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October 3, 2012

Blu-ray Review: Hellraiser Series: Miramax Multi-Feature (2011)

Echo Bridge Entertainment
4 Movie set
Run Time: 369 minutes
Rated: R

This Blu-ray release contains the fourth, fifth, sixth and eighth film in the Hellraiser series. Why they left out the seventh movie and added the eighth is really beyond me but thats what they did.

Now in all honesty, any hard-core Hellraiser fan will tell you, these films are the straight-to-dvd bastard children of a once mighty horror franchise, (yes, Bloodline did get a theatrical release but it was quite evident by this time that the series had pretty much hit rock-bottom). I really think including Hellraiser 3: Hell on Earth instead of the eighth film would have made this something that might get fans excited, but thats just me and my wishful thinking. Now lets take a quick look at each...

Hellraiser: Bloodline (1996)
This one revolves around the origin of the creation of the Lament Configuration through the span of 3 generations of the family who created the puzzle box. In this one we get to see who Pinhead was before becoming a Cenobite, during the first generation. The second generation spans in modern times with the decent of the Lament Configuration’s creator. We do get to see some cool Cenobites in this one which come into play in the final act, which is in the future where Pinhead is for some reason ruling in outer-space.

This one just had the feel of a movie that started out with a great idea but failed to execute on it. And the idea of Pinhead in outer-space, (ala~ Jason X), just gave me the feeling that this was the point where the franchise “Jumped the Shark”, throwing up its hands and saying, “Ok...we got nothin’ left.” I remember seeing this shortly after it came out on vhs and remembered thinking, wow what a sad ending for one of the most under-rated and awesome horror villains of the last 20 years. I rate it 5 out of 10.

Hellraiser: Inferno (2000)
After a child goes missing, a crooked detective is put on the case and gets more then he bargained for, as a mysterious figure known as The Engineer is the one responsible for the missing child.

This one actually had a pretty decent story line, the problem is it just doesnt feel like it belongs in the Hellraiser family. Its a cool little supernatural thriller that feels like its creators just penciled-in the Pinhead aspect after they had come up with a completely different story. A pretty fair little movie but maddeningly short on scenes involving the Cenobites, (which of coarse is the only reason we watch Hellraiser movies. This was a recurring theme in all the latter movies.)Even so, this one was my favorite of the four in the set and I score it a 6 out of 10.

Hellraiser: Hellseeker (2002)
This, the sixth entry in the series, stars Ashley Lawrence from the original trilogy, and now her characters husband believes his wife didnt really drown in the car crash they were involved it. Soon after the accident, he discovers the Lament Configuration, which of coarse leads to disastrous results as he works his way closer to to the truth about his wife.

There were a few more Pinhead scenes in this one but it felt like a recycled version of the Inferno story-line and was more of a supernatural thriller then a horror movie. Sort of ho-hum and nothing that really jumped out at you. and its pretty apparent by the end of this one that the series had either completely lost its identity or just didnt give a rats-ass about putting out something the fans wanted to see. Score it 4 out of 10

Hellraiser: Hellworld (2002)
This one’s only real claim to fame is the fact that it was the last time Doug Bradley would play his iconic role of Pinhead. In this chapter, Hellraiser goes online with a video game where players try to solve the Lament Configuration via a fancy new thing known as the internet.

It was an absolutely horrible story, but I do give the makers credit for making one good decision, the addition of Lance Henriksen to play the role of the heavy. Seeing him ripped to shreds by the Cenobites during the climax actually made this one worth watching for me. ( Thank you Lance, for once again using your genuine awesomeness to save yet another sub-par film)
I scored it 5 out of 10 ( with 2 of those 5 points being a direct assist from the mighty Henriksen).

Overall, some of the audio seemed surprisingly sketchy for a blu ray release, not horrible but also not what one would expect. Not sure what thats all about..... And the films, well, they pretty much speak for themselves, mostly below average stuff and nothing even remotely close to the epic, inspired horror of the first films of the late 80‘s. There were a few creepy and disturbing scenes sprinkled sparingly throughout the films but it always seemed like they were playing a cruel joke on us, giving us just enough Cenobite scenes to get us excited for a moment and then holding back on us, like some kind of deranged drug-dealer withholding our Cenobite-fix from us. I really found that aspect of these films absolutely maddening, and highly uncool.

One saving grace though, is the fact that you can pick up this 4 movie collection for about ten bucks, which is a great deal as far as blu ray’s go, even if the films arent really much to brag on. Sadly, there were no extras on the disc which kind of shows just how much the people who put this together cared about the people who would be paying to watch it.

Overall, I give the whole enchilada a disappointing score of 4.5 out of 10.

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