The verdict has arrived. Hellraiser: Judgment at long last receives an official release date. The film debuts on the home video market in February 2018. The wait for a release date was a rather lengthy one. The film was completed roughly two years ago. Hollywood distribution delay terms such as “sat on a shelf collecting dust” would be fitting ways to describe the treatment the sequel in the long-running series received. A closer look at the recent history of Hellraiser films shows why Hellraiser: Judgment’s release suffered delays.
The original Hellraiser was a sleeper horror hit in 1988. During the late 1980’s, the horror genre seemed dead. The drive-ins had shut down and the slasher movie and sequel cycle of the early to mid-1980’s turned mainstream audiences away from the genre. Hellraiser, an adaption of Clive Barker’s The Hellbound Heart, did fairly well at the box office and spawned sequels. With each progressive sequel, the quality of the films declined. Still, the features made money. Eventually, the films ceased to garner interest from fans but Dimension Films continued to produce new entries in order to retain the rights.
Horror movie remakes can garner huge money. If a major studio chose to remake Hellraiser, Dimension Films could be in a good position. However, Dimension Films needed to keep producing sequels or lose the rights. Quality wasn’t too much of a concern when producing the later films. Hence, quality suffered.
Curiously, the distributor of Hellraiser: Judgment is Lionsgate Films. Dimension Films’ name does not appear in connection with the new film. Lionsgate may have purchased the distribution rights to the film or there could be some sort of partnership agreement in place.
Unless Hellraiser: Judgment turns out to be a surprisingly stellar work of horror, the film probably will be ignored by anyone not a major horror movie fan. Sad to say, the Hellraiser franchise appears finished as a profit generator.