Exclusive Comments, BTS Image: Director Gary Tunnicliffe talks “HELLRAISER” Sequel!

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For longtime FANGORIA readers, Gary Tunnicliffe is a name one should be familiar with. A FX master with almost 30 years of work to his name, Tunnicliffe has provided blood,  guts and monsters to projects like CANDYMAN, DRACULA 2000, WISHMASTER, FEAST, MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3D and much, much more. But Tunnicliffe’s career has intimately connected to the HELLRAISER franchise, having done FX on every HELLRAISER film since HELL ON EARTH as well as writing and second-unit directing on recent sequels as well. Now, Tunnicliffe is going all the way to the top, helming the next HELLRAISER film, entitled HELLRAISER: JUDGMENT, and now, FANGORIA has the exclusive first words from the director himself regarding the series’ next entry, as well as the first behind-the-scenes shot of the set!

FANGORIA: The HELLRAISER franchise is one that’s very near and dear to you. Was it important for you to climb into the directors chair this time around?

GARY TUNNICLIFFE: More important than you possibly imagine. I was devastated to not be able to direct REVELATIONS and to see the script whittled down and shot in a way that I would not have done. I respect Victor [Garcia] and I know he was under great pressure (in all aspects) and unfortunately, I think he made some choices that didn’t work out for him… so overall it was tough to see something I created altered and served up in a way that I was not a fan of in the end, although I think people and the fans have been able to see some evidence of what ‘may have been’ had there been more time, money, etc. This time around, it was vital that I get into the directors chair and I have to thank Joel Soisson, Mike Leahy and the folks at Dimension Films for giving me this opportunity and trusting me with what is a fairly daring and intimidating script and vision this time around.

FANGORIA: What can fans expect from this HELLRAISER sequel? Familiar faces?  New creations

TUNNICLIFFE: This is not a simple recycling of the HELLRAISER formula;  his is a film that will boast some of the strangest, most bizarre, horrific and thought provoking sequences ever seen in a horror film, a horror film that owes it’s inspiration to the works of Heironymous Bosch, and Francis Bacon as well as Cronenberg, Fincher and Lynch (the David’s, as we nickname the influences here) as well as obviously and foremost Clive Barker and I have to thank Bob Weinstein, Matthew Signer, Stu Arbury, Scoop Wasserstein and the rest of the team at Dimension for helping me and for being brave enough to let me do what I want to do…which is to simply create a horror film that flat out horrifies.

To the fans, I would say this… I know you’ve been let down, and trust me, I have too, but simply give me a chance. I know we can NEVER make a film as great as the first two HELLRAISER’s, I wouldn’t even attempt to do so, but I think we have a fun script here an opportunity with an amazing cast and crew to give you all something that feels a little familiar, a little different, completely terrifying and is a worthy part of the HELLRAISER Canon….. oh and of course if you want blood?…. well you’ve got it!

Now, regarding Doug Bradley….

I was thrilled and excited to call Doug and let him know I was writing and directing HELLRAISER: JUDGMENT , I considered Pinhead HIS role and I was looking forward to working with him and bringing him back to the fans. Legally, we needed a simple non-disclosure agreement signed (very much common place now with production companies) but he immediately balked. I have no idea why, I’ve signed way more binding NDA’s than that myself, most actors and crew on productions of any size usually have to now.

Doug wrote back to me…

‘I’m going to make myself liable for a million bucks I don’t have just to read a damn script?… I don’t think so’

I was stunned, after all it was my ‘damn’ script and it let me know how he felt straight away. I wrote to him saying I was sorry he felt that way and the next day the search for a new Pinhead began.

A few weeks later, we found him: a classically trained stage and film actor who brings a great physical presence and more than a hint of Peter Cushing and Ralph Fiennes. I can’t wait to get him bound in leather, gridded up and in front of the camera and on screens!

Now, regarding Heather Langenkamp…

…you know I don’t know Heather; obviously, I am a huge fan of her (and her amazing FX artist husband David Anderson). I’ve never worked with her, the script got to her and (without knowing I wrote it) after she read it, she wanted to come on board and I am nothing short of thrilled, primarily because I know she reads TONS of horror scripts and having her want to be a part of this is tremendous validation for me. She won’t be called Nancy, she wont be wearing a red and green striped dress or anything like that; Heather is an actress playing a character in our film… period and that is cool.

The film isn’t a re-hashing of an old script (as some lesser informed sites are assuming) nor was it rushed into production. It’s a completely original piece and so far it’s looking pretty amazing… we certainly have some sights to show you.

About the author
Ken W. Hanley
Ken W. Hanley is the Managing Web Editor for FANGORIA and STARLOG, as well as the former Web Editor for Diabolique Magazine and a contributing writer to YouWonCannes.com. He’s a graduate from Montclair State University, where he received an award for Excellence in Screenwriting. He’s currently working on screenplays, his debut novel "THE I IN EVIL", and various other projects, and can be followed on Twitter: @movieguyiguess.
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