In early August 2010, production inauspiciously began on Hellraiser: Revelations, the ninth film in the not-so-beloved science-fiction horror franchise that started with Clive Barker’s Hellraiser in 1987. The Weinstein Company had long intended to properly remake the original movie, but progress was slow, and their rights to the material, the studio discovered in alarm, were just about to lapse — unless another instalment could materialize practically overnight. Which it did.
In a little under a month, the studio devised, shot and edited a miraculous 75-minute feature. Doug Bradley, who had starred in each of the previous eight films as the nefarious demon Pinhead, declined to participate, owing to “the motives for making it and the poor quality of the script.” The trailer described Revelations as coming “from the mind of Clive Barker.” Barker was less than enthused about the association. “If they claim it’s from the mind of Clive Barker, it’s a lie,” Barker corrected. “It’s not even from my butthole.”
It will not surprise you to learn that Hellraiser: Revelations is terrible. One would hardly expect any different from a low-budget direct-to-video science-fiction horror sequel. Such little promise obtains in that description that no one would make the mistake of taking the film itself seriously. This particular movie was rushed into development to satisfy the conditions of a convoluted copyright claim. But this kind of movie — aspiring at best to appeal to genre lovers momentarily piqued by nostalgia for its once-popular title — is disreputable by design.
Although there are exceptions, on the vanguard of independent filmmaking and on the fridge of the avant-garde, the direct-to-video and video-on-demand marketplace is a wasteland for rubbish like the ninth film in the Hellraiser franchise. These movies, by and large, are unreleasable theatrically, devoid of both artistic merit and commercial potential.
John Ortiz, from left, David Oyelowo and Gugu Mbatha-Raw in The Cloverfield Paradox.
What’s incredible, however, is that lately the movies on Netflix have been worse.
The Cloverfield Paradox, like Hellraiser: Revelations, is a sequel to a mildly popular science-fiction horror made hastily and without much care. It is rife with generic cliché: world-imperilling crises and time-altering phenomena, icky bloodshed and technological calamities. A space station in earth’s orbit with a fashionably diverse crew activates some kind of planet-revivifying particle accelerator and, in a catastrophe so telegraphed even conspiracy-theorist pundits are seen speculating about it on television, accidentally unleashes all manner …read more