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1996 - 85m.

Or "Pinhead In Space" as it's not-so-affectionately known by series fans.

This marked make-up effects man Kevin Yagher's directorial debut (he'd later remove his name and replace it with the ever dependable "Alan Smithee" tag, apparently because he wasn't happy with cuts the studio made to it) and while he's certainly steady behind the camera, the script by longtime Hellrasier scribe Peter Atkins (he penned every sequel up to this one) seems to be a little too thin and weakly structured despite its ambitious premise (perhaps it's because of some of the aformentioned cuts?).

In 2127 on a distant space station the last living ancestor of the toy maker who made the "lament configuration" (in other words, the puzzle box) is trying to figure out an invention that will destroy Pinhead and his minons for all time. All seemed to be going well until he's taken captive by what appear to be Intergalactic police. The rest of the story plays out in flashback as first we're shown the origins of the box (and idea that's interesting, but somehow underplayed) before going to modern day where the latest descendent, an architect, begins getting drawn in by demon Valentina Vargas (who's in human form) and eventually harassed by the evil Pinhead (who doesn't show up until the halfway point; which would begin the series eventual lessening of the characters involvement).

Bruce Ramsay plays the role in all three generations, and it's unfortunate that he's fairly bland doing it because the Hellraiser movies won't work unless they have a fairly decent hero/heroine. Sure, the gruesome effects we've come to expect of the series are here (there's an awesome beheading moment) but even when they're trotting out wholesale Cenobite slaughter in the finale it just doesn't excite because the story isn't hanging together well enough. Co-star Kim Myers many genre fans will remember from the second A Nightmare On Elm Street movie.

Followed by Hellraiser: Inferno. (Chris Hartley, 5/16/04)

Directed By: Alan Smithee (Kevin Yagher).
Written By: Peter Atkins.

Starring: Bruce Ramsay, Valentina Vargas, Kim Myers, Christine Harnos.