Hellraiser 4 : Bloodline

AKA: Hellraiser 4 : Bloodline, Hellraiser 4 : Bloodline Story

Tag Line : The most terrifying of all

Hellraiser 4 : BloodlineReleased direct-to-video here in the UK, the fourth film of the Hellraiser series largely ignores the previous happenings and instead concentrates on the origins of the mysterious lament configuration puzzle box.

Starting off in outer space in the year 2127, we are introduced to Dr. Paul Merchant (Bruce Ramsey), the latest protagonist who wishes to clash swords with Pinhead. Having hi-jacked his company's space station, he summons up Pinhead (played once more by Doug Bradley) and his new band of Cenobites using the old puzzle box, in the hope of stopping them once and for all.

But before he can finish putting his plan into action, the station is boarded by company troops and he is thrown into a holding cell. Forced to explain his actions to their commanding officer, Rimmer (Christine Harnoss), he starts to tell her about the puzzle box and it's origins. The film then descends into a series of flashbacks, within flashbacks, that traces his family's history and shows us the run-ins they've had with Pinhead and Co, over the years.

It turns out that one of his ancestors, a Frenchman named Phillipe LeMerchant (Ramsey again), created the puzzlebox for a wealthy aristocrat called Genevieve, who dabbled in the black arts (hold on, hasn't it already been established that it was a CHINESE puzzle box?) and used it to summon up a demon named Angelique (Valentina Vargas).

Flashing forward to present day 1996 (remember, this film is a few years old now), and another one of his ancestors named John Merchant (Ramsey AGAIN!!!!) who, it seems, was the designer of the building at the end of part 3, is working on a design that will shut the gateway to the Cenobites Hell forever. However, Angelique turns up and recovers the box buried in the foundations during the previous film and summons up Pinhead, whereupon John discovers that his design doesn't work properly, much to his dismay.

Having watched Pinhead turn Angelique and a couple of hapless security guards into more Cenobites, we then go back to the future and find that the whole space station that Dr Merchant hi-jacked is actually one big trap for Pinheads lot and he only has a limited time left to spring it. However, with Rimmer believing him to be a lunatic and with the cenobites roaming the station, things now look grim for him and the troops.

Whilst not as gripping or gory as the previous Hellraiser films this is still fairly entertaining and very thought provoking, although it's made a little confusing by the fact that the plotline runs in parallel with the previous films, rather than just following on from them. Fans of the original may be a little disappointed, I actually enjoyed it better the second time I saw it, but it is still quite good as far as sequels go.

Overall Marks : 6/10

Terrifying Trivia.

  • Alternate tag lines used, "A non-stop nightmare", "This year, the past, the present and the future will all meet at the crossroads of hell."

  • Clive Barker returned to work on this feature as an executive producer, having been absent from previous film, and the story was written by Peter Atkins who also scripted part 3. The director was listed in the credits as Alan Smithee, however in reality the film was directed by Kevin Yaugher, who disowned the movie after the distributors, Mirimax, decided to re-structure and re-shoot certain sequences.

  • The original cut was entitled "Hellraiser IV:Bloodline Story", and begins in 1784. LeMarchand builds the box, gives it to the evil man seen in the theatrical version, and watches as him and Angelique and some others play cards. Some lose the game and lose their lives on the new puzzlebox. LeMarchand goes to Augustine, who is later killed by Angelique. LeMarchand and his wife go to a party, where Angelique shows off her new box, and LeMarchand's wife barely escapes alive to America. The central part of the film is mostly the same as the theatrical version with the addition of a new character, a neighbour who is killed by Pinhead, who then comes back to life later and promises Pinhead a good fight in the future. The last part is set in the future. Dr.Merchant and his crew are about to board the space station, when they realize something else in on board (Pinhead). The reincarnated neighbour returns to finish off Pinhead forever. Then, the space station turns into the box and destroys Pinhead.

  • These new sequences where re-shot by Joe Chappelle, who went uncredited for his work. It seems a little ironic that they chose to hire Joe Chappele, who had previously re-shot and restructured "Halloween 6".

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