Two years after the ninth installment in the Hellraiser franchise hit DVD, Pinhead’s creator, Clive Barker, has announced that he’s writing a remake of the original film. “A few weeks ago I had a very productive meeting with Bob Weinstein of Dimension Pictures, in the course of which I pitched a remake of the first Hellraiser,” he posted on Facebook yesterday. “The idea of my coming back to the original film and telling the story with a fresh intensity—honoring the structure and the designs from the first incarnation but hopefully creating an even darker and richer film—was attractive to Dimension.”
As far as what to expect, Barker said he made having Doug Bradley return to play Pinhead a condition of agreeing to write the film. Also, “It will not be a film awash with CGI. I remain as passionate about the power of practical make-up effects as I was when I wrote and directed the first Hellraiser.” In a separate post, Barker said he and the studio were on the same page about shooting for a hard R rating. He also plans to make an original film after this remake is done, specifically “a completely new horror movie, which will mingle graphic horror and erotic content, to create an unrated film which will push the envelope of extreme content further than ever.”
The last Hellraiser was a direct-to-video effort shot in two weeks, made without Bradley for the sole purpose of allowing the Weinsteins to retain the rights to the franchise. A Hellraiser remake was first announced in 2006, initially to be written and produced by Barker but eventually turned over to French director Pascal Laugier (best known for the brutal 2008 horror film Martyrs). In 2009, Barker said that Laugier was going “back to the first movie but not with an obsessed loyalty,” adding that when making the original, “The censors told me I had to cut a scene because it has spanking in it. You’re telling me I can have the skinning, but I can’t have the spanking? It’s a different time, so I’m excited.”
Laugier left the project later that year, explaining that his version was going to be “all about S&M gay culture, because it comes from a homosexual desire and Hellraiser is about dealing with these very questions.” The director dropped out when he got the “feeling that the producers behind the new Hellraiser didn’t really want to do a solid serious movie.” His version was “definitely adult-oriented and they asked me to do something very commercial you know, which is fine, but it was a bummer that I didn’t want to do what they wanted. I’ve learned to just run away.”
The remake subsequently went through a treatment pitched by Drive Angry director Patrick Lussier and writer Todd Farmer. What they pitched, according to Farmer, was “a franchise reboot that existed in the world Clive created.” With that treatment rejected, it seems Dimension’s come full circle to its original seven-year-old plan of letting Barker rewrite his own work however he likes.