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Sadomasochists from Beyond the Grave

19 Oct

It’s been almost one year since I posted on this blog, though I have been writing on others, and continuing to write in general. However, in honor of it almost being Halloween, I thought I’d share some trivia from one of my favorite horror franchises, Hellraiser.

First the title of this post, Sadomasochists from Beyond the Grave, was the working title for the film before it was changed to Hellraiser. Speaking of names, the lead Cenobite is not actually named Pinhead – this was the name given to the character by the cast and crew, and it stuck, but the actual name of the character, as revealed in Clive Barker’s recent The Scarlet Gospels is Hell Priest. In addition, the Hell Priest’s human name, Elliott Spencer, is shared by both the real life spouse of comedian Stephen Fry and is also (spelled differently) a character from the TV show Leverage. No relation, of course!

The box in the movies is the Lament Configuration, also known as the Lemarchand Box. Lemarchand is an evil man who made his boxes (and other contraptions) out of human bone and fat under the direction of a Cenobite called the Baron according to Barker’s original novella, The Hellbound Heart, but he’s portrayed as nothing more than a pawn in the fourth film in the series, Hellraiser: Bloodlines. It’s this break from the established mythos that caused a lot of fans to dislike the fourth film. It also makes very little sense in the context of the other films, especially Hellraiser II: Hellbound, where many puzzle boxes are seen. If Lemarchand was merely a pawn who was killed soon after delivering the box, why are there more? Who made them, and why?

Speaking of bad continuations of the movies, the ninth film, Hellraiser: Revelations, was created not to really make any money but instead to simply hold onto film rights. It was shown in only one theater, and released on video. It’s the only Hellraiser movie without Douglas Bradley as the Hell Priest.

In terms of horror movie tropes, Kirsty from the first two movies is a perfect example of a “Final Girl”, the lone survivor that turns from victim to warrior by the end of the film. Tiffany, the puzzle solving young girl from the second movie, is also a “Final Girl”. Oddly, it’s clear that Tiffany was meant to be much younger than the actress chosen to play her, making Kirsty and Tiffany look like peers instead of Kirsty being much older and taking on the “motherly” role as intended.

Finally, as a little bit of trivia about the second film, there was a version that had a much larger role for Kirsty’s father. The movie hints at this, as Kirsty tries to find her father once she’s in the maze of hell, but instead runs into Frank. In the original script, she would have rescued her father and Tiffany, and they would have essentially been a family at the end, with the evil stepmother, Julia, becoming the new antagonist in a third sequel, but both the actor who played Kirsty’s father did not return and Julia’s actress did not want to make another sequel. In addition, “Pinhead” had become incredibly popular, and it was decided he would be the returning villain.

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