Pinhead is back, Jack! And boy howdy does he want to take over the world. How? By forcing John Merchant, the extra special descendent of the original creator of the puzzle box/portal to “Hell,” to build a giant permanent one. Can John stop the horrors before it’s too late? Find out in… Hellraiser IV: Bloodline.
How?! We open in 2127 on a space station… … *checks notes* yeah, I guess… I guess this is Hellraiser now. Cool, cool, cool. A mad scientist named Phillip Merchant has worked tirelessly to destroy Pinhead once and for all but just as he opens the portal to the Hellraiser dimension he is captured by some space police (all rights reserved). He explains that far in the past (1796 to be exact) his ancestor Paul L’Merchant was commissioned to create a puzzle box. Upon delivering his art piece an eeeeeevil Duke uses it to open a portal to “Hell” and use black magic to summon a demon named Angelique. Him and his protege, Jacques, have a grand old time experiencing the forbidden pleasures of the alternate dimension until our boy Phil attempts to steal back the puzzle box and modify it so as to close it forever. Unfortunately the demon kills him and curses his bloodline for all eternity. You’d think that the demon would go on to wreak havoc upon the world at this point but she is controlled by Jacques who just wants her for his own hedonistic pleasures and to live forever (I think, it’s hard to follow). Anyway, they basically bang until 1996 (that’s a lot of banging) when she’s all like “yo, I rediscovered that curses bloodline in John Merchant and I really want to use him to reopen the portal” but Jacques is like “but can’t we just bang?” and Angelique is like no and kills him and heads to NYC. There she finds the building shown at the end of the third Hellraiser and frees the puzzle box from its foundations. She opens the portal and frees Pinhead and begins work on using her sexy demon wiles to trick John into using the building as an even bigger puzzle box and opening a permanent portal to “Hell.” Pinhead tires of this and decides to take John’s family hostage instead. They all run around for a while and there is a cenobite dog and some cenobite twins and shit. Eventually they get him to activate the building, but he does some fancy hacking on the computer like a computer whiz and reverses the portal to send them back to “Hell.” Flash back to space and the space police (all rights reserved) are shook. Pinhead starts killing them and so they let Paul go so he can try to stop him. He again uses some fancy computer work to trick Pinhead with a hologram and then zooms away on a spaceship as the space station turns into a puzzle box and explodes for some reason and this apparently kills Pinhead (though I’m not sure why you would necessarily believe that). THE END.
Why?! Hoo boy. Uh… the demons are still demons but this time you control them if you summon them (unless you get in the way of Hell’s plan). When Angelique finally tires of banging Jacques after 200 years she is freed and then only wants one thing: to permanently connect Earth and “Hell.” Everyone else in this film is kind of useless and don’t really know what they are doing most of the time. Only Paul has the right idea with his super genius space station bomb that kills pinhead for some reason… It’s a dumb film.
Who?! Oh boy! It’s one of our favorite. A rare treat where we get a new Twin Film that we weren’t expecting. That’s because in Hellraiser: Bloodline there are a couple of twin security guards who stumble upon Pinhead and Angelique. They are promptly turned into twin Cenobites and… basically disappear from the film. Underutilized talent! Come on! Use those twin cenobites or lose those twin cenobites. Fun nonetheless.
What?! Have to talk about the occasional MacGuffin, the Lament Configuration. It’s a puzzle box that is the key to unlocking “Hell” and all its pain. In the first film it is simply that, but as the films go on it gains more and more power. In the third it is what keeps Pinhead locked away in “Hell” and thus what he most wants to destroy. In the fourth it could forever connect Earth and “Hell,” but also (if configured correctly) is the key to destroying Pinhead forever. I’m sure it gets even weirder and crazier in the later straight-to-DVD entries, but scientists contend we may never know the plots of those films.
Where?! I believe the first two films took place in an undisclosed location. Filmed in the UK and certainly looked like it. In the third, though, they veer over to the Big Apple and stick around there for the fourth one. There is a flashback scene in France and a future scene in Space, but the primary focus is in NYC and its nice cityscapes. B.
When?! We start in 2127 and jump back to 1796 and then forward two hundred years to 1996 before finishing back in 2127. While these are no more specific than years, some bonus points for the intertitles informing us of that information and specific years in the far past and far future. It’s pretty amazing and I love it. A-.
There is nothing like trying to write a recap for a film to help you realize just how much nonsense it is. This film makes no sense. It’s almost like they made a film, didn’t like it, reshot a huge amount, then tried to cobble it together into a film and failed miserably. Oh wait, that’s exactly what happened. It hurt my brain trying to meander through the plot and the best things in it (Twin cenobites!) are thrown out immediately and barely play a role at all. What a tragic mistake. Put another notch in the belt you use to keep track of all the horror films that haven’t gotten better by taking it to space: Leprechaun, Friday the 13th, James Bond, and now this. What’s that? James Bond isn’t a horror franchise? News to me, cause he slayed the ladies. Boom. Patrick?
‘Ello everyone! You ever watch a movie and are like “wow, that was cool, I want some more.” And then the creators just shove dog poo in your face continuously for multiple sequels? Well I have with Hellraiser. Let’s get into it!
P’s View on the Preview – I had seen Hellraiser before a while back and looooooooved it. I’m not a huge fan of gory horror, but this had cool practical effects, an interesting story, and enough mystery to make the cenobites and living dead feel like something very rare and interesting as far as horror went. Like with the Friday the 13th series, I was excited to actually tackle a franchise in full.
The Good – Uh, with the fourth one? As a matter of fact with the second or third as well? Not much. The second brought back all of the main players, and did attempt to expand on the lore which, at first was interesting. Then woof. The third and fourth really don’t do much, although the woman who played Dax in Star Trek: Deep Space 9 was the main character in the third which was cool. And that one had a fun journalist team-up with a street rat thing going for it. That’s it, the fourth is trash.
The Bad – The lore. They expand upon it in an interesting way in the second one for a short bit, and then things go off the rails. It’s actually hell now, there are weird circuses, pinhead is the only cenobite now, he makes new cenobites, he was good, now he’s bad, now he wants to bring hell to earth, now he’s dead. The entire problem with most horror franchises is they try and expand on the lore too much. Hellraiser takes that to 1000% and then hires a bunch of television actors, and throws blood and guts everywhere as if that is what I want. It isn’t. I hated this series after the first, it was a travesty.
You Just Got Schooled – Fun fact, I read the short story that became the first film, Hellbound Heart. It was great. Being able to expand a bit more about where our antagonist Frank ends up, and lending a bit more mystery to the cenobites (who are almost definitely non-human interdimensional beings of some kind). And in the end it makes a ton of sense that the first film does the adaptation so well. The underlying lore established in the short story is concise and interesting without delving too deeply into the details. Perfecto. I would grade the initial adaptation as an A, and then all subsequent adaptations as F’s. It is inexcusable to make the cenobites transformed humans residing in hell. It doesn’t even need an explanation! They can just be cenobites!
The BMT – A huge success naturally. I love expanding my sub-genre experiences, especially with horror. And this franchise is basically the entirety of a niche supernatural gory horror genre. I don’t like gore, although when done practically it was quite spooky. And I think this is just an added example of one of my film hot takes: horror lore is the worst and should never be expanded. Nothing ruins a franchise quite like over-explanitis.
Welcome to Earf – I don’t believe we’ve seen any of the main players in other BMT players, so, to IMDb I go! Ah yes, Adam Scott is inexplicable in this film, which we have seen in at least one other BMT film, Torque starring Ice Cube, who was in Ghosts of Mars with Jason Statham, who was in Expendables 3 with Sylvester Stallone, who was in Zookeeper with Adam Sandler, who was in Jack and Jill with Al Pacino, who was in 88 Minutes with Leelee Sobieski, who was in Here on Earth. Welcome to Earf!
StreetCreditReport.com – The film is too small to make the main lists, but I knew it was going to be on a worst horror of the 90s list. And it makes perfect sense. A nail in the coffin for a signature 80s horror franchise. And yeah … the 90s was horrible for horror.