‘Hellraiser’ Remake Director Won’t Betray Clive Barker’s Work
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I wrote a scathing piece regarding the planned Crow remake that discussed how Hollywood is tearing up my favorite movies to bits and using them for kindling in a derelict’s dumpster fire. It’s a few weeks later and sure, I can rectify sound financial reasoning, but I still can’t fathom a good artistic reason for remaking the Crow. Now I find myself in the equally unenviable position of writing about the upcoming Hellraiser remake. My initial reaction is an even deeper feeling of illness than a Crow remake, but attached writer/director Pascal Laugier was able to do something that Crow redux director Stephen Norrington was not — instill me with a feeling of comfort for his decision to tackle the remake.

In an interview with The Northlander of AICN at a post-screening for his most recent horror film Martyrs, Laugier was asked about his plans for the Hellraiser remake, his motivation for accepting the project, and his thoughts on the omnipresent remake trend. For Laugier, remaking Hellraiser is “a child’s dream coming true” and he has no intention of betraying Clive Barker‘s work. “I want to do a fresh film filled with a lot of unexpected and surprising things. At the same time, I want it to be connected to the real, original material,” said Laugier.

Laugier is aware how close “the novella and the first film that are to each other” and says that he’ll “have a chance to have much more money than even Clive had in the first film” so the remake will be more epic and bigger, though he hopes not softer. He also made it a point to remind us that Hollywood has always been remaking films and how some of these remakes are hailed as masterpieces, citing Frankenstein and John Carpenter’s The Thing. And while this may be true, I’ll posit that they’re both rare exceptions and not remotely the rule. In any case, Laugier was adamant that he will not be forced to do anything and if he were to disagree with the film’s producer, he would leave the project.

Clive Barker, who made his mainstream directorial debut adapting Hellraiser from his novella The Hellbound Heart, had an extremely rare opportunity with Hellraiser — to be able to write a book and have it optioned, then adapt the screenplay AND direct the film. The only other example of this I can pull off the top of my head was William Peter Blatty directing the adaptation of his novel Legion, which became Exorcist III. And for me, both Hellraiser and Exorcist III are amazingly accurate and terrifying transfers from one medium to the next.

Lastly, there are two things of which I’m sure: I’ll continue to be ridiculed for my extreme love both of Hellraiser and Exorcist III (firstly, Brad Dourif is fucking amazing in it. Second.. decapitating nun-ghoul-thing phasing through walls with guillotine shears!); and readers will comment with additional examples of the author/screenplay/director trifecta.


  1. I’m sorry Dave, but I can’t agree with you where Exorcist III is concerned. I’ve never read the book, but I thought it was a very choppy, poorly thought out film of few virtues. Granted, the last time I saw it was on cable (so it was cut) but still… it still had the look and feel of a budget demonic slasher film, with an absolutely A list cast. If I want George C. Scott horror/suspense, I’d rather go back and watch The Changeling.

    Comment by Dr. Geek, Ph.D. — January 9, 2009 @ 3:22 pm

  2. c’mon now, exorcist 3 had patrick ewing in it, not to mention the old lady on the ceiling and the creepy jesus statue!! exorcist 3 was good in my opinion…

    Comment by vegepygmy — January 12, 2009 @ 3:31 pm

  3. I’m looking forward to the remake. Here is my ideal cast:
    Kirsty: Scarlet Johansson
    Frank: Tim Roth
    Julia: Rachel Griffiths (crazy girl from 6 Feet Under)
    Larry: Jeff Daniels
    Female Cenobite: Kristanna Loken (I would expand the role and have her sit on a throne of corpses like she did in the book)
    Pinhead: Samuel L. Jackson (I know this is thinking outside of the box, but nobody says “burn in hell” like Jackson). He can also be scary with his make-up off. I can’t say this same for Doug Bradley)

    Comment by humphunter — January 3, 2010 @ 1:30 am

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