The "fan film" is a concept that I have had trouble with in the past. I have always wondered why filmmakers would work on a project that they absolutely could not release without the consent of those who actually own the copyright to any given project. Regardless, there have been very interesting titles released in the past without too much in the way of legitimate copyright ownership, so why get bothered? Enter into the fray: Hellraiser Deader: Winter’s Lament, a unofficial short film sequel/spinoff from the original sequel in the Hellraiser series. What I think a short film such as this does best is works as a promo-reel for the talent of any given writer/director and in that sense, Winter’s Lament works incredibly well. Director Jonathan S. Kui shows great talent in establishing an atmosphere very similar to that of the Hellraiser series while working with a budget that could only be compared in sixteenths to even the cheapest foray into that series. The filmmaker shows that he has the visual eye for direction and obviously has a great love for the material at hand as he mixes and blends both the mythology gathered by the Hellraiser series and the Christopher Walken series The Prophecy.
In 2005, a mysterious cult leader known only as Winter died in an attempt to summon and control the Cenobites from the famed Hellraiser series. With the assistance of his resurrected followers, the Deaders, he had attempted to gain immortality but was shut down by Pinhead and his group. With Winter’s Lament we follow the character of Winter from a simple man looking for information on the cenobites and the mysterious box, to a cult leader with a undying obsession for immortality and pleasures beyond our realm. We see him gather his information and slowly become this godlike mortal who can resurrect humans from the world of death. Who is Winter and how did he come to be? You will soon discover!
The mix of these two series (Prophecy and Hellraiser) and the well developed story makes Winter’s Lament a pretty addictive little watch. Whether you are familiar with the series or not (I do not believe I have seen Hellraiser: Deader yet), due to the brief but fact filled introduction that catches us up to speed on both series, the rest of the film is relatively easy to keep up with. What I enjoyed most about the production would be the visual aesthetic, as they were able to capture some very gothic and dark visuals despite a non-existent budget. Some of the performances are wooden, as one would expect from a cast of mostly non-actors, but the level of professionalism actually remains quite surprising. I would really like to see what this cast and crew could do with a feature length original story, as it could open up some very creative doors for them. If you want to read more about the project you can find it at http://www.kuifilms.com/hr7prequel.