Hellraiser: Judgment has been a film that many hardcore Cenobite fans have been looking forward to since details of it leaked earlier this month with a director and star attached.
The star, Heather Langenkamp, is familiar to horror movie audiences from her turn as Nancy in the original A Nightmare on Elm Street as well as A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, and Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (where she played herself rather than her iconic character in a sort of meta thing).
Joining Langenkamp is director Gary Tunnicliffe, who is new to his position, but not new to the horror film industry. Tunnicliffe has done FX on films, such as Candyman, Halloween VI: The Curse of Michael Myers, and the My Bloody Valentine remake.
Tunnicliffe is also no stranger to the Hellraiser series, providing FX work on every sequel dating back to Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth in 1992.
That’s why it was a massive surprise this week when he revealed that the series’ original Pinhead (Doug Bradley) decided to bail on Hellraiser: Judgment over something as simple as a non-disclosure agreement (NDA).
Actually Bradley was the first guy to break the news on his official Facebook page.
The original Pinhead said the first that he heard of the new film “was around Christmas in a phone call from Gary Tunnicliffe, who was my make-up artist on Bloodline through Hellworld.”
Tunnicliffe had written the script for Hellraiser: Revelations, another film that Bradley was not involved with because of “the poor quality of the script,” Bradley said.
Further dissing the new film, Bradley asserted that “Clive Barker is not involved with this in any way, shape or form.”
“Gary said he would send me a copy of the script when he had completed a second draft, but before I could be allowed to set eyes on the precious document, I was required to sign a gagging order. This was a three page document preventing me from talking about the script ‘in restrooms’, ‘on elevators’, ‘in restaurants’ or ‘in cellular telephone conversations which may be overheard’. [punctuation sic]”
Bradley said there was also “dark reference to ‘people talking out of turn at conventions,'” adding that he “read this thing in disbelief, and informed Gary I would not be signing it.”
Tunnicliffe gave a similar version of events, pointing out that NDAs are “pretty standard” in a report from HitFix.
“Doug wrote back to me,” said Tunnicliffe. “‘I’m going to make myself liable for a million bucks I don’t have just to read a d*** script?… I don’t think so.’ I was stunned, after all it was my ‘d***’ script and it let me know how he felt straight away. I wrote to him saying I was sorry he felt that way and the next day the search for a new Pinhead began.”
Tunnicliffe has apparently already found his new Pinhead, noting that he is “a classically trained stage and film actor who brings a great physical presence and more than a hint of Peter Cushing and Ralph Fiennes.”
The two sides of the story reveal that Bradley’s unwillingness to sign the NDA likely has less to do with the agreement and more to do with his disdain for the Hellraiser: Revelations script, which Tunnicliffe was also responsible for.
Rumor has it that Dimension Films made Revelations in a rush to hold onto the Hellraiser property, which Clive Barker is said to be eager to get back for a possible big budget reboot.
Instead the production house continues to churn out low-budget sequels to the original series. Bradley has starred in most of those films, but he drew the line with Revelations, and is a longtime friend of Barker’s.
So get ready for more of the same, Hellraiser fans, with a new guy wearing the pins for the second film straight.
[Image via Hellraiser (1987) screen grab]