Since every major horror icon of the 1970’s and 80’s has been rebooted, it’s only fair that Pinhead join the illustrious ranks of Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers, Jason Vorhees and Leatherface on the remake block. Actually, the project’s been shopped around for a while, and now it looks like it’s going forward.
Drew McWeeny has got the scoop on the new version from Bloody Disgusitng, and the big news is that Christian E. Christiansen – who directed the upcoming film The Roommate - is close to being tagged as the director, and the effort is going to be more “teen-friendly,” which is a code word for PG-13 (much like “Urban market” is code for Black).
Though the Hellraiser series was never a shining pinnacle of horror, and most of the sequels are crap (most went DTV), the ideas of the franchise are not exactly kid-friendly. To that, Barker’s original ideas are inspired, but Barker as a director had a way to go. (Also, I like the first sequel, if only for the maggots). The premise of the original is that a man becomes overtaken by a drug-like puzzle-box that sends him to hell, and his ex-lover brings him back from the dead by sacrificing random strangers to the room in which he can be resurrected. But his return comes piece by piece. There is an innocent girl put in the middle of this, but the reason why people remember the franchise is because of Pinhead, a demon from hell who dresses like an extra from Cruising, but with a haircut made out of nails driven into his head. And this all came from the mind of Clive Barker, who was obviously interested in the psycho-sexual, and sadomasochistic elements of the story. But then there’s also the classic fairy tale structure (Snow White and the Seven Gimps, if you will) of a young woman, awakening sexuality, and the puzzle-box as a form of the apple. Except this apple doesn’t give you a safe word.
What a “teen-friendly” approach means is that either these ideas are going to buried deep under the surface, or the image and ideas behind Pinhead have become so neutered and familiar that a dude who wears all leather and nails isn’t enough to get an R rating. If that’s the case, what’s the point of a remake? Or do you just try and tell the same story but sans the blood and sex? Again, then what are you taking besides a recognizable horror icon? Taking the S&M out of Hellraiser strikes me as taking the chainsaw away from Leatherface.
It seems hard not to write this off right now.