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  Hellraiser: Bloodline In Space You Can Hear A Pin Drop
Year: 1996
Director: Kevin Yagher
Stars: Bruce Ramsay, Valentina Vargas, Doug Bradley, Charlotte Chatton, Adam Scott, Kim Myers, Mickey Cottrell, Louis Turenne, Courtland Mead, Louis Mustillo, Jody St. Michael, Paul Perri, Pat Skipper, Christine Harnos, Wren T. Brown, Tom Dugan
Genre: Horror, Science FictionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: Dr Paul Merchant (Bruce Ramsay) is alone on the space station he designed, lost in concentration as he attempts to open a puzzle box. He's not doing it himself, though, he's using a remote controlled robot to turn and examine the object, when suddenly it opens, there is a flash of light, a fleeting image of an unearthly figure, and the robot explodes. However, before Paul can go any further with his experimentations, the military break into the room and hold him under arrest, much to his protests that he must be allowed to continue. Later, he is interrogated by Rimmer (Christine Harnos) and tries to explain exactly what it is he is up to, so begins a history of not only the puzzle box, but the entities the puzzle box awakens...

Like the previous two entries in this series, Hellraiser: Bloodline was scripted by Pete Atkins, with creator Clive Barker on executive producer duties, but unlike the former films, this was not a success. There was much turmoil behind the scenes, and when you watch the film now the director is credited to Alan Smithee, the notorious way of a director disowning their film. Special effects man Kevin Yagher helmed most of it, but when the producers disagreed with his approach he was not allowed to finish it in the way he desired and left, leaving additional scenes to be added later to try and help the storyline to make sense.

In spite of these troubles, the plot is coherent - it's just that the manner in which it jumps around through time is offputting, especially getting used to the lead actor when he's supposed to be various people, with presumably the same soul. Most of it is flashback, starting with a trip to France of the 18th Century where Paul's ancestor Phillip (also played by Ramsay) is a toymaker and the fellow who creates the puzzle box. He makes it for a decadent nobleman, supposedly a great magician but, what do you know, he draws his skills from the dark arts and gives the box special properties after a sacrifice of a young woman. The box then brings her back to life and apparent immortality.

Phillip's endeavours to reclaim the box fail, so we jump forward in time to 1996 where Paul's father John (guess who? Ramsay again - it's a form of continuity, I guess) is an architect who designed the building we saw at the end of the previous film. He is sought by Angelique (Valentina Vargas), the immortal, who wishes to open the gates of Hell with his architecture skills. By this point you may be wondering, "Where's Pinhead?", but it's about now that he shows up, played as usual by Doug Bradley with his accustomed urbanity, and he wants to be part of the action. Hellraiser is probably the most pretentious of horror film series, with po-faced pronouncements abounding, and Bloodline is no exception, yet this time around it's all a bit silly with a grand finale that presumably seemed like a good idea at the time, but recreating the destruction of the Death Star perhaps wasn't the most sensible way of ending it all. Of course, there were other sequels, but they went straight to video; watching this, I'm not surprised. Music by Daniel Licht.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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