Horror: We’ve Got a Long Way To Go – Lesson #2 from Hellraiser 2022
Hollywood Really Doesn’t Care
By Paul Flewitt
Today is a great day. All over the internet, in horror circles and Clive Barker fan groups, there are excited fans offering their reviews and opinions on the new Hellraiser movie. It’s a lovely time they’re all having, and I’m envious as all hell. It shouldn’t be this way though.
You see, the excited people are only those lucky enough to live in the US. Yup, only one territory in the world is getting to see this movie on release. The rest of us are left to scroll by quickly, hoping to avoid spoilers for the next few weeks? Months? Years?
I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade or spoil the excitement, but I’m afraid I’m going to have to. There’s good reason for my ire, and it’s only redoubled this time around.
See, I write for this blog. I review books, and often give an opinion on happenings within the horror community. Gavin Kendall works damn hard to bring these reviews to you, and put a spotlight on writers who might otherwise struggle to get out there. So, when one of the most subversive writers in the genre has a new movie out, we want to cover it. Sadly, we can’t give the UK view this time. Who knows when we’ll be able to? That’s frustrating, and as a fan of Clive Barker, it’s bloody aggravating.
The problem is, this isn’t an isolated case. There are a number of Barker titles that are difficult to source over here. Look on the shelves of any mainstream store and you can find Hellraiser 1-3, maybe a handful of the lesser quality sequels … and that’s it. Search the streaming platforms and it’s a similar story. We can find Candyman, but many people here are unaware there’s actually two other instalments of the original franchise. Without looking, I couldn’t tell you if Judgement or Revelations are currently available to stream, though I doubt they are.
There was similar excitement around the release of Book of Blood, and Europe had this same situation. In that case, we had to wait almost a year before that movie became available on Disney+, and it appeared without fanfare. It’s a wonder anyone over here actually watched it.
A few years ago now, there was a campaign to get the Nightbreed Director’s Cut made. Occupy Midian was a real coalition of worldwide Barker fans, all coming together to achieve a common goal. They had to fight the studios, whose opinion was that there was no market to make it, and that the workprints no longer existed anyway. There were screenings of a rough cut of the so-called Cabal Cut, and those screenings were sold out worldwide. In the end, the studio relented and the Director’s Cut was made. It was released in the US alone, but outside territories didn’t get it until a couple of years later.
This is beginning to look a lot like sabotage. When I sit and think of the issues Barker-connected movie projects always have around releases, it seems like the head honchos really don’t want them to succeed. This new Hellraiser instalment has no cinema release, which isn’t surprising as studios experiment with the streaming model. The thing is, they are already limiting the numbers this movie can achieve. If it’s only available in the US, there’s a huge crowd of people all over the world who can’t see it. A possible successful release is immediately relegated to a modest one, at best. Hollywood bases its opinions on marketability and figures, and it is actively involved in skewing the numbers downward on Barker material, time and again.
The non-US fans are getting screwed over here, but it’s actually worse than that. Let’s consider that Clive Barker is one of the most influential British writers of his generation, that The Hellbound Heart is set in Britain, and we can’t watch a movie based on that work in Britain. It is, quite frankly, galling.
Adding to the frustration is the lack of any news regarding a release outside the US. I know Gavin has been speaking with Disney on this, and if you follow his tweets you’ll have seen the runaround he’s had. There have been a range of stories from Disney’s reps, saying it isn’t on their schedule, won’t be released until April 2023 at the earliest … that some didn’t even know there was a Hellraiser being released. Now, the movie’s director, David Bruckner, has tweeted that he’s hoping there will be news next week. The hope is that Paramount will pick it up, but there doesn’t seem to be any guarantees. Even then, how much longer will Europe have to avoid spoilers? It really isn’t good enough.
To the #Hellraiser fans outside the US, Spyglass and Paramount are working to firm up release dates. I'm told we should have answers in the next week or so. 🙏
— David Bruckner (@bruckmachina) October 6, 2022
This isn’t an attack on David Bruckner or Clive Barker. I’m sure they find this situation as frustrating as I do. But, it has to be said. Today could have been an awesome day for everyone, but it isn’t. That, in my mind, is a real shame.
I guess I’ll review the movie when you’re all past caring about it.
Follow the link for Paul’s thoughts on the casting of Jamie Clayton as the new Lead Cenobite
Paul Flewitt is a horror and dark fantasy writer from Sheffield, UK, where he lives with his wife and two children.
Paul began publishing in 2012, beginning with the flash fiction story, Smoke, for OzHorrorCon’s Book of the Tribes anthology. He went on to pen further short stories, including Paradise Park, Climbing Out, Apartment 16c and Always Beneath.
In 2012, he also published his first novel, Poor Jeffrey, which was received to much critical acclaim.
Paul cites writers such as Clive Barker, Stephen King, James Herbert and JRR Tolkien as inspirations on his own writing.
Paul continues to write, contributing to Matt Shaw’s The Many Deaths of Edgar Allan Poe anthology in 2020 with The Last Horror of Dear Eddie. He also began releasing free short stories and fanfiction on his Wattpad account for fun.
You can find more information, and keep up to date with latest news at these links…
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