Hellraiser: Inferno (2000)


The first in a long run of Hellraiser sequels to originate from a completely unrelated spec script. As a result Pinhead and the cenobites begin to take a backseat, basically cropping up in teasing flashes before arriving in the last ten minutes to wrap everything up. Inferno is more of a sleazy corrupt detective movie, complete with a quippy, hardboiled voice over. Well, an attempt at one at least. Maybe if this had a bit more of a knowing wink it could have worked better but it plays everything so straight-faced that the total seriousness becomes a put-off. The acting isn’t great and the writing is even worse leaving most of the heavy lifting to the direction.

Luckily this entry has the novelty of being directed by Scott Derrickson, who has since gone on to bigger and better things, and the film is carried by an imaginative eye. It’s well shot, well lit and manages to re-capture some of the icky sexual perversity that was central to Clive Barker’s original movie. One of the key lines in Hellraiser lore is Pinhead declaring “We have such sights to show you!” but most of the entries forget about this mission statement. Derrickson, on the other hand, does his best to keep it alive. There’s some weird stuff here and some graphic sexual nastiness to rightfully earn that Hellraiserbranding in the title. Seeing Craig Sheffer – who is also an alum of Barker’s Nightbreed – get it on with two lady-cenobites as they unzip his chest-skin and fondle beneath it is exactly the kind of shit I should be seeing in a Hellraiser flick. The film’s other saving grace is its commitment to a hellish, constantly unravelling nightmare of a plot that endlessly jumps between nightmares and reality. It all becomes more tedious and silly than any 90 minute horror movie has a right to be, but I appreciate the attempt nonetheless.

As for Pinhead, I can’t even remember much of what he had to do in this thing. Good for Doug Bradley though who seemed to have found a handy cash-cow for just a few days work in make-up and leather. The character is nowhere near as memorable or exciting as Freddy or even mute killing machines like Jason and Michael Myers. Pinhead’s steady recline into the background of these films reduces him to little more than a memorable make-up design. There’s certainly stuff to be mined there, just most of these sequels treat him like an afterthought. Onto the Rick Bota entries we go…

This entry was posted in Reviews and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.