...

If HELLRAISER were to be remade, it certainly makes sense to have Barker himself be the one to provide the story - if anyone is going to be making changes to the mythology, it should be him.

Regardless, it's probably going to be a while before we hear anything more about the remake, as Dimension has some issues to deal with these days. For now, the most we can hope for is a release date for HELLRAISER: JUDGMENT.

Extra Tidbit: Do you want to see Barker's script get made?
Source: CliveBarkercast

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