While many regard it as an incoherent entry to the series, Hellraiser: Bloodline is quite the entertaining little gem. On March 8, 2017, this installment turned 21. Previous Hellraiser films focused on the humans, their desires, and their flaws. Hellraiser: Bloodline focuses on the demons, Hell’s rules, and Hell’s history. That is what interests me about the third sequel in the puzzle box franchise. It plays with your intellect which isn’t normal for scary movies. Horror films usually play with your primitive instincts like fear, survival, and sexual desires. Hellraiser: Bloodline does all of that and also challenges you to learn and retain information that it wants you to know about the world it has created.
Venturing through the history of the puzzle box, The Lament Configuration, we find out how innocent its beginning actually was. Originally, it was just thought to be a toy. However, the clients that ordered it had a far more sinister plan for the wooden box. After they sacrificed a young woman who would later become the demon Angelique, the box became the portal to Hell. After, we follow different generations of the toymaker’s lineage as they try to put an end to the box once and for all.
Hellraiser: Bloodline was the last of the series to hit theaters. It has made $16,675,000 dollars which quadrupled its estimated budget. Granted, it has been 20 years since it was released but one has to question why filmmakers didn’t continue the franchise in theaters. Let’s erase everything we know about the five direct-to-video sequels. None of those, minus Revelations, were original Hellraiser scripts. They were edited and put together to fit the mythos. What if they had written actual Hellraiser movies and released them in theaters? We horror fans could have had one hell of a good time… no pun intended.
One of the great things about Hellraiser: Bloodline is the intricate storyline that spans three generations. We get to see how the box was made, some of the havoc it has caused, and a finale that is out of this world. The deaths in this installment are creative and brilliantly gory. Doug Bradley plays the sadistic supervisor of pain and suffering brilliantly this time around. All of the camp that took place in Hellraiser 3: Hell On Earth has disappeared and has been replaced with malice lining every scene. One in particular includes twin brothers who will never have to spend another second apart. Isn’t Pinhead so generous?
Hellraiser: Bloodline is a fun trip down Hell’s memory lane. However, during filming there was so much controversy. There were rewrites, demands from the studio, and Kevin Yagher even requested that his name be pulled from the credits. The original cut apparently had showdowns between Pinhead and Angelique. They were adversaries that had a whole backstory. After most of that was cut from the final film, Yagher asked to have his name removed because it did not represent his vision and he didn’t approve.
Critics initially tore the film apart, much like Pinhead does to souls. They complained that it was incoherent and a sub-par sequel. However, over time Hellraiser: Bloodline has become a film people eventually warmed up to. I personally put it as one of my favorites in the franchise. It was Bloodline that broke my Hellraiser cherry. Ignore the critics and watch it this week to celebrate its birthday. It is 21 years old and it wants to take you into oblivion! Bloodline might even take a shot with you on the way there!