19 October 2011

October 19th

Hellraiser: Bloodline (1996) directed by Kevin YagherJoe Chappelle (as Alan Smithee)
"Needs more Pinhead!" declared the Miramax execs.  And their word was made reality.  The script was rewritten, Yagher quit the film in disgust and Chappelle shot the rest.  What resulted was a mess that doomed the Hellraiser series to an eternity of direct-to-video crappiness.

I hate that Angelique is just a regular demon, summoned using regular old black magic.  Hellraiser's Hell is supposed to special.  Your Sunday school classes were wrong.  Hell isn't about fire and pitchforks; it's about exploring the limits.  Pinhead's the same as he was in III: overly chatty and bizarrely bent on taking over the world.  The filmmakers seemed to realize these were flaws when Merchant pops up a picture of Earth on a screen, which causes Pinhead to yap so long Merchant can escape.  Pinhead is also fooled by a hologram at the end of the film.  Horrible.  The Cenobites on the space station do nothing but murder people Jason-style, which, again, is utterly not what they're about.

It's not all bad.  Angelique is probably the second best Cenobite design of all time after Pinhead.  Too bad she's barely in the film in this form.  I think the Chatterer Beast is pretty cool, even though the idea of Pinhead having a pet doggie is idiotic.  Mickey Cottrell is awesomely hammy as the powdered wig-wearing magician D'Isle.  Too bad many of his scenes were cut. The idea of having a robot solve the box in order to protect yourself is clever.  I appreciate that continuity with part III was kept, with the Lament Configuration-inspired building and the box buried in concrete.

Other than that, the film's a mess that continues the downward slide started in III.  (5/10)

The Walking Dead: "Guts" (2010) directed by Michelle MacLaren
Though not quite as apocalyptic as the first episode, this one was still quite good.  Rick escapes the tank with the help of Glenn and meets up with a group hunting for supplies in the city.  All the noise they've stirred up has attracted a lot of zombies and they end up trapped in a department store.  Their ultimate solution is for Rick and Glenn to cover themselves with zombie guts and walk among the dead to escape.  The scene is played very well, with gore and tension and fast driving.  It was surprisingly gory, actually, for a non-pay channel TV show, with Rick chopping up a dead zombie with an axe.  And, after it begins to rain and the guts start to wash off, Rick and Glenn have to fight tooth-and-nail in order to reach the truck they're aiming for.  It's nice to see some solid zombie action involving axes and shovels, especially since everyone seems to be a deadeye shot with their guns, dropping zombies with ease from a distance.  All in all, I liked it better than the equivalent scene in the comic series.  

I'm a bit worried about the other survivors at the camp, though.  Their scenes are very soap opera-esque.  And, their camp layout is bugging me.  It's spread out all over the place.  It should be tight, so they can quickly gather and fend off any attacks.  And Lori also wanders into the woods without a weapon to get water, which is horrendously stupid in this world.  Then again, the zombie apocalypse just happened and maybe they don't know any better yet.  We'll see how it goes when the two groups join up...


  1. So you're going to watch all of the Hellraiser films? I've only seen one through four. And I honestly don't remember much about four, other then it having a lot of wasted potential. (Love one and two, despise three since it so completely screws up the Pinhead character.) All of the DTV sequels are on Netflix Instant right now, so I might be tempted to follow you on this journey into declined quality.

    Also, I keep thinking about doing an Alan Smithee director's report card. The history behind the pseudonym fascinates me.

  2. Yep, since Netflix has all the Dimension ones (except for Doug Bradley-less 9), I figured I'd catch up. I've seen 5 and 6 in the past, but only remember that they both suck.

    An Alan Smithee-o-thon would be brutal, but I bet no one's every attempted it. Probably hard to get many of his titles, though.

  3. Yeah, it would probably be more effort then its worth to track down all of the various films to carry the Alan Smithee name. But it would an interesting project for sure. There's probably a book in there somewhere.

  4. That'd be an interesting book. No one seeks out to make an Alan Smithee movie, meaning that there are probably lots of fascinating stories behind the director's decision to forgo credit... But it would certainly be brutal.

    A couple years ago, I remember someone asking "What's your favorite Alan Smithee movie?" and my answer was Hellraiser: Bloodlines. I actually do think there's some interesting ideas at its core, it just completely bungles the execution.