The Director Behind Hellraiser: Judgment Reveals His Dark, Alternate Story Pitch

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It’s no secret that Hellraiser: Judgment endured a long, meandering journey to release.

For years, Gary J. Tunnicliffe toiled away on his Cenobite-infested sequel with only one motto: “innovate, not replicate.” That mantra worked overly well, too, as Judgment is arguably one of the strongest direct-to-DVD entries in the Hellraiser saga, one that even comes packing its own post-credits scenes involving The Auditor.

But in the midst of pre-production, when Tunnicliffe had some back-and-forth about Judgment and its graphic content, the filmmaker produced an alternate story pitch under the title, ‘Hellraiser Into Darkness‘. It’s just as dark and foreboding as Judgment, too, as Gary J. Tunnicliffe recalled in a recent interview with Midnight’s Edge (h/t Screen Rant).

So I went away and rewrote Judgment, the treatment, and at the same time, I banged out a treatment titled Hellraiser Into Darkness – which I still think is a really good title. And the story was about a psychiatric hospital, and some interns and they’ve been studying these patients who’ve got this kind of shared experience, and we discover it’s all about the Lament Configuration.

And the doctor who runs the institute is basically collating all of these victims so that he can create his own grimoire [a book of magic or spells] and his information about Pinhead because he wants to encounter the experiences of the Cenobites. And these interns while they’re collating the information from these victims, starts to seep into them, and it’s like that.

If nothing else, it’s a candid breakdown of what could have been, and the fact that Tunnicliffe’s pitch was shelved tells us that there’s still a sliver of hope for a true Judgment sequel. Even if it is just a sliver.

Hellraiser: Judgment is now available on Blu-ray and DVD (buy it here), allowing you to bow before Pinhead, a demi-god who some consider to be horror’s greatest icon.

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