“We have such sights to show you.” That promise may come from the Cenobite priest known as Pinhead, who clearly knows a thing or two about pain, but we cannot help but follow. We want to see those sights, as presented by author and director Clive Barker in 1987’s Hellraiser and its many sequels. By the time Hellraiser: Revelations and Hellraiser: Judgment were released, the pleasure had largely given way to pain, and yet we still watched.
So it’s good news to hear that Hellraiser is being rebooted and reimagined, this time with The Night House and The Ritual director David Bruckner at the helm and Batman Begins co-writer David S. Goyer producing and co-writing the script. The movie isn’t showing in theaters, but it doesn’t take a puzzle box to figure out how to watch it. Here’s everything you need to know.
The Hellraiser films follow humans whose appetites for excess draw them to a puzzle box known as the Lament Configuration. The box can be solved by those who desire greater experiences in pain and pleasure, and its completion draws forth mutilated figures known as Cenobites, “explorers in the further regions of experience”, who serve a god known only as Leviathan. Leading the Cenobites is the Hell Priest, a regal figure played most often by Doug Bradley. Initially more of an alluring and haunting presence, the Hell Priest was quickly christened “Pinhead” and become more of a traditional slasher villain in each subsequent sequel.
Unlike recent legacy sequels such as David Gordon Green’s Halloween and this year’s Scream, Hellraiser is not a continuation of any of the ten previous films. Rather, it’s a new reimagining of the property, with no connection to any of the characters from those movies or Barker’s source novel, The Hellbound Heart. Odessa A’zion stars as Riley, a troubled young woman whose addictions put stress on her relationship with her brother Matt (Brandon Flynn) and his boyfriend Colin (Adam Faison). Things only grow worse when Riley comes into possession of a mysterious puzzle box, which inadvertently summons the Cenobites, led by the Hell Priest Pinhead (featuring Jamie Clayton in the iconic role).
Hellraiser may be produced by Spyglass Media, but it’s distributed by Walt Disney Pictures, which means that it’s coming straight to Hulu. Hellraiser will be available on Hulu on October 7 at around 12am ET, and will be included with the price of a standard subscription to the service. With the exception of 1987’s Hellraiser and Hellbound: Hellraiser II, the other eight movies in the franchise can currently be streamed on Hulu, but only for those who have an additional Cinemax add-on subscription.
To add to the confusion, a Hellraiser television series is currently in development, one that reportedly continues the story from the 2022 movie. However, that show will not be on Hulu either but will come to HBO Max, requiring a totally different subscription.
Is it tortuous to figure out all of these streaming services just to watch a horror movie? Yes. But if there’s one thing Hellraiser makes clear, it’s that sublime ecstasy cannot be separated from intense agony.
Hellraiser premiers on Hulu on October 7.