Helloween: When Hell Almost Came to Haddonfield!
To tie-in with the release of Paul Kane’s excellent crossover novel Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell (read our advance review here) that was released today I wanted to do an article for another Hellraiser crossover idea that almost happened back in 2003. Freddy vs. Jason had come out that summer and was a surprise success with audiences and critics. It was obvious fans enjoyed the verses concept and other studios saw the potential to make some money as well. So it wasn’t a shock when Dimension Films announced they were going to do a versus movie with the two popular horror franchises they owned which were Halloween and Hellraiser.
First off let me say I’ve never been a fan of this idea because I could never wrap my head around how the two horror icons could be brought together in a interesting way that didn’t affect either franchises built in mythologies. Neither characters work together like Freddy and Jason do because they’re universes are so far a part and different.
Silly ideas for scenes started to play out in my head. Was Michael going to open the Lament Configuration? Would Pinhead be walking the streets of Haddonfield with other kids dressed up in costumes? I imagined a stupid teenager coming up to Pinhead and saying, “Dude, that costume rocks!” I shuddered at the thought. Surprisingly though there were some people that wanted to see the characters face off against each other.
Talented filmmaker Dave Parker (The Dead Hate the Living, Tales of Halloween) started to think about other potential horror properties that could be combined together into a film. He knew that Dimension Films held the rights to the Hellraiser and Halloween franchises and like the old cliché goes the idea seemed like a match made in heaven and a sure moneymaker for the company after the success of Freddy vs. Jason was for New Line Cinema.
Here’s what he had to say about the project in a interview with Ryan Rotten from Creature Corner at the time.
I had pitched, unsuccessfully, Freddy vs Jason to a guy named Ross Hammer at Sean Cunningham’s company around ’94 or early ’95. After that didn’t go well, I started think about what other franchises were at other studios. It was a no-brainer to see that Dimension had both the Halloween and Hellraiser franchises, so I put together a trailer using footage from the Halloween movies, including Halloween 6 which was just getting ready to come out, and the Hellraiser movies 1 thru 4. I did new narration [for the trailer] and I called the idea Helloween – I know not the most ground breaking idea and will probably induce many groans…
“[I] stayed true to the best elements of Halloween and returned Hellraiser back to the mythology that Clive Barker and Pete Atkins established.
Michael, Meet Pinhead
By Ryan Rotten, Creature Corner, 20 August 2003
I’ve always loved the title Helloween which is probably the best thing the project ever had going for it. I also like the fact that it seemed Parker wanted to stay true to earlier films in both franchises. But when he finally revealed what his story was going to be for the match-up it proved all my fears about how bringing these two characters together would become problematic to both franchises mythologies.
He shared his wild take with Fangoria back in a interview in 2003 when Dimension Films was trying to get the film off the ground.
It explained certain things about Michael Myers and why he is what he is, and that led to opening the doors for Pinhead to come in. My thing was, how come Michael Myers could never die? It’s obviously taking some liberties and I’m not saying this is the greatest idea ever or anything like that; I was just trying to come up with a plausible way to get these two guys together to fight. So, why does he all of a sudden go out and kill his sister in Halloween? He’s trick-or-treating in a flashback and he goes up to this one house and at this time, I was really trying to tie it into everything that was put into the Halloween films. So he goes into the house and sees the guy with the black boots, who gives him the box. He opens it and the Lord of the Dead – Sam Hain – escapes from hell and takes over Michael’s body because he doesn’t want to be in hell. Now, Sam Hain is who the Shape is, and that’s why he can’t be killed.
“So, the story takes place when people try to destroy the Myers house and they find the box hidden between the walls. Of course, they open it and Pinhead shows up, and it’s Halloween and it’s the Myers house, so Michael shows up because there are people there and Pinhead recognizes that Michael is Sam Hain because he can feel it – which begins this whole battle in the real world. And of course, the third act takes them all to hell…
“I took footage from Hellraiser movies and Halloween movies and cut a trailer. Then I had a computer guy do a final piece, which was the skull pumpkin from Halloween II moving in and then Pinhead’s pins emerge out of it. That was my image to sell it with. I showed this trailer to the guy who was then in charge of development at Dimension. He was like, ‘That’s really interesting stuff, but we’re not ready to do that sort of movie at this time.’ So I was like, ‘OK, at least I got to show it.
Dave Parker Talks Director’s Cut And Hellraiser Vs Halloween
By [ ], Fangoria.com, 8 October 2003
As much as I’ve enjoyed Parker’s past work (make sure to checkout The Hills Run Red) his story feels very overstuffed and to be quite frank rather silly. Re-creating Michael Myers origin would’ve pissed off the hardcore Halloween fans which would eventually happen with Rob Zombie’s remake of Halloween a few years later. Also, it’s not something that needs to happen in the first place to get these characters together.
The whole subplot about Samhain escaping Hell and Pinhead going after him doesn’t make any sense at all because when you open the box Cenobites come out not spirits trying to escape Hell. This aspect of the story I’m sure would’ve turned off hardcore fans of the Hellraiser series off as well.
I also think this would’ve simply been nothing more than a splatter film. Stupid teenagers doing stupid things until they were killed off in grisly ways. That works for the Halloween franchise, but not Hellraiser.
To be fair though this was just a plot summary and I don’t think Parker even wrote a script for this because the producers had other ideas in mind and decided not to go down this road. I would love to see Parker release his trailer though someday. For me this idea probably would’ve been the easier and cheaper way for Dimension Films to make the movie appeal to a more general audience.
So after the producers passed on Parker’s idea they actually did something smart and approached the original creators of each respective franchise, John Carpenter and Clive Barker. Now this is where the idea could’ve worked and I applaud Dimension Films for getting behind the project in a way that seemed like they wanted to make a serious movie. Pinhead actor Doug Bradley sure seemed excited about it and the possibility of working with John Carpenter on the project. Dimension Films wanted to put the film into production as quick as possible so it would be released the following the Halloween in 2004.
With Clive providing the script I was positive he would come up with some that was interesting and could make the mythologies work together in a way that seemed fresh and new. Also, having John Carpenter at the helm you know he would’ve made Michael Myers scary again and probably provide another iconic score like he did with the original Halloween.
As development on the project continued a fan poll was created by the official Halloween Movies website asking fans if this was even a movie that they would even care to see. Fans seemed mixed on the idea, but in the end it seemed most fans (especially loyal fans of Halloween) were highly against this idea. Out of 84,427 votes, 54% said NO being very vocal that they didn’t want this movie to happen. Also, the Halloween rights owners didn’t feel this was a good idea either and with that the movie was killed off immediately to the displeasure of Dimension Films executives who believed the project had legs.
But even after the project was called off Dimension Films continued to try and get the film made. There were rumors of a animated film in the works by the studio, but that’s all they turned out to be in the end. The match up between Michael Myers and Pinhead will most certainly never happen now since Dimension Films lost the rights to the Halloween franchise this past year. At the end of the day it wasn’t meant to be, and that’s probably a good thing.
I’ll admit from time to time that I do envision what this movie could’ve been like if it were made. I think this fan made trailer by someone on Youtube named the Taskmaster goes in the direction that I believe would’ve at least made the film a fun ride. Check it out below.
Also, shout off in the comments section and let us know if you think this movie should’ve been made or not looking back on it?
All the above quotes were taken from Clive Barker’s official page Revelations.