Archive for the 'Horror movies' Category

Jun

Clive Barker was moved to tweet upon seeing ad copy that promoted “Hellraiser: Revelations” as being “from the mind of Clive Barker.”It reads in part: “If they claim it’s from the mind of Clive Barker, it’s a lie. It’s not even from my butt-hole.” Mic drop.

The previous several films all pretty much bedazzled some very not-Hellraiser horror movies with the hooks, chains, and nails of the Hellraiser franchise, shot a few scenes with the Cenobites, and called it Hellraiser, as I have harped endlessly, I know. But with “Revelations,” the Weinstein Company suddenly realized that their Hellraiser rights were going to expire, oh noes, and so they had to jiffy up a film tout de suite to retain the legal, if not moral, rights to milk the Hellraiser franchise to the last drop. So they started scrambling a film together with basically no time and no budget, a slapdash approach that cost them Doug Bradley’s involvement, and Doug had come along for all of the previous movies, all those previous godawful movies, including “Hellworld,” where they gave all the good lines to Lance Henriksen, so that’s kinda saying something.

The twist though is that this ashcan flick they slapped together – possibly because they didn’t have time to do much more than riff on the original – ended up being more faithful to the franchise than any sequel had been since “Bloodline.” More Hellraiser: First Draft than “Hellraiser: Revelations,” true, but while it may have not been from Clive Barker’s b-hole, it still kind of looked like his crap.

The film starts out as found footage, which is admittedly a smart choice when you have neither script nor money. We’re following two college-aged idiots, Nico and Steven, to “Tee-wana” as they enthusiastically repeat over many shots of tequila. Cut. And then we see, sort of, through Steven’s shakycam footage, Nico opening the box.
Cut to a furniture showroom, maybe a producer’s house. Very well decorated. I took some decorating notes for my next trip to Pier One. Nico and Steven’s families have gathered for dinner. The boys, we soon understand, are missing. Some of their stuff made it back to their parents, including the video camera, but only Steven’s mom has watched the footage, and she sneaks off and watches it a lot. Daughter Emma, who in addition to being Steven’s sister is Nico’s girlfriend, go go gadget economical script, justifiably calls her mom out on the weirdness and demands to know what they’re going to do about the boys’ disappearance. It all leads to a fairly uncomfortable first course with an outburst from Mom for afters.
Later, Emma sneaks off and watches the sacred footage herself. In it, she learns that Nico and Steven got up to some untranslated sexytimes with a Mexican prostitute, culminating in Nico having sex with, then murdering the lady in a bathroom stall. Well, that’s one revelation, I guess. Nico was a psychopath.

What fortuitous timing then that Steven shows up at the house that very night, looking haunted and wan – although he does have all of his skin, and that’s surprising in the Hellraiser universe. Naturally, the families are shocked, but less than they will be when Steven seduces his sister and takes the family hostage at gunpoint. There’s one more big revelation left, of course, and it plays out as Steven forces Emma to solve the puzzle box.

I mentioned in the Hellworld review how Miguel from Horrible Imaginings and I were watching all of these hours of Hellraiser sequels together for our Scarlet Gospels podcast, and at first, we were really amazed that it was authentic Hellraiser. Box, check. Chains, check. Pinhead – well, a head with nails in it anyway, check. Cenobites being invoked by witless, morally desolate hedonist? Checkity-check. But it wasn’t long before we realized that we were giving it too much credit, as though we had been drinking warm Coors Light all day and then someone gave us a cold PBR. (No offense to fans of PBR. I know you exist, and you are stalwart souls.) But the original Hellraiser was more like a Stella Artois.

…Or maybe I just need a drink.

One thing this sequel needed was a proper Pinhead. The proper Pinhead. And a budget. And a few more drafts. But the skeleton of it…You know, for all its faults, I still honestly think “Hellraiser: Deader” was worse.

roadside attractions

  • Mercifully little found footage
  • Chainings
  • Skinnings
  • Shotgunnings
  • A little Luke and Leia action
  • Idiots Gone Wild
totals

7

blood

BLOOD

Chains, blood, skinless guys. This is more like it.

2

blood

BREASTS


Yeah, they snuck a couple breasts in there.

1

beast

BEASTS I am giving it one point for the non-Pinhead Cenobites.

3 OVERALL Not worth watching, but it might have been if they had committed to making it for real.
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Watch the trailer to “Hellraiser: Revelations”

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Jun

I binge-watched all of the Hellraiser sequels from “Inferno” on with horror maven/podcast partner Miguel Rodriguez from Horrible Imaginings in preparation for our big celebratory Scarlet Gospels podcast. By the time we got to “Hellworld,” we were bored with the shallow moralizing and inertia of “Hellseeker” and “Deader,” and our bar for the franchise had gotten too low to limbo under. The promise of Lance Henriksen in a cast is always a reason to fist pump though, and we dared hope. The director is still Rick Bota, just like on “Hellseeker” and “Deader,” but “Hellworld” got a much brighter, bloodier, boobier visual aesthetic, reflecting his work on films like the “House on Haunted Hill” remake. The whole thing just looks more fun, and it better, because this one is 95% party.
The movie starts out ominously enough; a bare-chested, blood-streaked guy digging, probably a grave, appropriately chilling choral music, and then some murmured exposition among your standard slasher movie set of thirty-something teenagers at a closed casket funeral. Actually, I don’t know that they’re supposed to be teenagers. You just assume that because they seem to be living at home and paired off for snuggling and play video games a lot, but maybe they all were English majors and work at the same restaurant.

The funeral is for their common friend Adam, and the picture by the casket is of the guy we saw digging before someone turned the Chant album on. We learn through the furtive whispers of his buddies that Adam killed himself, apparently because he got too into a game they all enjoy playing called Hellworld. Hellworld is clearly based off the Hellraiser franchise, so we’re in deep meta waters here, kids.

Anyway, his friends blame themselves, to varying degrees, that they didn’t see Adam’s self-slaughter coming. They also note how he has no family at his own funeral, which seems like it might be as much a contributing factor to suicide as anything powered by a 386 Pentium chip.

Speaking of Pentiums, as an authentic gamer and nerd from back when those things meant you were lonely and pathetic AND WE LIKED IT THAT WAY, the days before cute Doctors Who, when anime was called Japanimation and you could only find one half of a shelf of it in your most specialty video store, and when all comic book movies sucked direct to video, I need to call this movie out. I can deal with gorgeous teens who don’t wear braces or break out; that’s common cultural currency. And yeah, the term geek in just the last ten years has gone from something that left deep psychological welts to an effective branding tool, but these people are Abercrombie models. I can smell the guys’ Cool Water through the Netflix stream. And it makes me wonder, since the people who make movies, especially horror movies, are usually a little nerdy, why the nerds of this film are so Bayside High? Was it some sort of ironic commentary? Is it possible none of the creatives on “Hellworld” knew what a gamer was?
None of it matters, of course. “Hellraiser: Hellworld” is just looking for a way to get cute actors into gory set pieces, and the gaming and Hellraiser aspects are as incidental to how this happens as actual intake procedures at a female prison are to a porn setup.

OK, so now that I’ve done my gatekeeping, let’s get to the movie. After the funeral, the kids or whatever they are all wind up playing Hellworld again, although you don’t see much gameplay beyond opening a virtual version of the box. And one by one they win invitations to a big Hellworld party. More of a frat party than a LAN party, as it turns out. There’s some hemming and hawing about going from Chelsea, and this makes her instantly recognizable as our Final Girl. She also wears leather pants and is blonde, so you can think of her as a Buffy proxy. Jake, the shoegazey one, is also reluctant, blaming himself and the others extra hard for Adam’s death, but he ends up coming, too. There is also a Fairuza Balk-y one, the as-yet unknown Henry Cavill one, and a token person of color one. Try not to get attached.

The Scoobies arrive at the party, and it’s fully House on Horny Hill, with raucous metal banging, full frontal boobs, a dance floor crowded with plain white masks doing the Monster Mash, and Lance Henriksen parting the nubile crowd with a cryptic smile.

Our host – and that’s all the name you get from him, the Host — Lance is playfully sinister as he tours the kids through the house. First he shows them tons of Hellraiser memorabilia and talks about the history of the house, originally a convent turned asylum built by Phillipe Lemerchand. The kids occasionally insist that Hellraiser is just fiction, but Lance soldiers on with the unwavering confidence of a Creationist or an ancient aliens theorist, a sly smile suggesting that he’s read further in the script than they have. He looks like he’s having fun, and I hope he was, because he’s the only decent actor in this thing and I don’t think we could tell if he were screaming on the inside. I found this part of the movie quite pleasant, but I always enjoy the setting up the dominos part of slasher movies.

At the end of the tour, Lance presents each of the Scoobies with plain white masks with numbers on the forehead and a Nokia. The numbers on the masks correspond to the number to dial on the cell phones, the better to anonymously hook up with you, my dear. He excuses himself with a twinkle in his eye. (Don’t go, Lance! Take me with you!)

With Lance sadly gone, time to watch these idiots get perished. Each of our Scoobies obligingly wanders off to get isolated and culled according to formula. It will surprise no one when Lance shows up for these murders, but Pinhead does, too, and this was the point when Miguel and I started throwing popcorn at the screen, because Pinhead would not waste a victim on simple executions the way we see here. Of course, since this is a post-Scream slasher flick, there’s a twist.

Twist or not, nothing makes much sense once body parts start flying, but it doesn’t matter. Just go with it and watch the meta crap and don’t hope for anything else. In the beginning, it seems like the movie might be doing something clever and consciously referencing the Hellraiser series in a way that is particularized and special, but it’s not. It’s just a big, dumb, sloppy slasher flick, and it should be better, but it could be worse. Oh, look, there’s Lance. Man, Lance is awesome. So cool.

roadside attractions

  • Lance [bleep] Henriksen
  • Saturated colors and saturated co-eds
  • Hellraiser Simulation
  • The call was coming from inside the house!
  • Premature burials
  • No actual gamers were harmed in the making of this film
totals

7

blood

BLOOD

Respectable bloodletting, more on the order of Final Destination than Hellraiser, but acceptable.

7

blood

BREASTS


Actual dialogue: “Gratuitous tit shot.” “Necessary tit shot.”

2

beast

BEASTS Contract-stipulated Cenobites notwithstanding, more party animals than beasts

5 OVERALL It makes complete hash of all continuity and the ethos of the Cenobites, but you could do worse than a dumb meta slasher flick starring Lance Henriksen, and the Hellraiser series has, a lot.
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Watch the trailer to “Hellraiser: Hellworld”

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Jun

“Hellraiser: Deader” tasks me. I know I said that the last two movies were slush pile escapees with Cenobite architecture grafted on, but really nothing to do with Hellraiser or even the spirit of Hellraiser. At least “Inferno” had the core of a decent horror movie and “Hellseeker” had fodder for my Kirsty/Pinhead fanfic, but this? “Deader” offers us Kari Wuhrer in pigtails in Romania, a few ooky effects, but not much else. “Hellseeker” director Rick Bota is back, so look for pretty shots signifying nothing.

We meet Kari’s character, Amy Klein, belly baring and passed out in a fairly livable looking crack den. There are lots of passed out addicts all around her, but they aren’t violent and all still have their teeth, so it can’t be that bad. Amy wakes up, apparently not a crack fiend but an amazing simulation, and stealthily begins snapping pictures of the blasé druggies with her giant stealth camera. A short time later, she checks out, refusing drugs from a guy one must assume is a very generous young addict. “I got what I came for,” snarls Amy Klein – everyone always says her whole name whenever they address her, like John Wick or a Pimp Named Slickback — cigarette dangling dangerously from her dangerous lips.

We follow dangerous maverick Amy Klein to the magazine where she works, London Underground. Amy Klein goes to her boss, they exposit a little bit about how maverick she is, and then he tells her he has a video to show her. And he does, an actual VHS, and the shocks don’t stop there. It’s a snuff film, or seems to be, until the person who commits suicide in the video suddenly comes back to life.

Amy Klein’s boss wants her to go to Romania to do a story on this super underground cult called Deaders, who have a way of killing themselves and living to make home movies about it. Amy Klein obliges, following the trail of the mysterious videotape to some despoiled and creepy apartments run by a Romanian version of Carl from Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Bribing her way inside, she finds a Deader-eyed body clutching the Hellraiser box along with an enticing padded envelope. Amy Klein puts both into her inventory.

At her hotel, Amy Klein smokes and thinks and smokes and empties out the envelope and then smokes and opens the box. Her head is seized with some pretty fat chains before she sees Pinhead telling her, “Don’t think for a moment that you are not in danger.” Then she’s back in her hotel, apparently not in any danger.

Amy Klein follows the Deader trail to a party train full of so much nudity. Here we see “Deader” pioneer territory perfected by “Game of Thrones” in having naked people groping each other in the background of long dialogue scenes heavy with exposition. This dialogue scene is between Amy Klein and Joey, Joey himself dressed like someone’s idea of ultraviolence and well acquainted with the Deaders. He warns Amy Klein of her own self-destructive tendencies, although honestly, what’s he even talking about? He hasn’t even seen her so much as chainsmoke.

Up to this point, the movie has been plodding, but it hasn’t been terrible. Let me tell you where the movie really ups the suckage. Amy Klein learns that the guy behind the Deader cult is Winter Lemarchand, the great-great-great-etc relative of the box’s architect, Phillipe Lemarchand, who you may remember from such films as “Hellraiser: Bloodline.” Winter is killing and resurrecting his cultists in order to produce one chosen one that can open the box his ancestor made, so Winter can then go and be Boss of the Cenobites. Winter can’t open the box himself, and he believes it’s going to take killing and resurrecting a truly self-destructive, vulnerable individual to get it done. And this is why this movie kills brain cells. You both have to know about (maybe even care about) “Hellraiser: Bloodline” and simultaneously completely forget “Hellraiser: Bloodline” for that to make any sense. And what’s with the chosen one stuff? Hell, Dr. Channard had an entire ward opening boxes in Hellbound.

I’m not going to take you any further on Amy Klein’s journey. Suffice it to say, she’s dangerous and self-destructive, but also smart and the kind of girl Pinhead prefers to talk to rather than flay outright.

Like “Inferno,” soldering on Hellraiser bits – and in this case installing a major foundational element in Winter’s nonsensical motivation — muddies and weakens the underlying horror movie. And bless her heart, Kari Wuhrer really tries in this film. She screams until I feel hoarse, and her boobs are probably the sole reason to watch any of it. I don’t know if “Deader” on its own could have risen above forgettable, but I know for sure that “Hellraiser: Deader” would be doing well to be forgotten.

roadside attractions

  • None, keep driving
  • OK, fine
  • Kari Wuhrer’s pigtails?
  • Um, really, nothing
  • I guess half naked Amy Klein wrenching a knife out of her back by trapping it in a cabinet door was kind of cool.
  • OK, also half naked Amy Klein
  • Around minute 54, but she screams a lot and it’s annoying, so turn the sound down
  • Butchered idea based on an idea not at all to do with an idea by Clive Barker
totals

3

blood

BLOOD

An effort is made, but nothing you wouldn’t expect at your local haunted house attraction that’s trying to get on a Travel Channel special.

8

blood

BREASTS


Yes, full frontal everything, everything, including boobs. There is also tasteful Kari uncoverage.

2

beast

BEASTS Beasts, what beasts? We got some inert zombies and British guys. The same dull Cenobite retreads from Hellseeker are back for five minutes.

2 OVERALL Deader is deadest. Miss it.
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Watch the trailer to “Hellraiser: Deader”

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Jun

posted by sikkdays | June 1, 2015 | B-movie Reviews, B-movies, Comedy, Horror movies, Review by Sikkdays, Zombies

mono a mono

Exiled in Canada, it seems mandatory that I watch and review Zombeavers. The beaver is “a symbol of the sovereignty of Canada.” Why? Canada was colonized because Europeans wanted those beaver pelts for their fashionable hats. “Sorry we almost hunted you to extinction, eh. To make it up to you, we’ll put you on stationary.” Plus, snow is boring and depressing to make your national symbol. Anyway, I don’t think my Canadian neighbors can pass judgement on this film, but I can. Zombeavers chewed their way into my heart because the film used practical effects and not awful CGI.

The trailer below adheres to the popular SyFy ridiculous concept/title formula but the movie is executed far better than those featured on that network. There’s few plot surprises, nuclear waste + beavers versus college guys + boobs staying at the token family cabin. We establish the beaver den on the lake, the girls show skin and we meet creepy neighbors. Oh, and we must not forget to mention it is a cabin in the woods, so shucks there’s no cellphone signal. As far as cast we have the smart one, the disarming one, the outgoing partier and the generic bros.
Boo CGI! At the moment, this film has just shown up on Netflix. For how long? Only Netflix knows, but if you’re looking for a ridiculous b-movie to give you a laugh I would recommend it. Well, I say watch it if you’ve exhausted all the other options on Netflix. This is not something you choose over X-Files binge watching or any movie in the Imaginative movies featuring spoiled fruit category. However, if you’ve streamed it all and your stuck with watching Terrance Malick films, White Chicks or Zombeavers, you know what to do.

In case you take my advice, I’ve decided not to drop any spoilers for once. There’s a couple reasons I think you’ll enjoy the film, though most of them would be spoily. Zombeavers starts with Jon Mayer and comedian Bill Burr as the irresponsible nuclear waste truck drivers. A simple scene that could have been 45 seconds of an accidental spill, is instead an absurd bit of dialogue filled with non sequiturs that was likely improved. Fans of Jon Mayer will be delighted to see his fake mustache, while haters can draw comfort from the fact that he’s playing himself, a musician and personality coating the world with his nuclear sludge. I was also somewhat surprised by the character(s) that make it to the finish line and the makeup was great.

b-movie male lead?Had this film been my magnum opus, I would have added more Theodore Cleaver. It’s a zombie film, so my vision is that anyone who is unfortunate not to die by the tail of the beavers would be turned into Jerry Mathers, “as the Beaver.” I’d also set the film in Canada. Not because I am biased, but because I think it would add more tension. In the past, beavers were nearly hunted to extinction. In the future, it is man who is dammed!

roadside attractions

  • all kinds of tail
  • no Jon Mayer songs
  • award winning growling
  • botched beaver circumcision
  • dick pics
  • doggie life jacket
  • death by beaver cut tree
  • beaver candygram
  • land line? really?
totals

5

blood

BLOOD

There wasn’t enough, so they substituted CGI blood. Boo.

5

blood

BREASTS
No cellphone signal? Zoe will walk around topless in protest.

6

beast

BEASTS

So hilariously bad they’re good.

5 OVERALL
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May

I was excited, dammit, when I saw Ashley Laurence had been hauled onboard for “Hellraiser: Hellseeker.” Maybe hauled onboard isn’t the right analogy. Maybe it’s more like she was lured into the back of the craft services van and chloroformed or she walked across a pit covered with copies of a totally different script.

Laurence matters because she played Kirsty Cotton, the heroine of the first two films and for my quatloos probably the best Final Girl of the 1980s. After the meandering noir fable of “Hellraiser: Inferno,” roots needed returning to, and Laurence’s Kirsty never failed to kick ass. Plus, Kirsty still had a story to tell. Unlike many a horror franchise heroine, she skipped the traditional perfunctory offing in the opening of the first sequel she wasn’t heroine-ing. So after literally wearing the skin of her wicked stepmother and witnessing the ultimate answer to man’s search for meaning is a grey maze filled with kinky zombies, how did her hellbound heart go on? I mean…did she take a year off and backpack Europe? I want to know.

More crucial, unfortunately, than Kirsty’s involvement is the helming of this film by Rick Bota, who also directs the next two entries in the franchise. If I ever get access to time travel technology, I’m going back to 2002 and hunting down every person in the phone book named Rick Bota. To be fair, Bota is a deft cinematographer, and I have the feeling these movies were requisitioned by the studio with about as much vision, passion, and resources as you put into ordering a Subway sandwich. “Hey, Rick, here’s a director credit and a script from the slush pile. Go make a Hellraiser so we don’t lose the copyright. On Hearty Italian.”

So all that said, “Hellseeker” sucks.

While I’m feeling food metaphors, let me start with the three-cheese soundtrack. Gone is the fantastic choral score of the first few films, replaced with some wailing-on-a-Stratocaster Winger audition that you could plunk at the start of a light Skinimax offering, maybe something on the USA Up All Night docket. Unacceptable. Save your bargain brand Dokken for Freddy. We need some majesty and dignity up in this joint. You’re not playing Pinhead on with that crap.
It is true that Clive Barker originally wanted metal for the score of the first “Hellraiser.” But Clive wanted metal for the score. This soundtrack is to metal as Screech is to Bill Nye.

Ah, but I’ve not touched the story. Let me get my asbestos gloves.

The movie opens with Kirsty and her husband Trevor riding in a car, laughing, playing, loving each other conspicuously, like people do in commercials for antidepressants and boner pills.

The dialogue neatly informs us they are reconciling from something and embarking on a new start. Then they start kissing and Trevor smooches them right across the center line. Honk, honk, Trevor swerves to avoid a face full of Honda and loses control of his car. The compact goes full Duke Boys rampant, plunging them into a lake, albeit absent Waylon Jennings narration.

Trevor manages to worm out of the car, but the door gets stuck and he can’t save Kirsty. Police divers find no sign of her body, and her seatbelt was undone. Trevor hasn’t even left the scene before he finds himself the target of oblique insinuations from a homicide detective, who by the way is clearly the love child of Lieutenant Columbo and Sergeant Murtaugh.

Besides the police detective who seems to have skipped ahead to the end of the script, Trevor has two other big problems. One: he came out of the accident with a head injury, and so he has trouble remembering anything. Also, his days weave in and out of fugue states and delusions, which are great when you want to mess with the audience without committing to anything happening. I will give Bota and company full credit for some nice Pinhead foreshadowing in a brain surgery scene though.

Trevor’s other big problem is that he sweats Sex Panther cologne. This guy’s BVDs are getting their elastic challenged by every woman in the movie. Who knew being a widower was such a turn-on? You could probably change the music and make this into a sex farce. Just splice in Rob Schneider as a wacky neighbor instead of Pinhead and boom, you’re good. In fact, just keep the music.

Eventually we find out that Trevor was unfaithful with lots of women during the marriage, and so the women aren’t exactly coming out of nowhere. We are also shown that Kirsty found out about the affairs, but more interestingly, that Trevor obtained a Hellraiser box and made Kirsty open it. We don’t get to find out the result of that delightful gag gift until the curtain falls, but you will have figured it out long before then. Suffice it to say, that long drive off a short pier we started with was less straightforward than we originally witnessed.

“Hellseeker” is not terrible, but I’d be straining to call it even okay. I’d rather watch an honestly terrible movie than this thing. Give me all the Zombeavers and Thankskillings you have.

They’ve taken one of the most explicit and daring titles in horror, and they’ve expurgated it until you get something that could play with minimal cuts on Lifetime, at least until the last 15 minutes. It is full of groping and murder, but it is still terribly boring, except when Pinhead is on the screen, but then you probably just feel sad. No Cenobite innovations, barely any Cenobite presence, and you don’t even have the disturbing murders that gave “Inferno” its genuine oog-out moments. And like “Inferno,” the story revolves around getting gutted for hidden sin, metaphorically and literally, which departs significantly from the original BDSM ethos of the Cenobites. They were never here to punish you or reward you; they’re here to play. Because you asked.

There’s nothing to play with here though. Just a dull as dishwater psychological horror title that tacks on some by-the-numbers Hellraiser motifs here and there and calls it a day. This should not have counted toward keeping the copyright.
I have serious issues with the ending, too, honestly, but I’m not going to think too hard about it because it’s a better deal for Kirsty, and she’s the only one I can muster much feeling for in this, what with her 10 minutes of screentime.

roadside attractions

  • The Short Happy Life of Kirsty Cotton
  • Will Someone Turn Off That Guy’s Amp?
  • Pinhead and Kirsty, still Angela’s OTP
  • Wardrobe by Victoria’s Secret
totals

2

blood

BLOOD

Most of it is in that screenshot I have above of the brain surgery.

0

blood

BREASTS


Not even a nip slip.

2

beast

BEASTS Generic retread Cenobites and superficial Pinhead. It won’t do.

2 OVERALL It gets one point for Kirsty, one point for Pinhead, and there are no other points worth spooling this up in your Netflix queue for. Give it a miss.
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Watch the trailer to “Hellraiser: Hellseeker”

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