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Spoiler Warning: This article mentions setting and plot details.

One unexpected element of Hulu’s Hellraiserdirected by David Bruckner (The Night House, The Ritual), has its distinct ’90s horror vibes.

That’s most felt in Hellraiser‘s third act, where the Cenobites and remaining humans stand off in Roland Voight’s (Goran Visnjic) an intricate mansion that doubles as a puzzle box of its own.

When speaking with Bloody Disgusting about the film, Bruckner confirmed the ’90s horror tone and explained the architectural elements.

We definitely wanted there to be ’90s vibes,” Bruckner verified. “I didn’t know what it would mean to go back to something that I would define as the ’80s, necessarily, but a lot of that was in the way Ben [Lovett] and I approached the score. And just sometimes, the way the instrumentation would crawl across cuts and the commitment to bold themes. Not just the old Chris Young themes, but also some of the new ones that Ben used that will often go for something melodic and reflective of a character’s emotional state and indicative of what we’re looking at or what theme that the beat is on necessarily .”

Adam Faison as Colin in Spyglass Media Group’s HELLRAISER, exclusively on Hulu. Photo courtesy of Spyglass Media Group. © 2022 Spyglass Media Group. All Rights Reserved.

Bruckner continues, “With the production designer, Kathryn Ederwho we worked with The Night Houseour early conversations were around finding a way into voice opulence. I think for me Hellraiser was about this line between the abhorrent and the gorgeous, the glamorous and the repulsive, and feeling that irony present in the Cenobites. I feel like if you watch the original Hellraiser movie, it can be so abrasive on a first watch that it takes time to, or at least it did for me to understand the angelic qualities of the Cenobites or a lot of the coded thematic elements that were present. I think I was just too young the first time I saw it to really pick all that up.

“With this, we wanted to find the beauty and the horror together in a more overt fashion. Part of it is just delivering what we’re excited about, where Hellraiser is concerned on a larger palette, and wanting to find that in both the Cenobite designs and the design. Voight’s mansion seemed like a place where we could run with that. It was something Kathryn Eder had a ball with.”

But was the Dark Castle-like look of Voight’s mansion intentional? Surprisingly, no.

I have to admit, I’ve never seen Thir13en GhostsBruckner says. “You’re not the first person to say that. So, maybe I should go check it out now. I know my wife is a huge fan of that movie, and she had said the same thing.”

Both Hellraiser oath The Night House feature houses meant to trap entities. When asked about the connection and whether The Night House naturally led to this project, the filmmaker’s answer spotlighted a particular horror interest of his that he hopes will manifest a new subgenre.

Bruckner tells us, “I think it’s circumstantial. There was a spirit trick trap in The Night House that had something to do with architectural horror, which is a subgenre I hope gets – if it’s not already defined – it’s something that fascinates me. With this, I believe the idea was present in David Goyer’s original treatment and was a way to motivate the back half of Voight’s journey, to keep it a little vague. But no, it made sense to me. It was an idea that I was excited about. I like keeping a mind on geography in horror. I find oftentimes you approach a scene, one of the first questions is, does the audience have an awareness of where the door is? Can they paint the room in their mind? Even if we’re focused on characters for a moment, does the unfolding grammar give you context for what’s happening? That’s always something that really, really excites me.

“In this case, it just felt appropriate because there’s so much to look at in Kathrin Eder’s design, and the house plays a role in the narrative. There is a mystery to be unfolded there. Hopefully, you’re pulled into the corners of the frame, looking at and considering how that might come into play in the future. It felt very puzzle boxy. The nightmare logic of it is something that doesn’t always have to be literally surreal. Sometimes it can just be echoes of the same patterns and formations taking presence in the story in different ways.

“I think that was all something that felt appropriate.”

Hellraiser is now streaming only on Hulu.

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