Sweet Suffering Pt 4 (Hellraiser: Bloodlines, 1996)
So, Bloodlines was one of those cases of “This is the last one”. I mean, they did not actually make the mistake “the Final Chapter”…but this film seems to have been intended as a last hurrah for Pinhead and his band of merry cenobites. And they throw it all out there…the origin of the Lament Configuration is here. It was made by a toy maker hired by man interested in dark magics. The act has cursed his family line ever since, and the film is divided into three parts.
The film actually opens on a space station, where Dr. Paul Merchant is being held prisoner and is being interrogated. He has summoned Pinhead to finally bring an end to their feud once and for all. He was interrupted by security and finds himself having to tell the story of his family and their connection to the dark world of the Cenobites. This of course goes back to the origin of the Lament Configuration. Pinhead makes no appearance in this sequence, so points for consistency.
In this story, a demoness is called forth in a spell that ties her to the Lament Configuration. Her summoner is betrayed by his power hungry protege Ben Wyatt. This moves us to the next story, set in the present day of 1996. Ben Wyatt is apparently still alive and has grown bored and complacent. The Demoness, named Angelique, wants to journey to America and find the toy maker’s descendent John. He is an architect and has designed a building that contains the visual inspiration of the Lament Configuration.
The attempt to build a coherent mythology within the series is an understandable move. But honestly, it never seems to feel like it fits all that nicely into the series. It ends up with a couple mentions down the road…but it is not really a game changer. On the other hand, since the finale is set in the future, it presents no trouble with Cenobites popping in and out of future films.
The film works with both practical and digital effects, and the digital effects are…well, okay. The practical makeup looks nice though. Bloodline is okay…but it also seems unsure with what it wants to do with Pinhead. He is not the leader of hell or anything, defeating him might mean he is gone…but what greater evil are they really stopping? At the same time, Pinhead seems to be playing a role more like the first two films, where he is a guy doing a job. But this is certainly not the most exhausting film of the franchise.