Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Series Killers: Hellraiser- Bloodline

What the hell is wrong with you, idiot?  Why would you called Hellraiser IV a 'series killer' when there are four other films?!?  It's like putting Howling II in the bunch too!  Well, the answer is simple- both films killed the series theatrical runs.  After four films, Hellraiser was sent to DVD- or the Sci-Fi Channel- while the subsequent Howling sequels are staples of the 'shit you find in dollar DVD racks.'  Satisfied?  So, with that out of the way, let's talk about this film.  As the final film in theaters, it decided to play around with time & space a bit.  We get what is basically a Hellraiser anthology film, jumping from France to America and, finally, to space.  Yes, Pinhead in space.  How did both Hellraiser and Leprechaun go to space in Part IV of their respective series'?  It boggles the mind!  Basically, a guy in space tells about Pinhead and how it has cursed his family line, hence the subtitle.  Of course, that's excluding Hellraiser V, VI, VII and VIII, which take place in modern times.  You just know that no matter what those people do, Pinhead will be back until the year 2127.  Kudos for picking a pretty far-off date, by the way.  You get one compliment- that's it.  Will this be a good swan song or a repetitive crap-fest?  Get out your giant taffy puller for my review of...
The film begins in space, immediately putting me in a bad mood.  Nothing good in horror has ever taken place out here unless it features the word 'Alien' in it somehow.  A man is doing an experiment with the famous box, which turns into crap CG for a moment while it morphs.  Abruptly, the robot doing the work bomb-defusion style explodes.  Wow, you got that one backwards, movie.  Before more can happen, some cliched space marines show up to arrest the man.  He tries to explain his side and why they all need to leave.  In an interrogation led by a female officer, he tells about the origin of the box.  As it turns out, his ancestor was a toymaker who sought a better life.  He made the elaborate box for a foppish, cliche of a man before leaving.  As it turns out, the man was a crazy person and killed a woman, gutted her and hung her skin up.  Thanks for the imagery, film.  He does a ceremony and places a demon in her body.  His assistant (played by 'that guy' Adam Scott) is wary and with good reason- it's a demon.  The worried toymaker consults his buddy, but he's too busy with an autopsy to say much.  The guy goes back to the house, finding the foppish man dead and the demon a bit pissed.  She explains that his family line is cursed before she kills him.  Why is that?  He made the box, but didn't know the intent.  If you're going for a 'Winchester-style' thing here, you fail.  The Winchester Rifle was a gun, not a box!  Next story...
In the present day (of 1996), we see an artist played by the same actor as the last two times.  By the way, he sucked those times and he sucks here- nuff said!  He has a family here, which includes a wife and a young kid.  News of his works reaches France, alerting the demon woman and the other cultist, who is the exact same age as before.  I'd question this bit of logic dramatically, but he dies within minutes of them revealing this.  He says 'don't go,' so she kills him, since he broke one of the 'Cardinal Rules' apparently.  She goes to his building and does a ceremony to bring back Pinhead.  Yes, he finally shows up- thirty minutes in.  Two twin security guards show up- why not?- and get killed by Pinhead.  He puts a giant 'taffy puller' between their heads, linking them up like a sideways Human Centipede.  Him and the demon woman make a big show about kidnapping the man's family and asking him to make a bigger box.  Yes, even though they can get here, they want more!  I don't know- just go with it!  The pair sick their hellbeast on them, but it proves to be easily beaten when the wife shoots light from the box.  They nearly force the man to do their work, but he tricks them, sending them away with a computer code.  In his last act, Pinhead decapitates the man though.  Next story...
Back to the future (I wish), we see that the lady's superiors still don't believe the man.  The woman does, however, and allows him to explain what happened.  He summoned the creatures to the station, leading the film to replay the robot scene.  That only happened an hour ago- we didn't forget!  Sure enough, the Cenobites kill their way through the cast of cannon fodder.  The demon lady is now a Cenobite with her skull exposed and her scalp stapled to her shoulders, while the pair of guards are now a conjoined-head Cenobite. The dog takes out a man, while Pinhead uses his chains to kill another.  The conjoined-head Cenobite kills one soldier by creeping up next to him and absorbing his body.  Um, okay.  The movie's two heroes flee to an escape craft, but the man returns to taunt Pinhead.  As it turns out, however, it's a hologram.  The pair fly off as the ship turns into a giant box and he uses the magic death formula to kill the Cenobites.  You like a silly light show- you're in luck!  They escape as the evil is destroyed forever...until the next four sequels...and the planned fifth one...and a planned 3-D remake.  The End.
This movie Hell.  I get the idea of what they were going for, but they failed.  The anthology style just doesn't work because it forces you to keep re-introducing the same characters.  Pinhead's appearance should be notable.  When you do it twice, you lose the impact.  Furthermore, the whole premise is just silly to me.  The guy is cursed because he made the box?  I said it before and I'll say it again- he shouldn't be!  He didn't make it as a portal to Hell and had no clue that it would be used as such.  The whole idea is just dumb!  How do the three separate tales work?  The first one is brief and dumb, the second one is longer and dumb and the third one is fairly-short and dumb.  There are good moments in all three of them, but not enough.  Perhaps if you had given us one story, the combination of those ideas in one, straight-forward narrative would have been more effective!  Do you want to eat three bags of M&Ms with two or three good pieces in them or one bag of them with a lot of them?  I'm talking about candy, so I'll wrap this up.  This is three separate tales that suck, as opposed to just one.  That just magnifies the whole problem right there.
Up next, let's look at the second film to kill the Halloween series.  This one has Busta Rhymes in it, so I'm sure that it will be fantastic!  Stay tuned...


  1. I think there are some really great ideas in there but they could have made a decent movie out of one of them rather than trying to cram in three.

  2. Thanks for your reviews I am reading these on my way to work and your introductions are always the best. So funny. I find myself sitting and laughing by myself on the train all the time... Thanks.

  3. Thanks. It's always nice to hear stories like that. It helps make the often utter shit I watch seem worthwhile. :-)

  4. haha yes and the best thing is that for some reason I have watched these utter shitty movies also. Maybe they are the best and we haven't totally understood that yet? ;) Keep on with your excellent work. Some day it will totally pay of, I am sure.