Doctor Strange Director Scott Derrickson Reveals Hellraiser Tribute

Part of what made Doctor Strange a success was the ambitious visuals that it used to convey interdimensional experiences, thanks to director Scott Derrickson's long career in the horror world, with the director revealing during ComicBook.com's Quarantine Watch Party that the shot of Stephen Strange looking at the gruesome injuries to his hands after his car accident being inspired by Derrickson's directing duties on Hellraiser: Inferno. While Derrickson might be more known for his horror efforts The Exorcism of Emily Rose and Sinister, the 2000 Hellraiser sequel was his directorial debut, with its straight-to-video release making it a lesser-known entry in his catalog.

"This shot of his hands was me drawing on my Hellraiser days," Derrickson shared on Twitter during the Quarantine Watch Party.

In addition to the sequence featuring gruesome disfigurements to his Strange's hands, there are also a number of pins embedded into them, resembling the famous "Pinhead" Cenobite from the Hellraiser series, whose entire head is pierced by nails.

The Hellraiser franchise launched in 1987 and consists of 10 films thus far, in addition to a number of books and comics chronicling the adventures of demonic Cenobites punishing those who have wronged them. Inferno is the fifth film in the franchise and marked its first direct-to-video installment.

The most recent installment was 2018's Hellraiser: Judgment from director Gary J. Tunnicliffe. While the visage of Pinhead rivals that of any other horror icon, Tunnicliffe noted that the success of Scream in 1996 is ultimately to blame for the demise of the Hellraiser franchise.

"This series has stumbled and faltered and struggled along the way because the reality is you can't shoehorn this franchise into a commercially successful movie without stripping away the things from it that make it what it is," Tunnicliffe shared with ComicBook.com. "And this is where [producer] Bob [Weinstein] and the guys have had a problem because Bob really isn't a fan of sadomasochistic sexual perversity, and hooks, and flesh, and that kind of stuff."

With Hellraiser: Bloodline opening the same year as Scream, it was easy to look at the box office disappointments of one and successes of the other to determine what avenues were more worth pursuing.

"That's why I think in 1996 when Bloodline came, and we had the whole debacle of that," Tunnicliffe confessed. "I got a call to go in and meet with Bob about a Hellraiser story I pitched called 'Holy War,' and I was maybe talking about directing that was that. That week Scream came out and did its business, and then Bob and the guys, rightly so, were like, 'Oh, look, let's try and figure out this guy with the nails in his head and this weird sexual stuff. Look, Scream, there it is. Ka-ching. It's easy, it works. It's a f-cking guy in a mask going around with a big knife chopping up teenagers.'"

He added, "It's brilliantly conceived by [screenwriter] Kevin Williamson turning it on its head. But it was so much easier for them to get their head around, and to work with because that's the problem when you're trying to, even as a writer, whether it be Revelations, or Judgment, or whatever I've been involved in when ever you're trying to give these people ... It's literally like f-cking chopped."

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Doctor Strange is now streaming on Disney+.

Would you like to see Derrickson return to the Hellraiser franchise? Let us know in the comments below or contact Patrick Cavanaugh directly on Twitter to talk all things Star Wars and horror!

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