David S Goyer has made the rounds announcing that he is planning on writing and producing a new version of Hellraiser for the newly reborn Spyglass Media Group. The Hellraiser series has been dormant for several years now after having treading water in the dregs of direct to video hell. Having a guy like Goyer producing means that, at the very least, it will have a Hollywood vet behind the project.
That being said, there are not many people I would want on this project less than a guy like David Goyer. While the guy has been around for literally decades now, his creative output is…uneven…to say the least. He comes from a genre background, specifically the New Moon Pictures glory days of the early 90s. Since then he has kinda been the go to guy for making comic book movies that have are “gritty” and “dark”. However, this tends to translate to gritty by way of how nu-metal is edgy, loud, in your face, and completely ridiculous.
Goyer needs people around him to temper his sensibility or take some of his bad impulses and channel them to something watchable. The best example of this comes through his work on all three Blade movies. The first two movies were written by him but directed by guys who could take the material and do something visually inventive with it, especially Guillermo Del Toro for Blade 2. However, the movies did well enough that he was given the keys to then direct Blade Trinity which managed to kill the franchise outright. Unfiltered David Goyer translated into terrible jokes, a completely miscast Dracula, and vampire pomeranians. Blade Trinity almost managed to kill Ryan Reynolds movie career before Deadpool and wasted a ton of really great actors in a dull slog of a movie.
The guy’s career looks like a San Andreas seismograph with ridiculous highs and just godawful lows. For every Dark Knight you have Batman V Superman or Man of Steel. The guy has good story ideas but nothing that would indicate he has any sort of handle on Clive Barker. When you try to adapt Barker, you have to not be afraid of blending sex and viscera into an orgy of erotic violence. The original movie is literally about the limits of desire and where our fetishes can take us. The Cenobites are sadomasochist demons that give you pleasure till your your organs fall out. Barker was barely able to put all his ideas out there without getting an X rating cause of the extreme subject matter. The fact that is going to be the first thing coming from a major production studio means that everything that made Pinhead feel dangerous will most likely watered down. I can’t help but think about when Michael Bay created Platinum Dunes to remake The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Yeah it was gory and grim, but it was also glossy and had none of the punk rock quasi-documentary danger that the original had.
“Having the chance to reimagine Pinhead and the Cenobites for a new audience is a nightmare-come-true. Gary is a true fan as well and we’re committed to making something dark and visceral.” Goyer said with this announcement. To me, that translates into making something that will be gory enough to impress high school kids but won’t carry any of the haunting imagery that made the original so powerful. The only way this movie could impress me is if they pull a swerve and really make a remake of the Hellbound: Hellraiser II. I argue that Hellbound is actually a superior movie and could stand to be given an epic budget since it takes place in Hell. But that is simply wishful thinking I guess.
The only thing I can hope for is that I am wrong and they truly make something dangerous and not just a haunted house jump scare-a-thon.