I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

Hellraiser: Deader

tn_deaderHELLRAISER: HELLSEEKER director Rick Bota and writer Tim Day return for HELLRAISER: DEADER, rewriting from a completely unrelated script by Neal Marshall Stevens (THE CREEPS, CURSE OF THE PUPPETMASTER, THIR13EN GHOSTS). This is of course part 7 of 9 in the HELLRAISER nonology, part 3 of the DTV section and part 2 of the Bota Trilogy. It’s another one that follows the template of HELLRAISER: INFERNO more than the good HELLRAISER movies, doing another reality-bending is-this-real-oh-no-this-isn’t-real-am-I-alive-or-dead-wait-a-minute-Pinhead-is-here storyline.

It opens in a decrepit drug den piled high with passed out dopers and crack smokers and what not. One of them wakes up and starts taking photos, which is weird. I believe flash photography is prohibited in most havens of iniquity, or at least considered rude. But these guys seem pretty chill so nobody stops her and somebody even offers her some crack. She smiles and says she got what she needs, holding out a tape recorder.

still_deader3You see, she is Amy Klein (Kari Wuhrer, THE ADVENTURES OF FORD FAIRLANE, BEASTMASTER 2, ANACONDA), edgy American literary journalist and chronicler of the lurid English underbelly. She returns victoriously to the offices of The London Underground newspaper, apparently excited about a long day of transcribing whatever junkie gibberish is on those tapes. Fun! She’s late for a meeting and she probly smells like tar and ass, but everybody’s congratulating her on the publication of her most recent opus, “How To Be a Crack Whore.”

mp_deaderAmy’s boss and old friend Charles (Simon Kunz, MATCH POINT) calls her in to show her a video, which seems to be a snuff film where a cult-like subculture called “Deaders” watch a woman get shot in the head. But then a weirdo Kyle McLachlan lookalike we later learn is named Winter (Paul Rhys, VINCENT & THEO) does some kind of magic CPR that seems to bring her back to life.

Amy is horrified but intrigued, and hops on a train to Bucharest to investigate. I would’ve been more skeptical, since the video has a bunch of edits in it. This is the argument I used to always have with people about FACES OF DEATH. But in this case I would’ve been wrong because it turns out to be real.

The trail leads pretty quickly to an address, where she bribes her way into an apartment containing a more artificial looking version of the type of squalor that Frank created in part 1 – dirty walls, rotting food, mattress on the floor. It should be noted, though, that this is a hugely spacious apartment. What the fuck man. You should see what I pay for a one bedroom, I should investigate these bad neighborhoods from horror movies, see if I can find a good deal somewhere.

Anyway, she finds the inhabitant dead on the toilet, strangled by a rubber tube attached to the wall, one rigor-mortissed hand clinging to a Lament Configuration. Amy is horrified but she’s also a reporter, so she tries to squeeze past the body to grab a package on a table inside, and to steal the puzzle box.

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Shit. That’s kinda poetic, you know? A dead body on the toilet clinging to the puzzle box. The perfect metaphor for Dimension Films’s handling of this series.

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Amy also finds herself searching for a guy named Joey (Marc Warren, GREEN STREET HOOLIGANS), who she finds on some weird secret train that you get inside and it looks like the post-apocalypse, decorated with graffiti, mannequin parts and antique furniture and stuff. There are colored lights, mohawks, naked people walking around, topless women making out, people wearing goggles or covered in mud, getting tattoos or, uh, doing… some kind of performance art type business?

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It’s kind of a cool idea, this strange thing presented as reality, hidden in the tubes, only opening for the right people (but what if you were on your way to work and accidentally got on that train?) One mistake though was playing cheesy mellow electronical music for the whole scene. It kinda lessens the blow when it sounds like it’s a softcore sex movie.

And of course eventually she runs into Pinhead (Doug Bradley), who explains that the “Deaders” are using her for a war against him, and because she has the box and opened it they need her, but she can only go through him, whatever that means. I like the idea of these people who are fighting the Cenobites instead of foolishly trying to get their jollies from them. I feel like there could and should be a way better execution of the idea, but still, I will give it credit. We also learn that Winter is related to puzzle-box-creator LeMarchand, but I didn’t understand why it was relevant or if/how this fit into the timeline of BLOODLINE where that character was introduced and was destined to have a descendant who destroys Pinhead in space long after this bullshit here happens.

There are a few fever dream moments in this one that I appreciated. There’s a scene where she’s sneaking around looking for something and ends up crawling between two close-together brick walls that seem to get tighter and tighter until she can’t turn around, and she doesn’t see that there’s a dude in a hoodie coming behind her with a big Michael Myers knife, who then starts slashing at her.

What the hell is she supposed to do? It doesn’t matter, because she will wake up all the sudden and be okay. This is a common horror formula that I don’t tend to like, making me luke warm on everything from most ghost movies to Lars von Trier’s acclaimed ANTICHRIST. Weird shit, weird shit, weird shit, move on to the next scene with no apparent consequences. Weird shit, weird shit…

It’s supposed to throw you off balance, which sometimes it does, but then you catch on and you realize none of the weird shit is gonna mean anything because then she’s gonna wake up or otherwise find herself in a different place where she’s safe until the next thing that will threaten her and then not turn out to be real (OR IS IT?)

But yes, at least some of the weird shit is up to snuff in this one. Another convincingly dreamlike part is when she finds blood on her hands, then notices a small piece of metal in her chest, then realizes it’s the point of a knife that’s stabbed all the way through her back. She has to turn around and wedge the handle into a cupboard to pull it out. Then she duct-tapes a towel to her back (and there really seems to be a big lump under her jacket after this) to continue her journey.

And then there’s a scene where she’s in a subway and she realizes she’s leaving a trail of blood, and she worries about someone seeing it. Getting caught bleeding. She sees a cop or security guard type guy coming her way and she scrambles to hide the trail of blood under some newspapers. It’s like trying to cover up a murder except she’s the victim, not the perpetrator. I like that.

But then you got dumb scares like the part where she’s in a mental hospital and a little girl patient offers to do a portrait of her. And it’s really good. BUT IT LOOKS LIKE TWO FACE! OH NO!!!

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DEADER came at a period when horror movies had swung back to the brutal side, and the term “torture porn” was being thrown around by prudes. Movies that year included HOSTEL, SAW II, WOLF CREEK, THE DEVIL’S REJECTS. Remakes were also becoming popular, with AMITYVILLE HORROR, HOUSE OF WAX and THE FOG on the docket. Lots of ghost movies too, including HELLRAISER: INFERNO director Scott Derickson’s hit THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE (which came out a few months after this one). DEADER didn’t really fit into any of these trends, nor did it blaze its own trail like that year’s THE DESCENT.

One thing that made DEADER a little more tolerable than the last two is that it actually seemed like a pretty decent part for Wuhrer. A former model and MTV VJ, she’s done alot of roles that are more about a sex scene or striptease than a personality. Here she’s the main character, in virtually every scene of the movie, she does a full range of emotions and action, from crying to getting Hellraiser face-chained (not a spoiler because then it’s a dream or something), but the most nudity she does is a little glimpse of underwear when she’s changing clothes. She plays a tough girl in combat boots, cargo pants and a baggy leather jacket. I felt proud of her.

The good scenes are enough to make this probly the best of the DTV HELLRAISERs I’ve watched so far, but not enough to make it hold up against actual good movies, especially Barker’s. Keep trying though, Bota.

By the way, DEADER is most notable for having the funniest HELLRAISER cover, the one where Pinhead does that beloved movie poster trope The Comical Shrug:

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But, credit where credit’s due, director Scott Derrickson had previously put Pinhead in that same hilarious pose during the climax of HELLRAISER: INFERNO:

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which in my opinion is 100% for sure why Derrickson got the job of directing MARVEL’S DOCTOR STRANGE and why Benedict Cumberbatch will be doing that pose in every other scene as well as on the movie poster and the action dolls and pajamas and stuff. As much as all Americans adore the Comical Shrug it is even a bigger draw for international audiences, who are the bread and butter of all Marvel and Hellraiser movies.

By the way have we really stopped to acknowledge that Pinhead has a bare midriff now? I don’t think we have. He has some kind of bellybutton piercing. I don’t know about that, you guys.

Biggest mystery of this one: it’s produced by special effects genius Stan Winston, but it seems to have less creature effects than the other ones. He didn’t come in and give them a new Engineer or anything. The only explanation of it was from Day, who rewrote the spec script DEADER to (allegedly) fit the HELLRAISER mythos. He wrote:

Deader had one of the greatest first acts I’ve ever read. It really hooked you into the story. Creepy as hell. Unfortunately by the middle of the second act it started to wander a bit and got real expensive with a lot of creature and prosthetic effects. Stan Winston was a producer on the project and his company was going to handle all of the creature effects. My take on it was to tone down the second half and ground it in reality a little more so we would stay hooked in to Amy Klein as a character and not lose the story’s focus and still keep it creepy.

(That was apparently from a forum post he wrote on cenobite.com, which I found quoted on the official Clive Barker websight.)

So it sounds like Stan Winston was all primed and ready to put some cool monsters into this thing and liven it up, but they were like “Hey, thanks for your interest Stan, but some of us guys got together and we were talking about it and we were thinking, wouldn’t it be, like, WAY better and more grounded if we went in the other direction, where instead of some amazing Stan Winston creations it was people in this one? Like, let’s say there is a guy, and he’s in a subway, to name only one example! More like real life.”

“Well, my thing is, I am one of the greatest creators of cinematic monsters, and my company–”

“Right right right. But the thing is though, this ‘no monsters’ idea? It just stays more focused, you know what I mean? And people are gonna love this, Stan. You mark my words: there will be two more Hellraisers after this one which will go over with the same amount of complete indifference all around the world in all cultures and walks of life, or my name isn’t The Guy Who Wrote Some of the DTV Hellraisers.”

“There were DTV Hellraisers? Is that the one where he was in space?”

“I have to go.”

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 21st, 2015 at 11:05 am and is filed under Horror, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

49 Responses to “Hellraiser: Deader”

  1. This is the DTV Hellraiser that I rather like. As you mentioned, it has enough weird moments to keep you interested, and Kari Wuhrer gives a great performance. It’s a shame she doesn’t get better work as she was even great in those Prophecy sequels as well.

    Anyhoo, best of luck with Hellworld. That’s when the Halloween: Resurrection of the series.

  2. This movie is bullshit and I’ll tell you why. Supposedly this “Winter” guy (Paul Rhys, famous for playing the less-famous brother of both Vincent Van Gogh AND Charlie Chaplin) is supposedly Lemarchand’s descendant, but that makes no sense because look at the guy. Notice anything suspicious about him? That’s right, he doesn’t look like Bruce Ramsay. And we know for a fact from BLOODLINES, that every subsequent generation of Lemarchand’s family for at least a thousand years looks exactly like Bruce Ramsay with a different haircut. Did Bruce Ramsay really turn this movie down? If not, I call shenanigans on this crap. Checkmate, DEADER.

  3. I’ve given these DTV Hellraisers the widest possible berth, mostly because I’ve never heard anyone say one single positive thing about them, but Kari Wuhrer makes me want to give this one a shot. She’s like a hot, female Lance Henriksen, in that I’ve never seen her phone in a performance. Even if her role mainly consists of disrobing artfully and getting paint on her hooters, she always gives it her all. That kind of gusto would have made her a beloved Linnea Quigley-style scream queen in the eighties, but in the nineties when she was coming up, gusto was out of fashion. Most of the movies she was in were dull softcore thrillers too bland to benefit much from all the elbow grease she put into them. It’s a shame. She seems like a gutsy broad who could really be put to good use in genre movies.

  4. Mr M — she really does go above and beyond for this one, and is absolutely the only reason (other than the cool hedonism train) this movie ever develops any flickers of interest. So if you want to sample the DTV Hellraisers, this one if both a pretty good example of what they’re like AND a good showcase for Wuher where she actually gets to do some real acting. The scene Vern describes where she wakes up with a knife in her back is a great example; she fuckin GOES for it, and almost makes you care about the otherwise nonsensical and uncinematic scenario.

  5. Wuhrer was also great in Stuart Gordon’s nasty-fucker of a movie KING OF THE ANTS. Sadly most of her 90’s/00’s stuff was crap. I fast-forwarded through all of them to the most important parts, the sex scenes. Even the ones with the fat Baldwin brother.

  6. The Original Paul

    October 21st, 2015 at 2:31 pm

    MacBlayne:

    “Anyhoo, best of luck with Hellworld. That’s when the Halloween: Resurrection of the series.”

    Oh dear lord.

    Vern, we love you. Stop this madness now. Don’t open the Lament Configuration of HELLWORLD and end up in the figurative inferno of Awful DTV Movie Hell.

  7. Speaking of wasted opportunities for great exploitation movies we never got with gals like Wuhrer, I am officially done with fucking modern meta retrosploitation. I watched two of them in one night recently – Ernesto Diaz Espinoza’s BRING ME THE HEAD OF THE MACHINE GUN GIRL and Kurando Mitsutake’s SAMURAI WOLF – THE BLIND AVENGER, and while I got some mild enjoyment from their excesses, I had to question what is the point? Why make these modern throwbacks to movies the directors clearly like (ALFREDO GARCIA and LONE WOLF AND CUB via ZATOICHI) instead of going balls out with some new ideas?

    Blame can go to Tarantino and Rodriguez in part for their Grindhousing, but it seems like it’s okay for every man with a movie camera to throw retro-inspired schlock at us and hope we’ll be thrilled. I was bored with these two, and I’m bored with Astron 6 and I couldn’t give a flying fuck or a rolling thunder about how clever you are at referencing great older movies I would prefer to be watching.

    The funny thing is, I’ve seen two of Espinoza’s other movies with Zaror, MANDRILL and most recently REDEEMER, and I loved them. Redeemer was a bit ham-fisted when it came to Zaror’s super-serious and sincere “redeemer”, but that only elevates the glory of it when he NutriBullets a guys face into an outboard motor while doing his penance for God. See, this is where modern exploitation needs to go – sincere and crazy and wrong all at once.

  8. The best of these retrosploitation movies that I’ve seen is TURBO KID. I was skeptical, having been burned in the past, but unlike most of the other in its subgenre, it would actually be a pretty good version of the kind of movie its parodying. The performances are good, the story is treated mostly seriously, and the retro trappings actually make some kind of narrative sense. Plus, the leading actress is really good and grounds the movie with a weird but oddly believable and touching performance. I even liked it when I was drunk, which is rare for me. So they can work, these kind of movies. They just have to do all the same stuff that normal movies do, like have good characters and tell a reasonable story. It can’t just be all nostalgia.

  9. Poeface – You know what I’ve always wondered about that sub genre? How come no one ever makes a retro-inspired schlock throwback to 80’s T&A comedies like HARDBODIES, PRIVATE SCHOOL, MY TUTOR, PRIVATE RESORT and ZAPPED?

    Anyway Kari Wuhrer was also in the cheesy live action cutscenes for the video game COMMAND & CONQUER: RED ALERT 2, which as cheesy as they were she still gave it her all (she’s in the third game as well, which has also has Billy Dee Williams), I agree that she’s an underrated actress that deserves meatier roles, but at the same time if she never had roles where she had to disrobe, well, given her incredible body that would have been a waste of her talents as well…

  10. Oh man, don’t get me started on how tired I am of all of these “love letter to “?

  11. Oh yeah I forgot to mention TURBO KID, which I saw in the same week as the others. It took me two sittings to get through. Again, annoyance at the assumption of it’s makers that they were making something cool therefore I should roll with it and enjoy my 80’s memories while being intermittently entertained by a half-baked story about some kid on a bike who wants to be a superhero. Partially saved by Apple (clever if obvious reference) and the actress Laurence LeBeouf who played her (reminded me of a better looking Zooey Deschanel), and the crazy-eyed head-twitcher henchman, and fully redeemed in the last act showdown with the multiple severed torso stacker-hats.

  12. It’s also Michael Ironside’s best role in years, which says more about the sad state of Hollywood cluelessness than anything else because it’s not like Ironside knows how to not be great.

  13. ‘How come no one ever makes a retro-inspired schlock throwback to 80’s T&A comedies like HARDBODIES, PRIVATE SCHOOL, MY TUTOR, PRIVATE RESORT and ZAPPED?’ Well then, Griff, you may interested in my scripts HOT DOG & A SHAKE, GET OUT AND PUSH!, and BEVERLY HILLS HOT TUB SHOP. I’ll send them to you…if I ever get around to writing them. (I’m more of a title/poster/theme song/general milieu guy than an actual writer.)

  14. I tried to take on the HELLRAISER challenge as well, but I tapped out after part V. Are there any other horror series that hit rock bottom and coast along at subterranean levels for so long?

    I liked TURBO KID quite a bit. Treating your main characters as something more than an extended ironic joke can go a long way, it turns out. The cowboy guy is a fixture of Australian TV soaps, so it was funny seeing him in a retro post-apocalyptic splatter movie. I liked HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN too, which was also Canadian now that I think about it. Maybe that’s the key.

    God help us when 90s nostalgia hits in full force and we’re assaulted with a second wave of shitty Tarantino knock-offs, now with added irony. I’ve already reached the point where people are exploiting beloved childhood memories of things I am too old to give half a fuck about (e.g. GOOSEBUMPS)

  15. Hellraiser: What's Your Pleasure? Short Film

    A simple gift turns out to be a gateway to pain. Inspired by the works of Clive Barker. http://www.hellraisermovie.com http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4287430 Di...

    Well this short will probably make you appreciate these sequels a little better.

  16. SO I just watched the trailer to Turbo Kid and my question is why does the film have to be that gory? And also, I miss when things were filmed with film cameras.

  17. Seeing how everybody finally has caught up with my hate for today’s homage culture, pleases me. More! MORE!!

  18. “God help us when 90s nostalgia hits in full force and we’re assaulted with a second wave of shitty Tarantino knock-offs, now with added irony”

    I actually think it would be interesting to see a 90’s period piece done in an intentionally Tarantino aping style, although such idea would be easy to screw up granted.

  19. There’s no fun in a late 90s pastiche. The look of the era was so bland, so cookie-cutter competent, so utterly bereft of the goofy but sincere bad taste of the 80s, that it’ll just never be as fun to parody. The 90s was where awesome ridiculousness grew up, cut its hair, got a job, and let itself be played by John Travolta. Who the hell wants to homage that?

  20. You must be thinking of the decade that came afterwards. When I think of the 90s, I think of music that broke down all genre barriers, cartoons stopping to be nothing more than badly animated toy commercials and breaking out of the “It’s just for kids”-ghetto because of The Simpsons, Nickelodeon and Spielberg produced Warner Bros insanity, the American independent film reaching its creative peak thanks to people like Rodriguez, Smith, Linklater and Tarantino and the people who tried to be like them and often failed in way too entertaining ways, TWIN PEAKS and X-FILES paving the way for the greatness (and admittedly awfulness) of modern TV shows, bright colours everywhere, companies trying to be cool by making everything FUCKING EXTREME, Love Parade, girly style, Hasta la vista baby, Wrestling, Super Nintendo and Playstation, Will Smith making the step from being a rapper with a sitcom to being the biggest star in the world (And by god, EVERYBODY loved him!), the rise and fall of the resurrection of STAR TREK, a SNL cast that might be the best after the original one and much more.

    You can accuse the 90s of many things, but not of being boring.

  21. I meant to say “mid-to-late 90s.” Early 90s is either curdled 80s-ness like Saved By the Bell and the other badly dressed, neon-colored hokum the Millenials think is so hilarious or grunge/slacker cliches. The rest of the decade is just dull and indistinct, not exuberantly wrong-headed enough to satisfyingly spoof. “Ha ha, remember how movies used to have the same kinds of competent scores, people wearing suits, and reasonable hairstyles we have now? Those were the days!”

  22. I kinda-sorta like this one and INFERNO. I’ve had a soft spot in my heart for Miss Wuhrer since SLIDERS, and as mentioned I thought she did a fine job with the role here. Vern, you pointed out my favorite scene in this movie, when she wakes up with the knife in her back. It’s a weird combination of funny and dreadful that I really liked. And I thought the way she got it out with the cupboard door was clever. I felt like I learned something; if I’m ever in the same situation, I’ll know what to do.

    I also liked the haunted evil subway train, though it occurred to me that we saw something similar in MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN. So we get the derivative diet coke version of one Barker idea (HELLRAISER) smooshed together with the derivative diet coke version of another Barker idea (MMT).

    And: overall, this is a movie that suffers from the curse of the spec that was too obviously re-written to fit a franchise. You can always tell, when the movie is kind of doing its own thing, when suddenly the franchise villain pops up out of nowhere. “Hey, Pinhead! What are you doing here?” [Insert convoluted reasons for Pinhead being there.] “Oh, okay.”

    I didn’t love this movie, but I didn’t mind it. In fact, I didn’t not-mind it so much that this was the movie that got me watching the rest of the HELLRAISER franchise after stomping out of the third movie in a huff lo these many years ago.

  23. This movie is as boring as staring at a piece of wax paper for 3 hour straight. Kari Wuhrer is literally the only reason to even bother with it in my opinion.

  24. Mr. Majestyk – You haven’t been looking back at the late 90’s enough if you don’t realize there’s plenty that was ridiculous about it, maybe not AS ridiculous as the 80’s sure but still plenty different from the modern day.

    I will now present to you two examples.

  25. Well, I guess the 00s started a few years earlier where Mr Majestyk lives. Or Europeans had in general more fun in the 90s. I don’t know.

    If you ask me, the 80s where like the beginning of a party, where everybody was already having fun, but still trying to act super cool to impress everybody. The 90s were when the party really took off, shit got crazier and crazier and everybody was having a good time! Then the 00s were the time, when the party simply wasn’t fun anymore, because everybody was tired or so drunk that they were starting fights, puking on the floor, accidentally breaking expensive furniture, bathing in self-pity and everybody was so ashamed, that they tried to act as normal as possible.

    I still hope for the first real 90s period movie, but I don’t want it to happen now, at the height of the wink-wink-nudge-nudge homage culture. Or we would get the worst moments of THE WACKNESS times 10!

  26. That´s funny. I can´t remember having a good time in the 90´s. There were a lot of ugly shit going on, both in Sweden and abroad. This was the decade when reality hit hard with a financial depression and unemployment rate skyrocketed, Neo nazist movements increased and war migrants from the Balkans were coming at the worst possible time. Those are just a few of the reasons why we have such a poor political climate today in Sweden, in which failed integration and increased segregation is a reality.

    Sorry about the bleakness here, but I find no joy in the 90´s.

  27. I’m not talking about nineties period movies. I’m talking about nineties period pastiches. The nineties had plenty of ridiculous things going in fashion and music butthe genre movies, which are the kinds of movies that would get parodied or homaged, just aren’t worthy of it. Shit, half the popular genres were already either meta or retro to begin with. The eighties were a font of pure, preposterous, easily identifiable genres, from slashers to sex comedies to cop-on-the-edge movies. The nineties just brought that eighties ridiculousness into the mainstream, pumped up the production values, and sanded off all the goofy stuff (the silly fashions, the cheesy music, the montages, the tone of self-impressed imperviousness) to make them palatable to the masses. It was a bold decade in terms of independent film but a timid one when it came to genre. And it’s boldness that invites pastiche, not bland competence.

    But seriously, fuck the nineties in general. The eighties made it look like being a young adult was the coolest thing in the world. Everybody was fucking, the music was triumphant and fun, everybody dressed like they knew they were the shit, and there were awesome R-rated movies opening every weekend. Then I get to that age and it’s all AIDS, dreary music, baggy clothes, and all the sex and violence is being leeched right the fuck out of the movies. It was an awful time to be young. I’d rather be a (shudder) Millenial.

  28. Okay, I take that back. I wouldn’t want to be a Millenial. The nineties sucked–except for hip-hop–but I wouldn’t have missed the eighties for anything.

  29. Mr. M, I came of age in the 90’s as well, and in my mind the 90’s will always be partially defined by two wars. I am speaking of the Monday night wrestling war between WCW and the then still WWF, and the East coast vs West coast hip-hop conflict, and unfortunately the causalities of those wars were not just limited to dead wrestlers and rappers. Pro-wrestling and hip-hop just haven’t been the same since.

  30. On the subject of HELLRAISER, did anybody else notice the use of HELLRAISER style nightmare visions in a recent episode of SUPERNATURAL? In one of the episodes from this season Sam has a vision of himself being tortured by massive hooks on chains pulling at his flesh while he is surrounded by flames. I really hope this means the Winchesters get to go cenobite hunting this season. All I ask is that when Sam & Dean get to CD cenobite they don’t rush. They need to take their time, that MF should die slow.

  31. AnimalRamirez1976

    October 23rd, 2015 at 8:53 pm

    Other notable achievements of the 90s besides Rap and Wrestling:

    The Nirvana-led Grunge revolution that took rock back from hair metal bullshit.

    The Oasis/Blur revolution that took rock back from Grunge.

    Simpsons (yes, technically 80s but come on that was one year of Grouchy Homer and Eat My Shorts)/South Park/Mr Show/Seinfeld/Farrelly Brothers revolution that took comedy back from farina bland sitcoms

    MP3s and DVDs revolutionize the entertainment industry

    The Miramax-led indie film revolution (crushed like 1848)

    Pride FC

    Six Michael Jordan championships

    Ren & Stimpy + a ton of other Nick/Cartoon Network cartoons

    Toy Story/Toy Story 2

  32. AnimalRamirez1976

    October 23rd, 2015 at 9:07 pm

    HELLRAISER:DEADER is an improvement but I can’t understand anyone preferring it to INFERNO. A pile of dog shit would be an improvement over HELLSEEKER. The production design is the same old dreary eastern Europe cliches but that is a huge leap from one anonymous-looking office complex after another, followed by a bland-looking apartment complex! The scenes with the dead girl on the toilet and the knife through the back were really solid. Well done. But Vern correctly points out that every time something scary happens Amy wakes up, which is bullshit and gets old fast.

    I also really missed the boat on the whole Kari Wuhrer thing. My wife is addicted to LMN and she looks to me like she would fit in there just fine. She would go from being scared and freaked out to her old cocky and smug at the drop of a hat, so even if she doesn’t hold back you can’t say she’s that into creating a psychologically consistent character either.

  33. I’ll take pretty much any hair band over Nirvana. You say they rescued rock. I say they killed it forever. Not their fault, but the ensuing cult of personality turned rock from a populist art form into a splintered, self-fellating elitist circle jerk that can’t be bothered to communicate anything to anybody. No wonder the whole country would rather listen to country and rap. At least you can tell what their songs are trying to say.

  34. Bear in mind I like country and rap as well as a lot of modern rock. I talk a big game but I’m actually very inclusive when it comes to music. But you have to admit there has to be a reason why rock is not the party music of choice anymore. It went inward with Nirvana and hasn’t peeked out since.

  35. Personally I wouldn’t count Nirvana as one of the positive aspects of the 90s either and would even go so far to say that they were today as forgotten as Babylon Zoo, if Kobain hadn’t killed himself on the height of their fame, but of course that’s just speculation.

    Still, music wise the 90s are for me the decade when everybody and their cousins finally realized: “Hey, we don’t have to stick to one genre anymore!” And suddenly we had dance acts appropriately playing the main stage of rock festivals, hip hop acts collaborating with country singers, cats barking like dogs, mass hysteria! Sure, we had also Eurodance and the always the same looking boy bands and faux-girlpower teen sensations, but even without nostalgia glasses I can name more good or at least interesting albums of each year of that decade, than in the time that came afterwards.

  36. ENEMY OF THE STATE is my idea of a quintessential 90s movie, a decade where almost everything mainstream looks like it could have come out of the mind of TIm Robbins’ character in THE PLAYER. How would you remake something like that, considering it’s already a pitifully dumbed-down riff on THE CONVERSATION?

    Obviously there was a lot of great stuff in the 1990s. Wong Kar Wai was as important to me in that decade as Lynch and Jarmusch were the decade prior. But barring a FIGHT CLUB or SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, you mostly have to look outside the mainstream. When SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, FORREST FUCKING GUMP and the (in my opinion) grossly over-rated FARGO are considered among the best movies of the decade, it’s hard to not agree with Majestyk on this.

    I find a lot of people’s fondness for the 90s is based on a small group of films that are more like 80s holdovers: POINT BREAK, GOODFELLAS, JURASSIC PARK, THE MATRIX. You can see the bloat and scatterbrained plotting that typified the 90s creeping into these films, but for the most part the undercarriages are pure 80s.

  37. And AnimalRamirez1976, honest, I’m not being a dick, but what exactly was revolutionary about fucking Oasis? It’s like you took the modest charms of the (already retrograde) Stone Roses and asked a bunch of cavemen to recreate them. If anything, Britpop was a regressive retrenchment into familiar and hackneyed forms of classicism, much in the way grunge was essentially a conservative retreat into rockism (it’s no accident that 3/4 of Nirvana’s fans were the same dunderheads who liked Guns & Roses the year prior). Blur and Oasis didn’t even have the wit and eclecticism of the better proponents of the movement, like Saint Etienne or Stereolab, the sass of Elastica, or the wistful melancholy of Clientele.

    The real revolution in 90s music was happening in electronica and hip hop.

  38. You have to give Blur that they got weirder and more experimental over the years. (Honorable mention to Noel Gallagher’s work outside of Oasis, including collaborations with The Chemical Brothers and Goldie.)

  39. So there is a 90s music debate and I’m missing it. I would probably agree that hip-hop is the biggest musical revelation of the decade. But it really rankles me when people trod out the same old tired stereotypes about grunge. When you’re talking about the post-grunge bands like Candlebox, Bush, Silverchair, etc., then you’re right. Their music is humorless and a complete slog. But if you actually go back to the original grunge bands from Seattle, then they do not fit that description at all. Go listen to Mudhoney and Melvins or even Soundgarden and Nirvana. All of these bands have a sense of humor about themselves and about rock music in general. They all liked to poke fun at rock tradition while also reveling in it, not unlike many of the genre films that people like around here. Whenever I hear people say that grunge was a humorless sludge, I get the impression that they haven’t really sat down and listened to music from that first wave of bands from Seattle.

    Take Soundgarden’s “Searching with My Good Eye Closed” as exhibit A. It opens up with one of those talking toys that tells children what sounds animals make, but then soon veers into the Satanic. The band is clearly ironically playing around with the Satanic imagery popularized by Black Sabbath and Metallica among others. But then when the song really gets going, they pummel you with a riff that absolutely competes with iconic rock bands from the past. Don’t let the drop D tuning fool you. There’s plenty of ironic and dadaesque humor in grunge music, so long as you ignore that painful wave of bands that became popular after the likes of Nirvana and Soundgarden broke out.

    Soundgarden - Searching With My Good Eye Closed

    Soundgarden - Searching With My Good Eye Closed

  40. I got no problem with so-called grunge (not a real thing, just a marketing term). Those bands did their thing, and it was a needed pendulum swing back from the plastic-ness of the late eighties. People were clearly ready for a change and I’m glad it happened. What I got a problem is with the industry at large appropriating the troubled outsider vibe so that the new mainstream rock became, instead of fun party music, some fake soul-baring bullshit. Most of the people making it and all of the companies financing it were just as money-grubbing and trend-chasing as the last batch of hucksters who just wanted to do drugs and get laid, but they had to pretend they were authentic or tormented or punk or some such phony baloney horseshit instead of just trying to rock and write songs that people can relate to. Trying to be mainstream and alternative at the same time is what gives you neu-metal and the Goo Good Dolls. It’s neither fun nor meaningful, just a bunch of disposable pap frosted with a patina of storebought darkness.

  41. So I’m not saying that the nineties didn’t produce some great rock music. They did. I’m just saying that the nineties were the end of the line for rock as the music of the people. Like jazz before it, it became a genre for aesthetes and purists and lost its direct connection to the masses. Since then, its place has been usurped by other genres that spoke to them more clearly.

  42. Back in the early 90’s as a preteen I would’ve taken Nirvana over almost any mainstream hair band rock from the 80’s. However looking back today in 2015 I find myself easily listening to some GnR or Motley Crue over Nirvana anytime any of those respective bands pop up in my Pandora shuffle. I was more close minded back then and took certain things for granted.

    Of course now I think everything has it’s place but even Nirvana themselves were considered pop crap to those who were listening to stuff like The Jesus Lizard and The Pixies (my stepsister dated a couple of those). What I did learn from all those musical separatists is that being that way is fucking pointless because they were so utterly miserable and in reality everything is just relative. The 90’s if anything is when I stopped labeling shit like I used to as a kid and learned to think more outside the box.

    I realized that it was ok if I listened to whatever I liked without any pretenses because music that sounds good to you will sound good regardless. Which is why if you would’ve looked at my record collection back then it would include anything from Stereolab and Hieroglyphics to Peter Tosh, Big Black, Rokabanda, Frankie Ruiz, Capone N Noreaga, Ace of Base and Huey Lewis & The News. So I do agree with the sentiment that the 90’s was the time when a lot of us realized “hey man I’m a very multifaceted guy so it makes sense that my musical tastes also reflect that” instead of being too one dimensional.

    On the topic of post-East/West hip hop. It actually got MUCH better in the years after. Hell I’d say the early 2000’s were like the second coming of the golden age from my childhood that I hold in high regard so much because it’s what got me into it all (Ie: EPMD, Erick B & Rakim, Slick Rick, Kool G Rap etc) but with some more finesse. Today it’s even grander considering how damn versatile and expansive it’s become on a global level. Pac and Big’s martyrdom in that sense wasn’t for naught. In 2015 the underground truly does not stop for ho’s.

    The mainstream shit for the most part is not something I could really click with. I mean I’m not gonna act like I could name any Drake song because I can’t. I’ve heard some at the club but I’ve never LISTENED to his shit. It’s like white noise to me. Shit I never even listened to Kanye West and I know some of ya like his shit and I doubt that I ever will and the same goes for Kendrick Lamar (I’ve tried some songs but they did nothing) but I will tell you this I’ve never been prouder to be a hip hop head than I am today.

    The amount of music out there that DOES interest me and I DO want to fuck with easily cancels out the Rick Ross’ and Meek Mill’s that I wouldn’t know about if people in my hood didn’t talk to me about them. Shit even going back to mainstream shit I think The Game just released the albums of his career these last few weeks. I think the game is healthy in many respects. A lot healthier than most want to give it credit for anyway.

  43. Oh and seeing nothing but news about some POWER RANGERS movie Lionsgate is setting up for the young adult demo now that they have milked both TWILIGHT and HUNGRY GAMES dry these past couple of days tells me that 90’s nostalgia is about to kick in in full force from 2016 onward. No I don’t mean ala HOUSE PARTY either which is shame cause if Full Force was in the new POWER RANGERS movie in any capacity I would’ve been there on opening weekend. JURASSIC WORLD and it’s upcoming sequel THE LOST PARK: JURASSIC WORLD were only the beginning.

  44. AnimalRamirez1976

    October 24th, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    1) My comment made no judgements about quality (I think… I don’t read that shit again. I know I said something mean about 80s sitcoms but I’m not really nostalgic for stuff like Family Ties). You are putting words in my mouth (probably). It’s hard to overstate how huge Nirvana was at the time, how much influential they were. There were a shit-ton of great bands in the 80s, but none of the really great ones broke through like Nirvana. You could a twelve year old shit in Brooklyn (guilty) or getting your MFA at Cal Arts and be listening to “Teen Spirit”. This shit was playing on the fuckin radio! When music bubbles out of a local scene and explodes into the mainstream that is a huge event.

    2) In fact, Nirvana and its (imitators? descendants? similarish-guys?) were so huge that a bunch of guys in England, who embraced a 60s Brit Pop aesthetic, said “Fuck this, were taking music back from Grunge”. Please keep in mind, this is LITERALLY what they said. It was on MTV News and everything. Even the music was not revolutionary (and Oasis had a unique sound. Isn’t that revolutionary?), the sentiment was.

    Also, I forgot about Radiohead. I am an idiot.

    Other stuff from the 90s:

    MTV animation (Beavis and Butthead, Aeon Flux, and lots of even weirder shit)

    Steroids Era Baseball

  45. The Original Paul

    October 24th, 2015 at 7:08 pm

    Wait, how the fuck did we get to Britpop / Britrock from freakin’ HELLRAISER?

    THINK TANK by Blur was one of the best albums I’ve heard from the last decade, by the way. And IN IT FOR THE MONEY by Supergrass is the album I reviewed instead of the movie TRANCE, because that pretentious vapid piece of crappitude made me sad, whereas IN IT FOR THE MONEY made me happy.

    And while I’m totally on-board with the idea that Oasis were overrated at times (although personally I love the title song of MORNING GLORY), this about Nirvana from Majestyk…

    “The ensuing cult of personality turned rock from a populist art form into a splintered, self-fellating elitist circle jerk that can’t be bothered to communicate anything to anybody. No wonder the whole country would rather listen to country and rap. At least you can tell what their songs are trying to say.”

    Ok… Majestyk… please tell me you’re not blaming Nirvana for nu-metal. That’s like blaming SCREAM for MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3D or something (for those who don’t know why I single out that particular example, MBV3D is, for me, one of the top seven or eight worst experiences with movies that I’ve ever had, at least of the ones that actually kinda counts as a movie and not something somebody made with a group of friends in their back yard or something.)

  46. The Original Paul

    October 24th, 2015 at 7:18 pm

    To add some context to my remarks above… while driving home from TRANCE, trying to think of what on earth I could possibly say about it other than it had pretentions to smarts but nothing at all to back them up, I listened to a Supergrass album. I ended up posting a review of the album in the comments here instead of reviewing the actual film. To this date, I think it’s the only time I’ve ever decided to review the music I was listening to on the way home from the cinema because the film itself was so fucking dull.

  47. Paul, you cut out the part of that quote that where I said it wasn’t their fault. They just got the ball rolling down a particular hill that had Limp Bizkit at the bottom.

  48. This was quite bad, but felt a bit like HELLRAISER. But nonetheless shit.

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