When the Weinstein Company (through Dimension films) seemed to cancel their planned theatrical reboot of the Hellraiser franchise in favor of a new installment going direct to DVD, I wondered as to their motives. Common wisdom suggested that it was a reaction to the poor reception that recent horror franchise remakes like Friday The 13th and A Nightmare On Elm Street received that cause producers to pull the plug on relaunching the series. But it turns out that the reasoning may have been far more insidious.
Bloody Disgusting is reporting that producers are looking “to make the franchise fitted for ‘teens’,” an idea that sounds pretty foolish for those who are familiar with the material. Clive Barker’s original film, based on one of his own short stories, had a strong theme of sadomasochism to it, which has become one of the hallmarks of the franchise. I find it hard to believe that it could be watered down to something that the folks at the MPAA would consider appropriate for teenage audiences. Whatever the result would be would certainly not be in the same spirit as the original and will no doubt alienate the franchise’s long-time fans.
Of course, I can understand why a studio would want to make a movie that would be accessible to the broadest spectrum of ticket buyers as possible, but doing so at the expense of one the core tenants of what made the franchise popular to begin with seems counterproductive to the stated goal of relaunching said franchise.
Director Christian E. Christiansen, who previously circled the project a few years back, is once again being considered for the job, presumably if he can show that he can deliver this watered down version that they’re looking for. Actress Amber Heard being considered for a lead role.