In our exclusive chat with Drive Angry 3D director Patrick Lussier about his latest film – releasing in theaters this Friday! – B-D reporter Chris Eggertsen of course had to ask him about the planned Hellraiser reboot, the script for which he and partner-in-crime Todd Farmer are currently writing. As has previously been reported, the film will not be a traditional remake following the plot of the original story but rather a “reboot” that will come at the Hellraiser universe from a new angle focusing heavily on the “world” of the Lament Configuration puzzle box.
“Yes, the world of the box, the world of what happens within the box and what the box does,” said Lussier. “I think one of the main things we wanted to do was – Clive has created such a…you know, he’s a real world-builder in everything that he does…all his stories are magnificent…but the ‘Hellraiser’ story feels like you’re only seeing a fragment of what that world is. And because his original ‘Hellraiser’ movie is clearly such a personal film…we talked about it [like it] wasn’t like remaking ‘My Bloody Valentine’ or something that was very much a great fun movie, original, but at the same time it’s part of a series, like ‘Prom Night’ and ‘Terror Train’. It’s a movie of a time that was created for a specific reason. And with ‘Hellraiser’…we want to be very respectful of the original film and not just try to re-tell that story, because that story exists. You can see that movie any time you want…it’s such a great landmark horror film, obviously, a landmark film by a major artist.”
Luckily for true horror fans, Lussier and Farmer were also mindful of moving the project away from the “teen-oriented” direction the Weinsteins were originally (reportedly) considering for the film.
“[We made sure] it would be an ‘R’-rated movie, it would not be a teen movie,” Lussier told me, while declining to give specifics on the plot. “You know, it’s not ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, it’s called fucking ‘Hellraiser’.”
Of course, no film bearing the ‘Hellraiser’ name would be complete without Cenobites, and Lussier – while he wouldn’t spill on which specific Cenobites (outside of Pinhead) will be appearing in the movie – nevertheless hinted that we will perhaps be seeing a new dimension to our favorite extradimensional beings.
“We’re in the process of going through [which Cenobites we’ll be featuring] right now,” said the director. “There will be a variety of them that will move and function in perhaps familiar ways, and perhaps new and exciting ways, and in ways that are unexpected.”
As for Pinhead, the most famous of all Cenobites, Lussier maintained that while it would be great to have Doug Bradley return, that piece of the puzzle (so to speak) hasn’t yet been decided.
“To be honest, I don’t know at this time,” he said. “We discussed it a variety of ways. So there’s bigger questions with that, in terms of…execution. There’s all sorts of ways to do that or to not do that. And right now we’re just seeing how that’s gonna fall together. If it were to work out, of course it would be amazing to have Mr. Bradley involved. We have to see how that whole thing evolves.”
One thing you can expect is that looks-wise, Pinhead won’t merely be a carbon-copy of the character featured in all of the previous films. Indeed, his updated appearance was something that factored heavily into Lussier and Farmer’s conception of the project.
“[Our new look for Pinhead] was part of the original pitch” said the director. “I will tell you that the original pitch was the look of Pinhead. That’s how we pitched it. But uh…what that is I’m not gonna tell you. But that was very much how we pitched the film.”
And while it was previously reported (in one of its many earlier incarnations) that the reboot would definitely be shot in 3-D, Lussier said that as far as he and Farmer’s version is concerned, that decision still hasn’t been made.
“That’s not 100% decided,” he said. “It’s something that we discussed. It’s certainly a film that would really lend itself to it, given the visual motif of how it works. But that hasn’t been locked down at this time. You know, right now we’re just focusing on the story and the characters, and the building of the world.” Of course given the nature of the franchise, I suggested the film would seem to lend itself more to an “immersive” type of 3-D than the gimmicky sort utilized in his two most recent films. Lussier agreed: “Yeah. It’s a different kind of rollercoaster. ‘Drive Angry’ and ‘Valentine’ are very specific, but ‘Hellraiser’ is ultimately far more gothic in terms of that stuff.”
So when can we expect this baby to start filming? Unfortunately, Lussier still has no idea – although he indicated the Weinsteins are anxious to get the project off the ground. Of course, as he well knows (‘Halloween 3-D’, anyone?) you just never know with these things.
“This is a project that has been in development for some time…a large-scale revisitation of this world,” he told me. “So I think it’s something they’re very excited to do, very excited to do sooner than later. But in terms of time, I can’t predict with that. [Laughs]”