Counterpoint: if you are a person of faith and you do practice love and compassion, then is it even a religion?
This was my first time watching the Stephen King classic, and I can completely imagine how if I had seen it as a child - especially one living in the midwest, surrounded by corn - this would've made an indelible impression upon my psyche. Unfortunately, I'm watching it as a 30 year old with a severe case of religious trauma who is currently trying to move away from Indiana and back to Chicago; so instead, this was more like an unsatisfying farce.
I found this movie completely on accident. I don't even remember what I was actually looking for, but this came up in the suggested titles and I AM SO GLAD THAT IT DID. After laughing for a solid five minutes, wiping the tears from my eyes, watching the trailer, and then giggling for ten more minutes, I pressed play immediately and my life hasn't been the same since.
As a queer filmmaker who was raised in the evangelical church, I have long been dreaming of making a low budget horror that took place at Church Camp, and for this reason, I will NEVER FORGIVE MYSELF for not coming up with the brilliant title of this movie first! That being said, while the title is hardly the best part, it's on a short list of what worked in the film.
I am always reasonably skeptical of horror franchise remakes, especially with a classic like Hellraiser. Clive Barker's original was the perfect balance of camp and grotesque, elements that I suspect only worked for me because it was made in the 80's. I generally cringe at the "gritty" aesthetic of contemporary horror (the whole 2000s-2010s era of torture porn is completely lost on me) - so this film seemed like the perfect test of whether or not the magic of the story was contingent on its predecessor's specific niche. And the answer? Yeah, kind of.
I've always been fascinated but totally baffled by the kind of people find the horror genre to somehow counteract their anxiety. Despite going through a very devoted goth phase in high school (and college... I'm still a bit goth at heart, to be honest), I just never quite understood the allure of watching horny teens getting slashed to bits. Being raised in a religious home that condemned anything "darkly supernatural" also limited my exposure, and although I've since rebelled against all the other things my Christian household labeled taboo, for whatever reason, I just never got around to checking out the horror stuff.
Until October of 2020! It was spooky season and the world was on fire, so I figured now was as good a time as any to invest a new hyper fixation. (You can listen to the podcast I made about it here.) My new special interest taught me a valuable lesson: horror is folklore. And now, every October, I make a point of watching as many horror movies as I can. I'm still making my way through the never-ending list of classics, but I make a concerted effort to check out the new ones too - the more niche, the better.