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Hellraiser IV: Bloodline

original title: Hellraiser: Bloodline

Comparison:

  • Workprint (Arrow Video)
  • Theatrical Cut
Release: Nov 03, 2023 - Author: brainbug1602 - Translator: Muck47 - external link: IMDB

Comparison between the theatrical version and the Arrow Video workprint.

In 18th-century France, the brilliant inventor Phillip Merchant builds a puzzle box for the occultist Duc de L'Isle, which can open the gateway to hell. Duc summons the demon Angelique, who ultimately becomes his downfall. Phillip is also killed. In 1996, John, a descendant of Phillip, builds an office building that also contains a puzzle box inside. Angelique comes to John to persuade him to complete his work, which will permanently open a portal between worlds. She summons Pinhead and his Cenobites, but John refuses and eventually dies. In 2127, Dr. Paul Merchant has built a space station designed to trap Pinhead. As the last descendant of the Merchants, he aims to finally confront Pinhead.

Hellraiser: Bloodline was intended to be the conclusion of the Hellraiser series, but given the numerous direct-to-video sequels, it didn't quite succeed. It was at least meant to be the last installment in the series to receive a theatrical release. Following the somewhat lackluster third installment, Hellraiser: Bloodline stands out for its intriguing storyline that connects three different time periods. Director Kevin Yagher did his best to execute the ambitious project on a limited budget, but with a runtime of just 80 minutes, the film feels too short. Some characters are underdeveloped, and much of the plot feels unfinished. The middle section focusing on the architect John is the most well-developed, while the character of Phillip Merchant had untapped potential. Nonetheless, it's an entertaining entry in the Hellraiser series with room for improvement.

During the production of Hellraiser: Bloodline, there were some complications. Kevin Yagher completed the film on time and within budget, but the producers were dissatisfied with his version. The original version was reported to be 110 minutes long. One of the criticisms was that Pinhead appeared too late, and there were requests for changes in content, including a happy ending. Yagher was unhappy with these suggestions and was replaced by Joe Chappelle. Due to the numerous changes, Yagher had his name removed from the credits. Over the years, a workprint of the film has surfaced and was featured as a bonus on a German Blu-ray, running about 80 minutes. The main differences were:

  1. Merchant doesn't appear during the summoning, and his wife is also not seen in the workprint.
  2. Paul and Bobbie enter the children's room to comfort Jack after he wakes up from Paul's nightmare.
  3. Jacques dies in a different way in the workprint. In the theatrical version, Angelique ultimately rips out his heart. In the workprint, he vomits, and only a text panel suggests a gruesome death.
  4. In the workprint, John's presentation in front of the invited guests is longer. He attempts to initiate the light configuration, which unfortunately fails.
  5. In a flashback, Angelique is seen in France. She plays a striptease game with some men and the puzzle box. The men die because they opened the gateway to hell through the puzzle box.
  6. In the workprint, Duc is killed by Angelique when he tries to kill Merchant.
  7. In the theatrical version, Merchant is killed by Angelique. In the workprint, his death is not shown.
  8. In the workprint, John has a dream of his grandmother, who says they had been waiting for him. Since the film does not reference the grandmother further, these scenes don't hold significant importance.
  9. In a new scene in the workprint, Pinhead inserts his clawed hand into Angelique's body and questions her about her secret. This makes it clear that he distrusts her, explaining why he later turns her into a Cenobite.
  10. In the workprint, Angelique tries to seduce John, but he pushes her away. Angelique threatens him and his family, prompting John to run home. In the theatrical version, it is unclear why John runs home.
  11. Paul is seen with long hair in the workprint, and a nightmare emphasizes the connection to John.
  12. Paul creates a holographic priest for confession and asks him to pray for him.
  13. In the workprint, Parker is attacked and killed by the monster, while in the theatrical version, he is torn apart by chains.
  14. In a conversation with Rimmer, Paul requests to be released because he needs to complete his work.
  15. The workprint has an alternative ending. Paul first converses with Angelique, and then more Cenobites join them. In the finale, he sacrifices himself. Rimmer escapes with the spaceship. In the theatrical version, Paul escapes with Rimmer.
  16. In the workprint, the music is missing, and often, instead of special effect scenes, only text is shown. Throughout, there's a time stamp and other overlays visible. This gives the version a very raw and unfinished feel.

On October 23, 2023, the first four Hellraiser films by Arrow Video were released in the UK, restored in 4K as part of the Quartet Of Torment box set. In the bonus material for part 4, there's a note indicating a newly uncovered workprint version of the film, providing "insight into how it changed during post-production". Indeed, this is yet a different workprint version to be examined. The scene arrangement in both workprints is identical, meaning it follows a chronological order unlike the theatrical version. The following differences exist in comparison to the first workprint version:

  • All the special effects scenes are now present. In the first version, there were only text panels in some places.
  • The murder of Jacques in the Arrow Workprint is the same as in the theatrical version but includes a few more gruesome details.
  • In general, some of the gory scenes in the workprint are longer, suggesting that cuts were made for an R-rated release.
  • The Arrow Workprint includes a new scene in which Duc Merchant explains that Angelique designed the puzzle box.
  • The scenes showing the murder of the players and the murder of Duc, which were visible in the first workprint, are missing in the Arrow Workprint.
  • Parker is killed by Pinhead's chains, just like in the theatrical version. In the first workprint, he was supposed to be torn apart by the monster.
  • The design of the space station in the Arrow Workprint is different. It is cube-shaped, while in the theatrical version, it is flat and only transforms into a cube in the finale.

The Arrow Workprint is a fantastic discovery because it is essentially a complete cut of the film. The music and effects are included, as well as the opening credits, unlike the first workprint, which appeared somewhat incomplete and had significantly lower image quality. The new scenes, like the revelation that Angelique designed the puzzle box, are very interesting. A minor downside of the 4K set is that the exclusive scenes from the first workprint are not included. There's a short 6-minute featurette with some excerpts but by far not all other additional moments of the first workprint. If you want to see everything, you still need the '84 Entertainment Blu-ray.

Image Comparison:

Workprint B (Arrow Video):

Workprint ('84 Entertainment):

Theatrical Version ('84 Entertainment):

Runtimes:

Workprint B: 81:31 Min. (Film)
Theatrical Version: 81:32 Min. on German Blu-ray (PAL)

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[00:00:30][00:00:00]

The TC begins with the Trans Atlanctic Entertainment logo.



TC: 13 sec


[00:00:40][00:00:23]

After the Dimension Films logo, the opening credits follow in the WP. In it, you can see Merchant's study room and how he is working on the cube.



The scenes in the castle follow in the TC at [00:10:07].

Pinhead flashes briefly in the TC, then the opening credits follow as white text against a black background.



This is followed by some shots of the Minos space station.



WP: 2:07 min
TC: 2:06 min.


[00:03:25][00:10:43]

The woman is seen longer in the WP, then Jacques. The Duc still says "Our manners." before saying that the woman should be shown her chair.



WP: 1 sec


[00:03:34][00:10:50]

The Duc can be seen longer in the WP.



WP: 1 sec


[00:04:11][00:11:25]

In the WP it is cut earlier on Jacques and the woman. The latter asks how the Duc conjured up the cloth.



In the TC, the Duc can be seen further on. The woman's question is missing here.



WP: 5 sec
TC: 3 sec


[00:05:13][00:12:23]

Duc's "Firm but steady" as Jacques strangles the woman is not heard in the TC.



No time difference.


[00:05:27][00:12:36]

The "Well done." from Duc after Jacques strangles the woman is only heard in the WP.



No time difference


[00:05:31][00:12:40]

In the WP, there is a transition from Duc to a shot of him with Jacques, lifting the woman's body out of the chair.



In the TC, Merchant knocks on the door of the villa and hands Duc the cube. Jacques pays him.



The scene follows in which the table is pushed aside. Merchant sneaks up to the window. This fades to the shot in which he and Jacques lift the woman's body out of the chair.



WP: 2 sec
TC: 1:01 min


[00:05:38][00:13:46]

As Jacques and Duc lift the woman's body, it transitions to the table, which is pushed to the side. From there, it fades to the tools.



The TC fades directly to the tools.



WP: 11 sec
WP: 2 sec


[00:06:04][00:14:02]

The WP fades over as the woman is cut open.



Merchant is briefly shown in the TC.



WP: 1 sec
TC: 3 sec


[00:06:15][00:14:16]

The WP has a shot of Duc washing the skin.



The TC fades right over.



WP: 5 sec
TC: 1 sec


[00:06:37][00:14:32]

The WP moves down from the chains on the ceiling. There you can see the skin of the woman hanging.



The TC fades right over from the chain.



WP: 11 sec
TC: 1 sec


[00:06:53][00:14:39]

The WP fades directly to the skin.



The TC shows Merchant looking through the window.



WP: 1 sec
TC: 4 sec


[00:07:20][00:15:07]

In the WP, Duc directly flips.



After Duc was seen the TC shows the cube lying on the table.



WP: 1 sec
TC: 4 sec


[00:07:48][00:15:37]

The TC shows the cube again, then Jacques, who backs away.



TC: 7 sec


[00:07:51][00:15:46]

The shot of Jacques backing away comes in the WP after the ground was seen.



WP: 5 sec


[00:08:04][00:15:55]

The TC shows how the cube opens, rotates and closes again.



TC: 2 sec


[00:08:25][00:16:17]

The TC shows Merchant at windows with light coming out of them.



TC: 3 sec


[00:08:34][00:16:28]

The WP shows a bright image. Only the chains can be seen.



In the TC, the cube opens.



WP: 2 sec
TC: 2 sec


[00:09:05][00:16:58]

The TC shows the lighted windows once again.



TC: 3 sec


[00:09:15][00:17:10]

Angelique is seen earlier in the WP after her summoning. She touches down with her feet on the ground.



WP: 2 sec


[00:10:12][00:18:03]

The screaming John can be seen earlier in the WP.



In the TC, the scenes follow at [00:24:23].

WP: 4 sec


[00:10:27][00:24:34]

In the WP, Bobbi goes to the nursery to calm her son. John comes in and apologizes because he had a bad dream. He explains that bad dreams can't hurt anyone. John and Bobbi look at each other.



In TC, Bobbi runs longer to the screaming child.



WP: 28 sec
TC: 2 sec


[00:11:00][00:24:42]

In the TC, the son can be seen playing for a longer time.



TC: 4 sec


[00:11:03][00:24:49]

Bobbi tells John in the TC that his dreams are getting worse and it's because of his weird grandmother. In the WP, the grandmother was mentioned early in the conversation when the boy was seen playing.



TC: 6 sec


[00:11:24][00:25:15]

John is seen longer in the TC after he said that his work is affected under the dreams.



TC: 1 sec


[00:11:47][00:25:38]

Before Angelique is seen, the TC shows a shot of Paris. "Paris 1996" is superimposed on it.



TC: 2 sec
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