Creature-Feature Conversations: Hellraiser: Bloodline

Creature-Feature Conversations is a series of informal discussions about obscure, unique, or cult horror films, primarily from the 80s and 90s.

Orrin Grey is a skeleton who likes monsters, movies, and especially monster movies. His stories have appeared in dozens of anthologies, including Ellen Datlow’s Best Horror of the Year, and been collected in Never Bet the Devil & Other Warnings and Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts. From 2011 until 2016 he wrote a monthly column on vintage horror cinema for Innsmouth Free Press that has now been collected into Monsters from the Vault. You can visit him online at

Jonathan Raab is the author of The Lesser Swamp Gods of Little Dixie, The Hillbilly Moonshine Massacre, and Flight of the Blue Falcon. His novella Cold Call is featured in Turn to Ash’s Open Lines anthology. You can read his short story “The Secret Goatman Spookshow” in the Lovecraft eZine.

Hellraiser: Bloodline (dir. Alan Smithee, 1996.)

JR: After our last entry proved to be pretty popular (and, curiously, controversial, considering how many people actually like Hellraiser III), I figured, why not check out the sequel? I remember back in my early high school days purchasing this VHS from Media Play in their horror section, it being the only Hellraiser film they had that wasn’t $30, back when horror movies were hard to come by and my knowledge of the form was woefully limited to what I could afford to purchase or what my cousins happened to record on HBO and Showtime off satellite TV. After seeing the Scream movies I just knew I had to be literate in horror cinema, but my options were pretty limited. I very easily could have purchased another movie—any horror movie, really—but something about the simple box art (Pinhead in profile, if I remember correctly) and premise caught my attention, especially considering my interest in the series spurred on by my enjoyment of the censored-for-TV cuts aired during AMC’s Monsterfest. Continue reading “Creature-Feature Conversations: Hellraiser: Bloodline”


16. Hellraiser

16. Hellraiser (1987). Clive Barker adapts his novella The Hellbound Heart. It’s filled with visions of pain and suffering that would make Dante blush. The cinematography is dark and claustrophobic, and does much to hide the seams. It’s visually interesting and tense, even when there’s no monsters on screen. Despite being a splatterfilm about demons who are into kinky torture, the film has a definite, logical morality in its message about lusts of the human heart: people desire hell, or make a hell of their own lives. The immediate sequels offer more of the same, but with diminishing returns. The last good entry in the series was Bloodlines (Pinhead in space!).