Out Of The Frying Pan And Into The Fire With Another Hellraiser Film
Well, we are here, folks. We are at the point where we will induct what is the first of MANY Direct-To-DVD Hellraiser movies. You might remember the last time we went into the clusterfuck that is the Hellraiser franchise, Hellraiser: Bloodlines was a box office bomb that pretty much killed any chance of the series ever getting back to the theaters. But did that stop the series? No, because as with series like Children of the Corn, Wishmaster, Critters, and Ghoulies, if you aren’t good in the theaters, you can still make some money on the Direct To Video/DVD market. And thus in 2000, we got Hellraiser: Inferno.
Much like the Nightmare on Elm Street remake, Hellraiser: Inferno was directed by Scott Derrickson, who had never directed a feature film before. But unlike the Nightmare on Elm Street remake, this was a sequel (and a direct to DVD one at that), which is less of an undertaking and actually a good idea because someone new is allowed to play with this universe, but they are not expected to be just as good as the original because you are not the same film. In fact, many people in history have had their full feature directorial debut with a sequel to an already established franchise. Heck, James Cameron himself had his first film credit as director (despite him not really taking credit for it and ignoring that he directed this period) was Piranha 2: The Spawning.
This film would star Craig Sheffer, who was lead in the much underrated film Nightbreed and was in the cult film Fire In The Sky. Unfortunately, when you aren’t marketable for a long time, you end up in direct to DVD schlock. This film also has Nicholas Turturo, who had just had 7 years as James Martinez in NYPD Blue.
And A Very Embarrassing Guest Appearance At Wrestlemania 11, Where He Looked Like He Didn’t Know What The Hell He Was Doing.
This film also has James Remar, who was in films like The Warriors & Tales from the Darkside: The Movie, but he has also been in some crap…..one of which was inducted on this very site.
Yes, He Was Raiden In The Horrible Mortal Kombat: Annihalation
You also had Kathryn Joosten, who at the time was Dolores Landingham, the president’s secretary in The West Wing. And of course, like the last Hellraiser film inducted and all Hellraiser films (until Revelations), you have Doug Bradley so with this cast for a Hellraiser film, let’s see what we get.
We begin this film with the opening credits.
And afterwards, we get Detective Joseph Thorne looking directly into the camera.
We then see that he is not looking at us and is actually looking at a professor who he is playing chess with at a gymnasium.
Oh, And He Also Snorts Some Cocaine That He Has Handy
We then hear a narration from Joseph which tells us that unlike the other Hellraiser films, this film was also going to act as some sort of crime drama as well. This has caused many people to wonder if this film was originally meant to be a Hellraiser film or was made one later on. Well, I can tell you from what I know that while yes, the original script was just Inferno, this was shot as a Hellraiser movie.
Anyway, the narration tells of his motivations on being a detective and how he goes by solving crimes by examining the evidence and understanding the factors in a crime. He heads to the crime scene which looks like some mansion where he meets his new partner, Detective Tony Nenonen, who he has had for 9 months now.
You Say What???
They arrive in the room where they see pieces of a body put in the center of it.
They are given a wallet and find out that the body belongs to Jay Cho, who Joseph mentions was a guy he knew in high school. When asked if Jay was a friend of Joseph, the detective says no and basically talks about how one time Jay tried out for the basketball team Thorne was in and didn’t make it because he and his teammates made the guy’s life hell.
Richie Incognito Loves You For Doing That, Joseph
At the crime scene, Joseph finds chains with hooks, which leads him to find a vial of blood and a candle with a child’s finger in it.
Oh And The Lament Configuration Was Under The Candle
At the evidence room, we see that Joseph is a dirty cop (as if we hadn’t already seen that) when he takes $300 out of Jay Cho’s wallet and crosses it off as there was only $100 in the wallet. He also takes the box out of the evidence room as he goes to home to his wife and daughter. But he is only there for a few minutes as he says he is on a case and has to leave shortly after, despite his wife wanting him to stay. And this case that he is going to that is more important to him than his family is…
Using That Stolen $300 To Pay For A Hooker Named Daphne Sharp
Joseph tries to justify this that most marriages fail and most people leave, which would kill his wife, so he stays with her while adding what she doesn’t know and if doing this (sleeping with a hooker) keeps him coming back to his wife and daughter, then who is to say what is right and wrong. Well, I think all of us are saying what you are doing, Mr. Thorne, is wrong.
He then has sex with the hooker in a motel room and gives her some of his cocaine to share. The sex is done in a music video style of strong lighting that makes sure we don’t see any naughty parts.
Pete, get the fuck out of my review.
Anyway, Joseph goes to the bathroom and decides to play with the Lament Configuration, which as you know, is a terrible idea.
Like Make Out With Him While Putting Their Hands Through His Skin And Messaging His Chest.
Joseph hears the child’s cries for help again and decides to stop allowing the Cenobites to skin molest him.
While going down the stairs, he meets the upper torso of the well-known Chatterer Cenobite.
Don’t Ask Me Why Only His Upper Torso Is There Because I Have No Idea And This Film Never Explains It Either. In Fact, You Really Shouldn’t Even Be At The Point Where You Are Questioning Why The Cenobites Are What They Are.
Joseph gets away from them by jumping off the stairs and landing on a nearby table, and running away. He runs to the door, but stops as the room starts snowing.
Another Connection Between This And The Nightmare On Elm Street Remake Although This Film Came Out A Decade Before That Terrible Remake.
Joseph then opens the door and runs into Pinhead.
It’s Hellraiser, I’m Contracted To Be In These Movies
Pinhead then grabs Joseph’s eyes and attempts to rip them off, but Joseph then wakes up, figuring all of that was a nightmare. He leaves the bathroom to see Daphne The Hooker sleeping on the bed and then just leaves the motel room. He goes to work and gets told about the autopsy. He is told that the lacerations on Jay Cho were caused by the meathooks and that while they could not identify the child’s whose finger it was, they can say that the child was still alive when the finger was cut off.
At his office, Tony still bugs Joseph about the answer to what a ten letter word for his name is. Joseph then tells him that the ten letter word for his name is “Palindrome”. Tony thinks that Joseph is making fun of him since he doesn’t know what a palindrome is, so Thorne explains to Nenonen that a palindrome is a word that is spelled the same way backwards as it is forwards. Joseph gets a phone call and it is from Daphne who is screaming for help before the phone hangs up, which causes Joseph to take Tony with him so they can investigate what is going on.
At the hotel room, Joseph and Tony find Daphne in the showers hanging from the shower walls with her throat slit.
He’s An Asshole
While looking over the body, Joseph finds another child’s finger with the end burned off so they can’t identify him.
One of the cops is running the prints for the box and no match has been found, until Joseph has the scope widen from suspects of violent crimes to anyone with a criminal history and anyone with body piercings. They find a match in Leon Gaultier who he finds at a body piercing shop.
Joseph then goes to an ice cream truck driver named Bernie who is his rat that gives him info and who also gives him his cocaine.
Not That Cabin…
The Engineer caught up with them and caused the girl to go missing. He tries to find The Engineer and take back what is his, but he never finds The Engineer. However, one day he goes back to his cabin and finds the girl he had been looking for in his bed. He tries to pull off the covers to sleep next to her, but he finds that only her head was laying there.
Joseph meets with Tony at a restaurant and Tony confesses that he is starting to get a guilty conscience about covering up Thorne being with the hooker that night. Joseph then decides to reveal that he has framed his partner for being with the hooker and mentions that if he keeps this quiet, all he will get is being yelled at for being careless at a crime scene. Tony feels betrayed by this, saying he trusted him and leaves. A kid comes in and gives Joseph a box and leaves. Inside the box is a video tape. Joseph plays the video tape on the bar TV and it is basically a snuff film with a faceless man killing Bernie with a fishhook whip and leaving a child’s finger.
Joseph then tells his partner Tony about his visit to Leon (which Tony did not know about and is not happy about hearing his partner keep stuff from him) and he says he saw the murder weapon at the parlor. Joseph tells Tony to pick up Leon in connection with what he saw while he goes to sit down with the counselor. The counselor is Dr. Paul Gregory, an Episcopal minister, who is of course played by James Remar.
With All The Appearances So Far, Who Else Do You Think It Would Be?
Paul notices Joseph having some metal balls (which he has had in previous scenes) and mentions that they are Boading balls (which are normally used for stress). Paul asks if they are used for stress and Joseph just says that he uses them to keep himself in the zone. Joseph even performs a parlor trick by having the ball disappear, which Paul is impressed by. Paul mentions that the trick probably entertains his daughter and Joseph says he doesn’t know because he mainly uses the trick to entertain himself, continuing to show his distant relationship with his family. Joseph then asks if they can schedule this appointment at another time because he hasn’t gotten much sleep and Paul agrees to 10 am the next day.
Joseph instead uses that time to not sleep and instead look up missing or abused children to see if the finger matched one of them. In narration, Joseph mentions that Dr. Gregory said that he envies the innocence of children, but staring at the pictures of thousands of missing kids, envy is the last thing he feels and instead fills Joseph with rage. He says that children are the only sacred thing left in this world and most of these little ones were gone for good. He then mentions that the kid he is looking for is still alive and if he can just keep it that way, it would be the best thing he would do in his lifetime.
A cops walks by with an arrested person and the arrested guy faces Joseph to reveal it is.
While driving to The Crossing, Tony thinks that maybe this Engineer just wants his box back, which Joseph replies that the box was left in plain sight, basically putting huge holes on that theory. They enter The Crossing, which is basically just guys playing poker. Joseph then meets with Mr. Parmagi.
There, he goes to meet with Dr. Gregory. Joseph thinks he is going insane, but Paul tells him that thinking you are going insane, is something insane people rarely have. Joseph then explains that when he was joining the force, he was told about someone called The Engineer and Joseph chalked that all off as a campfire story used to scare kids and rookies, but now he is finding himself searching for The Engineer.
Paul then goes to his file desk and gets a file from 1986 that he says he always goes back to for some reason. Basically a veteran like Joseph was going to quit the force, when he came upon a case with The Engineer. As the case kept going, the cop started to become paranoid and in his delusions, he started to elevate The Engineer from a person to some being of supernatural power. The cop said The Engineer knew everything about every cop on the force, especially him. Eventually one day, the cop went to work and behind his desk, shot himself in the head.
The file also has a photo of the Lament Configuration, which Paul admits that he was intrigued by the box that he actually tried to look for it, but never found it. Joseph then shows the box to Paul, who is astonished to finally see it with his own eyes. Joseph asks what it is, and Paul explains that after some research, he finds that the Lament Configuration appears in occult literature here and there throughout history. They say it is a gateway or a window and if you open it, the Cenobites come for you and they tear you apart. Joseph reveals that he opened that box and the Cenobites didn’t take him to hell. Remember that for later as well.
Joseph says that however, he had a nightmare and ever since then, he has been seeing strange things. Joseph wonders if he is going crazy, which Paul says that he is more a psychiatrist than a priest and that if you ask him if he believes in the devil, he wouldn’t know what to say. But if you ask him about the box, with what he has seen, he believes it is real. The history is consistent that it opens and they come for you. Paul says that if Joseph opened it and he is still here like he said, then maybe the Cenobites are still here.
While driving home, Joseph narrates that he lives in a world of facts, pays close attention to details, and no matter how confusing the mystery or how difficult the puzzle, the end has always seemed as natural as rain. He also has a little girl creepily stare at him for no reason.
Joseph is home once again to check on his family, his daughter (whose name is Chloe) asks him if he is home and Joseph says not yet as he is only here for a little while and then needs to continue the case. His wife (whose name is Melanie) tries to comfort him while he lays down and when he tries to touch her, he sees that his skin is white and he has claws.
He gets to the retirement home they are at and tries to ask the nurse where his parents are, giving their names. When he does this, of course the nurse didn’t even know they had a son, which should tell you how often he visits them. He heads to their room, all the while seeing images that he probably didn’t want to see.
Like This Guy…
He then heads to his parents room and his mother keeps asking Joseph why he never visits while his father is confined to a bed.
He hears a child scream and goes to another room, which looks like the room he lived in as a child. The door behind him closes and when he tries to get out, he finds the door is locked. On the other end, he can only hear his parents screams as bad stuff happens to them and all he knows is that there is a lot of blood.
Joseph then finds that this whole thing was just a dream as he wakes up back at his wife’s side, but he gets the same phone call. He runs to the retirement home and doesn’t even introduce himself as he passes the nurse, who thinks he might be some sort of intruder since you know, Joseph passed by her with his gun out. He gets stopped by the security guard who tells him to drop the gun. He does so and then turns around to show them his badge. The nurse says they have been expecting a detective and explains that his parents have somehow gone missing. The nurse touches the bed and sees that there is blood.
Joseph rips off the sheet and sees that the whole bed has blood covering it.
The nurse goes to puke and Joseph notices that next to the bed is a giftwrapped box and in that box is…
1…2…2 Fingers. Ah Ah Ah Ah Ah
Also a note is left, giving an address for Joseph to head to.
After leaving the retirement center, Tony catches up with Joseph, telling him that Melanie said he would be here. Tony tells Joseph that the captain wants to see him as Joseph might be a little bit out of control, but Joseph refuses, saying he has an address and he can’t go to the chief now with this Engineer story as the chief wouldn’t believe him. He says that he needs to prove that The Engineer is the connection and Tony blurts out that Joseph is the connection since he knew Daphne, Bernie, and Jay Cho. Tony says there is no Engineer and that there is just Joseph, which our corrupt detective responds by punching his partner in the face. The two get into a fight and Joseph asks if his partner thinks could he do those things. Tony says he doesn’t know and that if it was the day before, he would have said no way. Joseph just leaves and heads towards the address.
He gets there and heads to the room, but all that is at the room is a telescope facing towards the window. Joseph looks in the mirror only to see his partner Tony bound and gagged in the opposite building and after the gag is removed, Tony gets stabbed in the back by the faceless killer.
The killer then looks at Joseph and shows the child’s finger that he is leaving behind in Tony’s mouth.
The phone rings that somehow is now in the room and Joseph answers. It is a voice that says six fingers for six murders with only four fingers left and that Joseph should go home. Joseph runs home, while telling the cops where they can find the body of Tony Nenonen. When he gets there, he sees his family tied to one of those infamous rotating stakes Hellraiser is known for while it is freezing.
Dr. Paul Gregory appears and welcomes Joseph home. He tells the detective that it takes hours to die of exposure and that no one was here to hear them cry. Melanie asks Joseph why he keeps lying to her and says that he can’t keep on doing this to her. Chloe asks her daddy if he is home and Joseph says that yes, he is finally home. However as he tries to talk to her, he accidentally rips her arm off, which is completely frozen thanks to the cold.
Joseph is then forced to watch as his wife and daughter freeze all the way and shatter like glass.
Joseph is yells in sadness while Paul smiles.
Oh James Remar……..No Matter How Many Bad Movies You Are In, I Can Never Stay Mad At You Because You At Least Try In All Of Them.
There is even a finger left behind that Paul picks up.
Although With Two Dead Bodies, Shouldn’t There Have Been Two Fingers?
Oh Wait…There Were Two Fingers. Only One Was Just More Prominently Shown
Paul then tells Joseph of the child’s finger that was left on Tony’s body. He then adds that unlike the other fingers, this one was not burned off so they could ID the child and in an odd set of circumstance, the fingerprint says that the child is actually Joseph Thorne. Joseph says that he doesn’t understand this and Paul just says he knows, with a grin on his face. Paul then adds that Joseph even misunderstood him when he told him to go home. He of course didn’t mean here, but instead he meant his first home, the home that he was raised at. Paul says that he can help Joseph understand since he does know everything about him and his file is almost complete. Joseph then laughs and we get this bit of dialogue.
Joseph: You’re The Engineer.Paul: It’s as good a name as any.
Then Paul transforms into Pinhead.
Joseph then asks“What are you” and Pinhead responds that “Who I am, what I am, is of no concern to yours”. He then says that he is not the killer and says that to find him, Joseph must go back to the place he started, his home. Pinhead then leaves as Joseph tries to follow, but ends up in his old room, looking at himself as a child, who is trying to solve a puzzle.
Little Joseph gets called by his mom and he runs towards her. Joseph follows his younger self to see his younger dad sleeping on the chair while his younger mom feeds Little Joseph brownies because he is such a good little boy. Suddenly the house starts to shake and the house turns dilapidated. Younger Joseph disappears into thin air as his mother grows old and then turns around asking Joseph why he never visits.
His father grabs Joseph from behind and Joseph is successfully able to fend both of them off with a shotgun.
The house shakes again as he sees his house getting snowed on. In the bathroom, he gets jumped by Daphne, who still has her throat slit, and who tries to seduce Joseph.
He pushes her back and her wound opens up as she bleeds and he shoots her too.
Joseph hears a child’s scream and he heads into the hallway where he meets Tony, who has cross like stakes coming out of his back and he says that Joseph stabbed him in the back.
He then throws the knives at Joseph, getting in a few shots before Joseph responds by shooting his partner.
Joseph tries to recover from the knife throws and gets attacked by Bernie, who is holding the whip with fish hooks and is telling the corrupt detective that he is tired of being his whipping boy.
He gets a whip in before Joseph shoots him.
Joseph then hears the child’s cries to help and once again, he meets the Cenobites.
Joseph kicks down the door to the next room (after running out of bullets) and it is a dark room. He sees the child who is sitting there with only two fingers left. The faceless man then shows up and confronts Joseph.
Joseph has another gun and points it at the faceless man, who tears off his faceless mask and reveals himself to be….
Joseph can’t believe that he is seeing himself and the chain hooks come in to grabs his arms.
Joseph screams out “Why” and Pinhead arrives to explain.
Pinhead: It’s all a puzzle, isn’t it, Joseph? Like a game of chess, perhaps; The pieces move, apparently aimlessly, but always towards one single objective: to kill the king. But who is the king in this game, Joseph. That is a question you must ask yourself. Don’t you recognize your own flesh? Your own spirit?
Joseph says he doesn’t understand so Pinhead decides to continue.
Pinhead: Ahh….eternal frame of humanity. Pleading ignorance, begging for mercy, “Please”, “Help me”, “I don’t understand”. This is the life you chose for yourself, Joseph. All the people you hurt, all the appetites you indulged; you have destroyed your own innocence, allowed your flesh to consume your spirit. Why, your own king and this is the hell you have created for yourself.
The evil Joseph then goes to his young Joseph and cuts off the finger. Pinhead says that his flesh is killing his spirit. Joseph screams no and Pinhead says “Oh yes, Joseph……oh yes, you have forsaken yourself.” More hooks come and grabs Joseph’s face pulling it.
Pinhead says that there is only one finger left now and only one more death to go. Evil Joseph then goes towards Joseph to face him.
Pinhead says “welcome to hell” and the hooks pull Joseph apart.
Joseph wakes up in the bathroom of the motel and sees that the hooker he is with is still soundly asleep and thinks all of this was some horrible nightmare. He goes to work, talks about how they won the game, but they should have won by more and that only happened because Tony wasn’t there. Tony says that he was out fishing with his kid and Joseph gets a phone call. It is Daphne once again screaming for help and he realizes this is all happening again. Despite the protests of his fellow officers, Joseph blows his brains out.
Joseph awakens again in a dark hallway and sees that he is in his old room. Joseph narrates that he lived in a world of facts; of a reality that he thought he understood. He believed that he was the center of the design and he was certain that he knew all the answers. But now he faces the truth about what he’s done to hurt around him and in hurting them, what he has done to himself. He has confronted his own demons and now the only thing he knows for certain, is that he will live with them forever. He screams “No” as the film ends.
There is not much aftermath for the film except that this film was despised by franchise cheater Clive Barker. And when I say he does not like this film, I mean he absolutely positively hates it. In fact, several times he has called the film terrible and has noted that at some point, he was not allowed in the meetings at Dimension Films to talk about the Hellraiser series.
Now to what happened to the cast and crew afterwards. Nicholas Turturro (who played Tony) hasn’t had much trouble finding work as he has been in several Happy Madison Productions and has been in many episodes of the TV Series Blue Bloods. Craig Sheffer still does direct to DVD films, but probably his most noteworthy thing that has happened after this film is he is able to go home to Gabrielle Anwar (the attractive lass from the USA TV Series Burn Notice).
While They Are Not Officially Husband & Wife, They Might As Well Be Since They Live Together And Have A Daughter Together.
James Remar and Doug Bradley are still James Remar and Doug Bradley where it is not too hard to find work. But the three most interesting developments are from two actresses and the director. Scott Derrickson has since written and directed three theatrical releases in The Exorcism of Emily Rose, The Day The Earth Stood remake, and Sinister. Sasha Barrese (who played Daphne) has since been the fiancée/wife of Justin Bartha’s character in The Hangover series.
Yep, She Is The One The Wolfpack Call At The Beginning Of The Films To Save They Have Fucked Up
Finally and in a way, sadly, we have Kathryn Joosten who continued being the President’s secretary until that series ended in 2002. But in 2005, she would make her biggest break as Karen McCluskey on Desperate Housewives. She stayed on that show right until it ended in 2012. Sadly after finishing the show, Kathryn Joosten died at the age of 72.
This is a very interesting film in my mind as there is a lot of good that this film has. The actors are acting well, the direction is done well, and it tells a rather interesting series that is someone a departure from the other Hellraiser films, but not done so to piss off the fans. Watching it, I can understand why people would be confused about this being a Hellraiser film, but it is worth the effort to see. However, there are flaws. The CGI is at times okay and at other times bad. But the biggest flaw is something that this film never answered. If most of this was basically Joseph being in hell since he opened the box, who did the original finger at Jay Cho’s house belong to? That was never mentioned and in fact the original finger was supposed to count for the child, but as you all know, it can’t because it was afterwards he opened the box. Well, I guess as the Tootsie Roll pop commercials used to say, The World Will Never Know.
But despite all of that, remember that this was the best of the Hellraiser Direct-To-DVD films and it all goes downhill from here.
Anyway, now that we are done with that induction. What is next, NegaSeth?
Oh I Think You Know What Is Next?
Oh, I know what is next, but I don’t want to piss you off again so I’m allowing you to introduce it.
Good boy... The next induction will be a sequel to our last film that was inducted into Monster Crap on a December and that film is…