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Pinhead: He's Forever,
This review is from: Hellraiser: Bloodline (DVD)
You know there's trouble a-brewin' not when Pinhead's on the box, but when you see "Directed by Alan Smithee". This is basically a pseudonym that directors use when they don't want their real name associated with a film due to some creative disagreement, producer changes that offended the director, or if the film is just [not good].
In this case director Kevin Yagher (a respected makeup effects artist) disowned the film after Dimension made cuts to it. Hellraiser creator and original Hellraiser director Clive Barker has pretty much been written out of the series by now. You only see Clive Barker Presents (since they're his characters) but
that's it. Apparently Barker is too expensive and he has his own ideas of where the Hellraiser mythos should be going.
That said, Hellraiser: Bloodline is a weaker effort than the previous three appearances of The Box. (I actually liked Part III a lot).
This is an ambitious story, as far as horror series go, and certainly as far as Part IVs go in any series. While the first three eventually led to more insight into Pinhead and his origin, including the separation of his human and demon side in Part III, Bloodline tries to trace the history of the famous box. The Lament Configuration, as its known, was designed by a toymaker named Merchant in 18th century France. It was commissioned by a particularly crazy Duke (or Duc) who somehow is able to raise hell with the thing. (It's never made clear why the box has these powers, or, for that matter, what the heck is going on with his Latin incantations and skinning at the beginning).
The film opens in the year 2127 on a giant spaceship (yes, folks, Pinhead in space). The ship is, in fact, a giant trap designed by Merchant's last descendant in an effort to finally summon Pinhead and destroy him. Then the film flashes back to the 18th century, then forward to 1996 Paris, then to 1996 New York where the Merchant of 2127's father is an architect. Throughout we see a stunning Frenchwoman named Angelique who becomes some kind of demon (I think), though this, like many things in Bloodline, is never made clear.
If you're a Hellraiser fan, you'll enjoy more Hellraising action. However, you'll be disappointed by the fact that much of the plot makes very little sense. Who is Angelique? Is she a Cenobite? Can you really kill Pinhead? How many boxes are there?
As for the gore, well, we do get some quality bits. However, this is easily the weakest film as far as Cenobites go. Pinhead takes 2 twin brothers and does something involving drills and twisting their faces together and a lot of blood and screaming and they're joined at the head. Then there's a Cenobite dog, or
whatever that thing is, which is resigned to only brief shots of it's front or teeth or in shadows since, frankly, the thing looks downright low-budget. And I think that's Angelique in space at the end with her skull exposed under pinned scalp-flesh, which actually looks great, but she's given precious little time in that bloody form.
There's a lot owed to the Alien films here, including a group of Marines who exist for the sole reason to get whacked out by Pinhead. And speaking of Pinhead, I'm not crazy about him either in this installment. For one, we almost get too much of him(!) We see him brightly lit and walking around and spouting some almost overwhelming Pinhead-isms about human acquiesence, blah blah blah and stroking a pigeon(!). In the earlier films he was resigned to dark, shadowy sets and was, of course, a creepier character. But, give a movie maniac too many sequels and soon enough he'll be the hero, cracking jokes and making far too many appearances (see: Freddy Krueger).
However, the film is photographed well, and the makeup in general is very good. (I give credit for at least trying something new with the dog).
All in all, this isn't terrible. I'm a huge fan of the series, so I welcome new additions. I just wish that with the scope of the story and the playing around with the mythos so much that they would have done a better job. I wish we could get a director's cut--the film runs a scant 86 minutes(!) Wonder how much was cut, given that this movie spans a few centuries.
What else do we get on this DVD? Nothing. Not even a trailer. The picture and sound are both good. Nothing incredible, but certainly fine. Wish they could get a decent transfer of Part III out.
Recommended for Hellraiser fans simply because it's Hellraiser, and Pinhead, and the Box. But as for others, this is definitely NOT a good starting point for the series and is not indicative of the gothic horror of the original story and 2 films.