The Film: Hellraiser: Bloodline (1996)
Let Me Set the Scene: When it came to being raised with a strong moral attitude towards visiting the movie theater, I think my parents failed wonderfully. They would use my backpack as a way of sneaking in candy and drinks (we never bought the over-priced concession items if we could avoid it), we would see two movies for the price of one by hopping to another theater at the end of one film, and I have to thank my mother for buying me tickets to R-rated films when I was a young teenager and letting me go see them by myself (or with friends who thought my mom was the coolest). While my present day self is intensely law abiding (where going to the cinema is concerned, at least), tiny Drew was a theater owner's worst nightmare. At least I wasn't recording and pirating films back then.
|I wouldn't? You obviously don't know me well enough to make that statement.|
I was visibly upset all the way to the theater, but when we arrived, my morbidly curious side noticed the above poster for Hellraiser: Bloodline. I had seen the first film on TV (albeit through the jumpy anxiety of changing the channel back and forth when I got too scared) and was just entering my full-on horror fan stages, courtesy of my mother and aunt. Although they were not horror fans at all, they happened to support me searching out horror films from when they were growing up, leading to some truly bizarre discoveries like Phantasm.
|More fuel for the "fear of glowing red eyes" fire. Thanks again, Mom.|
The First Viewing: When I got inside, I took a quick look around the theater. There were only two other people in there (both men, both sitting separately) and they were both towards the front four rows. The movie had already started, so sneaking into the back row was easier than opening the Lament Configuration, which apparently even Terminator robots could solve.
|Not how I would go about trying to kill John Connor, but I guess you have to explore all available options.|
To be totally honest, I didn't remember a lot of what I had seen for a long time (thanks to those pesky fingers in front of my eyes) until revisiting the film a little bit later in my life. The few things that did stick with me were the fantastic decapitation chain gimmick (which is still cool), the creation of the twin Cenobite and Pinhead's hell-hound, which even my 7-year-old self found to be funny.
|This goofy concept is still better than every subsequent Hellraiser film. That says a lot.|
When the movie ended, I got up and rejoined my group. The counselor who I had talked to earlier asked me why I didn't come and sit with everyone. I said that I didn't want to disturb people by walking in front of them. I don't know if he bought it or not, but the conversation ended there, leaving me with a movie experience I will never forget.
Lasting Effects: Now just to be clear, Hellraiser: Bloodline is not a good film. It's an ambitious and interesting place for the franchise to go, but it's a horribly compromised and dull experience. Read up on the behind the scenes drama when you have some time. I'd love to see a full documentary on the series (ala Never Sleep Again and Crystal Lake Memories) if just to hear all the stories about this entry.
I credit Hellraiser and Halloween with being my first true horror movie experiences. Even though I saw things that could be somewhat classified as "horror" (Jaws, Gremlins and Critters being the first few I can remember), these two films stick out as undeniable horror experiences that I caught on late night TV, probaly courtesy of MonsterVision or something similar.
I used to do a Pinhead impersonation in high school and turned a couple of people on to the movie. Definitely something I'm proud of.
Like all horror series I find some enjoyment in, I did eventually seek out the entire franchise. Of all the horror franchises out there, Hellraiser probably has the biggest miss-to-hit ratio ever. So many bad films. I would say if you are going bare bones, just see the first two. If you want a little bit of dumb fun, go ahead and watch Hellraiser III. If you have some stupid emotional attachment to a pretty crappy film you weren't supposed to see when you were seven, see Hellraiser: Bloodline.
|Even Pinhead can't take his own film seriously.|