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Hell Returns with a Vengeance this February

Just in time for Valentine's Day, Lionsgate has announced that the 10th film in the Hellraiser franchise, Hellraiser: Judgment, will release February 13 on Blu-Ray, DVD and Video-on-Demand streaming platforms.

The latest entry in the iconic horror series sparked by author Clive Barker's novella, The Hellbound Heart, is written and directed by Gary J. Tunnicliffe, who provided special effects makeup for six of the previous films.

Hellraiser: Judgment also introduces a genre icon to the pain and suffering of Pinhead -- none other than Heather Langenkamp (A Nightmare on Elm Street).

And it marks the debut of the third actor to portray Pinhead, a role originated by Doug Bradley in 1987. The new Pinhead in Judgment is played by veteran character actor Paul T. Taylor.

An official synopsis for Hellraiser: Judgment describes the plot as focusing on a trio of detectives trying to solve a gruesome murder. Once assigned to the case, the police discover that the murder goes deeper than anyone might suspect, all the way to Hell. It also teases the debut of three new characters, the Auditor, the Assessor and the Jury, along with confirming the return of Hell's high priest.

Personally, I love Hellraiser. It was the connective tissue that brought my wife and I together. And for five films, including Hellbound: Hellraiser II, Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth, Hellraiser: Bloodline and Hellraiser: Inferno, this was a fantastic series.

But, since 2002, with the direct-to-DVD release of Hellraiser: Hellseeker, the franchise has existed in name only with no memorable entries worth mentioning. Even Bradley abandoned his iconic role in 2011, which led to a new, and universally panned, Pinhead being named.

While Hellraiser: Judgment can't boast the involvement of Barker, here's to hoping that Tunnicliffe has enough experience with the property, and the core characters, to do right by fans and reward lifetime devotees with a scary, provocative vision.

Repeat after me: Just be good.

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