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AICN HORROR talks with writer/director Pascal Laugier about MARTYRS, the HELLRAISER remake, and his new film THE TALL MAN!!!

Published at: Aug. 30, 2012, 9:14 a.m. CST by ambush bug

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What the &#$% is ZOMBIES & SHARKS?

Greetings, all. Ambush Bug here with another AICN HORROR: ZOMBIES & SHARKS column. Today I have part two of my two day coverage of THE TALL MAN a new film from writer/director Pascal Laugier who most have to thank for scarring their lives with the diabolical and mind shredding film MARTYRS. After experiencing that film, Laugier is definitely a director to watch in my book. Earlier in the week, I talked with THE TALL MAN star Jessica Biel and reviewed the film. Below, is a talk I had with Mr. Laugier who had a lot to say about MARTYRS, THE TALL MAN, his take on modern horror, and his brief stint aboard the new HELLRAISER remake. Plus towards the end, he talks a bit about his newest project. Enjoy…

AMBUSH BUG (BUG): Well let’s talk about THE TALL MAN. I have to say that you are definitely a director that every time I hear your name attached to a project I really look forward to it. We are here to talk about THE TALL MAN, but can we talk a little bit about your previous projects as well?

PASCAL LAUGIER (PL): Sure, of course.

BUG: Great. Well I know you kind of burst on the scene with MARTYRS. I know you’ve been doing a few other things before that, but MARTYRS was the film that I think really made everyone stand up and take notices of you as a serious director. Going into that film, it’s such a harrowing journey for the characters involved. What was the inspiration for that film specifically?

PL: It’s always very complicated to consciously know about the way films come to your mind and how come you choose to do one movie rather than another one, so it’s very difficult to answer that. The fact is, my previous film before MARTYRS was not understood or liked. The audience walked out with such distance, and I’m talking about HOUSE OF VOICES, my first feature film. I was a very young filmmaker, but that totally created a strange new form of anger in me, that in a very strange and twisted way it created a block of energy in me and that dark energy I put all of it in my following movie and that was MARTYRS. The question I kept asking myself with MARTYRS was “Can I cross the line?” I wasn’t really aware that I would be crossing some line. I think I put the audience in a very vulnerable position including the hardcore horror fans, including the audience that is used to very gory and extreme films. In a way I did this movie as thinking it would be my last feature film as not a single producer would give me the time to do another feature film. It was a very desperate movie at a very desperate time in my life, so I shot MARTYRS as a melodrama, as a love story that turns really, really wrong and really bad. And once again I thought I would never be able to approach a camera again after MARTYRS and that movie started getting noticed. I wouldn’t say career as a filmmaker, but it traveled all around the world, was received amazingly well by the audience and opened everything for me and made it possible to do another one, another movie. So it was a very good experience doing that movie.

BUG: Yeah, well I have seen MARTYRS with multiple people. Some of them had to leave the room, some of them had to just watch through their fingers. It always fascinates me how people respond to that film, because it does touch on so many deep and dark things. I mean it starts out kind of like a ghost story and then it really turns into something so much more real. I just want to congratulate you on what I consider to be a masterpiece in film. I think it’s amazing.

PL: Thank you.

BUG: Have you had any personal experiences talking with people, whether they loved it or hated it after they saw it?

PL: Sure. I traveled with it all across the world to promote and support the release of the movie world wide. I had so many twisted and weird moving experiences too from people in the audience. Some loved it, some chose to insult me thinking I was this crazed guy. I thought it would be pretty obvious that the film was filmed with honesty and sincerity and in a really strange way the movie for me is supposed to be a moving film. My intention was not to disgust the audience, so when some people came to insult me it was really bad for my private person and it was very strange, but I had the opposite too. I had a lot of testimonies and especially from female members of the audience, especially from teenagers who received the movie totally correctly. They got it, you know? A lot of people came up to me after the screening and told me a lot of private and intimate things from their lives. They were sharing a lot of very moving things with me because of the movie and because of what they had felt watching the movie. I have been insulted by fans of hardcore heavy metal audience, because I shook them and I felt very proud getting to shock these guys with tattoos all over their bodies. I shook a lot of these guys and I felt very proud of it. It’s really truly hard to shake these men, so yeah I have witnessed some of the members of an audience collapsing during the screening or being forced to leave the audience.

BUG: Definitely. I always find it interesting that people like to laugh at horror a lot of times, but really after watching THE TALL MAN and MARTYRS, there’s not a lot of comedy going on. There’s not that release where you can just laugh about being scared in your films and it seems like that’s an intentional thing that you are doing. Is that a valid assumption?

PL: There are so few films in movie history that combine humor and horror like maybe the first EVIL DEAD did, as that’s a great example of it being skillfully achieved. I’m a horror fan myself and I hate most of them, because most of them just don’t work at all. The characters are all very cynical and I hate that, because I prefer having a serious approach to the story and as a member of the audience I love being told stories that don’t feel safe, but once again mixing humor and horror is really tricky.

BUG: Definitely. Well I definitely want to talk about THE TALL MAN here. I can talk about MARTYRS all day, but THE TALL MAN I saw a while back and it really did blow me away. Like MARTYRS, there’s a whole lot going on that the audience doesn’t know about and I don’t want to reveal too much about the film, but I’m sensing a theme in these two films, just that there’s more than meets the eye as far as what’s going on.

PL: Yes. The comment from the films is kind of a sad reflection of the social castes system. For me I’m trying to use the genre as a way to depict human relationships and the way that our society is created, organized, and the whole social class system has not changed a single bit since the nineteenth century. When I finish writing a movie I find out “Oh, again it’s about the way our social system works” and it’s pretty obvious in THE TALL MAN. It’s the very reason for me to have handled such a project, but what I like to do is choose the genre archetype and change it in order to play with the audience’s expectation, which is probably why half of the audience hates what I do and the other half is attracted to it.

BUG: This is your first American film, correct?

PL: Yes.

BUG: What was that like for you?

PL: You know what? I felt very protected, because the way the movie had been financed was very special. It’s not a Hollywood movie. It was done outside the Hollywood system and the studio system, so I felt I was completely free on set. I didn’t have any producers behind my back telling me how to do things, so we had this French director with an American cast and an American production, so for me it was just the perfect combination between the freedom that a director doesn’t have in my country, France, and so it was great. Once again I did the movie exactly the way I wanted to be done, so I can’t say it’s the typical American film or lets call it a totally independent strange American film done outside of Hollywood.

BUG: I had talked with Jessica Biel a couple of weeks ago about the film and you really put her through the ringer as far as physical stunts and things happening to her. How did she respond to all of that stuff?

PL: She was so amazing. She was a trooper. I mean the best proof I can give you is that she was fully committed to it is when we were hitting financial problems halfway through the shoot, she proposed to become co-producer and put some money into the movie in order to finish the film the way we wanted. So that’s the best guarantee that she fully believed in this movie and was like a soul mate with me on it. But it’s true also that shooting the film for her was very difficult and it was of course there’s the cynical aspect of the movie, the movie chase scene in the woods; there was a lot of running for her, but also there were so many different emotions during the whole movie, so I had to be on her back constantly to get what I wanted emotionally. I didn’t want to just stay on the surface with this thing. Some times she was a bit hesitant, because it’s very, very difficult everyday to get hurt and to go inside yourself to get you to cry. I mean it’s very difficult on a daily basis. It’s very easy for an actress to cry for a few hours, but after seven days straight it becomes really tricky. We worked a lot together before the shoot. We rehearsed a lot in order to have a strong relationship full of confidence, so she was not worried or scared to cry in front of me.

BUG: As a side note, I actually work in the childcare profession. I work in a residential facility for boys and girls and I’m a therapist there and so I see the slow process of the child care system and this film sort of deals with that, without giving too much away of the film. Was there any type of research you did as far as that aspect of the film?

PL: I didn’t do a lot of research necessarily, I just met with people. I met with doctors and nurses working in third world countries and I interviewed them a lot and asked them a lot of personal questions about their work, but also their way of seeing the world. There’s a reason why they were doing what they were doing and I asked them a lot about their positions and I realized that a lot of these people believed—regular people would find these people like angels, just because they go to Africa to help kids and the way they see the world and the way they see human beings is more complex than what we think. They are not just nice angelic people, they are almost like cops and if you ask them for a solution in order to change the planet, the way our system works, you would instantly be shocked. We became friends and then for a few months after I started to write THE TALL MAN, in France there was an organization that brought back like thirty or fifty kids back from Chad pretending these kids were orphans and after investigation the cops realized that these kids had killed their parents.

BUG: Oh wow.

PL: They had been stolen from Chad and brought back to France. I mean it raises all sorts of questions. There could be something said about the relationship between poor and rich countries, about the kids. We all know about the shit storm with Madonna or Angelina Jolie going to third world countries and bringing back kids. All of it is questionable and really, really weird. And the movie is all about this too.

BUG: Fascinating stuff. Having filmed this in America, is that something you’re interested in doing again?

PL: The way this last movie was handled was perfect for me, because of the complete freedom I was given. Honestly I would love to do another movie with the same producers and the same financing system and we are working on my next movie already. It’s going to be a cross over between a thriller with a lot of suspense, but now the crossover will be with a love story. It’s about a man and everything looks and sounds perfect for him and his point of view. He is a very regular, average man, not ugly, just normal and seems to fall in love with a very beautiful girl, like she is too beautiful for him and of course she is totally irresistible and “is she sincere? Does she want something from him?” It’s all about love, about the worry we feel as we are falling for someone who might seem too beautiful for us. That’s something we’ve all felt at some point in our lives and that brings us to that movie with something I hope is unpredictable.

BUG: That sounds really interesting. How far along are you with that project?

PL: I’m in the middle of writing and working again with the same producers, so hopefully we will announce when will begin at the beginning of next year.

BUG: I know that you were attached to the HELLRAISER remake and you’re no longer attached to that anymore. What happened?

PL: You know, what happened is I had this feeling that the producers behind the new HELLRAISER didn’t really want to do a solid serious movie, so for me a new HELLRAISER is all about S&M gay culture, because it comes from a homosexual desire and HELLRAISER is about dealing with these very questions and I don’t want to betray Clive’s vision. I’m a huge fan and I love HELLRAISER and maybe I was wrong, but I had the feeling I was wanted to do something much more for a teenage audience. One of the biggest problems in Hollywood when you love horror is that Hollywood doesn’t. You either do a slasher or you don’t do anything, you know? HELLRAISER is not a slasher. It’s not about killing a teenager and seeing random things between murders, it’s not that at all. It’s much more complex. It’s definitely adult oriented and they asked me to do something very commercial you know, which is fine, but it was a bummer that I didn’t want to do what they wanted. I’ve learned to just run away.

BUG: Yeah, well I don’t blame you. I agree, I would not want to see that type of a HELLRAISER film either. Any last words about THE TALL MAN for the Ain’t It Cool News audience?

PL: I know the movie is going to surprise the audience and in making it we knew with Jessica we were working hard to make sure the movie would move the audience and that’s something I’m most interested in. My main inspiration comes from the golden age of cinema, where movies were more of an experience and more complex. You know the first time I saw TAXI DRIVER I thought… I’m talking about my reaction as a member of the audience at that time, I didn’t know what to think about the movie. I couldn’t label the movie. “Is it a thriller? Is it a horror film? Is it a psychological drama?” It’s very hard to say and I love the idea that my film is very hard to put a label on, but I’m also very aware that some people will obviously be disappointed by the content of THE TALL MAN and this is something I can’t do anything about if I offend them. But again, I love the films of the seventies, where movies were much more difficult to put a label on. They were just choosing some genre and some archetypes of the genre as a way to express themselves and a way to share a vision. That’s something I want to go for, the kind of cinema I still want to do. As a member of the audience I’m so fed up with formulas. It’s always the same thing and I hate that. I’m turning forty and I don’t want to be told what I’m supposed to think and feel when I’m watching a movie. I love films that constantly have levels of complexity. That’s something I try to give back to the audience with my movies, so I know that probably won’t help commercially, but I also hope it will make the movies last in the audience’s mind. That’s my only ambition.

BUG: Fantastic. Well I can’t wait to see your next film and I loved THE TALL MAN, so thank you so much. I really appreciate it, and you have a great day. Thanks for your time.

PL: You too. Bye, thank you.

BUG: THE TALL MAN is available now on Video On Demand and is in theaters this weekend! Check out my interview with the star of the film Jessica Biel and a review of THE TALL MAN here!





See ya Friday for our regular AICN HORROR Column, folks!

Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, original @$$Hole/wordslinger/reviewer/co-editor of AICN Comics for over ten years. He has written comics such as MUSCLES & FIGHTS, MUSCLES & FRIGHTS, VINCENT PRICE PRESENTS TINGLERS & WITCHFINDER GENERAL, THE DEATHSPORT GAMES, WONDERLAND ANNUAL 2010 & NANNY & HANK (soon to be made into a feature film from Uptown 6 Films). He is also a regular writer for FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND & has co-written their first ever comic book LUNA: ORDER OF THE WEREWOLF (to be released in late 2012 as an 100-pg original graphic novel). Mark has just announced his new comic book miniseries GRIMM FAIRY TALES PRESENTS THE JUNGLE BOOK from Zenescope Entertainment to be released March-August 2012. Also look for Mark's exciting arc on GRIMM FAIRY TALES #76-80 which begins in August 2012.


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Readers Talkback

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  • Aug. 30, 2012, 9:15 a.m. CST

    Saw Blade from cabin waaaaay better.

    by UltraTron

  • Aug. 30, 2012, 9:19 a.m. CST

    Stop motion tentacle doctor from part 2- top that shit.

    by UltraTron

  • Aug. 30, 2012, 9:45 a.m. CST

    Fantastic interview. Fantastic director.

    by albert comin

    Pascal Laugier has his heart in the right place, and he has the right approach to cinema, namely the horror genre. And he's truly talented. And he has the right references too, the true golden age of american cinema, in the 70s. Everything he said in the interview is so right. There should be more like him. "Martyrs" blew my mind. Can't wait to see "The Tall Man" and any other of his movies in the future. As the saying goes, he is the real deal. Another great entry on AICN Horror column. Thank you, Mr Ambush Bug.

  • Aug. 30, 2012, 9:56 a.m. CST

    Hellraiser

    by Phantasmagor

    Si if there is a Hellraiser Remake in the future we can be sure to get a teenie slasher. SHIT THAT IS!

  • Aug. 30, 2012, 10:02 a.m. CST

    Completely agree, scirocco

    by Ambush Bug

    Laugier is the real deal. I could have talked with him all day about horror. You can tell he isn't someone who loves horror as much as he loves to get the audience uncomfortable and uneasy, which is what a true horror filmmaker does in my book.

  • Aug. 30, 2012, 10:04 a.m. CST

    rip hellraiser.

    by vulturess

    should have let laugier do hellraiser. this just confirms the weinsteins plan for the hellraiser reboot.

  • Aug. 30, 2012, 10:13 a.m. CST

    Okay, I'm up for this

    by Jeditemple

    It's every parent's worst nightmare -- having their child abducted. And it looks like this will have enough scary suspense to keep me glued to my seat. Plus, it's Jessica Biel...a pleasure to watch and a very capable actress with stunt skills to boot.

  • Hard to believe it's the work of a first time filmmaker. It hits every points so well, one would think this was the work of a veteran. No, just of a very talented guy who knew what he was doing. Though i enjoyed the second and third Hellraiser movies, the first exists as an entity of it's own. The sequels could disapear, the first movie wouldn't be affected at all. It's hard to me to find the appropriate words to describe Hellraiser, i lack a tongue for it. It's just so fucking good. Remakes resting in the hands of the wrong producers who do not understand the material they have? It's quite a too common occurence this days, isn't it? (flashback of the recent Conan movie). Pascal Laugier did the right thing by jumping ship. Let other less interested parties screw it up. Might as well go all the way and give it to Platinium Dunes.

  • Aug. 30, 2012, 10:26 a.m. CST

    Kudos to you for the work you do, Bug

    by kevred

    And I mean the real work, not this fantasy stuff. Intriguing to hear that mentioned in the interview. It's incredibly important work that not nearly enough resources are devoted to. I don't think I realized how important it is until having my first child. Now part of me wants to go back and enter the same field, though at the same time I know that being as good of a parent as my kids deserve is a life's work as it is. My wife spent a bit of time working in a residential girl's facility, and it was rewarding but also very emotionally challenging for her. Thank you for choosing to do something meaningful. Seems like we're inundated with more meaningless choices and options for our time than ever these days, so I always admire choices that cut through that to something more important.

  • Aug. 30, 2012, 10:27 a.m. CST

    Great interview Bug.

    by Kill List Hammertime

    Love Martyrs. What really made the film for me was the performances across the board that the director managed to get, especially the two leads. Oh, and the brilliant special effects. Fucking awesome. That and Kill List are my favourite horrors of the past ten years.

  • Aug. 30, 2012, 10:45 a.m. CST

    Martyrs was absolutely brilliant.

    by Playkins

    One of the most legitimately disturbing movies I've ever seen (and not just for the gore). I'll see any movie this guy does.

  • Aug. 30, 2012, 12:15 p.m. CST

    Thanks kevred and jaygarnham

    by Ambush Bug

    Loved MARTYRS and though I think THE TALL MAN is a different type of film completely, it does show that Laugier is a definite talent. I've been doing therapy as a day job for about ten years and though it comes with a lot of weight, I can definitely say that I love my job and that it is filled with rewards that are much much more rewarding than a paycheck.

  • Aug. 30, 2012, 12:24 p.m. CST

    There is and will only ever will be one Tall Man.

    by parissun

    Phantasm lives on!!!

  • Aug. 30, 2012, 12:50 p.m. CST

    LMMFAO@The Idea of Hellraiser being based on Gay Culture.

    by Stalkeye

    Yeah, i know that Barker is a pillow Biter and S&M has been part of their lifestyle, but FFS, Hellraiser was mostly about ones hidden desires of forbidden pleasures when unravling the pandora's Box:(The Puzzle Box.) only to have your soul tortured and damned for eternity. And in some ways it was a slasher series albiet a high concept slasher series. Just look at Hellbound and dare to tell me otherwise. Hellbound was obviously the best of said series and the only thing that would resemble "Gay" would be that giant Dick that was moving the cenobite Channard around. Glad he didn't get the remake after all.

  • Aug. 30, 2012, 12:51 p.m. CST

    The one TRUE Tall Man is Agnus Scrimm, Bitches.

    by Stalkeye

    "Booooyyyyy"!!

  • Aug. 30, 2012, 1:05 p.m. CST

    Damn good interview... Props for not ruining hellraiser

    by Fritzlorrerains

  • Aug. 30, 2012, 1:08 p.m. CST

    martyrs

    by ghoulstock

    I really liked Martyrs until the last half hour or so, when it became scene after scene of the girl getting punched in the face. I think if the movie had ended (SPOILERS) at the point where she finds the "hidden room", and thus proves her friend wasn't crazy--that this family really DID kidnap/torture her--it would've been more effective. Just my opinion.

  • Aug. 30, 2012, 1:32 p.m. CST

    The Tall Man? really? Why did'nt you name it Jason or Freddy? Maybe Pinhead?

    by the Green Gargantua

    I just don't trust a horror director who is not a Phantasm fan

  • Aug. 30, 2012, 1:42 p.m. CST

    This guy sounds full of himself.

    by knowthyself

    Gets mad that his first film was panned and then talks about how people "correctly got" Martyrs. Excuse me buddy. Jesus.

  • Aug. 30, 2012, 2:44 p.m. CST

    Explain this to me

    by centilope

    Why even bother asking someone like Padilha or Laugier if you're not going to let them actually make the movie the way they want it made. Why not just hire Brett Ratner or Len Wiseman or some other asslicking hack and be done with it? I honestly don't get it. Can someone explain this to me?

  • Aug. 30, 2012, 3:17 p.m. CST

    Stalkeye missed the point of Hellraiser...

    by Bad Wolff

    What a shame, because he's so close. He sees that it's about "ones hidden desires of forbidden pleasures" but can't see what this has to do with gay S&M culture? Maybe Stalkeye is just scared of liking something with such overt gay subtext?

  • The seeking of ones forbidden desires is based on eroticism such as in Frank's case he was denied sleeping with various women in hell to the entent that he made an incestuous attempt on his neice. Very taboo, but no Overt sign of (LOL) "gayness". Obviously you project way too much, Son.

  • Aug. 30, 2012, 4:07 p.m. CST

    Stakeye

    by Bad Wolff

    There's this thing called subtlety. It doesn't have to be a "gay horror film" to have gay thematic subtext. You know, the kind of thing you should expect from any "high concept" art.

  • Aug. 30, 2012, 4:34 p.m. CST

    The best thing about HELLRAISER

    by Ambush Bug

    is that you can read a lot into it. For that, both stalkeye and bad wolf are right. There are definite themes of homosexuality and how it is embraced by society in most of Barker's works, most obviously NIGHTBREED which has a group of people who most see as monsters living in secret among humans. HELLRAISER's S&M wearing Cenobites, the twisted incestual love affair between Frank, Kirsty, her father and stepmother with Frank swapping skins with his own brother, even the term "demons to some, angels to others" can all be read as religious subtext, gay subtext, or even as broad as a comment on being an outsider. Frank himself was searching for pleasure that sex with Julia couldn't achieve which can be read as a metaphor again on relationships, our own apathetic culture, and yes, gay feelings. If you want to get all feministic/Freudian; Kirsty, who is definitely a final girl, is more of a man than her boyfriend who is knocked unconscious during the finale, forcing her to become more of the aggressor (as do many final girls who brandish a phallic weapon to fight back against their male attackers). Having Frank be attracted to her, again suggests his attraction toward a more masculine/aggressive sex. It's there. It's just not as obvious in HELLRAISER as is in some of his other works. But I think it is present.

  • Aug. 30, 2012, 5:10 p.m. CST

    Hellraiser is an S&M nightmare about confronting your hidden desires

    by Shaun D Lyons

    And coming undone by them. Gay, straight, kinky, incest, bestial...whatever the desire, the journey towards sexual enlightenment ultimately leds you into a very dark realm where pleasures of the flesh are inextricably linked to spiritual damnation. So, basically your typical teen slasher movie, right? Jesus wept

  • Aug. 30, 2012, 5:24 p.m. CST

    this man is a genius

    by WINONA_RYDERS_PUSSY_JUICE

    Martyrs is one of the most hard-hitting horror films ever, and I admire and enjoy Laugier's creativity and originality. After watching The Tall Man, which is a very good film, my roommate wanted to see Martyrs. Watching it again for the second time I was reminded of Cabin in the Woods and that film's poking fun at the typical mainstream slasher horror films, which are mostly mindless violence unleashed upon mostly stupid people who act mildly retarded. Which Martyrs is actually partly guilty of. The girls do that home invasion, guns blazing, then proceed to stay in the house for over 24 hours, which of course is too risky and pretty idiotic, but somewhat necessary in order to progress the story to the next step. Anyways, I kind of find it sad that The Tall Man isn't getting much of a wide release, it's a quality film made by a technically gifted and inventive director. I'm also a bit surprised to see so many negative reviews. I think a lot of critics apparently have very weak imaginations.

  • Aug. 30, 2012, 5:38 p.m. CST

    As for Hellraiser

    by WINONA_RYDERS_PUSSY_JUICE

    I guess he's not really the right man for the job, unfortunately. I don't think that homosexuality is a very strong theme, and shouldn't be pushed on the audience. The films have themes that all people can relate to, sexual desire is the same regardless of what gender your partner is. There's also straight people that do S&M and while watching Hellraiser I never picked up on any specifically gay themes.

  • Aug. 30, 2012, 5:55 p.m. CST

    Tall Man

    by Jeff

    Just watched it this morning and was deeeeeeply disappointed. Jessica Biel did a great job and all but.......Tall Man is a Hallmark movie disguised as a horror movie. That's the best way I can describe it. It just can't juggle the 2 kinds of movie it wants to be as opposed to Martyrs which did so perfectly.

  • http://tinyurl.com/pd8znl I'd give just about anything to see it. I really liked the version we've had to settle for, contrary to....everyone else I know, pretty much.

  • If that were the case, there's a shitload of classic movies that are faaaabulous. Hellraiser should be remade, because Barker couldn't do what he really wanted with the budget constraints but get someone who gets it. Not this guy and sure as fuck not the guy who is writing the comic right now. The Hell in Hellraiser is not the Judeo Christian Hell and the Cenobites are not just taking out the garbage. This isn't fucking Spawn.

  • Aug. 30, 2012, 6:41 p.m. CST

    Hey Mr. PASCAL! You Stated:

    by Nichole

    I’m a horror fan myself and I hate most of them, because most of them just don’t work at all. I read the context around your statement, but No Horror fan SHOULD say such a dumbass statement. You sound like a pompous arrogant asshole. Just Saying. Ugh, Your Statement makes me want to puke. Fuck.

  • Aug. 30, 2012, 6:54 p.m. CST

    Hellraiser: Two Words

    by Stan Arthur

    Wasted potential. I mean from the git go. Never felt like it fired on all 8 cylinders.

  • Clive Barker Fought tooth and nail just to get his books published, because they had Gay Characters that did not even ACT Gay, except for being gay and having sex. He did not Waiver This point. Ambush Bug and Bad Wolf don't know what they are saying, and most likely, have not read much Clive Barker. Example: Short Story- In the Hills, In the Cities. Hellraiser has NOTHING to do with Being Gay. Sure it has S & M, but straight people do that too. None of the Characters are Gay. If he wanted it to be about Homosexual S&M, then the characters would have been gay. There is no reading into anything. Barker is too smart for that, he says what he wants to say. This director might make good films, but he comes off like a dolt.

  • Aug. 30, 2012, 7:35 p.m. CST

    @stalkeye: WORD. PHANTASM LIKE A MOFO!

    by obijuanmartinez

  • Aug. 30, 2012, 7:37 p.m. CST

    The assessment of Hellraiser above is as off-the-mark as it is assinine...

    by obijuanmartinez

  • Aug. 30, 2012, 7:38 p.m. CST

    ...as in - in the article, not @phantomcreeps' assessment; agree w/ him!

    by obijuanmartinez

  • Aug. 30, 2012, 8:30 p.m. CST

    I love talkback logic...

    by Ambush Bug

    Talkbacker 1: You're wrong! Talkbacker 2; Well, here's a post illustrating my point, citing examples from the movie, and supporting my argument. Talkbacker 1: No, YOU'RE WRONG! Jesus wept, kids, my point was that HELLRAISER is such rich material that one would be able to read many, many themes into it. Has anyone out there ever taken a film theory class or even tried to search for metaphor in literature, film, or any other artistic work? Interpretations are just that, and just as someone might see homosexual themes in a film, another might see strong feminist themes, or a bold statement on society. Unlike your typical slasher, HELLRAISER is full of rich characters, following an unconventional narrative, and filled with truly imaginative details. Read into it what you will, but my point was that if one wanted to make an argument that there may be gay themes in the film, the material is there. Is it the way I saw it? No. What I admired most is Barker's tendency to layer levels of villainy. There's Frank, who is a threat. Julia who is another real threat. Kirsty's father who is a pushover/whiner and unlikable. Kirsty is not completely likable in the film. And then there are the Cenobites, who prove to be the biggest threat to all for different reasons. The way Barker folds and refolds the levels of evil in this film is masterful and makes for an extremely interesting film to study, deconstruct, and debate. But, go ahead and keep screaming YOU'RE WRONG!!! like an infant. Try it in real life and see if it works for you.

  • Aug. 30, 2012, 9:01 p.m. CST

    ambush bug. You're wrong!

    by adeceasedfan

    ;)

  • Aug. 30, 2012, 10:05 p.m. CST

    Ambush Bug, You Are Wrong. No smiley face from me.

    by Nichole

    Ambush Bug-but my point was that if one wanted to make an argument that there may be gay themes in the film, the material is there. All of what you have written has nothing to do with what we have a problem with. The director can see anything he wants, but where is there anything to back it up? Name me anything in Hellraiser, that has to do with Homosexuality. Especially, Sadomasochistic Homosexuality. Anything. Ambush Bug-If you want to get all feministic/Freudian; Kirsty, who is definitely a final girl, is more of a man than her boyfriend who is knocked unconscious during the finale, forcing her to become more of the aggressor (as do many final girls who brandish a phallic weapon to fight back against their male attackers). Having Frank be attracted to her, again suggests his attraction toward a more masculine/aggressive sex. What the fuck? I love you and this article, but your reaching for straws here man. And yes, I've taken film theory, and also your talkback logic is worse than mine. I can back up my statements, you just see gay rorshach paintings, because Clive Barker is Gay. If anything Hellraiser is more like a slasher, than Homesexual S&M Fetish.

  • Aug. 30, 2012, 10:54 p.m. CST

    I bow to your use of double spaces, fantacreep.

    by Ambush Bug

    Not interested in a war. I think my attempts to converse respectfully and your responses have made my points pretty clearly. Glad you enjoy the column.

  • Your column is one of the best on here. I retract one of my statements. Bow before this double space post. :) There is your smiley face, sir.

  • Aug. 30, 2012, 11:27 p.m. CST

    Interesting discussion re: hellraiser

    by HarveyManfrenjenson

    I admit, I'm struggling with the idea that Hellraiser is about "gay S&M subculture". There's no question of course about the S&M theme, which is right up front from the opening scene (despite the fact that none of the characters really talk about it in so many words). The Cenobites are not your typical horror nasties who seek out unsuspecting victims; instead, their victims have to knowingly *invite* them. This was a shocking concept in 1985 and it's still a shocking concept today. Name me one other horror film that begins with such a premise. But "gay"? The adjective doesn't strike me as wrong, exactly, but it does seem irrelevant. I think I would have a similar reaction if Laugier had said that the movie was about "the straight S&M subculture", or "the Hispanic S&M subculture".

  • Aug. 30, 2012, 11:29 p.m. CST

    Martyrs

    by ARGH!

    Martyrs was literally the worst film I have ever seen. Pretentious torture porn. I loved Devil's Rejects and enjoyed Hostel 2 (1 was okay), I'm cool with both Human Centipedes, love the horror genre and am able to go beyond it, but Martyrs was absolute, "I'm ONLY going to shock you!" garbage. And to the people who say if you don't enjoy it you didn't get it, I say: if you enjoyed it, you didn't get it. He intentionally made an unwatchable, unpleasant film that people watched multiple times. Go fast forward and rewind the rape scene in Irreversible for two hours, skip the rest, it'll be your new favorite movie I promise. And his new movie looks like generic ridiculous ass with Biel being apparently the dumbest mother ever to take her child to the child abduction capital of the world and then refuse to believe EVERYONE'S warnings.

  • Aug. 31, 2012, 3:31 a.m. CST

    @Mr ambush bug

    by albert comin

    I'm not familiar with clive Baker's writings, but i am more with his movies, and for my money, the movie he made in which the gay subtext is praticaly text and theme is "Lord Of Illusions". There certainly was something more going on between Swan and his master then just a mere teacher-pupil relationship.

  • Aug. 31, 2012, 3:38 a.m. CST

    @Mr phantomcreepsreturns

    by albert comin

    I'm a huge fan of SF, always was as far i can remember, and most of the SF movies made are pretty terrible. Just because i'm a huge fan of the genre doesn't mean i'm going to make excuses for the bad movies of the genre. So, i completly understand Pascal Laugier's point of view. If you are a big fan of any given genre, you will eventually hunger for more quality fare. You want your favorite genre to be an example of good cinema. As that internet reviewer Vern says, you strive for excelency. And that's a very legit want. It might define you as a truly fan. It's not so much how much you can eat, but what you should eat.

  • Aug. 31, 2012, 3:45 a.m. CST

    Was voyeurism ever adressed in the Hellraiser movies?

    by albert comin

    In Hellraiser we have a clear constructed hell that punished the people who go evil in indulging in their most hidden and forbidden desires at the expense of everything else. But what if their inner hidden desires is build around voyeurism? How would it go?

  • I was in shock when i finally recognized him. I was like "no way!!!" Small wonder it all ended up so terrible for him in the end.

  • Aug. 31, 2012, 7:13 a.m. CST

    Who the hell is Scorpio from Die Hard?

    by Mugato5150

    I know he's Garak from DS9.

  • Aug. 31, 2012, 7:44 a.m. CST

    @Mr mugato5150

    by albert comin

    Oh hell!!! I ment to say that he was Scorpio from "Dirty Harry". Wow!! What a blunder! I guess my geek card is soon to be apreended. Rightly so. Unbelievable! The damnations of old age!

  • Aug. 31, 2012, 8:43 a.m. CST

    Thanks Phantom, Ambush, et al.

    by Stalkeye

    After reading Wolf's response, I obviously didn't bother replying to his weak strawman arguments and bizarre assumptions. it's moreso than ever that he's not too familiar with Clive's franchise. And for the record, SDSM was never exclusive to Homosexuals heteros have been doing that wacky shit for decades as well. Not to mention that 50 Shades of Grey is very popular amongst the Female demographic. (what some ppl would say in order to refute my rationale.) Ambush, great post but to be honest, you were reaching quite a bit with the Kirsty analogy. There was no subtext in regards to her character as in many Horror films, the protagonist happens to be the scared female architype who suddenly develops courage and a survival instict that helps her prevail against the "Monster' near the end. (Eg: Halloween, The Fog, Friday the 13th, Texas Chainsaw massacre, etc.) Hellraiser was no different as the idea of these cenobites and of course her demented Uncle going after some helpless Young Lady added a high volume of tense and horror. It's a High concept horror film, but a slasher film no less.

  • Aug. 31, 2012, 8:53 a.m. CST

    Hellraiser is a great, great, GAY, GAY movie.

    by Kabukiman

    To know anything about Clive Barker and to not see anything about homosexuality in it is just plain ignorance or denial.

  • Aug. 31, 2012, 8:53 a.m. CST

    @Mr stalkeye

    by albert comin

    I think what seperates the slasher genre, besides the obvious "murderous maniac after teens with a big point object" thing is that the stories have naturalistic nature, as in, they are set in a material world. Even though man yof the maniacs seem to be able to teleport, the thing is presented more as if they are very good at going distances so that in narrative he's able to ambush his victims and do fast mass murder in a relatively short time. Of course you could say you can defeat my argument by pointing out that as the Friday 13th series went, Freddy stoped being a big guy and become supernatural. But then again, i tend to think that Friday 13Th stoped being a slasher horror and became more of a boogeyman horror. Same thing why i do not rate the Elm Street series as slashers but, as pointed above, beloging to another subgenre, the boogieman attacks. As such, i do not think the Hellraiser movies are slashers, they belong to a more supernatural oriented type of horror. And damsels in distressed have always been a stample of horror, regardless of subgenre. The final girl didn't pop up from vaccum with "Halloween", but it's continuation of a very common trope found in horror stories from times immemorial, the female lead victim who suffers horrors at the hands of tormentors, be they wordly or supernatural. Or i could be completly misguised and all i wrote above is just a bunch of total nonsense.

  • Aug. 31, 2012, 8:59 a.m. CST

    RE: "Who the hell is Scorpio from Die Hard? "

    by Stalkeye

    Andrew Robinson who played the psychotic serial Killer Scorpio from Dirty Harry and I don't remeber him from Die Hard but instead Cobra where he played a total dick as detective Monte and of couse he got his ass handed to him in the end. ("POW! right in the kisser!") Triva: Robinson was offered to reprise his role in Hellraiser: Hellbound but declined because the studios wouldn't pay him enough. Here's the Alternate script had Andrew accepted to return in the sequel: http://sfy.ru/sfy.html?script=hellraiser_2

  • Aug. 31, 2012, 9:30 a.m. CST

    Demons to some, Angels to others

    by Forthesakeofhumanity

    That's what sets Hellraiser apart from other movies for me. The Cenobites are not 'evil' per se, they just have appetites that are simply beyond most human beings. They dutifully answer the call of those jaded, burned out souls who have sought out and exhausted all the various pleasures and experiences life (as we know it) has to offer, those who remain hungry and discontented with their experience of life, and crave something more potent and exotic. Those who seek out the Lament Configuration. The sights and sensations offered by the Cenobites do indeed represent a radical leap beyond what those who open the puzzle box have experienced previously, but as with any excess, it can all be too much. I tend to think of the Cenobites as the guy at the party who you seek out and beg for a swig of his homemade moonshine, a toke on his crazy weed, or the tab of his mind-bending LSD. YOU asked to try that s@#t, you BEGGED for it. But when you finally got what you wanted, it was more than you bargained for, and you probably end up blaming the guy for giving you what YOU wanted and asked for in the first place. In terms of what the Cenobites actually offer, it's an interesting one. They offer exquisite physical sensation. The kind that can make a person feel more alive and vital than any of the comparatively muted sensations they've ever experienced. The kind of intensity that maxes out the signals our nerve endings are capable of reporting to our brains - perhaps so intense, the pleasure and pain of it become indistiguishable. With the pain also comes mutilation/transformation - the physical embodiment of that person's own forbidden and deeply buried perversion and intimate self-expression. To those who still cling to the facade of their original identity and appearance, this transformation may be perceived as agonising and hideous, but to those who are at peace with their true underlying nature and long to fully express it, it could be seen as an exquisite form of release and self-realisation. As their flesh is rended and stripped away, so is their doubt, their inhibitions, their conformity to their original appearance - they are liberated now, free to fully express themselves through the sensations they subject their body to, and the resultant deformities they bear. If anything, the true 'horror' in this story is experienced by those who had mistakenly believed they were ready to take this profound leap, but ultimately had been ignorant of, or had grossly underestimated, the sheer magnitude and intensity of what they were attempting to undertake. After all, this experience isn't suited for everyone. That's how I interpret Hellraiser anyway. It's all a gross extension of the kinds of self-expression we already undertake through painful mutilation (surgical sex-changes/piercings/tattoos/implants/tribal markings, etc), some of which are specifically intended to heighten sexual experiences (Prince Alberts and Tongue Piercings among them). I think the concept got a bit lost in the sequels, where the Cenobites seemed to be portrayed more as generic villains from 'Hell' and where their 'offerings' were presented as more of a straightforward threat. I certainly hope that any remake attempts to deal with these underlying themes and conflicts that make the subject matter that much richer and more interesting. Just another 'slasher movie' using the characters and basic premise as an excuse to exploit the popularity of the original would be a disappointment.

  • Aug. 31, 2012, 9:31 a.m. CST

    Demons to some, Angels to others

    by Forthesakeofhumanity

    That's what sets Hellraiser apart from other movies for me. The Cenobites are not 'evil' per se, they just have appetites that are simply beyond most human beings. They dutifully answer the call of those jaded, burned out souls who have sought out and exhausted all the various pleasures and experiences life (as we know it) has to offer, those who remain hungry and discontented with their experience of life, and crave something more potent and exotic. Those who seek out the Lament Configuration. The sights and sensations offered by the Cenobites do indeed represent a radical leap beyond what those who open the puzzle box have experienced previously, but as with any excess, it can all be too much. I tend to think of the Cenobites as the guy at the party who you seek out and beg for a swig of his homemade moonshine, a toke on his crazy weed, or the tab of his mind-bending LSD. YOU asked to try that s@#t, you BEGGED for it. But when you finally got what you wanted, it was more than you bargained for, and you probably end up blaming the guy for giving you what YOU wanted and asked for in the first place. In terms of what the Cenobites actually offer, it's an interesting one. They offer exquisite physical sensation. The kind that can make a person feel more alive and vital than any of the comparatively muted sensations they've ever experienced. The kind of intensity that maxes out the signals our nerve endings are capable of reporting to our brains - perhaps so intense, the pleasure and pain of it become indistiguishable. With the pain also comes mutilation/transformation - the physical embodiment of that person's own forbidden and deeply buried perversion and intimate self-expression. To those who still cling to the facade of their original identity and appearance, this transformation may be perceived as agonising and hideous, but to those who are at peace with their true underlying nature and long to fully express it, it could be seen as an exquisite form of release and self-realisation. As their flesh is rended and stripped away, so is their doubt, their inhibitions, their conformity to their original appearance - they are liberated now, free to fully express themselves through the sensations they subject their body to, and the resultant deformities they bear. If anything, the true 'horror' in this story is experienced by those who had mistakenly believed they were ready to take this profound leap, but ultimately had been ignorant of, or had grossly underestimated, the sheer magnitude and intensity of what they were attempting to undertake. After all, this experience isn't suited for everyone. That's how I interpret Hellraiser anyway. It's all a gross extension of the kinds of self-expression we already undertake through painful mutilation (surgical sex-changes/piercings/tattoos/implants/tribal markings, etc), some of which are specifically intended to heighten sexual experiences (Prince Alberts and Tongue Piercings among them). I think the concept got a bit lost in the sequels, where the Cenobites seemed to be portrayed more as generic villains from 'Hell' and where their 'offerings' were presented as more of a straightforward threat. I certainly hope that any remake attempts to deal with these underlying themes and conflicts that make the subject matter that much richer and more interesting. Just another 'slasher movie' using the characters and basic premise as an excuse to exploit the popularity of the original would be a disappointment.

  • Aug. 31, 2012, 9:31 a.m. CST

    Sorry for the double-post!

    by Forthesakeofhumanity

    :-(

  • they would have to go way beyond pinhead to make a new hellraiser have the same effect today as the original in 87.

  • Great talking points and for the most part, I cannot digress.

  • Aug. 31, 2012, 10:59 a.m. CST

    forthesakeofhumanity , well said as well.

    by Stalkeye

  • Quote: "so for me a new HELLRAISER is all about S&M gay culture, because it comes from a homosexual desire and HELLRAISER is about dealing with these very questions and I don’t want to betray Clive’s vision. I’m a huge fan and I love HELLRAISER and maybe I was wrong, but I had the feeling I was wanted to do something much more for a teenage audience." WTF Sure we all know Clive is Gay but I highly doubt that Hellraiser is this S&M Gay culture themed concept. It's purely based on the Novel Hellbound heart and as Clive once described it as "What a Woman would do in order to have a good time". Sure there are elements of Sadomaichism, but nothing that speaks "GAY" in high volumes as Pascal would put it. That's like saying; "Oh, I would love to capture the the essence of making this Black Director's film"primarly because he's Black. It's almost as if Clive is being Labeled.Some ppl just can't seperate the Man's sexuality from his craft. LOL

  • Aug. 31, 2012, 12:19 p.m. CST

    So the purpose of the cenobites is to...

    by 8bit_datassette

    take those that open the box into a dimension of extreme homo-erotic S&M? Could work in Pascal's vision of a remake, but I think he may have misinterpreted the original film. I still think he is a genius none the less.

  • Aug. 31, 2012, 12:34 p.m. CST

    One uear ao i would had not understand the references about the Tall Man

    by albert comin

    I'm quite a late arrival to the "Phantams" series. I love the first movie a lot. And the others are alright too. "Booooyyyyy!!"

  • Aug. 31, 2012, 12:38 p.m. CST

    uear ao" means "year ago

    by albert comin

    My keyboard hates me and is decided to make me look like a fool. It's succeding.

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