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John’s Horror Corner: Hellraiser VIII: Hellworld (2005), the only movie in the franchise I didn’t like (so far).

September 9, 2017

MY CALL:  I enjoyed parts I-VII only to utterly despise this sequel.  Very bad, both as a Hellraiser sequel and as a random horror flick.  Just bad.  MORE MOVIES LIKE HellworldBe sure to see Hellraiser (1987) and Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988) first, of course. Then maybe Hellraiser 3: Hell on Earth (1992) and Hellraiser IV: Bloodline (1996).  Hellraiser: Inferno (2000), Hellseeker (2002) and Hellraiser: Deader (2005) are more standalone films, along with this part VIII.

Directed by Rick Bota (Haven, Hellraiser VI-VIII), this eighth installment to the Hellraiser franchise follows Inferno (2000), Hellseeker (2002) and Deader (2005) by presenting another stand-alone story.  But unlike Bota’s other sequels (VI and VII), I can comfortably say this is the only Hellraiser film I was completely unable to enjoy…although I haven’t seen part IX yet.

This direct-to-video movie feels like just that, with lousy acting, deplorable special effects and a script that doesn’t even try.  In fact, the only thing this flick delivers effectively is nudity.  Honestly, I’m a bit confused.  How and why were Bota’s other Hellraiser sequels so superior to this?

In this uninspired franchise installment, Hellworld is a popular interactive videogame and such notions as Cenobites and opening the Puzzle Box are common objectives of the game.  A group of savvy gamers (including Katheryn Winnick; The Dark Tower, Vikings and Henry Cavill; The Immortals, Red Riding Hood, Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice) find themselves invited by a mysterious host (Lance Henriksen; Pumpkinhead, Harbinger Down,The Pit and the Pendulum) to the Leviathan House for a Hellworld-themed carnal sex party.

To say this sequel was phoned in would be polite.  Nothing about this felt like a Hellraiser movie.  Pinhead (Doug Bradley; Hellraiser I-VII) was just forced into the script, the Box’s mythology isn’t developed, the Cenobites didn’t matter at all, and the kills could have been from any stupid Saw knock-off.  We didn’t even get the hooked chains!  And when someone did get killed the effects were awful (maybe “basic” would be a more fair term here).  Even the depictions of the game were aggravatingly lazy.

Despite all the dialogue about the game, it never really felt important.  Nothing did.  This film serves as an example of the complete and utter failure to contemporize a long-running horror series.  I wonder if this film’s quality had to do with it being filmed almost immediately after part VII.  Sigh…

This film is bad, both as a Hellraiser story and as a DTV horror flick.  I wouldn’t even recommend it for Hellraiser film completists.  There’s no reason to watch this except for self-abuse.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. September 10, 2017 8:01 am

    Sadly HellRaiser Hellworld isn’t a very good film at all, only seen it once, that was enough.

    • John Leavengood permalink
      September 10, 2017 10:00 am

      Yeah, I’ve seen VI twice, VII actually about 3 times, yet I don’t think I’ll ever return to VIII…which I just saw for the first time. Yuck.

      • September 10, 2017 4:41 pm

        I’m the same, I’ve found all the Hellraiser films to be extremely rewatchable for the most part, except for this one.


  1. John’s Horror Corner INDEX: a list of all my horror reviews by movie release date | Movies, Films & Flix
  2. John’s Horror Corner: Hellraiser IX: Revelations (2011), basically a fan film honorarium to the 1987 original, with a dash of home invasion. | Movies, Films & Flix
  3. John’s Horror Corner: Hellraiser X: Judgment (2018), an inspired yet completely uninnovating retelling of Hell’s mythology. | Movies, Films & Flix
  4. John’s Horror Corner: Pumpkinhead III: Ashes to Ashes (2006), a bad creature feature sequel doing no service to the legacy of Ed Harley. | Movies, Films & Flix

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