Obviously, if you enjoy watching Christmas movies, you’re already making your choices between the excellent Muppet Christmas Carol, Hogfather, and A Christmas Story … or perhaps you’ve made other choices of other Christmas films, which is your right as an Earth-resident. But I would like to offer a film a little out of the holiday-ordinary: Hellraiser V: Inferno.
No, I am not kidding.
Inferno’s Detective Thorne encounters not just a grisly crime scene, but a calling card left by the murderer: a child’s severed finger. As the crime scenes start piling up, so do the fingers, and Detective Thorne journeys even into the realm of the unexplained to try to find this killer and save the child.
But Thorne is dealing with other demons – ones of his own making – and, of course, as he searches for the killer, he begins to find himself, and to see himself for what he really is. He learns how his actions affect the people he loves, and how his faults and vices hurt more than just himself. He comes to see what – and who – truly does matter to him, and he understands for the first time where his heart truly lies, and how much he has pushed away the very things he wants.
I will warn you that it is filled with profanity, some nudity, blood and quite a bit of goo. It is not for the faint-hearted. It is not set during Christmas that I recall, and the “hero” does not reunite triumphantly with his family like a modern-day Scrooge buying Tiny Tim a turkey. In fact, the “hero” does not even save himself. The punishment is absolute, and the Hell he ends up in is the one of his own making.
I guess for me, Inferno offers a counterpoint to the more optimistic and feel-good movies of the season – it illustrates in rather disturbing clarity the price we each pay when we don’t live up to our own press, when we play both sides against the middle, when we want our cake but eat it too. It shows how quickly and incontrovertibly we can lose what we hold dear if we don’t take our heads out of our asses and nurture our relationships. It shows how others hurt when we only offer part of ourselves, or when we are dishonest or cold – when we create for ourselves and our loved ones a world that is nothing like that Christmas-spirit-thing.
So Pinhead and I, this holiday season, would like to ask you: Wouldn’t you rather do the Christmas-spirit-thing? Before it’s too late?
(And if blood isn’t your thing, Colin Farrell has a similar question for you, straight from the Phone Booth.)