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Hellraiser: Bloodlines (1996)

So, I'm more than aware that there was a wild craze in the late 90's of sending all of the iconic horror franchises to space. Of all the ones out there, 'Hellraiser' is one that I could kind of envisage working on some level in that setting. However, more often than not, this trend became more of a horror graveyard for its once successful franchise antagonists and a place they would find themselves once the story's had nowhere else to go. Being so early on in hellraisers timeline I was surprised to learn we had arrived here so soon, so let's see if this is the start of the end for this once feared series.

'Hellraiser: Bloodline' serves as both a prequel and a sequel, spending a lot of its runtime bouncing around on a rather incoherent timeline. And whist providing insight into many elements of the franchises mythology, the convoluted nature of its story telling brings a lot more questions with its delivery than overall answers. And whist being considered the 'Hellraiser' in space installment, this isn't focused too much on the space elements. Other than the opening sequence and the closing act, a vast majority of the films runtime time takes place on earth. And even given its inclusion of the spaceship set location, I feel this could have all been removed and wouldn't have made much of a difference to the overall plot.

The casting, as with a lot of these 'Hellraiser' movies is subpar at best. But, this came as no surprise to me, as this is now something we have come to expect from this franchise. We are introduced to Adam Scott in his first movie role, alongside with Kim Myers from 'A Nightmare on Elm Street: Freddy's Revenge' and Bruce Ramsay in leading roles. To say their line deliveries at times was questionable is an understatement. Thankfully, we are still in a timeline where Doug Bradley is 'Pinhead' and once again his performance carries the rest of the movie. Bradley is given a substantial amount of screen time here and bringing with him an abundance of quotable lines just like his previous efforts.

With 'Pinhead' being the only returning character from the previous three movies, we are introduced to a new collection of Cenobite minions, the Siamese Twins, Angelique and the Chatter Beast. The overall design, makeup and costume of these new additions is probably my favourite we have seen so far in the series. I think having a more condensed number of Cenobites worked more in this movies favour, as more consideration has clearly gone into making these otherworldly creations look the best they can. The scene in which we see the birth of the Siamese Twins is a standout moment for me, combining a mixture of stop-motion animation and practical effects work to a very high standard.

I wouldn't go as far as to say that 'Hellraiser: Bloodline' is a great movie, but I think there are many elements to this production that bring great value to the franchise as a whole. Buried somewhere beneath the clouded execution and mediocre performances, there is a story that I feel makes for some really interesting ideas. Unfortunately, this is the last movie in the franchise that had a cinematic release and has Clive Barker attached in creative and producer role (up until the 2022 remake), I can only assume that the remaining movies will suffer heavily in his absence. Overall, I didn't hate my time spent watching 'Hellraiser: Bloodline' and would encourage anyone who is a fan of the previous movies to give this one a chance.



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