‘Pain has a face…”: Hellraiser IV: Bloodline (review)
Directed By: Kevin Yagher
Cast: Doug Bradley, Bruce Ramsay, Valentina Vargas, Charlotte Chatton
Release Date: March 8, 1996
Hellraiser I – III were released last year as the Scarlet Box. It is an exhaustive set with behind the scenes, interviews, a documentary, and an assortment of other Hellraiser goodies. Perhaps the Scarlet Box ended on ‘Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth’ because it was believed that is where the movies should have ended. Whatever the reason, ‘Hellraiser: Bloodline’ definitely would have earned a spot in this anthology.
Bloodline starts in the year 2127, with (of course, to anyone familiar with the Hellraiser franchise) a solving of the Lemarchand’s Box. Unlocking this box releases the cenobite(s) who in turn drag people to hell. What is different in part IV however, is that it is one of LeMarchand’s (whom originally created the box) descendants solving this puzzle. The purpose for this grand opening is to open the box, release the demon(s), and like Metallica declared, kill em’ all.
Bloodline then jumps back to the creation of the original box (1796 Paris, France) and shows the original innocence that went into its creation. Originally created by master toymaker, Phillip LeMarchard, the box was supposed to be a puzzle box for an extremely wealthy (yet demented) aristocrat Duc de L’Isle. He uses the box to summon a demon into a sacrificed peasant girl who becomes the demon Angelique (who unlike other cenobites/ demons keeps her earthly beauty).
The movie jumps to 1996 (present day for its release) to another one of LeMarchand’s ancestors, John Merchant. John is an architect plagued by nightmares. Angelique is still alive and travels to see John. More classic Hellraiser conflicting ensures (with arguing between Pinhead and Angelique over how they will kill John, and a gratuitous and unnecessary sex scene that seems to plague Hellraiser movies).
Bloodline concludes back in 2127 with a final confrontation between light and darkness. If you want spoilers look elsewhere, but there is a showdown between LeMarchand’s last descendant and the cenobites (including Angelique who is in full ghastly cenobite mode in the future). Some of Pinhead’s best quotes are uttered in Bloodline like, “Pain has a face, allow me to show it to you,” and several other great one-liners that were frequent in 90’s horror. Bloodline definitely would have fit well alongside Hellraiser I-III in the Scarlet Box. While it did not have the initial shock value (or classic cenobites: Butterball, Chatterer, and the original, nameless female cenobite), it still tells a great story that puts the oldest foes in existence against each other: good vs. evil.
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