David Bruckner was actively engaged in recreating Friday the 13th, first as a found footage picture and later as a more traditional ’80s revival, before making his solo directorial debut in 2017 with Netflix’s The Ritual. Bruckner eventually dropped out of the project though, choosing instead to go the independent way, first with the well-received Ritual before moving on to the highly praised Rebecca Hall movie, The Night House (2020). And now that his Hellraiser revival is almost ready for release, Bruckner is happy that he took a detour before helming the first instalment in the genre.
Bruckner had to stand out as the eleventh instalment in the series in a number of ways, most notably by casting Jamie Clayton as a female Pinhead/The Priest, the head of the franchise’s bad guys, the Cenobites. Doug Bradley created the legendary figure for the first time in Clive Barker’s original Hellraiser (1987), thus Bruckner knew he had to zig in order to avoid having Bradley reprise the eight prior variations. Additionally, the existence of female Cenobites was established in Barker’s original movie.
However, during the past seven years in particular, outrage culture has grown and turned into a cottage business for certain people who are often complaining about representation on television, especially in long-running franchises. Bruckner and his crew didn’t give a second thought to any potential noise in the case of Hellraiser.
As much as Bruckner would have preferred a theatrical release for his most recent horror film, Hulu’s record-breaking release of Dan Trachtenberg’s Prey actually gave him some comfort that his film could possibly find a sizable audience as well. Bruckner’s Hellraiser premieres on October 7th, exclusively on Hulu.
The groundbreaking novella “The Hellbound Heart,” which was first published in Clive Barker’s anthology Books of Blood, served as the inspiration for the original Hellraiser film, which was released in 1987. Hulu promised viewers a Books of Blood adaptation in 2020 that will stage a number of additional short stories from this renowned anthology, but the outcome was a badly received muddle. The horror anthology Books of Blood was a grave misfire as a Clive Barker adaptation. Hellraiser 2022 will ostensibly make up for this oversight by properly recreating Barker’s style in a way that its predecessor failed to do.