somewhere around ‘07 or ’08, I came up with this idea for “Half-Halloween.” See, the issue is that during Halloween everyone rents out all of the horror movies, especially the ones connected to franchises, so it becomes somewhat difficult to secure an entire franchise if that may be your personal desire. Exactly six months between Halloweens, however, on the last week of April, nobody has horror franchises on the mind so they’re usually available to rent en masse, and you can have personal completionist goals at that point. Half-Halloween 2008 was the Halloween series and Half-Halloween 2009 was the Nightmare on Elm Street series. I was unable to do Half-Halloween the last two years because I was in the UAE.
The idea is simple. Watch the entire series, in order, over the amount of days numbered equal to the amount of titles in that series. Confections and popcorn are considered semi-necessary, and inviting friends to participate in groups pretty standard. Dressing up and basically doing the Halloween thing minus drunken sex is also approved, though doing the whole shebang with drunken sex and all and I sort of think you’ve lost the point.
Anyway, this year’s Half-Halloween is Hellraiser, for no better reason than all of them are currently available on Netflix Instant Watch. There are eight of them, which means the first Hellraiser movie ought to be watched on April 23rd, 2012, and the last on April 30th, 2012. The selection of franchise will remain even if the titles are removed from Instant Watch by that time, so be prepared to do some mad dashes to the rental shops if all else fails.
Anyway this is usually a me’n’my friends thing, and I thought I’d invite you all along plus discussions to be had on this thread. Happy upcoming Half-Halloween!
Okay, I’m in, though I’m not swearing off any drunken sex. [smacked upside head by wife]
I’ve only seen the first four of these, and while none of them are all that great, the mythology in them is very interesting, and rich as expanded by comics and such (many of which I read in the early 90s).
Next year we should do the of the Dead films.
I’ve only seen the first two and would like to watch the rest. Would be cool to do it along with others so I’d be in too.
I’ve also read Cliver Barker’s novella The Hellbound Heart, which the original is based on.
Oh, and please don’t take my assertion that most of these films aren’t good as an indication that I’m not fully on board with this, since it will surely enhance the post-mortem discussion.
Cool, neat to get some interest.
“Next year we should do the of the Dead films.”
That’s a good idea, but I usually base my decisions around what is available and what I haven’t already seen. Anyway we’ll see how this year goes first.
I will try to participate on the first night, but I’m extraordinarily selfish and finicky about my movie viewing, so I can never complete any kind of completionist goal. Also, I started watching the first Hellraiser once, but really didn’t like it and went to bed instead… which doesn’t make me want to commit eight nights to the series!
there is a new one sans Doug Bradley that just came out
I have seen all of them in the last year or so, Hellraiser Hellworld is the best of the lot (part 6 I think)
Parts 3 and 4 are easily worst
What’s the one that has to do with the Internet I think it is? Or is it space?
One thing that I’ve read about the Hellraiser series is that actually, each movie is sort of a different genre altogether. So I anticipate viewing them with that perspective in mind.
Have you seen any of them before, Polaris?
One thing that I’ve read about the Hellraiser series is that actually, each movie is sort of a different genre altogether.
That’s true for the DTV sequels and only for some of them. The theatrical releases are pretty much the same kind of horror film, though with varying ambitions and levels of competence.
I have not seen any of the Hellraiser movies, no. Been meaning to for a while, which is why I’m excited about this coming Half-Halloween!
I like the Barker novella, it has some great stuff in it, including one of my all-time favorite heroine/villain interactions, interesting in that she’s got some spirit, doing more than just screaming and falling over. Whenever I see the first film I always wish Barker had been able to summon up a bigger budget.
Okay, the dates and times are set, this series is running Friday, April 27th to Friday, May 4th. 7pm Mountain Standard Time if anyone cares about that, but I’m not going to try to sync times.
I’m definitely up for participating in this year’s Half-Halloween!!
Alright well it’s started without a hitch. REALLY enjoyed Hellraiser, not just as a movie but as a participatory experience. It strikes a good balance between being genuine splatstick while being silly and fun enough to watch as a group and laugh and cheer when welcome.
I like how ‘Pinhead’ is billed as ‘Lead Cenobite’. I don’t know about the marketing history of this movie or how audience knowledge of it has changed but it seems Pinhead wasn’t meant to be his own Krueger-like character?
Also, this movie summed up in my friends’ and my reaction quotes:
“I like how the rape demons from the abyss aren’t actually the bad guys.”
“So he needs blood and murdering people is the first thing she thinks of? She doesn’t even consider options like going to the butchers shop or grabbing animals?”
“What are you talking about, she isn’t even considering whether this is Frank or not!”
“To be fair, if I was facing down a skinless mess and the skinless mess said, ‘Hey, I’m your friend DiB!‘, I wouldn’t really doubt you.”
“The skinless mass couldn’t be some rape demon from the abyss lying about being me?”
“What’s more likely, that it’s actually you that has lost your skin and need help or that you’re a lying rape demon from the abyss?”
“Neither is likely, but in the logic of this universe it could easily be either because it features both skinless messes and rape demons from the abyss trying to make skinless messes.”
“…Damn, that does make it hard, doesn’t it?”
“So anyway, the point is, why isn’t she questioning this?”
“This movie has the most unwelcome nudity.”
“You’ve obviously never seen Druids. "
More to come but I’ve got to get going.
Won’t be able to participate until I’m finished up working on this GE commercial. Hopefully soon because I’m So over this shoot.
Hellbound: Hellraiser II was decent. It’s kind of like Halloween 2 in that it starts right where the previous let off, but it has a lot less consistency or direction. In fact, most of the movie is an exercise in, “Hey isn’t this shocking, gross, crazy, fucked up, and weird? Cool! Now let’s do something else for a while.”
It did make for good group viewing:
“Didn’t that place burn down last movie?”
“Hey you know what? Dead bodies? Let’s walk into this room. Questioning or calling the police or shutting the door or basically just about anything doesn’t sound reasonable at all!”
“Why do characters in these two movies never question the sudden presence of other characters?”
“I find it weird that so far Pinhead has not yet been a badguy. Two movies down, seven to go, and he’s still a pretty decent, logical gentleman who cares what other people feel.”
Anyway, this movie was definitely a “I gots more budget and so let’s go crazy!” piece with still even better makeup effects but it’s really slow and its vision of the labyrinthine hellscape isn’t even as good as the wide shots of Labyrinth. Oh well.
Theoretically this is the best of all the movies, so what I’m hoping is the rest will hit the so-bad-it’s-good entertainment value. Nevertheless, this series isn’t as enjoyable quite yet as I imagined it would be.
Also, Hellraiser II feels calculated to be like a mixture of Halloween II and Nightmare on Elm Street 3, for some odd reason. Only Pinhead ain’t Krueger and the sequel isn’t as true to the original like Halloween 2.
let me know when you get to Hellworld (part 6)
If it wasn’t for an overly gratuitous director, Hellraiser 3 would be by far better than its previous installations. Pinhead gets himself some deeper character development and finally stands as a distinct personality from the Cenobites, and it showcases more what allures the Cenobites into hell as a better fleshing out of the concept than, ironically, showing hell itself in part 2. Also, this movie is even more adherent to the previous pieces than 2 was to the first.
However, ’splosions man. ’Splosions. With Hickox literally inserting his name hither-tither throughout the film, this is the definition of indulgence.
Not many good quotes from this one. Have to admit the series is almost more interesting watching what they blow money on (except for blow) than it is for the actual special effects themselves.
I really like both the first and second films. I think they work well together and probably more so if they were somehow put together to make one film. I’ve seen these two before and haven’t rewatched them in a while. Wanted to just for this occasion, but didn’t have time to. So I started with the third film. It’s interesting enough. I liked that the Pinhead character had been less of a major character in the other films and now with the third he’s getting more time and seems to be more of the bad guy here. In that sense it’s more distant from the others. Didn’t care too much for the characters so I found myself wanting to see them wickedly maimed by the cenobites. That Hickox style always seems to date things to at least 10 years to the date the actual films were made in. And yeah, ’splosions bro.
Hellraiser IV: Bloodline is the type of movie film students should watch to learn the importance of plot structure. It’s difficult to appeal when so few movies show true inability to literally focus their own narrative to tell what kind of story they are telling.
To understand what I mean, some quotes:
“Wait… are we in the past or the future?”
“We’re in the present.”
“No the past.”
“The present past.”
“The time with the toymaker, right?”
“No, modern day.”
“Well it’s not modern day, it’s 1996.”
“Wait when did we get to New York?”
“After we went to Paris.”
“And how did he find the cube from that block of cement?”
“That was from last movie.”
“Wait, so this movie cannot even follow its own continuity, but it expects us to remember what happened last movie?”
“Let’s pause this for a moment, I need a cigarette.”
“OH WOW, we’re already 36 minutes in!”
“…36 minutes and the movie hasn’t even figured out what it’s setting is.”
“Oh, cool, so this was all just a genesis movie.”
“It’s still going.”
“Why? Homeboy’s floating in space, setting the scene for next movie!”
“No, now the people on the spaceship are dying.”
“…Wait, the movie isn’t over?”
“No. It has like, 20 minutes left.”
“Why? The only characters with any motivation or personality already died!”
“Wait you mean Pinhead?”
“No I mean the twins!”
“Oh yeah, the twins were pretty rad.”
“Soo… wouldn’t it be great if somebody opened up the portal to Hell in the middle of space?”
“Yes. ‘I am Pinhe - wait! FUUUUUUUUUUUUU—-!’”
“PUH, there’s no sound in space.”
“He’s a demon, he makes sound in your headmeats.”
“Why was this set in space?”
“It isn’t anymore!”
“What? Where are we going next?”
“Nowhere, it’s over.”
“What? Oh shit, what happened?”
“Well you were all talking and the toymaker bloodline guy sent the light shining around the ship and it exploded.”
“…Makes sense. Beer?”
What’s weird is that the budget is definitely increasing with each film but the use of the budget is going increasingly to unrelated genre imagery that only detracts from the reason we’re watching. We’re here to see twins screwed together into a monster, not twenty minutes of flash forward leading to a flashback of Lost in Space meets Amadeus.
I think Hellraiser III was the apex as far as budgets were concerned. The original script for Part 4 was far more ambitious but it had to be stripped due to budgetary concerns and what was left was re-edited by the producers to such a degree that it was released as an Alan Smithee film. From here on out it is straight-to-video.
For the record I quite like Hellraiser, flaws and all, and enjoy much of Hellraiser II. I really dislike part III which is pretty much just a slasher film and not a particularly good one at that. Part IV is interesting at times but mostly just terrible.
Unrelated: Can we do the Dead series next year? Please please please please…. Dawn of the Dead is my favorite movie ever, and George A. Romero is my favorite horror director so I would be uber-psyched to do that!
part 4 is worst by far (wasn’t it directed by Alan Smithee after all).
You still have the Romania films to look forward to (5 is odd but watchable, 6 and 7 are very good)
This is a really great idea. I do a series every October (renting not usually being an issue thanks to the internet and lax moral certitude), and I actually did the whole Hellraiser cycle last year.
I’ll look forward to seeing your thoughts on the rest of them. For me, the series stops being good from parts 5-8 with the most recent (Bradley-less) iteration actually being quite good.
For the record, then, here’s a few cents from me.
Part 3 is much more fun than you’re giving it credit for, being a 90s slasher with more than a little influence, I’d say, from the Phantasm series (particularly the sequels). I seem to recall several really entertaining set pieces but somehow can only really remember the Cenobite that kills with compact discs.
Part 4 is maybe the most interesting and least successful of the films. After seeing parts 5-8 though, you’ll be wishing you had more part 4s to watch. The problem with the latter sequels is that they were all developed as projects completely unrelated to the series. Dimension or whoever else would pick up the rights on some shit script and throw Pinhead in at the end with some stupid moral. That isn’t to say that some of the films aren’t good or, at least, watchable in their own right, but man, once you get to Hellworld, the series will really be bringing the pain, challenging you to continue watching them.
It’s a thankless task, really.
Heh, well I think Halloween inoculated me to that sort of pain. The series is a slow process of one-upping itself on how bad it can get, until H20 throws in to try to redirect the story back to where it’s going and then Resurrection immediately makes it more horrible than any of the previous movies could have possibly prepared you for.
And then Rob Zombie comes and turns it into underaged torture porn, but that’s a different story.
Nightmare on Elm Street is a surprisingly good series as a whole even if the individual installments aren’t great. Krueger is just such a charismatic and funny dude that overall you begin to watch him as the hero of the series and really enjoy his antics. I see in Pinhead a sort of attempt at same but what’s more interesting than all his long, Candyman -like speeches about pleasure and pain and whatever is the thing my friend Jordan pointed out where he follows certain rules and is very considerate of the protagonists’ motivations, so that he’s not really all that bad of a guy. That’s why I consider 3 to be some of the best character development for Pinhead, really a substantially good installment in the series, except that the director Anthony Hickox is very self-indulgent with it and seems to like to spraypaint his name all over the chewed scenery.
I’d say it was more influenced by the Nightmare on Elm Street sequels given how it turned Pinhead into a one-liner spouting slasher (part 4 would go even further), focused on self contained set pieces, reduced the scope and, like the man said, inserted explosions left and right. It was clearly trying to appeal to a different audience.
Part 4 is maybe the most interesting and least successful of the films.
I don’t know if it’s the most interesting but it is arguably the most ambitious. I like it more than Part III (which seems to be in a different genre altogether) and the workprint version is slightly better. The original screenplay, while not great, even more so. Between Joe Chappelle (genius director behind Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers), the budget, producer interference and the godawful casting though, the film never had a chance.
The problem with the latter sequels is that they were all developed as projects completely unrelated to the series.
Amen. Some of them are halfway enjoyable as z-grade DTV horror flicks but only one or two actually manage to integrate the cenobites halfway effectively and even then they don’t have much to do with the previously established mythology.
Part 4 is the worst so far. I liked the the story of the creation of the box, but why does it need to end up in space. It seems like if your only chance to continue a series is to set it in space, that’s the clue to realize that it’s time to give it up.