Click thumbnails for larger images
Can a man of ambiguous morality save the world from raveningdemons? That's the question that'll be explored October 26th when the SCI FIchannel presents it's original movie Clive Barker Presents Saint Sinner.
Comics2Film spoke with Hans Rodionoff, who wrote themost recent drafts of the teleplay, about the movie and his involvement with it.
The writer told C2F that the story starts with "two succubaewho, throughout the ages, have been these raveners to the soul of the world,these awful things that have brought about the destruction of numerouscivilizations until Saint Nicodemus comes along and finds a way of imprisoningthem."
Nicodemus crafts a mystical orb to contain the demons andships it off to a repository where such things are kept in order to protect theworld at large. The film's protagonist, Brother Tomas (Greg Serano) is a monk who has a tendency not to take hisresponsibilities seriously. His curiosity brings him down to the repository where he inadvertently frees the succubae and allows them to escape into thefuture. The brotherhood charges the reluctant Tomas with the task of capturing thedeadly demons.
"There's only one weapon that can harm these demons, the dagger of St. Nicodemus," Rodionoff explains. "It supposedlytakes a saint to wield the dagger against these two demons. So the big question throughout is, will Tomas become a saint or is he too much of asinner?"
Fans of the Saint Sinner comic will quicklyrealize that that storyline is nothing like the Marvel/Epic/Razorline comic. Rodionoff tells us that,while Saint Sinner the movie isn't intended to be an adaptation ofthe comics, it does share the same themes.
"The heart that beats in this movieis the sameheart that was beating in the comic books. That's the heart of Clive,"Rodionoff said. "One of the things that Clive seems to enjoy going back to isa protagonist who's torn between the light and the dark."
Rodionoff tells us the project has been percolating withBarker's Seraphim Films for several years, with the horror author/filmmakerdeveloping a treatment for it in 1997. When Barker sold the idea to SCI FI,Doris Egan (Smallville, Dark Angel) was brought onto write the script.
"Doris actually did the bulk of the work," Rodionofftold C2F. "She took Clive's idea and expanded on it."
After many drafts and iterations, producer Joe Daley tappedRodionoff to bring a fresh perspective to the project. Although he didsignificant work on the script, the writer likens his efforts to a polish."I did a few revisions but didn't change the core of the story," he said. "I just took thecharacters they had already fleshed out and made them breath a little bitmore."
Rodionoff promises that the movie will have plenty of thescary stuff that Barker is famous for. When he first read some of the more"grotesque and disturbing" elements of Egan's script he thought thereason he was being brought in was to tone it down.
"All the crazyset pieces I thought for sure were going to be taken out were instead marked bythe studio as 'absolute must have' scenes. After I read it I called Joe andsaid, 'What about this? Are theygonna let you do this?' and Joe said, 'oh yeah. We've already made the creaturefor it,'" Rodionoff told C2F.
Movie monster creator Patrick Tatopoulos, who designed Sony's Godzillaas well as the night-dwelling creatures of Pitch Black worked upthe demons for Saint Sinner.
"He's a phenomenally talented guy," Rodionoffenthused. "When you're writing you envision a certain thing in your headand you try and write it out as grisly or as detailed as you can. No matter whatI did in terms of my descriptions, he always took it one step further. When Isaw the photographs of what these things ended up looking like look like I thought, 'Oh myGod. I could never even have imagined that.'"
Rodionoff saw a trailer for the movie screened at a recent"Fangoria Festival of Horrors" show. "It looks great," hesaid, crediting director Joshua Butler.
"He's had so much passion for this thing from theget-go," Rodionoff said of the director. While the writer had faith inButler's abilities, he was unsure if anyone could pull off such an ambitiousproject with the budget and schedule allotted to them. "I saw the trailerand it really just put all those concerns to rest. It's way beyond anything Icould have expected."
Another recurring Barker theme is the juxtaposition of horrorand eroticism, something clearly seen in Barker's earliest movie Hellraiser."It mingled truly disturbing, awful images with incredibly sexy, eroticmoments. You watch Hellraiser and you think you yourself, 'am I turned on or am Ifreaked out?'"
Some of that made it into Saint Sinner, althoughthe final cut of the movie will be cable friendly. While a surprising amount ofgore passed the network censors, a much greater degree of the sensual contentwas cut.
"You can have all kinds of monsters doing all kinds ofhorrible things to people, but don't show a nipple," Rodionoff quipped."There's something weird going on there."
The production team is also hoping the movie gets a warmreception and has left the door open for a sequel, or possibly a series."I think that Clive envisioned it from the beginning to be a platform for many otheradventures with this time traveling monk. Who doesn't love a time travelingmonk?"
Rodionoff said he also toyed with the idea of putting PhilipFetter, the character from the comic books into the film as a minor player.However he decided not to in order to allow for the possibility of including himin a sequel or episode, should the opportunity arise.
He also hopes for the possibility of Barker's return tocomics. "I know Clive loved his run when he was doing the Razorlinecomics."
Saint Sinner airs on SCI FI at 9PM ET/PT onOctober 26th, 2002.