Sunday, October 14, 2012
Hellraiser IV: Bloodline (1996)
Disowned by the director because of the production company's decision to re-cut HellraiserIV: Bloodline, this is still a very underrated part of Clive Barker's macabre saga about the Lament Box and the demons called Cenobites. It has very interesting ideas, a bit more violent than part 3 and a bigger scale where they try to explain a bit more about the origin of the box and what it can make to curious people.
It's hard to deny it's a bit of a mess, and I'm pretty sure we can blame this on the production company who effectively destroyed the original vision of director Kevin Yagher and writer Peter Atkins. They actually tried to do something new and fresh, but someone high up wanted Pinhead in earlier in the movie and decided to fuck up the whole movie when Yagher left and refused to participate in the demanded changes. Good for him, maybe not so good for us - even if his workprint is available in terrible quality on bootlegs and downloading it's of course not the way it was meant to be seen.
But in all honest, the result is quite decent anyway. It could have been a lot worse! What doesn't work is the order of the scenes, which no makes the story fractured and confusing and it takes a few times watching it to fully appreciate the storyline and ideas both those written by Atkins and visually told by Yagher. The best part of the film is the origin story, where get to know the toy maker Le Merchant and how he built the box to a rich, decadent occultist who wants it to invoke a demon - and we all know who's that gonna be in the end? Well, not Pinhead at first, but a beautiful female demon who then we follow through the years until modern time. Everything is told from yet another ancestor in the future, sitting on his mysterious space station trying to once again invoke Pinhead.
Everything is very well made, gory and interesting. The middle part - focusing on the time "now" is good and has some interesting ideas, but feels a bit flat compared to the past and future. The actors is very good though, especially Kim Myers as the wife of one of Le Merchant's ancestors, all played by Bruce Ramsay by the way.
So if the script is a mess, Hellraiser Bloodline at least delivers some spectacular gore and splatter and some surprisingly fine visual effects (not all of course, for example the computer animated hands solving a computer animated box during the beginning of the movie). The highlight is a nice decapitation and a fun sequence where two heads is twisted into each other. It's not a bad movie, but could have been a sensational sequel - maybe the best sequel of the bunch. But no, that didn't happen - but give it a try anyway. It's worth it!