Hellraiser: Bloodline – USA, 1996

Hellraiser: Bloodline – aka Hellraiser IV: Bloodline  is a 1996 American science-fiction horror film directed by Kevin Yagher and Joe Chappelle [as Alan Smithee] from a screenplay by Peter Atkins. It stars Doug Bradley, Bruce Ramsay, Valentina Vargas, and Kim Myers. The soundtrack score was composed by Daniel Licht.

The film had a troubled history, and director Kevin Yagher left the production after backers Miramax demanded new scenes be shot. It was subsequently completed by Joe Chappelle. The new scenes and re-shoots changed several characters’ relationships, gave the film a happy ending, introduced Pinhead earlier, and cut 25 minutes.

In 2127, Dr. Paul Merchant, an engineer, seals himself in a room aboard The Minos, a space station that he designed. Merchant manipulates a robot into solving the Lament Configuration, as he is apprehended and agrees to explain his motivations.

Paris, France, 1796. Dr. Merchant’s ancestor, Phillip LeMarchand, a French toymaker, makes the Lament Configuration on commission for libertine aristocrat Duc de L’Isle. Unbeknownst to LeMarchand, L’Isle’s specifications for the box make it a portal to Hell.

In 1996, LeMarchand’s descendant, John Merchant, has built a skyscraper in Manhattan that resembles the Lament Configuration. Angelique travels to America. Discovering the Lament Configuration in the building’s foundation, Angelique tricks a security guard into solving it, which summons Pinhead…

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Reviews:

“From here, the series takes a very different turn, for better or worse, not that this is all that faithful in tone to the first two films. There is plenty of gore, courtesy of Kevin Yagher, a scene directed by Barker, chilling Pinhead dialogue and a host of other reasons why this should be one of your favorite films in the series.” David J. Sharp, Beneath the Underground

“I commend franchise writer Peter Atkins (who is also responsible for the Wishmaster franchise) for trying to close out the series with an ambitious story. Unfortunately he’s trying to squeeze at least two movies into one here, and the result is unconvincing narrative and flat acting work. The only thing Bloodline does well is its vast amount of gore.” Nix, Beyond Hollywood

“Despite being a theater release, the movie has a bit of a cheap look to it. What could have been a dark and brooding space station (like in Alien) turns into a cheap set with only a few halls. The period piece portion of the movie has a similar feel, and the 1996 portion is the most textured of the realities even though it too is a pretty bland set.” JP Roscoe, Basement Rejects

” …the picture from a visual perspective teetering on the look expected of a low-end direct-to-video production, not a low-budget theatrical release. Still, the plot is strong enough to overcome, and while Bloodline is no match for superior horror pictures from this or other top-ten series, it’s a welcome addition to the Hellraiser universe.” Martin Liebman, Blu-ray.com

Bloodline is filled with so many inconsistencies and flat pieces of horror and suspense that by the time the director has provided a ridiculous unnecessary ode to Star Wars (this time it’s a cube exploding in space, not a globe, get it?), I’ve already forgotten most of the film and still haven’t decided on what the purpose of this new film was. I know… In space! I’m still not sure why we needed an origin of the puzzle box anyway.” Felix Vasquez, Cinema Crazed

“Doug Bradley’s performance is excellent, as always, and he actually gets most of the better lines in the film. The sequences of blood and grue are also spectacular […] In this way, the film really satisfies the gorehound in me, but I can’t help but think the story was a bit compromised as a result.” Brett Gallman, Oh, the Horror!

“Bruce Ramsay plays the role in all three generations, and it’s unfortunate that he’s fairly bland doing it because the Hellraiser movies won’t work unless they have a fairly decent hero/heroine. Sure, the gruesome effects we’ve come to expect of the series are here (there’s an awesome beheading moment) but even when they’re trotting out wholesale Cenobite slaughter in the finale it just doesn’t excite because the story isn’t hanging together well enough.” The Video Graveyard

Choice dialogue:

Pinhead: “Pain has a face. Allow me to show it to you, gentleman. I am pain!”

Pinhead: “Do I look like someone who cares what God thinks!?”

Pinhead: “I am so exquisitely empty.”

Cast and characters:

  • Doug Bradley as Pinhead
  • Bruce Ramsay as Philippe “Toymaker” Lemarchand / John Merchant / Doctor Paul Merchant
  • Valentina Vargas as Peasant Girl / Angelique / Angelique-Cenobite
  • Kim Myers as Bobbi Merchant 
  • Adam Scott as Jacques, de L’Isle’s assistant
  • Christine Harnos as Rimmer
  • Charlotte Chatton as Genevieve Lemarchand. 
  • Mickey Cottrell as Duc de L’Isle
  • Jody St. Michael as Chatterer Beast, a Cenobite 
  • Courtland Mead as Jack Merchant

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