In Which I Am Impossibly Dense: Hellraiser Edition

Sam Wilkinson

According to a faithful reader, I'm Ordinary Times's "least thoughtful writer." So I've got that going for me, which is nice.

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38 Responses

  1. Glyph says:

    Pretty excited about the Gilmore Girls revival?Report

  2. Kazzy says:

    I’ve never seen this movie. But I routinely come across other meanings of things and go, “Holy shit… it took me how long to figure that out?”

    Like, I only recently figured out why Barnes and Noble calls their e-reader a Nook. Like, last month.Report

    • Glyph in reply to Kazzy says:

      I think it’s weird they named it after an animal that can’t read.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

      If you still enjoy being 12 years old, it’s fun to say “Nook E-Book” out loud.Report

    • Patrick in reply to Kazzy says:

      I remember suddenly becoming aware of the fact that Belloq knew Marion from before.

      I knew that Belloq and Indy were long time rivals, and I knew that the subtext indicated that they might have literally gone to school with each other (this has since been revealed as canon), but for years it just didn’t really occur to me that the reason why Belloq and Marion *have the dialogue they have* when he comes to have dinner with her in the tent is because Belloq knew her from back when he was in school with Indy (this is actually not canon at all, but I stand by it).Report

      • Tod Kelly in reply to Patrick says:

        It took me a couple of watchings, way back when, to figure out both how Belloq had gotten a copy of the medallion, and why the copy led them to dig in the wrong place.

        I feel a little embarrassed admitting this.Report

        • DensityDuck in reply to Tod Kelly says:

          It could have just been lousy image quality.

          I remember that it took until the DVD release before I realized that, in Star Wars, we actually see the charred bloody skeletons of Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru.Report

        • Michael Cain in reply to Tod Kelly says:

          Spielberg is generally pretty good about Chekhov’s Gun: if he gives you something as obvious as the somewhat odd way the Nazi bad guy grabs the medallion, he’s going to use it.

          We have theater people here; is there a formal name for that kind of thing from the opposite direction? Eg, if there’s a gun on the fireplace mantel at a critical point, taking pains to put it there earlier?Report

          • Glyph in reply to Michael Cain says:

            is there a formal name for that kind of thing from the opposite direction? Eg, if there’s a gun on the fireplace mantel at a critical point, taking pains to put it there earlier?

            I’ve read this multiple times, and I am still not sure what you are asking….Report

            • Michael Cain in reply to Glyph says:

              The Chekhov’s Gun principle says that if you make a point of there being a gun on the fireplace mantle in Act 1, then you darned well better make sure the gun gets used in Act 2. I’m asking about the opposite. Is there a name for the principle — or even a principle — that says if a gun gets used in Act 2, you’ve taken pains to establish that gun in Act 1.

              Eg, when I dabble in fiction, and the sorcerer needs a particular artifact in Act 2, I take pains to place the artifact in a reasonable place in Act 1. No Agatha Christie bits, with a long-lost cousin that gets introduced in the next-to-last chapter being behind the whole thing.Report

              • Glyph in reply to Michael Cain says:

                Ah, I gotcha. AFAIK it’s still a “Chekhov’s Gun” (though as you’ve noted the more generic term is to “establish”).

                Last season of iZombie, a character stashed a pistol in his dresser drawer. On top of the dresser? A paperback Chekhov. Ha!Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Glyph says:

                There was a lot of talk about “Breaking Bad” and Chekhov’s Gun, largely whether or not Gilligan was honoring the idea or not. The internet got pretty crazy about if/when/how the ricin would be used.Report

              • Glyph in reply to Kazzy says:

                I mentioned that I watched the original Back to the Future not too long ago and thought the script was really tight. What I meant was that almost everything any character says or does early on in the film, is called back to or used later in the film. I don’t know if all of those things are “C’s Gs”, but the basic principle seems the same (a related principle might be the red herring, the item or plot point that seems important but actually serves to misdirect the audience’s attention from the really important one.)Report

              • Kolohe in reply to Glyph says:

                Yeah, one thing I was pretty dense on (also because I rarely caught the movie any less than 15 minutes in in repeated basic cable rewatching), and I only realized it when we saw the same here, was how much of an alcoholic Twin Pines World Middle Aged Loraine was – and how that was called back in when parking in the car.Report

              • Kim in reply to Glyph says:

                There is a reason it’s on the top 100 best scripts of all time, ya know?

                Saul really should pick things that aren’t critically acclaimed to bitch about…Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Glyph says:

                So pretty much the opposite of “Lost”?Report

              • Glyph in reply to Kazzy says:

                You know, it’s not TOTALLY fair to compare the tightness of a 2-hour film script with a multi-season show, which is always going to have a greater amount of improvisation and dead-ends and re-work (and sometimes, happy accidents) due to length and logistics, but…LOST deserves all the grief it gets. Have at it!Report

              • Kim in reply to Glyph says:

                No, let’s go ahead and compare it to The Wire.
                Or half a dozen other comparably long serieses.

                Hell, Parks and Recreation managed an awful lot in amongst the comedy.


              • Michael Cain in reply to Glyph says:

                Back in the early days of the web comic Girl Genius, one of the characters set a pistol down on the mantle. Months later (in readers’ time), the action returned to that room and a different character picked up the pistol and used it. This in a comic where it would be perfectly normal for any number of the characters to assemble an exotic weapon out of the odd parts laying about…Report

              • Kolohe in reply to Michael Cain says:

                Michael Cain:
                I’m asking about the opposite.Is there a name for the principle — or even a principle — that says if a gun gets used in Act 2, you’ve taken pains to establish that gun in Act 1.

                I think it’s usually described by it omission, e.g. Deus ex machina or Applied Phlebotinum. Setting up the plot device (even if just MacGuffin) in a previous act is ‘foreshadowing’ and ‘good plotting’ to me.Report

              • Kolohe in reply to Kolohe says:

                maybe call it a “Chris Rock Cookie” because that’s what you’re *supposed* to do?Report

              • Chris in reply to Kolohe says:

                Yeah, I was thinking Deus ex machina as well, which is to Chekhov’s gun (which is a level of abstraction above foreshadowing, I think) sort of like affirming the consequent is to modus ponens.Report

              • Tod Kelly in reply to Chris says:

                There is also the term “eucatastrophe,” which amounts to pretty much the same thing.Report

          • Kim in reply to Michael Cain says:

            Mostly it shows up when you retcon the entire universe, or something like that.
            Niven had a whole script destroying (and I mean in flames) everything he had ever written about the Puppeteers.

            You take what you’ve already put to paper, and then reimagine the entire thing.

            It’s a great writing exercise.

            If you’re doing it straight? You generally just call it “backstory.” Or, if it’s the show runners doing it, you call it “set design” (Ala Deep Space Nine, who switched into “war uniforms” before the actual war. And yes, it was an intentional setup).Report

        • Glyph in reply to Tod Kelly says:

          Even had they known about the reverse inscription (subtract one kadam), I still struggle to see how their replica would have ever worked properly. The sunbeam is refracting through a jewel set in the center of the medallion – the burn from Toht’s hand might show them how one side of the stone was cut, but not the other, and I would think the jewel’s facet configuration would largely drive the directionality of the refracted sunbeam?Report

      • DensityDuck in reply to Patrick says:

        …wait, it actually *is* Belloq? I always thought it was “Belloche”, and they had Indy pronounce it “Bellock” to show how much of a goof he was; like, he’s such a dork that he can’t even pronounce French names! Part of the way that Indy was supposed to parody Chamberlain, playing up the idea of how ridiculous it was that a character could be both a two-fisted action hero and a college professor in an utterly intellectual field like archaeology.Report

  3. veronica d says:

    My favorite thing about Hellraiser happened a few years after it came out, when I was sitting around with some stoner friends of mine. Anyway, at one point the particularly weird member of the group blurts out, “You know, Pinhead was a wimp.”

    To which we all paused and looked at him, waiting for an explanation. Which soon followed.

    “After all, if you hit him with a two-by-four, he’d just be Head.”

    Tee hee.Report

  4. Morat20 says:

    I started reading that and read “Hellraiser” as “Hellblazer” and was very, very confused.Report

  5. Jaybird says:

    The best line of Hellraiser II was when the Doctor gets hisself transformed into a cenobyte (spoiler!) and his first line after the procedure was “To think I hesitated.”Report

    • Sam Wilkinson in reply to Jaybird says:

      We’re meant to pity the Cenobites, presumably, but they seem without regret. Perhaps we’re meant to pity their victims, but they to asked for this. It is only those caught in the middle who should get our sympathies (and they do).Report

      • greginak in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

        I think the Cenobites took on a life of there own, so to speak, since they looked cool and were mysterious. The story, at least in the first one, was about the people. The humans made the story, when the C’s became more prominent they were just another generic bad guy franchise like jason or freddie.Report

  6. InMD says:

    The first and (to a lesser degree) second Hellraiser movies are awesome. All the best horror movies find a way to work subversive and even adult themes into the cruder thrills of the genre. Also I would submit that Clare Higgins is the best evil step mother in the history of film.Report