HellraiserBloodlineDimension
1996
R

“Glorious, is it not?  The creatures who walk its surface, always looking to the light, never seeing the untold oceans of darkness beyond.  There are more humans alive today than in all of its pitiful history.  The Garden of Eden.  A garden of flesh.”

Spanning four centuries, this petrifying Gothic thriller recounts the anguished past of the L’Merchant clan, who unwittingly fashioned the puzzle box that unlocked the gates of Hades and unleashed the monstrous Pinhead.  As Pinhead and his band of diabolical demons propagate evil on Earth, three generations of L’Merchants battle the legions of darkness to annihilate Pinhead…permanently.

The fourth installment of the Hellraiser franchise, and the last one to actually get a theatrical release.  And this time out, the theme for this particular Hellraiser movie is Pinhead In Space!  Seriously, things start off in deeps space, where a giant version of the infamous puzzle box is being built by the last living descendant of Philip L’Merchant, the original builder of the Lament Configuration, the afore mentioned puzzle box that summons sadistic demons. Because the Cenobites are demons now.  Or something.  Yeah, things aren’t like the original movie anymore.  Which is probably why Bloodline is the last Hellraiser movie Clive Barker would have anything to do with.  But I digress.

So, it’s 2127, and this guy’s in space building what he mentions is a trap for the evil beings his ancestor helped unleash back in the 1700’s by building the Lament Configuration for an occultist that wanted control over demons.  The movie works as kind of a prequel and a sequel, as it takes place in the future (in space, keep in mind), but also has the protagonist Paul Merchant tell the stories of his ancestors Philip L’Merchant, the toymaker who built the box, and John Merchant, the guy who built that weird looking building that was glimpsed at the end of Hellraiser III.  So there’s at least a continuation from the previous movie there.  As it turns out, that giant puzzle box in space was designed by Paul Merchant to permanently  trap Pinhead and his minions in Hell permanently.  Why it had to be in space, is anyone’s guess.  Of course, the military sent to shut the guy’s project down doesn’t believe the guy, Pinhead is unleashed on the space station, and wackiness doth ensue.

Usually, one of the strongest indicators that a franchise is running out of ideas and is on the verge of jumping the shark (look it up) is setting it in space.  Unless it was originally intended to be a space opera, for horror franchises, this doesn’t normally bode well.  Mind you, by the time whatever icon gets the deep space treatment the franchise had crapped out of ideas well before then.  And I’m afraid Hellraiser isn’t any different.  With a concept like the one that sprung forth from the mind of Clive Barker, there were so many possibilities for the series.  But, unfortunately things went in the usual bland directions.  While the history behind the Lament Configuration and all the other boxes (again, look ‘em up) was interesting itself, I can’t help but wonder if this should have been a comic book miniseries rather than movie script.  In the end, Hellraiser: Bloodline was a mediocre entry with some good visuals but a melodramatic pace that deflates a lot of the horror tension.  Watch only if you’re a completest, like myself.  Otherwise pass.

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