You may remember that back in 2014, Clive Barker was attached to remake his own debut feature, Hellraiser. In fact, he wrote a script and delivered it to Dimension Films back then, but of course, the film was never actually made. Instead, Dimension made new sequel Hellraiser: Judgment, which to date still hasn’t been released.
Nevertheless, Barker’s Hellraiser remake script is out there, and writer Rob Ridenour of the Clive Barker Cast just managed to get his hands on it. Over on the podcast’s website, Ridenour wrote a short review of the unused script this week, giving us some insight into Barker’s vision for the remake that never was… and likely will never be.
Interestingly, Barker’s script seems to stick pretty close to the original film, centered on the Cotton family and their hellish experience with Lemarchand’s puzzle box.
“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,” Ridenour begins his review. “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.”
The review continues…
“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. 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 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.
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.”
Be sure to read Ridenour’s full script review over on the Clive Barker Cast website, where he details two new Cenobites that Barker created for the unmade remake!