ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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Hellraiser 4: Bloodline (1996)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Alan Smithee (aka Kevin Yagher)

Starring:
Bruce Ramsay/Phillip-John-Paul
Valentina Vargas/Angelique
Kim Myers/Bobbi
Doug Bradley/Pinhead
5 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
We witness the birth of the "puzzle". Then, we follow a war between the demons and Phillip Le Marchand’s bloodline through the ages. And yes…Pinhead does wind up in space?!?
THE LOWDOWN
Kevin Yagher removed his name from the film (see BULL'S-EYE) and the name of shame takes its place: Alan Smithee. I expected a disaster…

Hellraiser 4 has a few things going for it. The story is told through three time periods (past-present-future) and the core of it is very interesting. I loved the 18th century segment, it’s the darkest of the film. It introduces a delicious looking demon that goes by the name of Angelique (sizzling), it has very nasty gore (the skin being filled by the demon’s soul) and a bitter, cruel streak. Seeing "Hellraiser"-like events happen in that time period really worked for me…it just clicked. I wish the whole flick took place in the 18th century.

The flick started losing me when it jumped to the present. I almost felt like the story didn’t know where to go. Pinhead shows up with his endless monologues (still hasn’t learned to shut up) and there are way too many scenes of him interacting with Angelique. I felt like I was watching a soap opera with the heavies flirting and scheming their evil plans. Pinhead even resorts to kidnapping the hero’s wife and young son in order to blackmail him. What is this..."Days Of Our Lives"???

Pinhead is no longer hell’s referee, the impartial demon that goes by the rules. He’s now the token bad guy (who likes to pet pigeons???). I’ll go as far as saying that Pinhead is this entry's weakest element. Every time he shows up, the story stops so he can ramble on and on and on.

The story doesn’t only stop for Pin boy, it also stops to show gore for gore’s sakes. Now I love gore, but I love good storytelling way more. Did we really need that scene with the two twins being turned into Cenobites? Yes, it's pretty kool and messy but it stops the flow of the film and doesn’t serve the story. It felt like "let's put the flick on hold to show some gnarly stuff"…clumsy…

The opening segment in space is a good teaser but the ending (also in space) is a let down. All about Pinhead and his crew stalking paper-thin soldiers through a space station. Even though the murders are kool, the ending stalk sequences did not please me. When did Hellraiser become Friday The 13th?? Another thing that didn’t sit well with me is Pinhead’s demise. Has all these years in hell made him numb and dumb? I mean Marchand is right there in his face preparing his end but Pin is too busy talking Marchand’s ear off to notice. Pinhead=fool? U bet.

The chatterer demon dog is kool, Angelique is mouth watering (even with her skin peeled off) and the gore is plentiful, but all in all, this is an average sequel and like most sequels, it forgets where it came from. The Hellraiser movies were always flawed (in my opinion) but at least they were ambitious and different. This sequel doesn’t have a pinch of what made the first two special. Hellraiser has lost its way and Pinhead is now a proud graduate of the "Generic Villain" school. Where’s my tissue…Where’s my gun???
GORE
This film doesn’t shy away from the gore. Violent choking, bitten off cheek, twin men melded together…my fave is the guy that gets his head cut off by a "special" mirror. Special commendation to the chatterer demon dog. It looks good and the scenes with it are fun times. I’m also happy to report that the Cenobites are closer to the original ones…no CD man here…
ACTING
Bruce Ramsay (Phillip-John-Paul) gives a strong performance. He plays three parts here and is on the money with all of them. Is it me or does he look like a young Mark Hamill? Valentina Vargas (Angelique) made my blood boil. She has an aura that screams danger and is extremely sexy. Someone give Angelique her own film!!!! Kim Myers (Bobbi) hasn’t changed much since Nightmare On Elm Street 2. She’s still a good actress and still looks like Meryl Streep. Doug Bradley (Pinhead) delivers his monologues with passion and evil glee…too bad I couldn’t care less about them. Not your fault, Doug. Charlotte Chatton (Genevieve) should’ve been more present. She’s solid and has that special something that makes you want to watch her.
T & A
Two words: Valentina Vargas. She’s a sex bomb dressed or undressed. Her tit shot made my weekend.
DIRECTING
Is it me or does the film have that TV movie look? The flick has some nice shots, good style, nice sets (impressing space station) but there’s something about it that doesn’t feel right. The flick never lives up to its 18th century segment (mood wise) it becomes very ho-hum…
SOUNDTRACK
The score is OK but doesn’t come close to the one in the first two.
BOTTOM LINE
It used to be: "You open the box, they come". Part 3 changed that and Part 4 continues it. The first two for me are very special. They’re very original, very daring and on a different level than most genre flicks out there. But Part 3 and Part 4 feel very generic, cliché and by the numbers. There’s no more blue blood pumping in this series' black heart. This entry does entertain on a certain level but just like part 3, I look down on it. Why? Because the Hellraiser flicks used to be about something else…now it’s just the same old thing…again.
BULL'S EYE
Just before release, Miramax had some scenes deleted and others re-shot, causing director Kevin Yagher to disown the film (the theatrical release has a director credited for 'Alan Smithee'). A new director, Joe Chappelle, was brought in to shoot the additional material.

The original cut, titled "Hellraiser IV: Bloodline Story", begins in 1784. LeMarchand builds the box, gives it to the evil man seen in the theatrical version, and watches as him and Angelique and some others play cards. Some lose the game and lose their lives on the new puzzlebox. LeMarchand goes to Augustine, who is later killed by Angelique. LeMarchand and his wife go to a party, where Angelique shows off her new box, and LeMarchand's wife barely escapes alive to America.

The central part of the film is mostly the same as the theatrical version with the addition of a new character, a neighbor who is killed by Pinhead, who then comes back to life later and promises Pinhead a good fight in the future.

The last part is set in the future. Dr. Merchant and his crew are about to board the space station, when they realize something else in on board (Pinhead). The reincarnated neighbor returns to finish off Pinhead forever. Then, the space station turns into the box and destroys Pinhead.
Strikeback
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2:34AM on 10/24/2006
I will give this movie something, it's way better than III.

However Arrow's right. Pinhead's now the killer wacko in the "Hellraiser" series, as opposed to an angel of suffering who comes when called like he was originally. Now he has an agenda and simply wants to kill humans. The only reason I enjoyed myself during the film is because Doug Bradley is so charismatic and can at least make it worthwhile and interesting. The cinematography was also very weak.
However I did love the new
I will give this movie something, it's way better than III.

However Arrow's right. Pinhead's now the killer wacko in the "Hellraiser" series, as opposed to an angel of suffering who comes when called like he was originally. Now he has an agenda and simply wants to kill humans. The only reason I enjoyed myself during the film is because Doug Bradley is so charismatic and can at least make it worthwhile and interesting. The cinematography was also very weak.
However I did love the new cenobites, they weren't cardboard cut-outs like in the last one, there was some good design going on there. I also thought it was at least entertaining. But alas, it's ultimately [link] because of the hokey ending.
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