The Hellraiser franchise’s evolution is filled with many hits and misses. 2018’s Hellraiser: Judgment by filmmaker and longtime Hellraiser makeup artist Gary J. Tunnicliffe added some interesting new facets to the lore of the franchise in the form of the “Stygian Inquisition”, and teased an interesting sequel where Pinhead has lost his position as the Hell Priest and become human again. In an interview with Bloody Disgusting, Tunnicliffe revealed how the sequel would have gone down if circumstanced had allowed it.
“The idea I rolled around in my head – and this isn’t fully fleshed out – but I’d come up with an idea of a movie that was almost like the beginning of Pet Sematary. It’s a family moving across state, and moving to a town … called ‘Judgment’. It’s like a town in the South. You realize that the town is run by a sheriff and a judge, and it’s kind of like a throwback to Nothing But Trouble, that movie with Dan Aykroyd. And it’s all very kind of religious, and overbearing. Like Footloose, nobody can do anything. There’s no celebration [in this town].”
While the main story would have followed a family that moves into the town, a side plot would involve the newly-human Pinhead, who Tunnicliffe describes as “coming out of a prison”, a homeless man played by Paul T. Taylor, who is on a quest to find purpose in life. Meanwhile, yet another subplot would have involved the Auditor who first appeared in Hellraiser: Judgment as a cenobite meeting the new Hell priest who would be replacing Pinhead, as well as further development of the “Stygian Inquisition” motif from Judgment, which would have expanded in the sequel to encompass an entire town of cenobites passing down punishment on sinners.
“You go back to the town of Judgment. It all boils down to, in the end … the truth of the matter is that the town Judgment is one giant [Stygian Inquisition] house. It’s not a town. It’s a catchment, it’s a spider’s web. In a reveal at the end, you find out that the judge is in fact the Auditor. It’s a reveal where he transforms into the Auditor, and you find out that it’s not just a house anymore, it’s the whole town [that is] the catchment there, and bringing people into this town. People are just disappearing in this town, and being processed. It’s not just rooms in a house anymore. Within each house in this town is a different faction of the Stygian Inquisition. So it’s rooms of juries and rooms of surgeons, and the whole town is processing people.”
All these divergent storylines would have come together in the end to reveal the true nature of the events taking place in the film. The auditor had been secretly plotting to usurp the new Hell Priest and restore Paul T. Taylor’s Pinhead to his former glory as a leader of the cenobites in his old position as the chief Hell Priest. To that end, The Auditor had been leaving a trail of breadcrumbs for Taylor’s character to arrive at the town called Judgement and set events in motion to reclaim his Cenobite identity.
Unfortunately, the studio behind the franchise underwent massive changes before the sequel could be greenlit. For the time being, there is little hope of the sequel described by Tunnicliffe ever seeing the light of day, leaving fans’ imaginations to fill in the gaps with regards to how such a film would play out on screen.