“Hellraiser VI: Hellseeker” (2001)

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By Jerome Reuter

Hellseeker is the sixth installment in the Hellraiser series. As I’ve said before, the first two films established a mythology; the many sequels turned it into a franchise. The problems started with Hell On Earth, and it only got worse from there on out. Much of the problems were due to poor writing, and Cenobites that look like cheap Halloween costumes. However, it’s this installment, which I consider somewhat decent. It’s not great, but it’s also not a dreaded abomination. Coincidentally, this is also the last entry to have any input from author Clive Barker. I’ll even go so far as to say this one is better than Hell On Earth and Bloodlines.

I’ve read quite a few reviews that trashed this one, and others who gave it praise. It seems opinion is split right down the middle.

 Hellseeker marked the return of Ashley Laurence as Kirsty Cotton. This film attempts to continue her story after the conclusion of Hellbound. Which is a far cry from her 3-minute cameo in Hell On Earth. The focus on the story isn’t on her however, but her husband Trevor. (Played by Dean Winters.)

From the opening segments, were introduced to a bizarre mystery. Due to a freak car accident, Kirsty plummets into a water grave. Much of the story is focused on Trevor, attempting to recover his memories of what happened. This is one of the films more intriguing aspects, one I wasn’t expecting to see. Some of the best thrillers are works that blur the lines of fact and fiction. There’s no short work of that here.

The film consists of flashbacks, hallucinations, and only reveals the story at a slow tempo. So how does everyone’s favorite Cenobite come into all of this? Allow me to explain. First, I feel I need to touch base on something important. Bradley, much like Laurence, has very little on screen time. Quite a few people took issue with this, how can it be a Hellraiser film without Pinhead? I think a lot of people forget that the first film had little to do with the cenobites, and more to do with the characters. Sometimes, less is more.

Back on topic regarding the infamous Hell priest. One of the many sub plots in this film, regard a plan to kill Kirsty for her inheritance. Trevor goes about this, by obtaining the worlds most recognizable puzzle box from a shopkeeper (Also played by Bradley) to give it Kirsty as a gift. Before I go any further, there’s something else I need to establish. One scene that was deleted from the film goes into further explanation. Kirsty explains she want’s nothing to do with her father and Frank Cotton’s money, because it’s tainted. I feel it was a huge mistake leaving this out, it really established a connection with the first two films.

Speaking of the first two films, this one has an old familiar scene. Kirsty making a deal with the devil, or in this case one of the devil’s minions. Kirsty promises pinhead 5 souls, in exchange for hers, that’s what I call collective bargaining! I mentioned earlier about the flashbacks and hallucinations the plot bases itself on. Here’s where things get interesting. The 5 souls Kirsty mentions are murder victims. Taking the lives of Trevor’s extramarital affairs, and one of his friends. Throughout the film, Trevor has visions of their death, and the time he spent with them while they were still alive. Pinhead reveals the truth to Trevor, as well as the audience in the films final act. He is the 5th soul, and his mental anguish has been punishment while his soul writhes in limbo. The car accident was no accident. To quote thrash band Demolition Hammer, Kirsty solves an unfaithful marriage, with “44. Caliber brain surgery.”

So how does this one hold up? Well, it’s nothing spectacular. At times, it even feels really low-budget. I would never consider it a part of the mythology that the first two films established. However, considering how terrible some of the other installments are, I’ll take it. It isn’t something pandering to a demographic, and it isn’t trying to be something on a large scale. It knows what it is.

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