'Hellraiser' remake: What will Pascal Laugier bring to a classic?

Hellraiserpinhead_lLooks like Dimension has tapped French director Pascal Laugier to write and helm the long-gestating remake of Clive Barker’s 1987 horror classic Hellraiser. On one hand, Laugier, whose controversial horror movie Martyrs received his country’s rare 18+ rating because of its depictions of violence and exploration of human torture, seems a natural fit, given that Hellraiser is also a violent film that deals with the exploration of human torture. But at the same time, the original movie’s success was due to its being based on Barker’s creepy novella, The Hellbound Heart, which was as heady and thought-provoking as it was terrifying and horrific (okay, the movie also owes a lot to Pinhead’s awesomeness). Hopefully, Laugier will give graphic violence a backseat in the reboot and tap his undeniable talents as a disturbing mindscrewdirector using Barker’s text as the focus. If successful, the director could quiet critics that dismiss him as a purveyor of mere "torture porn."

At the same time, as we learned with recent Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Halloween remakes, there is something to be said about leaving the campy, grainy, and yes, scary originals be (we’ll have to wait and see what happens with upcoming remakes of Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th), and I fear a slick, 21st century Hellraiser remake will result in a movie even further from capturing the intellectual perversity of Barker’s book than the classic-if-imperfect original did.

What of it, PopWatchers? Psyched for Pinhead’s return, or wish they’d just leave these classics alone? What horror remakes have you loved and loathed?

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Comments (17 total) Add your comment
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  • Ceballos

    I loved the “Dawn of the Dead” remake.
    I think that it was as good of a remake/update as you could ask for. It didn’t completely disregard the original (same basic story about survivors in a mall), while updating it for today’s audience.
    Actually, I think in “Dawn of the Dead”s case each movie perfectly served its audience at the time it came out. The savage satire of commercialism in the original was just right for the 70’s, while the new one was more action-oriented (that opening sequence is one of the best in the last decade), if a lot less subtle.

  • Eric Friedmann

    Actually, despite my usual sickening resentment of ongoing Hollywood remakes, most of the ones I have loved were horror or monster-based movies:
    – KING KONG (1976, 2005)
    – DRACULA (1979, 1992)
    – THE THING (1982)
    – THE FLY (1986)

  • Cricket

    I wish Hollywood would get a clue and leave the classics alone. If you’re going to remake a movie, don’t remake a masterpiece. If they’re on such a remake craze, why don’t they just finish off and remake The Wizard of Oz, Gone With the Wind, and Citizen Kane!

  • aps

    enough of these. no more please. why remake a movie like this?

  • Parag

    I never actually thought Hellraiser was any good as a horror movie. Maybe a remake will inject some new life into the franchise.

  • Heather Wixson

    I was at a horror convention in March with the entire cast of Hellraiser and Doug Bradley put it into a perspective I finally understand: if you think about the classic horror characters- Dracula, Wolf Man, Frankenstein,etc…those have all been remade over and over and there was far less backlash then. He considers it a compliment that Pinhead would be remade because it means that his character has finally made it into that “classic” realm…and admittedly, I never saw it that way. But I do get it. Remakes can sometimes help new generations become familiarized with the classics. Freddy, Jason, Michael, Pinhead…they’re the new breed of “classic” horror icons. I wish some of the remakes were better, but I finally understand why they are happening. It doesn’t make it any easier when I have to review them for my site, but they do help me appreciate the originals all the more.

  • Jenn

    WTF, what is with the need to remake EVERYTHING?

  • Julia M

    Pinhead rocks! “No tears please. It’s a waste of good suffering.”
    I love the first couple of Hellraisers, so this will be interesting, but if the film looks anything like the rest of the sequels, I’m out.

  • flick

    I think this will be a fun movie to see remade; I just watched this and Hellraiser II the other night, and I had forgotten how desolate and creepy they are. I would really love to see how one of today’s director’s would handle depicting hell in Hellraiser II, but I guess I’ll have to wait a while for that.

  • Snarf

    I liked the remakes of “The House on Haunted Hill” and “The Haunting of Hill House” Just waiting for them to remake Fright Night (you know it’s bound to happen soon – it’s been almost 25 years.

  • Alan of Montreal

    I think it’s too early for a Hellraiser remake myself, but Martyrs, from what I heard, has as much intelligence and emotion as it does gore, so this director was probably a good choice.

  • Pablo

    Pinhead Rules! Waiting with a Hell-Bound Heart. Clive Barker is a incredible author.

  • Wayne

    I’d love to see a Hellraiser remake because in my opinion it should make up for the disaster that came after Hellbound. – The post Barker Hellraisers really stepped away from the original story and tried to make Pinhead into a Freddy/Jason type monster when in actually the original Pinhead is more like the gate keeper that Freddy and Jason may have escaped.

  • john

    At least they have a talented director that will genuinely care about the end product. All indications is that its not being rushed, so I imagine this will end up being very imaginative and twisted.

  • john

    At least they have a talented director that will genuinely care about the end product. All indications is that its not being rushed, so I imagine this will end up being very imaginative and twisted.

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