HELLRAISER: BLOODLINE (1996)

Review by Derrick Carter

Running Time: 1 hour 25 minutes

MPAA Rating: R for Strong Horror Violence and Gore, and for some Sexuality and Language

Bloodline poster

Directed by: Kevin Yagher

Written by: Peter Atkins

Starring: Doug Bradley, Bruce Ramsay, Valentina Vargas, Kim Myers, Adam Scott, Christine Harnos, Charlotte Chatton & Paul Perri

A definite step up from HELLRAISER III and still a downgrade from the first two films, HELLRAISER: BLOODLINE is an unusual entry in the franchise. Instead of functioning as a mere sequel to the third film, this movie is more of an anthology revolving around the HELLRAISER mythos. Split into three parts, BLOODLINE gives us the first story in the HELLRAISER chronology, then a direct follow-up to the lackluster third chapter, and finally, a finale that serves as a conclusion to any possible sequels that followed after. Seeing that this isn’t your typical HELLRAISER film, I’ll review this fourth installment as an anthology with each segment being graded on its own merits before evaluating the film as a whole…

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Paris 1796: A French toymaker is hired by a wealthy aristocrat to construct an elaborate puzzle box. This puzzle box eventually becomes the Lament Configuration and we see how that all began in this segment. Thanks to a little satanic ceremony, this seventeenth century piece of the film is an enjoyable, if cheesy, slice of the HELLRAISER mythos. I actually liked the overall explanation to how the Lament Configuration came to be and this is definitely a HELLRAISER story, even if there aren’t an overabundance of elaborate torture devices or hooks hanging from chains. The acting definitely isn’t the greatest and this prologue concludes rather abruptly. However, I kind of wish that instead of a straight-up anthology, BLOODLINE had merely served as a HELLRAISER film set in seventeenth century France. That sounds like a kick-ass time! B-

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New York City 1996: An architect, who happens to be a descendant of the original French toymaker, finds himself seduced by a mysterious woman with ties to the Lament Configuration. As the former family man is slowly corrupted by the will of his twisted temptress, we learn that Pinhead has returned. The pin-headed demon and the messed up mistress are in cahoots and wish for this architect to unleash Hell on earth through his very building design. This 90’s segment serves as a direct continuation from the third film (in which we see the Lament Configuration placed in a construction site). I rather like the plot of this segment, but still wish that Pinhead had more motivation than simply world domination. This is not the Pinhead that was in the first two films, but rather the slasher-esque Bond villain who popped up in the third film. B

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Space 2127: Yep, that’s right. Years before Jason did it and right before Leprechaun visited, the Cenobites went to space. An engineer attempts to destroy the Lament Configuration aboard a spaceship and finds himself arrested by space marines. The Cenobites (Pinhead and three more that appear in the other two segments of this film) are aboard the ship. So we get space marines vs. Cenobites and a body count to boot. This segment is just as silly as it sounds, but there is some dumb entertainment value to be had watching HELLRAISER in space. Though they don’t hold a candle to the original group of Cenobites, these new demons are pretty enjoyable to watch. There’s a pair of forcefully conjoined twins, a woman with her skull exposed, and a dog-version of Chatter (which is just as cool as it sounds). The kills themselves are fun to watch, even if they get ridiculously over-the-top. This also serves as closure for any other potential sequels in the franchise as the Lament Configuration can go through a lot of hands during the next five films, but none of those hands will exist in the year 2127. This is really stupid, but I thought there was some fun to be found in it. C+

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BLOODLINE serves as a most unusual entry in any horror franchise. I almost wish that FRIDAY THE 13TH or NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET took a similar approach in any one of their later, more generic sequels. I cannot stress enough that BLOODLINE isn’t nearly up to the same level of quality set by 1987’s HELLRAISER and 1988’s HELLBOUND. However, it’s an interesting installment in the franchise nonetheless. The Cenobites are fun to watch and the three storylines ensure that you’ll never get bored. It’s an okay fourth installment in a long-running horror franchise. That in and of itself is something rarely seen in the genre.

Grade: B-

2 thoughts on “HELLRAISER: BLOODLINE (1996)

Add yours

  1. As a horror movie fan, I would say Hellraiser is one of the scariest movies I’ve seen. It even gave me nightmares of an upside down monster chasing after me through a narrow hallway.

    1. I love the first Hellraiser and also dig Hellraiser II a lot. I wish the rest of the sequels took advantage of the craziness this mythology has. Bloodline was decent to me because it was interesting (at the very least), but I think that Dimension Films really did this series a disservice with these sequels.

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