Anatomy Of A Scene - Hellraiser
(part one)


A scene often changes radically between first conception in the writer's mind and its final publication or public airing. This is perhaps especially so in the melting pot of collaborative effort on a movie and the sequence we've chosen below charts the progress from page to screen of a classic scene from Hellraiser, from novella to draft script to shooting script to the editing suite...

The scene recounts the one and only sexual consumation between Julia and her husband-to-be's brother, Frank, before the wedding. Julia recalls the encounter as she stands alone in the room in which, unknown to her, Frank subsequently encountered the Cenobites. The scene concludes with the shedding of her husband's blood which serves as a conduit to allow Frank's return.


The Hellbound Heart


The story's first incarnation is as the novella, The Hellbound Heart, written in 1985 and first published in October 1986 as Clive Barker's contribution to Dark Harvest's Night Visions 3 anthology.




Perhaps what had happened next had been inevitable; and no matter how hard she'd fought her instincts, would only have postponed the consummation of their feelings for each other. At least that was how she tried to excuse herself later. But when all the self-recrimination was done with, she still treasured the memory of their first - and last - encounter.
Kirsty had been at the house, hadn't she?, on some matrimonial business, when Frank had arrived. But by that telepathy that comes with desire (and fades with it) Julia had known that today was the day. She'd left Kirsty to her listmaking or suchlike, and taken Frank upstairs on the pretext of showing him the wedding dress. That was how she remembered it - that he'd asked to see the dress - and she'd put the veil on, laughing to think of herself in white, and then he'd been at her shoulder, lifting the veil, and she'd laughed on, laughed and laughed, as though to test the strength of his purpose. He had not been cooled by her mirth however; nor had he wasted time with the niceties of a seduction. The smooth exterior gave way to cruder stuff almost immediately. Their coupling had had in every regard but the matter of her acquiescence, all the aggression and the joylessness of rape.
Memory sweetened events of course, and in the four years (and five months) since that afternoon, she'd replayed the scene often. Now, in remembering it, the bruises were trophies of their passion, her tears proof positive of her feelings for him.


The Hellbound Heart - written in 1985, published in 1986


And later, also in the novella...

Once in a while she went up to the room with the sealed blinds.
So far, they'd done little decorating work on the upper floors, preferring to first organise the areas in public gaze. The room had therefore remained untouched. Unentered, indeed, except for these few visits of hers.
She wasn't sure why she went up, nor how to account for the odd assortment of feelings that beset her while there. But there was something about the dark interior that gave her comfort: it was a womb of sorts, a dead woman's womb. Sometimes, when Rory was at work, she simply took herself up the stairs and sat in the stillness, thinking of nothing: or at least nothing she could put words to.
These sojourns made her feel oddly guilty, and she tried to stay away from the room when Rory was around. But it wasn't always possible. Sometimes her feet took her there without instruction so to do.
It happened thus that Saturday, the day of the blood.
She had been watching Rory at work on the kitchen door, chiselling several layers of paint from around the hinges, when she seemed to hear the room call. Satisfied that he was thoroughly engrossed in his chores, she went upstairs.
It was cooler than usual, and she was glad of it. She put her hand to the wall, and then transferred her chilled palm to her forehead.
"No use," she murmured to herself, picturing the man at work downstairs. She didn't love him: no more than he, beneath his infatuation with her face, loved her. He chiselled in a world of his own; she suffered here, far removed from him.
A gust of wind caught the back door below. She heard it slam.
Downstairs, the sound made Rory lose his concentration. The chisel jumped its groove and sliced deeply into the thumb of his left hand. He shouted, as a gush of color came. The chisel hit the floor.
"Hell and damnation!"
She heard, but did nothing. Too late, she surfaced through a stupor of melancholy to realize that he was coming upstairs. Fumbling for the key, and an excuse to justify her presence in the room. she stood up, but he was already at the door, crossing the threshold, rushing towards her, his right hand clamped ineptly around his left. Blood was coming in abundance. It welled up between his fingers and dribbled down his arm, dripping from his elbow, adding stain to stain on the bare boards.
"What have you done?" she asked him.
"What does it look like?" he said through gritted teeth. "Cut myself."
His face and neck had gone the color of window putty. She'd seen him like this before: he had on occasion passed out at the sight of his own blood.
"Do something," he said queasily.
"Is it deep?"
"I don't know!" he yelled at her. "I don't want to look."
He was ridiculous, she thought, but this wasn't the time to give vent to the contempt she felt. Instead she took his bloody hand in hers and, while he looked away, prised the palm from the cut. It was sizable, and still bleeding profusely. Deep blood; dark blood.
"I. think we'd better take you off to the hospital." she told him.
"Can you cover it up?" he asked. his voice devoid of anger now.
"Sure. I'll get a clean binding. Come on -"
"No," he said, shaking his ashen face. "If I take a step. I think I'll pass out."
"Stay here then," she soothed him. "You'll be fine."
Finding no bandages in the bathroom cabinet the equal of the staunching, she fetched a few clean handkerchiefs from his drawer and went back into the room. He was leaning against the wall now, his skin glossy with sweat, He had padded in the blood he'd shed; she could taste the tang of it in the air.
Still quietly reassuring him that he wouldn't die of a two-inch cut, she wound a handkerchief around his hand, bound it on with a second, then escorted him, trembling like a leaf, down the stairs (one by one, like a child) and out to the car.
At the hospital they waited an hour in a queue of the walking wounded before he was finally seen, and stitched up. It was difficult for her to know in retrospect what was more comical about the episode: his weakness, or the extravagance of his subsequent gratitude. She told him, when he became fulsome, that she didn't want thanks from him, and it was true.
She wanted nothing that he could offer her, except perhaps his absence.

"Did you clean up the floor in the damp room?" she asked him the following day. They'd called it the damp room since that first Sunday, though there was not a sign of rot from ceiling to skirting board.
Rory looked up from his magazine. Gray moons hung beneath his eyes. He hadn't slept well, so he'd said. A cut finger, and he had nightmares of mortality. She, on the other hand, had slept like a babe.
"What did you say?" he asked her.
"The floor - " she said again. "There was blood on the floor. You cleaned it up."
He shook his head. "No," he said simply and returned to the magazine.
"Well I didn't," she said.
He offered her an indulgent smile. "You're such a perfect hausfrau," he said. "You don't even know when you're doing it."
The subject was closed there. He was content, apparently, to believe that she was quietly losing her sanity.
She, on the other hand, had the strangest sense that she was about to find it again.


The Hellbound Heart - written in 1985, published in 1986





First Draft Screenplay


Barker had adapted this into a first draft screenplay by January 1986 - alongside a second, still unfilmed script featuring Harry D'Amour - and offered both scripts to film studios as potential movies to act as his debut directing feature.

The draft screenplay retains Rory as the name of Julia's husband and his injury is again the result of an accident outside in the garden.

45 EXT. THE GARDEN OF NUMBER 55 DAY

Bright sunlight. RORY is working in the garden. He has taken one of the interior doors off its hinges, and is working on it with a chisel, removing several years' accrual of paint.
He sweats as he works, and hums tunelessly to himself.
From an upstairs window, JULIA gazes down. Her face is paler than when we last saw her. She could almost be a prisoner in the house, to judge by her forelorn expression.

46 INT. UPSTAIRS ROOM DAY

JULIA turns away from the window to get on with unpacking her clothes. The radio plays The Shadow of Your Smile', in a sweet rendering.
She removes her wedding dress from its box, and unwraps it from the tissue paper it was packed in. Then she lays it on the bed.

47 (FLASHBACK) INT. A ROOM IN THE ALEXANDRA ROOD HOUSE DAY

FRANK is standing, smiling at JULIA. We have entered the scene at a moment when words have faltered, and eyes have taken over as the means of communication. The music from the radio in the present day filters through, to oil the romance on its way. At last, FRANK speaks.
FRANK : I'd like to see the wedding dress
JULIA : It's bad luck.
FRANK : Only for the groom.
JULIA smiles.
FRANK : You're not shy are you? I'm the best man, remember?
She stares at him.
FRANK : We both know that

48 INT. UPSTAIRS ROOM DAY

JULIA stares down at the dress on the bed.
FRANK'S VOICE (from the past) : don't we?
JULIA is angry with herself. She forsakes her unpacking and steps out into the landing. As she does so, the Torture Room door creaks. She wanders down the landing towards it.

49 EXT. THE GARDEN DAY

RORY stops work for a moment, stretches, then goes back to his work.

50 INT. LANDING DAY

JULIA pushes the door of the Torture Room open.

51 EXT. THE GARDEN DAY

Somewhere near, a child starts bawling. RORY looks up. The chisel slips, and bites deeply into the ball of his thumb.
RORY : Fuck.

52 INT. TORTURE ROOM DAY

JULIA, now standing in the middle of the room, hears RORY'S yell of pain. But she is glassy-eyed with sadness and lethargy. She scarcely notices. Then, she hears his footsteps on the stairs. He's coming. She stirs herself from her dreaminess, and starts towards the door. Too late. He's there, his right hand clamped around his left, to staunch the wound. Blood oozes between his fingers, and trickles down his arm.
JULIA : What have you done?
RORY : What does it look like?
Blood has started to drip, unnoticed by either of them onto the bare boards.
RORY : Cut myself. Badly.
He looks sick; on the verge of fainting. She stares at him without a trace of feeling.
RORY : Do something.
JULIA : Is it deep?
RORY : I don't know. I didn't look. You know I hate the sight of blood.
JULIA : Let me see.
He offers his hands to her, looking away as she unglues one from the other, and studies the wound. The blood comes faster, hitting the floor between them.
JULIA : I think we'd better get you to a hospital. It'll need stitches.
RORY (queasily) : I'm going to throw up
JULIA : No you're not. We'll get you out into the fresh air.
He is again clamping his hand over the wound. JULIA helps him out of the room. She closes the door. We hear their voices receding down the landing.
JULIA : Take it slowly -
RORY : It was so damn stupid -
JULIA : You've done worse.
RORY : I'll be scarred for life.
JULIA : I doubt it.
Their exchanges become incoherent, On the floor of the Torture Room, the blood begins to disappear, as if rapidly evaporating. Somewhere near, somebody sighs.


Draft - January 1986




Second Draft Screenplay



The draft screenplay was revised ahead of shooting, with the July 1986 draft being the shooting script. This draft is compared side-by-side below.



Draft - January 1986 Draft - 28 July 1986


45 EXT. THE GARDEN OF NUMBER 55 DAY

Bright sunlight. RORY is working in the garden. He has taken one of the interior doors off its hinges, and is working on it with a chisel, removing several years' accrual of paint.
He sweats as he works, and hums tunelessly to himself.
From an upstairs window, JULIA gazes down. Her face is paler than when we last saw her. She could almost be a prisoner in the house, to judge by her forelorn expression.

46 INT. UPSTAIRS ROOM DAY

JULIA turns away from the window to get on with unpacking her clothes. The radio plays The Shadow of Your Smile', in a sweet rendering.
She removes her wedding dress from its box, and unwraps it from the tissue paper it was packed in. Then she lays it on the bed.

40 INT. TORTURE ROOM DAY

We have an odd, hovering point of view of JULIA, as she steps inside the room. Something about the atmosphere distresses her.
There is a scratching sound. She looks down. A wood-louse, recalling Frank's foresaken bed, crawls along the edge of the skirting board. She crosses to the window, and tears away a little spy-hole in the aged newspaper.
From downstairs, the voices of the bed-movers.

1ST MAN : Have you got it?
2ND MAN : I've got it. I told you -
LARRY : Wait! Wait!
The light through the window falls on her eye. The screen becomes a white-out, from which emerges:




47 (FLASHBACK) INT. A ROOM IN THE ALEXANDRA ROOD HOUSE DAY

FRANK is standing, smiling at JULIA. We have entered the scene at a moment when words have faltered, and eyes have taken over as the means of communication. The music from the radio in the present day filters through, to oil the romance on its way. At last, FRANK speaks.
FRANK : I'd like to see the wedding dress
JULIA : It's bad luck.
FRANK : Only for the groom.
JULIA smiles.
FRANK : You're not shy are you? I'm the best man, remember?
She stares at him.
FRANK : We both know that

48 INT. UPSTAIRS ROOM DAY

JULIA stares down at the dress on the bed.
FRANK'S VOICE (from the past) : don't we?
JULIA is angry with herself. She forsakes her unpacking and steps out into the landing. As she does so, the Torture Room door creaks. She wanders down the landing towards it.

41 INT. JULIA'S FLASHBACK DAY

A bedroom, with afternoon sunlight pouring between the slats of bamboo blinds. Outside we can hear children playing summer games. Inside, a fly buzzes.
JULIA, the younger self, is holding her wedding dress in front of her, displaying it.

JULIA : Well?
FRANK (O.S.) : I don't want to see the dress.
JULIA : But you said -
FRANK : I don't want to see the dress.
JULIA lets the dress drop a few inches in front of her. She stares at FRANK.
FRANK : You know what I want.
Still she doesn't let the 'defence' that the dress offers - a reminder of her imminent marriage - fall. She stares though, and there's an invitation in her eyes.
FRANK : I want you.
Now we
CUT TO
FRANK. He is not so bedraggled as in the first scene, but the heat of the day has brought a sheen of sweat to his face. Standing half in shadow he looks almost dangerous.
Now JULIA lets the dress drop, putting it on the bed behind her.

FRANK : That's better
FRANK steps towards her.
JULIA : What about Larry -
FRANK : Forget him.
FRANK takes hold of her. She doesn't resist him, though there is barely disguised fear on her face. He puts his hand inside her blouse.



49 EXT. THE GARDEN DAY

RORY stops work for a moment, stretches, then goes back to his work.

50 INT. LANDING DAY

JULIA pushes the door of the Torture Room open.

42 INT. TORTURE ROOM DAY

In extreme CLOSE UP, JULIA blinks into the light through the window, as LARRY's voice from downstairs calls her from her reverie.
LARRY : Slowly, will you? Slowly!
Again, a white-CUT, from which emerges:

43 INT. JULIA'S FLASHBACK DAY

The two are naked on the bed, both sweating now. Beneath them, the wedding dress, crushed under their weight.
Their love-making is not straight-forward: there is an element of erotic perversity in the way FRANK licks at her face, almost like an animal, his hold on her too tight to be loving. The sequence escalates into a series of strange details from their locked bodies. Nails digging into palms; sweat rivulets running down their torsoes. And once in a while we see their faces. JULIA watching FRANK, mesmerized and amused by his intensity; FRANK almost pained by his desire to push the experience TO THE LIMIT. Their passion is rendered stranger still by the way the light through the window falls on their bodies, making striped creatures of them.
At last, as their urgency increases, we move up until we're looking directly down on the bed. From here it is JULIA's face we can see, and the ecstasy of the moment has seized her. Her arms are flung up over her head; her eyes are closed as she murmurs:

JULIA : Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God.
The scene whites out.

44 INT. TORTURE ROOM DAY

JULIA is still staring into the light. She sobs, very quietly.
JULIA (a whisper) : Oh Frank ...




51 EXT. THE GARDEN DAY

Somewhere near, a child starts bawling. RORY looks up. The chisel slips, and bites deeply into the ball of his thumb.
RORY : Fuck.


45 INT. HALLWAY DAY

Downstairs, LARRY and the men have moved the bed across the hall to the bottom of the stairs.
All three are weary now, and getting careless.
As they start up the stairs we see trouble ahead for LARRY, whose hand is moving closer and closer to a nail proturbing from the woodwork of the bannister.

LARRY (to Movers) : Will you take the weight while I take a step up?
He backs towards the stairs - and the nail.
Damn it, will you take the -
The side of his hand is impaled by the nail. He cries out. The weight of the bed, which he cannot relinquish, drives the nail deeper, and gouges a long cut from the ball of his thumb to his wrist. Blood pours out.
LARRY : Christ!
1ST MAN : What's the problem?
LARRY : My fucking hand!
He drops his edge of the bed, and disengages his hand from the nail upon which he's injured himself. He lifts his hand, from which blood is pouring.
LARRY : You fucking ass-holes.
1ST MAN : Who are you calling a fucking ass-hole? It's this bastard bed that's your fucking problem!
LARRY isn't listening. He's looking at the wound in his hand. He hates the sight of his own blood. Any moment, he may faint.
LARRY : ... Oh Christ ...
But not in front of these bastards. He turns and starts up the stairs, groggier by the moment.
LARRY : ... oh ... Christ ...




46 INT. TORTURE ROOM DAY

JULIA is standing in the middle of the room. A single dart of light, through the hole she tore in the newspaper, strikes her face. Softly on the soundtrack, the scrabbling noise of the woodlice.

47 INT. HALLWAY DAY

The bed has been put down. 1ST MAN and 2ND MAN are putting on their coats. KIRSTY comes through from the kitchen.
KIRSTY : What's happening?
2ND MAN : We're leaving.
KIRSTY : Where's my father?
1ST MAN : He's fucked off.
2ND MAN (mock chiding) : Eh ... language.
1ST MAN : Sorry. He's gone upstairs. So we're fucking off too.
2ND MAN takes a sheet of paper from his jacket.
2ND MAN : Will you sign for the bed?
KIRSTY : Sure.

48 INT. STAIRS DAY

LARRY, his hand running with blood, climbs the last flight of stairs.
LARRY (weakly) : ... Julia ...



52 INT. TORTURE ROOM DAY

JULIA, now standing in the middle of the room, hears RORY'S yell of pain. But she is glassy-eyed with sadness and lethargy. She scarcely notices. Then, she hears his footsteps on the stairs. He's coming. She stirs herself from her dreaminess, and starts towards the door. Too late. Be's there, his right hand clamped around his left, to staunch the wound. Blood oozes between his fingers, and trickles down his arm.
JULIA : What have you done?
RORY : What does it look like?
Blood has started to drip, unnoticed by either of them onto the bare boards.
RORY : Cut myself. Badly.
He looks sick; on the verge of fainting. She stares at him without a trace of feeling.
RORY : Do something.
JULIA : Is it deep?
RORY : I don't know. I didn't look. You know I hate the sight of blood.
JULIA : Let me see.
He offers his hands to her, looking away as she unglues one from the other, and studies the wound. The blood comes faster, hitting the floor between them.
JULIA : I think we'd better get you to a hospital. It'll need stitches.
RORY (queasily) : I'm going to throw up
JULIA : No you're not. We'll get you out into the fresh air.
He is again clamping his hand over the wound. JULIA helps him out of the room. She closes the door. We hear their voices receding down the landing.
JULIA : Take it slowly -
RORY : It was so damn stupid -
JULIA : You've done worse.
RORY : I'll be scarred for life.
JULIA : I doubt it.
Their exchanges become incoherent, On the floor of the Torture Room, the blood begins to disappear, as if rapidly evaporating. Somewhere near, somebody sighs.


49 INT. TORTURE ROOM DAY

JULIA hears him, and turns from her silent communing with the room. She crosses towards the door. Too late. It opens. LARRY steps inside, blood pouring from his right hand, which he attempts to staunch with his left hand.
JULIA : What have you done?
LARRY : I cut myself.
Blood has started to drip, unnoticed by either of them, onto the bare boards. Heavy splashes.
LARRY looks sick; his face clammy with sweat. She stares at him without a trace of feeling for him on her face.

JULIA : Is it deep?
LARRY : I don't know, I haven't looked. You know me and blood.
JULIA : You're not going to faint.
LARRY (he leans against the wall) : Shit.
JULIA : Let me see.
She goes to him. He looks away as she unglues one hand from the other, and looks at the wound. Blood comes faster, hitting the floor between them.
JULIA : It's probably going to need stitches.
LARRY : I'm going to throw up.
JULIA : No, you're not.
The blood keeps hitting the floor. Slap; slap; slap.
We'll get you out into the fresh air.
He is again clamping his hand over the wound, as JULIA helps him to the door. They leave the Torture Room. We hear their voices receding down the passageway, as we again assume that hovering view point. The floor, is heavily spattered with blood.
JULIA : Take it slowly.
LARRY : So damn stupid.
JULIA : You're done worse.
LARRY : I'll be scarred for life.
JULIA : No you won't.

50 INT. HALLWAY DAY

KIRSTY is half way up the stairs, as JULIA and LARRY head down.
KIRSTY : What happened?
JULIA : Just an accident. He's all right. Will you drive? He needs stitches.
KIRSTY : Sure.
JULIA : The keys are in the kitchen.
KIRSTY heads back to the kitchen. JULIA helps LARRY towards the front door.
The CAMERA swings away from them, upstairs, and begins to track ...
LAP-DISSOLVE TO:
INT. UPPER LANDING DAY
... we continue to track, towards the Torture Room.
Downstairs, the front door slams.
LAP-DISSOLVE TO:
INT. TORTURE ROOM DAY
From outside, the sound of a car door slamming. An engine starts. The car drives away.
We move towards the blood on the floor. As we watch, it begins to disappear, as if being absorbed by the room. We pan up to the wall. The plaster is not quite smooth; indeed, it now begins to grow restless, and cracks. Something begins to move in the wall...






With the shooting script complete in the form of the July 1986 screenplay, attention moved to the actors and production crew...





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