Monday, January 23, 2017
Pinhead VS Power Rangers
I've said many a time before that I'm a big horror fan, and one of my favorite horror franchises is Hellraiser. If you're not familiar with the Hellraiser franchise, here's a brief description of its craziness: they're movies about damaged, lost, broken, corrupt, depraved or just plain deviant people who, for varying reasons, seek out a mysterious puzzle box. The puzzle box, when solved, is said to open doors to other realms, with promises of pleasure. What it really opens is a door to Hell, in which monsters appear and torture the one who solved the puzzle box and opened the door. (Some are masochists who know very well what they'll get when they solve the box, which is why these monsters -- the Cenobites -- refer to themselves as "angels to some, demons to others.") The main villain of these movies is the character Pinhead...
So, Hellraiser: Inferno is the fifth movie in the franchise. Now, Hellraiser, like every other horror franchise, has some very terrible sequels, and Inferno is considered by fans to be one of the worst. (Franchise creator Clive Barker loathes it.) The movie is flawed beyond belief, but I like what it tries to do. (Spoilers ahead.) It's about a corrupt cop who finds and opens the box -- not knowing the consequences -- and his life turns into one unending nightmare of a case. He's racing the clock to find a child killer, and the suspected culprit is almost a myth in his means, his envasiveness and how well-guarded he is; known simply as "The Engineer," he's practically an urban legend amongst cops and the criminal world. The main character finds himself desperately trying to solve this unsolvable, supernatural case, one in which he's implicated, and one in which he betrays or loses everyone close to him. The Cenobites are about inflicting pain on people, and this movie emphasizes the psychological pain they cause the main character in damning him to relive this case.
Now, Hellraiser 5 isn't great, but it TRIES to have a serious, dark tone to it. It wants to be neo-noir, and I think it has a good idea in the Cenobites punishing this corrupt cop by making him relive this nightmarish case. Things are going along nicely and then, randomly, the movie gets stupid. More stupid than the time Pinhead goes to space, more stupid than the time a disc jockey was turned into a Cenobite and killed people by throwing CDs at them; the cop character goes to a remote, backwoods bar populated by hillbillies in order to get info about the killer he's after.
You know how this scenario goes: the bar's filled with people who won't talk to him, he says one too many things that rouses suspicion, and then he leaves. Shortly afterward, at the behest of a criminal at the bar, the cop is cornered and roughed up by goons. But not just any goons... He's roughed up by TWO KARATEKA ASIAN COWBOYS. Asian cowboys. Who do karate. Karate kicking Asian cowboys. In a goddamn Hellraiser movie. So long, noirish atmosphere, so long, gory Hellraiser murder mystery. It's an incredibly stupid scene, really horrible and goofy looking. It's so dumb, it's so random, so out of place! How in the...who the heck decided to have the movie make such a stupid detour!?! Who was behind this scene of shittiness?!?!
Oh. That explains a lot. And: whaaaaaaaa? How'd this happen? Who thought this was a good idea? The how and why this came about is a mystery worthy of Poirot. "Hmmm...say, you know this Hellraiser could use a little action. Let's get the guy that does all of that twirly, slow-mo dance-y crap on Power Rangers!"
It's like this brief scene captures what I don't like about Sakamoto: not only do I just dislike his style, but he just does what he pleases and forces his style onto the work, even if it doesn't fit. And, sure, in this case, it was up to the Hellraiser producers and director to look at his footage and nix it, but it doesn't change that Sakamoto just breezes in and does his usual thing when it doesn't belong. He doesn't take things seriously, he ignores his surroundings, and just pulls out his bag of same old same old tricks. He could be given a boxing movie to choreograph, and he'd turn it from being about fist-fighting into "Cirque du Soleil Presents: Bootleg HK Action With Slo-Mo Explosions!"
Your weekly reminder that I'm not a Koichi Sakamoto fan!