Hellraiser: Hellworld is a real turning point in the Hellraiser franchise. Not only is it a bad movie in itself that was filmed back-to-back with Hellraiser: Deader, but it’s also the last time that the incomparable Mr. Doug Bradley would play Pinhead. What a completely lackluster ending to such an iconic performance! It’s actually a little sad, and exhausting in a way I can’t really describe. I’m sure I’ll figure out my feelings by the time we reach the end of this installment of the Hellbound Halloween.
Five friends are mourning the suicide of another friend named Adam. Of the five, our main protagonist is Chelsea (Katheryn Winnick from Vikings) with the secondary protagonist being Jake (Christopher Jacot). The other three don’t really matter except that one is played by Henry Cavill, AKA the DCEU’s Superman, and another is played by Khary Payton, the voice of Cyborg on most Teen Titans animated shows. The last is a girl who has been in next to nothing (although The Scar Crow looks so bad I’m adding it to my watchlist). Anyway, all of them played Hellworld, an online video game directly inspired by Pinhead and the other cenobites that descriptions of the movie refer to as an MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game), but really looks more like a point-and-click adventure game. They get invited to a Hellworld-themed party at the Leviathan House, a convent turned asylum turned mansion that Philip LeMarchand built. Don’t ask why it’s in America and not France. The host of the party is played by Lance Henriksen, a veteran actor who probably deserved better than this. Or maybe not since he was in three Pumpkinhead movies… Over the course of the party the three useless friends die in gruesome ways while Chelsea and Jake figure out the truth of what’s going on: they’re not being tortured by cenobites and instead it’s all a needlessly complex revenge plot orchestrated by the host, who is Adam’s dad. He drugged everyone and buried them alive, with the three other friends dying in their coffins. Chelsea and Jake are improbably rescued days later when someone used Chelsea’s phone to call for help, with the movie heavily implying it was Adam’s ghost. While that’s supposedly going on, Adam’s dad solves the puzzle box and is surprised to find out that Pinhead and Hell are actually real. The cenobites kill him, and then he teleports to Chelsea and Jake to fuck with them one last time. Were they really rescued or is this still part of the ridiculously elaborate drug-induced hallucinations? Unclear. The end.
It’s like Lance Henriksen says while taunting Chelsea: “Like a bad horror movie, isn’t it?”
The are a few things I can say weren’t complete ass in this film. The first is that a few times, Celldweller is played at the Leviathan House rave, so that’s cool. He’s an electronica artist I really like–discovered independently from this film–and the songs used are “Frozen” and “Stay With Me (Unlikely).” Screenplay writer Carl V Dupré played an incredibly minor role as the bartender, most likely a nod to Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth when that script’s writer, Peter Atkins, played a similar role. It’s generally nice to see Lance Henriksen in things, and was kind of fun to see Superman and Cyborg before they became really big names. And… uh… that’s it. That’s all the good things in this.
As for things that absolutely sucked, there’s a plethora. In addition to all the plot holes I pointed out in the summary, Nokia phones are used so often that the whole movie starts to feel like a really morbid commercial. The host’s plan is so unnecessarily convoluted for a man who was an absentee dad who didn’t even show up to his son’s funeral. Henry Cavill gets his dick sucked–in a PG-13 way, so it’s a woman’s head bobbing in his lap–but her head’s at upper chest height, suggesting his dick is cartoonishly huge. The list just goes on.
This is the first script in a while that was written specifically as a Hellraiser movie, which makes the cenobites having barely anything to do with the actual story a crime. All appearances before the very end were supposedly just the friends hallucinating, suggesting that the real Pinhead was on screen for a matter of seconds. As I ranted before in Hellraiser: Hellseeker, this is the last movie in a sort of trilogy of movies directed by Rick Bota and written by Carl Dupré, Tim Day, or both. The story is also credited to Joel Soisson, who is one of my movie nemeses. His list of writing credits isn’t very long, but it’s jam-packed with awful sequels. He’s responsible for The Prophecy 3: The Ascent, The Prophecy: Uprisng, The Prophecy: Forsaken, Mimic 2, Dracula 2000, Dracula III: Legacy, Pulse 2: Afterlife, Pulse 3, Hollow Man II, and two of the worst Children of the Corn movies: Children of the Corn: Genesis and Children of the Corn: Runaway. The man is a menace and needs to be stopped.
I will fully admit that these last few Hellraiser movies have been draining. And the next one, Hellraiser: Revelations, is quite possibly the worst one in the entire franchise. Which is why I pre-planned a brief break at this point! That’s right, the next three movies in the Hellbound Halloween won’t be Hellraiser films; but keeping with the theme, they are movies written, directed, or drawing overt inspiration from Clive Barker himself. And at least two of the three have ties to the Hellraiser world! Well, the expanded mythos. And mostly through comic books, but still. So let’s enjoy this little break before we get to the bottom of the barrel for this franchise. I know I will.
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