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The Hellraiser Project: Hellraiser VIII: Hellworld
Dr. Royce Clemens   |  

Hellraiser VIII: Hellworld DVDIt’s over! Oh, dear sweet Jesus, it’s finally over! And not surprisingly, it’s a clean sweep. I’d feel better about there not being another Hellraiser movie to watch, if I didn’t have to watch Hellraiser: Hellworld to be able to say that. This is the worst of the lot. I know I say that with all of them, but that’s only because they each have gotten progressively worse since the fifth one. This just goes to show that when you’re in prison, the burly inmates fuck you the hardest the night before you’re paroled.

The only thing I hate more than garbage is SELF-AWARE garbage. It seems that Pinhead and his Cenobite Peanut Gallery have been turned into an online role-playing game. There are references to the Lament Configuration, and at one point one of the main characters is even wearing a Pinhead t-shirt. I imagine the screenwriter making inappropriate grunting and cooing noises while he was at his computer, typing out this little masterpiece…

“Yeeeahhhhhh…You JUMP that shark…”

Our movie opens on a group of interchangeable teenagers at a funeral for one of their friends, who killed himself. It is after one of these kids delivers the dumbest and most infantile line of dialogue ever uttered in a Hellraiser movie (and think of the ground that covers) that I girded my loins for the ever-elusive two-footer in a franchise of pure shit. Says one of them about the deceased…

“I don’t even think he has a dad. I bet he was making it all up.”

Yes. He didn’t have a father. He either appeared on Earth by spontaneous combustion, or he is in fact the second coming of Jesus. Wouldn’t that suck if it were the case though? The long-awaited Savior appears and he gets bumped off at the beginning of the EIGHTH HELLRAISER MOVIE? They’d have to rewrite all the sermons. And somehow, “He cameoed in shitty movies for our sins” doesn’t have all that great a ring to it.

Anyway, two years later, this same group of walking stereotypes is playing the Cenobite MMORPG, when they get invited to a Hellworld Party, which is a night of debauchery held at an old and supposedly haunted rural mansion. The party is hosted by the appropriately named “The Host,” who is played by a rapidly decomposing Lance Henriksen.

While they’re there a-dancin’ and a-screwin’, Pinhead starts bumping them off Freddy Krueger style. It is now a dumbass slasher movie. It is at this point I realize that I have developed somewhat of a standard of quality for the Hellraiser movies, sad as that fact may be. I just wanted to see something that was done seven other times, and I found in this film something everyone and their mom did fifty-thousand times.

And I honestly wouldn’t have minded a slasher movie. Seriously. Slasher movies are fun, and Hellraiser movies… umm… aren’t. But this is a TERRIBLE slasher movie. Worse yet, it’s one of those God-awful slasher movies that KNOW they’re slasher movies, constantly winking to the audience and referring to itself. There comes a point near the end when one of the characters tries to spot the cliché coming, and another point where there’s a gratuitous topless scene, and one of the characters ACTUALLY SAYS it’s a gratuitous topless scene.

Some filmmakers (and yes, Adam Green and Hatchet, it just so happens I AM looking at you) like to think that this is a friendly nod to the horror audience. They LIKE little asides to reward them for supporting the genre and especially for supporting this particular franchise.

Maybe. But do you what horror audiences like even MORE than that?


At this point, some may be wondering about the acting. But I don’t want to go into it, and trust me, neither do the actors.

I honestly can’t tell you how bad this movie is. Imagine a day in Los Angeles: It’s hot and it smells, like what would happen if someone pissed on sauna coals. Everything that was interesting was torn down a long time ago, and bloodless greed sprang up in its place. Everything from the hooters to the sense of dignity and selflessness is as fake as a three dollar bill. THAT is Hellraiser: Hellworld.

But, fortunately, it is my last day in Los Angeles. After eight of these fucking things, I am done. No more will Clive Barker’s douchebaggery darken my door.

Until the remake comes out.

And… I have to see it. Well, I saw the other eight, so I can’t NOT see it! Much like a Hellraiser movie, The Hellraiser Project appears to be over, only to usher in the TWILIGHT ZONE ending, and I have to start all over again from scratch.

Which brings me to my dark and ulterior motive for signing on for this to begin with. In a good world, in a just world, this should have ended on that cold February day in 1996, with Hellraiser: Bloodline. It didn’t. It mutated and filled our video stores until the time was right for resurrection.

And I have you to thank for this. Generation Y. The Internet kids. Thanks to this wonderful little box you’re reading this on, all your toys are still in good shape and all the stuff you had when you were a kid, like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Transformers, will never die. It will keep coming back through sequels and remakes, again and again, because you demand it. Because you fear adulthood and the ever-advancing spectre of your own mortality.

Well, to quote one of my favorite fictional characters, “What is a sacrifice to you is merely to me an oscillation. I do not fear the interval of darkness.” I am an adult. I have worked hard to BECOME an adult. I want to see new and exciting things. But I am a critic, and being a critic, I have to sit through my fair share of garbage. I have no qualms with that. But I demand at least a DIFFERENT kind of garbage. Not a rehash of something they have failed to get right EIGHT TIMES.

So to those of you who willingly passed up something of quality to pay tribute to your corporate masters. To all of you who keep buying the Happy Meal in your twenties, thirties, and beyond. To you happy folks who made eight Hellraiser movies possibly, I say sincerely from the bottom of my heart…

Go fuck yourself.

Final Score…



  • I’m glad you mentioned the Hellraiser remake, because I think you definitely need to revisit The Hellraiser Project to write about the remake.

    Even though you hated every single movie, I’m pleased that you were able to do this series for us (and Fatally Yours). It was interesting to read your viewpoint on the franchise. You are a very brave man.

  • And by brave, Empress Eve means insane. ;)

    Loved every one of your reviews, making them the complete opposite of the very movies you reviewed!

  • Pingback: Movies and Film Blog()

  • Jerry

    I would say this is the most adult thing I have read about this franchise.
    Great work. Let’s put the recycled past behind us and move on.

  • I loved these entertaining reviews. Though I liked the first two movies (the second much more than the first), Inferno (well, if it wasn’t a Hellraiser movie and stood alone), and Bloodline for pure fun factor (and the sexy Angelique). I stopped at the fifth one… *shivers* I haven’t been brave enough to try anything past that one.

    Looking forward to the remake!

  • Spewak

    Bravo! Well done. This review gathered all the Hellraiser crap and put it in one bag.

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