With six ideas behind, the Hellraiser franchise would have to look towards fresher shore for fresh ideas. A look at old master-strokes and unpublished tales that just need a touch of a familiar villain to be told. In 2005, a cost-saving exercise in Romania, and a converted spec script, helped the series find some new direction, In Hellraiser Deader.
World-renowned, but disgraced, reporter Amy Kline, gets a hot ticket assignment to the capital of Romania. She gets to work attempting to debunk a mysterious videotape, showing a necromantic murder cult eloquently called, Deaders. As she ventures deep into the heart of the cult, Kline finds none other than the Lament Configuration. Playing with it opens a Pandora’s Box of trouble as she is trapped in a warped limbo of life and death. As Kline finds out more about the cult with the help of a familiar face, she will ultimately end up finding out about herself too.
Deader began its life as another spec script, that got a shot thanks to Pinhead, and it is interesting to deduce where the initial idea stops, and the world of the Lament configuration begins. Like its forebears, the new and old ideas blend well enough to complement their strengths. The series makes a return to Britain, briefly and spends most of its time outside of America for the first time. Though with so many familiar elements returning to the new city, fans will not feel as disoriented as the series makes some inventive turns.
Like Thorne in Hellraiser 5, Kline gets mixed up in a distorted netherworld after dabbling with the Lament Configuration, while investigating the debauched underbelly of this enigmatic cult. It is a good sequence that gives a new context to the previous scenes. The location of Romania, albeit chosen for cost-saving measures helps the story, as the streets of the European city still retain a Gothic charm that nurtures the imagination and lends an authoritative sense of macabre to the film. Catacombs, Mental Health Institutions, and other locations (from the catalogue of classic and contemporary horror) make an appearance.
New and technically old locations are a welcome backdrop for the psychological and physical tribulations of Kline, another new challenger of the power of the Order of the Gash. Like the many before, Hellraiser Deader tries new things, while keeping a lot of its evolved core intact. Some creepy moments and a choice selection of gore help send off the seventh installment of Hellraiser up from the increasing competition, and a relatively easy pill for any completionist of the saga to swallow. Despite its name, neither Deader nor the franchise itself go silently into the night for its seventh outing.
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