To celebrate Women in Horror Month, I will be highlighting some of my favorite undersung female characters in horror films each day this month. These posts will contain some spoilers, so if you haven’t seen the movies mentioned, do yourself a solid and check them out before reading all the way through.
Today I’m celebrating Emma Craven from the 2011 Hellraiser: Revelations. You might ask, what’s wrong with you? And the answer is I don’t know! This is me and Hellraiser: Revelations:
With a low budget, cheesy soap opera-like plot, and some incredibly hilarious editing, I realize why so many people hate this movie. But just like Hellraiser: Hellworld, I take incredible joy in this bargain bin sequel.
Emma is sort of positioned as our heroine in the movie. Except…also not. After her brother Steven and her boyfriend Nico disappear, her favorite activities seem to be lashing out at their respective parents and rolling her eyes. Here’s some of her ace dialogue. And yes these questions are delivered in rapid succession without giving time for response:
“Please what, Dad? Please forget that I had a brother? Please forget that my boyfriend disappeared with him? You know what? I wanna talk about it and I wanna talk about it now. I mean, you hired a Pl, right? And, well, what did he find? Why is Mom always in Steven’s room? Like what is on that video camera?”Emma
The moment Emma picks up the puzzle box, she seems drawn to it.
“The puzzle box? I love that thing. It’s so cool. When I touch it…I feel…”Emma
In a later scene while holding the box, she starts hitting on her missing boyfriend’s father. That is because the movie is slowly positioning her as a combination of original hero Kirsty Cotton and original villain Julia Cotton. Whether it succeeds or not, it is a fascinating route to take with the movie’s lone young teenage girl since in any other movie, she would be a straightforward final girl hero.
Emma is the first person in the entire Hellraiser series to look up the word Cenobite and read the definition outloud. Unfortunately, she also makes out with her biological brother before it is revealed it is actually her boyfriend in her brother’s skinsuit (!).
When it is revealed that Nico has stolen Steven’s skin and plans to trade Emma to the Cenobites for his own freedom, she manages to stab him repeatedly while shouting about his implications that she is innocent and will thus make an appealing trade for Pinhead.
“I’m not so innocent now, am I?”Emma
It is Pinhead himself who finally confirms that Emma has a very dark side thanks to her attraction to Nico, much like Julia’s dark side was realized by her attraction to Frank in the original film.
“Desire has abandoned them all…except for her. The dark seed that grew within you now germinates within her. The time will come when her own twisted desires will ripen. Then she will come to us on her own…when this existence ceases to fulfill…we will be waiting.”Pinhead
Emma witnesses her mom get dragged away to the hell for eternal torture thanks to her dad’s stubborness, and her dad promptly dies in her arms. The final moments of the film have her sitting down with the puzzle box before making eye contact with the camera.
Don’t get me wrong, it is really gross that Emma made out with her brother, but I like that the lone heroine of the film is so morally ambiguous and at times icky. It was something I didn’t really expect from a back end Hellraiser movie.
Um, hats (flesh?) off to Emma for surprising me.
For more bizarre defense of this movie: