Thursday, October 27, 2011 at 6:52PM
Studio: Dimension Films
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Alan Smithee, Kevin Yagher
The ultimate origin story — far off in the future on a space station, a man tries to undo the wrong his ancestor did by creating the Puzzle Box that set Pinhead and his Cenobites loose on the world!
Arguably the best Hellraiser movie, this is the one I most likely loved best. The first is always a classic and has some Clive Barker elements of horror that blew everyone away, same for Hellbound: Hellraiser II. The third I loved for years and years, but here when Four finally came out and told the origin story of almost everyone in three main segments running at the same time, I was thrilled. Sadly most of the rest of the Hellraiser movies are utter crap, especially the latter numbered straight-to-DVD attempt to mess with your head-style ones.
So Merchant’s family line is totally cursed. Phillip Le’Merchant is the finest toymaker in the 1800’s, hired by a wealthy aristocrat who dabbles in black magic, and he makes the very first puzzle box, in tears and blood. Then we have the present day, where John Merchant is an architect known for his towering designs that look just like the sides of the Lament Configuration (that’s the puzzle box, for those of you who haven’t read Clive Barker). And way off in the future, Dr. Paul Merchant, who knows the whole story and is intent on righting the wrongs his family has caused, summons Pinhead and his crazies aboard a space station that holds many secrets.
The style is very different from the first two movies, much more like the third, very modern but still in keeping with the strong emotions Pinhead and his Cenobites invoke. Personally, I really enjoyed the timed story segments of the Merchant family, and how Pinhead gets it in the end is badass. If you’re a Barker fan, which is a unique style all it’s own anyway, you will enjoy this movie. Unfortunately, without the iconage of knowing Pinhead and the rest from previous movies, or at least their legends from the books, makes Hellraiser 4 a lot less epic. If you can stomach it, try watching 1-3 first, I guarantee it helps.