October 31, 2011

We Have Such Sights to Show You: A Dissection of the Hellraiser Franchise

Previously published at Hope Lies.

The Original

Exploding onto the horror scene in 1984 with the first volume of Books of Blood, Clive Barker didn't wait long to make the transition to film, writing the screenplays for Transmutations (1985) and Rawhead Rex (1986). Dissatisfied with how the films, both directed by George Pavlou, ultimately turned out, Barker decided to take his own turn in the director's chair. He settled on an adaptation of his novella, The Hellbound Heart, pulling together his own funds and additional income from a distribution deal with New World Entertainment that left him with a budget of around a million bucks.

Hellraiser (1987) is about a man named Frank (Oliver Smith and Sean Chapman, respectively in and out of makeup). Frank is a pervert and a sadist who's traveled the world looking for new thrills and sensations and acts of depravity. One day, he arrives for his brother's wedding only to deflower the bride on top of her wedding dress. He leaves before the ceremony and the indiscretion is never discovered. During another adventure, Frank comes across a puzzle box known as the Lament Configuration, which opens a portal to the dimension of the Cenobites (led by Doug Bradley in an unnamed role that's never referred to as Pinhead within the films themselves), priests of the art of taking pain and pleasure to such extremes that both fuse together into a single eternal sensation.

October 29, 2011

[Unfulfilled Hopes] Deader

Previously published at Hope Lies.

Last month, fellow Hope Lies contributor Rob Girvan wrote a great piece about the direct-to-video market and the occasional gems that can be found within. One of the more interesting aspects of the direct-to-video system is how completely original projects can be retooled under a brand label. Sometimes a completed film will simply have its title changed, as with 8MM 2 or several of the Wild Things entries. Sometimes, as with a few of the American Pie spinoffs, scripts will be bought that can easily be revised to tie them into the franchise. Heck, this isn't exclusive to direct-to-video, as none of the four existing Die Hard films featured the character of John McClane in their original incarnations.

[Short-Lived Showcase] Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light - Final Thoughts

Check it out here.

October 11, 2011

[Unfulfilled Hopes] The Early Drafts of Star Wars, Part 3

Previously published at Hope Lies.

In the first installment of this article, we explored George Lucas' March 1973 outline, where he used Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress as the springing point for what would become The Star Wars. In the second piece, we looked at the first full draft, written over a year later in July of '74, where he poured all of his thoughts onto the page in a massive, rich, sweeping first draft that, as amazing as it is, would have been extremely difficult, if not impossible, to film at the time. So it's with his second draft, dated January 1975, that Lucas started to strip things down and find his focus.

The Adventures of the Starkiller

Episode I

The Star Wars

October 1, 2011

[Unfulfilled Hopes] The Early Drafts of Star Wars, Part 2

Previously published at Hope Lies.

In my previous installment, I explored Lucas' original outline for The Star Wars, where he used the plot of Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress as a springboard for his ideas. Now it's time to dig into Lucas' first full draft, written five months later in July of 1974.

We open on a desert world where Akira Valor lives in hiding, teaching his sons Justin and Bink the ways and philosophies of the Dai warriors. The Dai were instrumental in spreading the reach and influence of the Galactic Kingdom before it turned on them, declaring them a rebel cult and all but wiping them out with a rival sect called the Legions of Lettow. One such Lettow warrior, clad in a black cloak and face mask, tracks the Valor clan down and attacks. He's defeated, but not before little Bink is slain. The teenaged Justin tells his father he's tired of hiding and the two decide to return to the front lines.

[Short-Lived Showcase] Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light, issue 3 "The Star Stone"

Check it out here.