It’s a dark room. A man is shocked to see a number of dark-clad demons facing him. He tries to escape. Dozens of chains and hooks are lashing out for him. They render flesh and tears skin apart. During this unholy crucifixion, the man screeches in agony. Finally he calms down, stares at us, licking his lips, and with a grin hisses:
Recognize it? It is from the first Hellraiser movie (1987), an adaption of Clive Barker’s novella The Hellbound Heart. This spawned a legion of sequels, but they all centered around a common theme: everyone has their own private Hell, and for certain punishments, horrendous pain equals pure pleasure. This paradox is stated in the first movie in a couple of scenes, but it is not until words “Jesus wept” that its meaning is expanded. Or, does it have a meaning?
The victim in question (a man named Frank) is not a man of God, so we have to assume he doesn’t mean Jesus Christ sincerely and that his intention is to mock. His ugly grin afterwards confirms this. But what exactly is he mocking?
In the Bible, there is only one passage in the Four Gospels (correct me if I am wrong) where they mention Jesus actually crying: after the news of the death of Lazarus (John 11:35), before Jesus resurrects him. Frank might refer to the situation of his own fate, when he – at the beginning of the movie – escaped from Hell, and then entered the living world again. Lazarus also entered the living world when Jesus resurrected him. But still, he wept, even though Jesus must have known he could bring him back in the first place. Perhaps Frank mocks this fact?
If we see it in a different perspective, Frank could simply refer to Jesus and his sufferings. When Jesus shouted at the Heavens, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” he was apparently in anguish, and must have shed tears while on the cross. So Frank might say, “Jesus wept. But I don’t.” He overcomes his own agony with a grin, while Jesus himself was crying. A megalomaniac point of view.
Then again… the actor Andrew Robinson improvised the line on the spot. It might be just a whim, a side track with a sole purpose: to confuse, or to create atmosphere. It doesn’t have to mean anything.
But I think it does.
In this particular scene, in this particular context, I think those two words creates a chilling statement filled with double meaning and interesting interpretations.
Like I have said: you just have to look.
There is poetical darkness everywhere.