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Personal entry follows.
And now for something completely different.
Somehow, I received word that they are remaking "Hellraiser." The angle on the story was that a female actor was confirmed in the cast (never saw her in anything myself, but that's not remarkable) , while there were rumours as to the specific role she would play. Dominant among these speculations was Pinhead, the Hell Priest. I could detect some rumblings from the "horror commentariat" that they shouldn't do it, it would be just like the all-female remake of "Ghostbusters," etc. etc. Personally I believe these fears are overblown, because retreads and remakes happen frequently and it's no big deal. Even if there were lots of detractors from the Ghostbusters franchise, for example, they're perceived as jerks and Internet trolls anyway, people go out and see the films anyway, and besides: the originals are still there.
The most useful thing about the write-up (because I'm ignorant of the actor they mentioned and I wouldn't give two dry farts about the part she will eventually play) was actually the summary of the plot for the original film. After reading the synopsis and some consideration, I think a sex-swapped remake of the original might go over very well. You could make the argument that the second film in the series (and likely my favourite of the lot) was this very thing. However, revisiting the original as follows might be a captivating remake.
Frankie (F): "sexual deviant [...] who inadvertently opens a portal to hell when [s]he tinkers with a box [s]he bought while abroad."
Julian (M): Frankie's brother-in-law, married to Frankie's sister, Andrea. Had an off-and-on, extra-marital affair with Frankie before her death/disappearance.
Andrea (F): Frankie's sister and wife of Julian.
Kirstie (F): Andrea's daughter from an earlier marriage. Personally, I'd prefer the female lead from the original stay that way in any remake. There are already enough male protagonists.
The filmmakers/writers could really play up the slimy "pick-up artist" vibe of Julian, intriguing those mid-western women with his exotic British or Australian accent. I also think it would be interesting to play up a creepy dom-sub relationship between Frankie and Julian. Maybe this is where Julian meets most of his victims. Of course, Andrea is much more mainstream and Frankie was ever the "deviant" type, which attracted Julian and inspired him to commit adultery. His perversity is such that at the end, when he is killed by Frankie, he absolutely loves the experience and dies with a smile on his face. The writers could also build the contrast between the fake-ass BDSM scene with the authentic tortures of Hell itself, making the state of Frankie that much more harrowing and the cenobites that much more terrifying. All while throwing well-deserved shade on the BDSM scene. But perhaps I digress...
One thing that was never really sorted out in the original film was the lack of police investigation into all the local murders. I suppose they rationalized it by indicating all the victims were "traveling businessman" types. Of course, the killings don't necessarily have to take place over a long period of time, and being the '80s police investigation wasn't exactly lightning-quick at the time. Maybe keep it a "period piece" and still have it take place in the mid-'80s? Still, I wonder how they explained the disappearances, and more importantly where the bodies were dumped/disposed of. I wonder if Julian can be depicted as a bisexual... Hmm.
Maybe the story takes place in Vegas, or somewhere outside Los Angeles, where there's a significant transient/traveling population. If you want to move the story to Europe, maybe a place like Berlin or Paris would fit the bill. Maybe South Africa? You would still need to play up the contrast between where the story takes place, and where the puzzle box was discovered by Frankie. I suspect the story would need to take place in or around a cosmopolitan, Anglo-centric city to make it a bit more plausible for mainstream audiences.
The numerous disappearances can be amplified by reports of human trafficking being broadcast in the news during some of the exposition or character-building scenes. Kirstie could be made into a more-complex character, at first seeming like a troublesome busybody who is concerned for the disappearances of women in her age bracket and demographic.
I think all these elements knit together can make the re-telling of this horror classic well worth everyone's time. So Clive Barker, if you're reading: you're kindly welcome, and have fun.
As an aside: here's the link to the original story I read.
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