Tuesday, October 22, 2013
31 days of Halloween - Day 22 - Movie 2
In a story that spans three time periods: a 22nd century space station, 18th century France, and contemporary New York city, we learn of the connection between the L'Merchant/Merchant family and the cenobites, particularly one know as Angelique. Phillip L'Merchant of the 18th century is the creator of the puzzle box central to the Hellraiser stories, John Merchant an Architect in modern New York is used by the cenobites to construct a corridor between earth and hell that is always open, and Dr. Paul Merchant of the future has created a trap which will get rid of the cenobites once and for all.
When you see that a movie has Alan Smithee listed as the director you know you're in trouble, as this was the traditional substitute put in place whenever the real director wanted their name removed from a movie that failed from management interference. I admit that the unconventional story structure appealed to me as did seeing how they handled Phillip L'Merchant (for some reason changed from LeMarchand, his given name in the original story) since I'd concocted his origin story for Clive Barker's Book of the Damned, published by Marvel comics several years before Hellraiser: Bloodline (1996) was released. Peter Atkins wrote this movie as well as the previous one. While this one has stronger ideas their execution is largely weak. The scene of Angelique's conjuring was the high point of the movie and everything else felt really tedious, and almost like a bare bones theatrical play. The small budget for this movie really shows, and the acting is really uneven. There's some nice suggestions about how Hell may be under new management since the days when Angelique was last a resident, which don't really get expanded on, and the new cenobites feel a little more true to the first movies, though they still aren't as strong visually. Ultimately too much of very little happens in this movie, and it's really not worth bothering with.