While plenty is written about the classic Hellraiser from Clive Barker, less is known about the sequels following Hellbound. This is about to change with author Danny Stewart’s War Is Hell – The Making of Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth.
Tell us about your history with Hellraiser 3?
After two classic horror films in the franchise, most of the creative parties involved were eager to get a third film off the ground. Clive Barker’s initial concept to focus more on Julia but actress Clare Higgins’ refused to return. I was always stunned by that image of Pinhead growing up and had a mask of Pinhead and would collect Fangoria and collectibles. I wanted to know more about the franchise and saw the films all in order. I remember when i first watched Clive Barkers Hellraiser when i was 11 and I was thinking why Pinhead in it isn’t much i was so drawn to the character and continued watching the films and remembering reading the Hellbound Heart in school i went to a catholic secondary school my teacher wasn’t too happy when i read it aloud in class.
This feels like quite a marmite sequel, what makes it so appealing for you?
To me it’s the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. In Hellraiser III Elliot Spencer has been separated from Pinhead and must attempt with Joey Summerskill to halt the cenobites leaders plans for world domination. Screenwriter Peter Atkins and Director Anthony Hickox they explore an interesting subject that War is Hell and in no way does the film glorify the horrors of war. Pinhead is not a hero he is the ultimate evil. Pinhead has entered the pantheon of classic movie monsters.
It feels very tonally different than Hellraiser and Hellbound, what is your favourite sequence from Hell on Earth?
I have many favourite sequences, but for me it’s the pillar of soul scenes with Pinhead , JP Munroe , and Terri. Very intimate scenes and well performed.
Given the popularity of Freddy Krueger, do you think there was pressure to make Pinhead more chatty?
Pinhead never follows our dear departed Freddy Kreuger into the dim realms of self-parody, He is scarier because of his articulation and intelligence. He is also able to invade dreams and see your wants and desires. Be it pain or pleasure or a bit of both. Thanks to the script by Peter Atkins the film retains the Clive Barker mythos.
What do you make of Doug Bradley’s performance compared to the other 2 films?
The most intense performance from Doug Bradley as the Dark pope of Hell and, he gets to show the other side of the coin with the British army officer Elliot Spencer who is also a somewhat tragic character.
What do you make of the new cenobite designs?
Even though they get a lot of criticism among fans. Pinhead addresses it in the film they are handmade. They fit into the 90s aesthetic. Continuing the rules of the cenobites as is your desire, so is your damnation. Its reminiscent of the Japanese cyberpunk body horror film Tetsuo: The Iron Man.
Tell us about your writing process, is it a mix of research and interviews?
Yes, a mix of research , Interviews , and analysis.
Can you name some of the names interviewed so far?
Doug Bradley , Anthony Hickox, Peter Atkins, Richard Clabaugh, Gerry Lively, Terry Farrell, Kevin Bernhardt, Paula Marshall, Ken Carpenter, Eric Willhelm, Kevin Helms, Veronica Royer Wood, Pauline White Kassulke, Shanna Jacobs, Steve Hardie, Tim Eckel, Phil Smoot, George Reasner, Paul Jones, Gary Tunnicliffe, Martin L. Mercer, Martin Astles , Gary Bunn, Jeff Swan, Steve Wright, Diane Wright, Joan Collins, James D.R. Hickox, Christopher Cibelli, John Floyd, David Dilberto, Lisa Napoli, and Lisa Conklin.
What sort of release date are you aiming for?
September time aiming for the 29th Anniversary
You also have books on Soldier and The Mask in the works, how are you juggling the projects?
It’s been quite an undertaking, but have been enjoying and progressing with the projects, still much work to do on those books.
What do you make of the HBO series of Hellraiser involving David Gordon Green and the announced reboot?
I am intrigued to see where it goes. As HBO produce quality and wish them the best with the series.
War is Hell – The Making of Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth will be released soon by Bear Manor Media.