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The Hellraiser Films and Their Legacy
Paul Kane
McFarland & Company, 255 pages

The Hellraiser Films and Their Legacy
Paul Kane
Paul Kane was born in the town of Chesterfield, Derbyshire, in 1973. Upon leaving school, he attended a General Art and Design course at Chesterfield College. When he left university in 1996, he set himself up as a freelance writer, providing articles and reviews for various news-stand publications. Over the course of the last few years, Paul has had stories published in anthologies on both sides of the Atlantic. He is currently serving as Special Publications Editor of the British Fantasy Society. Paul works as a lecturer in Film & Media Studies, Creative Writing and Art & Design, and delivers wokshops about Horror writing.

Paul Kane Website
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Past Feature Reviews
A review by David Maddox

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"We have such sights to show you."
Chilling words from one of the most haunting, gruesome and enduring horror series ever filmed. Through the decades, there have been horror icons, from Bela Lugosi's Dracula up through Robert Englund's Freddy Krueger. But never have there been such grotesquely visceral yet strangely alluring creations as Clive Barker's Cenobites, their leader Pinhead and the denizens of the Hellraiser universe.

Paul Kane's The Hellraiser Films and their Legacy is more than just a book about the eight Hellraiser movies and their spin-offs. It is an in-depth collection of the history, production, detailed cast listings, psychological and social ramifications of the Children of Leviathan and how they relate to popular culture. The mythos has grown far beyond the original penned stories by Barker and achieved a life all its own.

Kane has definitely done his research and has the blessings of all involved with this tome. He begins with Clive Barker's The Hellbound Heart and how a simple movie deal produced Hellraiser, which cost a few million and grossed over $30 million worldwide becoming an instant success and the first in a seemingly never ending series of films.

Even though Barker directed the first feature, he had no interest in helming any of the ensuing sequels. However, in most cases, the studio and the directors involved went to Barker to get his blessing and insight into the future storylines. This gives the Hellraiser series a certain continuity and self-reference that other horror franchises lack, since Barker has kept the basic idea true to his original vision.

Over all, the book reads like a film school text book but is far more exciting. After a run down of the steps and struggles involved to get each film made, there are in-depth study of the characters, their choices and decisions, plus many possible interpretations. There are a variety of rare pictures included, although it does suffer from them all being black and white.

The history is interplayed with relevant pieces of trivia. For instance the character of Julia, by the end of Hellbound: Hellraiser II was supposed to evolve and become the Queen of Hell. However, at this point audiences had already decided who their favorite character was, the imposing and commanding Pinhead. This led to a few re-writes and re-shoots and the Lord of Pain became the forerunner from then on.

Quite a bit of the book is spent discussing actor Doug Bradley and his portrayal of the inscrutable Pinhead Cenobite. It is interesting to note that the main reason he has consistently performed the character in films is that, in his own words, he couldn't bear to let someone else play the part. In truth, this fact has led to Pinhead becoming one of the most recognizable and memorable characters of the series. He's not the killer himself, but rather the manipulator and Bradley's Shakespearean depiction sets him above other monsters.

The book takes some time to focus on off-shoots of the Hellraiser series, such as comics and a possible forthcoming television series. There is mention of No More Souls, a Hellraiser short in which Gary J. Tunnicliffe, make-up artists through most of the series, plays Pinhead in an alternate post-apocalyptic world. (He does make apology to Bradley for taking the role, it was only for budget reasons apparently.) There is even some speculation that, with the success of films like Freddy vs. Jason and Alien Vs. Predator, a potential Pinhead vs. Michael Myers project may be in the works.

Suffice to say The Hellraiser Films and their Legacy is the perfect compendium for any fan of the series. It will remind the reader why they find the movies so intriguing while giving new information and maybe even expanding on what was previously thought. Just like the inviting Lament Configuration puzzle box, open this one up and see what pleasures await.

Copyright © 2007 David Maddox

David Maddox
Science fiction enthusiast David Maddox has been many things, including Star Trek characters and the Riddler in a Batman stunt show. He holds a degree in Cinema from San Francisco State University, and has written several articles for various SF sites as well as the Star Wars Insider and the Star Trek Communicator. He spends his time working on screenplays and stories, acting on stage and screen and giving tours at Universal Studios Hollywood.


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