Hellraiser: Evolutions is a documentary looking at the evolution of the hit horror franchise, Hellraiser, and its enduring legacy, over the last 30 years. Featuring interviews with Scott Derrickson (director, Hellraiser: Inferno), Rick Bota (director, Hellraiser: Hellseeker), Stuart Gordon (director, Re-Animator, From Beyond) and Doug Bradley (Pinhead himself).
Sometimes it is just good to go back and find a short documentary on a long running franchise to fill a bit of time. For those who have read my stuff here you will remember that we went through almost every single one of the Hellraiser films (all but the remake/reboot), so when on a browse on the wonderful Arrow Player streaming service, Hellraiser: Evolutions popped up. So it would be a crime not to watch it right?
Hellraiser: Evolution takes us through the history of the Hellraiser franchise and due to the short run time it does speed through each chapter (rather than talk about each film separately. We go through subjects such as Pinhead and the Cenobites and the lament configuration etc. This is both a positive and a negative, on the negative side it would always be more preferential to allow the audience to have a very in depth look at how each film got made, ala Never Sleep Again. As mentioned in the reviews of the franchise, the timescale between release dates of Hellraiser: Deader (June 2005) and Hellraiser: Hellworld (September 2005) was less than 100 days. Getting into that part of the series would be fascinating.
We get great little looks at each section, though a feeling of missing out on something more, as if we are merely touching the surface of what we should be seeing. Though for 48 minutes it is paced very well, even if the direction of the entire documentary isn’t as strong as should be. It can be hard to edit down conversations to such a short time. So this is almost a shout out to Arrow. Go big for Hellraiser, it is a series that deserves it and with a TV show being lined up, maybe a very good time to do so!
Tellingly throughout the documentary, we spend a lot of the footage showing the first couple of Hellraisers (otherwise known as the only good ones). So as the talking heads talk about the grey within all of the characters in these films and how in comparison to other films. It is bold enough to talk about how everything has that shade deep within them no matter how hard they try to hide it.
For those wanting to learn more about the first three Hellraiser films then I seriously recommend getting the Arrow boxset as there is a plethora of featurettes there for you to enjoy. For those who are not overly aware of Hellraiser and by proxy Pinhead. Hellraiser: Evolutions is a wonderful entry level introduction, before you open that lament configuration into what was a wonderful start to a franchise.
Showing now on Arrow Player.
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