Hellraiser: Bloodline

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Hellraiser IV: Bloodline
Hellraiser bloodline ver2.jpg
Promotional movie poster
Directed by Kevin Yagher (credited as Alan Smithee)
Joe Chappelle (uncredited)
Produced by Nancy Rae Stone
Written by Peter Atkins
Starring Doug Bradley
Bruce Ramsay
Valentina Vargas
Kim Myers
Adam Scott
Christine Harnos
Charlotte Chatton
Mickey Cottrell
Paul Perri
Pat Skipper
Tom Dugan
Music by Daniel Licht
Cinematography Gerry Lively
Edited by Randy Bricker
Rod Dean
Jim Prior
Distributed by Miramax Films
Release dates
  • March 8, 1996 (1996-03-08)
Running time
85 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $4,000,000
Box office $16,675,000[1]

Hellraiser IV: Bloodline is a 1996 American science-fiction horror film and the fourth installment in the Hellraiser series, which serves as both a prequel and a sequel. Directed by Kevin Yagher and Joe Chappelle, the film stars Doug Bradley as Pinhead, reprising his role and now the only remaining original character and cast member. Other cast members include Bruce Ramsay, Valentina Vargas and Kim Myers. This was the last Hellraiser film to be released in theaters and the last to have any sort of major official involvement with series creator Clive Barker and also the final installment in chronology.


In the year 2127, Dr. Paul Merchant, an engineer, seals himself in a room aboard The Minos, a space station of his own design. As armed guards attempt to break through the door, Merchant manipulates a robot into solving the Lament Configuration, destroying the robot in the process. The guards break through the door and apprehend Merchant, who agrees to explain his motivations to their leader, Rimmer.

The film flashes back to Paris, France, 1796. Dr. Merchant's ancestor, Philip LeMarchand, a French toymaker, makes the Lament Configuration on commission from the libertine aristocrat Duc de L'Isle. Unbeknownst to LeMarchand, L'Isle's specifications for the box make it a portal to Hell. Upon delivering the box to L'Isle, LeMarchand watches as he and his assistant Jacques sacrifice a prostitute and use her blood to summon a demon, Angelique, through the box. LeMarchand runs home in terror, where he begins working on blueprints for a second box which will neutralize the effects of the first. Returning to L'Isle's mansion to steal the box, LeMarchand discovers that Jacques has killed L'Isle and taken control over Angelique, who agrees to be his slave so long as he does not impede the wishes of Hell. The pair kill LeMarchand, with Jacques informing him that his bloodline is now cursed for helping to open a portal to Hell.

In 1996, LeMarchand's descendant, John Merchant, has built a skyscraper in Manhattan that resembles the Lament Configuration. Seeing an article on the building in a magazine, Angelique asks Jacques to take her to America so that she can confront him. When Jacques denies her request, Angelique kills him, as Merchant poses a threat to Hell.

Angelique travels to America, where she unsuccessfully tries to seduce Merchant. Discovering the Lament Configuration in the building's foundation (following the events of Hellraiser III), Angelique tricks a security guard into solving it, which summons Pinhead. The two immediately clash, as Pinhead represents a shift in the ideologies of Hell which she left behind two hundred years ago: While Angelique believes in corrupting people through temptation, Pinhead is fanatically devoted to the ideas of pain and suffering. Despite their conflicting views, the pair forge an uneasy alliance to kill Merchant before he can successfully complete The Elysium Configuration, an anti-Lament Configuration that creates perpetual light and would serve to permanently close all gateways to Hell.

Angelique and Pinhead initially collaborate in an attempt to corrupt Merchant, but Pinhead grows tired of Angelique's seductive techniques and decides to kill Merchant's wife and child. Having grown accustomed to a decadent life on Earth, Angelique decides she wants no part of Hell's new fanatical austerity, and intends to force Merchant to activate the Elysium Configuration and destroy Hell, thus freeing her from its' imperatives. However, Merchant's prototype is flawed, and the attempt fails. Pinhead kills Merchant, but his wife opens Angelique's Lament Configuration, sending Pinhead and Angelique back to Hell.

In 2127, Rimmer disbelieves Dr. Merchant's story and has him locked away. However, Pinhead and his followers-- now including an enslaved Angelique-- have already been freed by Merchant's having opened the box. Upon learning of Dr. Merchant's intentions, they kill the entire crew of the ship, save for Rimmer and Paul, who escape. Paul reveals that the Minos is, in fact, the final, perfected form of the Elysium Configuration, and that by activating it, he can kill Pinhead and permanently seal the gateway to Hell.

Paul distracts Pinhead with a hologram while he boards an escape pod with Rimmer. Once clear of the station, he and activates the Elysium Configuration. A series of powerful lasers and mirrors create a field of perpetual light, while the station transforms and folds around the light to create a massive box. The light is trapped within the box, killing Pinhead and his followers.



The film suffered a problematic production, largely due to studio insistence on altering the script during filming in order to answer the demands of test audiences for previous Hellraiser films-- notably, the recurrent complaint that Pinhead appeared onscreen too late in the films and didn't receive enough screen time. As originally conceived, the film was to have taken place in chronological order, and featured a much longer 1796 sequence, which included de L'Isle using the box to transform other libertines into Cenobites. Producers demanded that this portion of the film be shortened so as to hasten the onscreen appearance of Pinhead, who would not have shown up until near the one hour mark of the movie. The original script also featured more expository scenes, which too were removed at the insistence of the producers, as they felt that the scenes also impeded getting Pinhead onscreen as quickly as possible.

As a result of his frustrations, Yagher walked off the set without having completed significant portions of the film. Director Joe Chappelle was brought in to complete the picture, with the imperative to film as little as necessary in order to assemble Yagher's footage into a cohesive narrative. In order to achieve this, Chappelle and Rand Ravich-- brought on board as a script doctor-- hastily rewrote some of the unfilmed sequences and conceived of the framing sequences. Both Chappelle and Yagher were ultimately unhappy with the finished product, and both opted to be credited as Alan Smithee. [2]


The filming began in 1995. The script, a fourth draft written by Peter Atkins, may be found at the internet site The Hellbound Web.[3] Kevin Yagher cut four different director's cuts, ranging from 82 to 110 minutes.


Critical reception[edit]

Bloodline was heavily marketed and initially received better reception than its predecessor. It garnered some positive reviews amongst a field of negative criticism. Some praised its expanded scope while others derided its cheaper horror aspects. It currently has a 25% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, slightly higher in rank than its predecessor. Nevertheless it became the last Hellraiser movie to have a theatrical release.[4] [5]

Box office[edit]

In the United States and Canada, it grossed $16,675,000.[6]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]