Pascal Laugier Talks Horror and ‘Hellraiser’
Director Pascal Laugier spoke with Ain’t it Cool News with regard to his planned remake of Clive Barker’s Hellraiser. In the thoughtful conversation, the director of Martyr, was dismissive of the remake culture and lamented that his foreign film was already in the Hollywood pipeline for Americanization.
He noted, “I haven’t been challenged by a horror film for a long time, you know? It doesn’t mean that there aren’t good films, I see a lot of good films, but I’m talking more about the very, very low budget you know? And I’m talking more about the direct to DVD community. Because these films are shot more and more on DV for a very very low budget so the guy who does the film is totally free because he deals with such a low amount of money he could do what he wants and nine films out of ten are pale copies of the classics. Another fun, you know – supposedly funny – horror zombie horror trick, another Texas Chainsaw Massacre, another slasher with a masked killer, and nobody believes in it anymore you know? It’s like a ghetto, it’s like belonging to a community that is absolutely unable to surprise itself, you know what I mean?
“So we pay to watch films that we already know in advance what it’s gonna be and we are not challenged anymore and I think the very reason for the horror film genre’s existence is to break some rules — to be free, to be wild, you know like the 70s. In the 70s you paid for a ticket and you sat in a theater and you didn’t have any kind of idea of the film you were going to see. It was really energetic and really experimental. Can you imagine the guys in ’75 who first saw Texas Chainsaw Massacre? In the markets, at midnight? Or The Exorcist? It’s impossible to realize now what these people must have felt before the films turned into classics, you know? So… and that’s the kind of feeling I very rarely feel by watching horror films. And it’s very sad, in a certain way actually, a lot of actual horror films are absolutely as safe as any family film produced by Hollywood. You know? There is no chance, no breakings.”
For the director, remaking Hellraiser for modern audiences was “a child’s dream coming true. I saw the first when I was 13, I remember precisely the shock it had on me because it was so new, so fresh, so it’s very hard to resist the temptation to do Hellraiser, you know? So of course. When you come from my culture it’s like amazing you’re even proposed to do Hellraiser.”
He told apprehensive fans, “let me write the first draft, let me tell you what all the American producers have reacted to the reading of the first draft and I will tell you if I’m in good hands or if I’m gonna leave a hellish experience but in any case, I won’t betray Clive Barker’s work. I want to do a fresh film filled with a lot of unexpected and surprising things. At the same time, I want it to be connected to the real, original material.”