Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

Girls with Balls, or: Bump, Set, (Steel) Spike

One day you’re spiking balls and serving up aces, and the next day you’re dodging bullets and weird dudes who hide speakers in the woods. This week’s film reminds us of that simple time in our lives when we were innocent young teenagers; JK, high school is awful.

The Film:

Girls with Balls

The Premise:

The girls of a high school volleyball team lost in the woods must defend themselves against a group of dirtbag men out to kill them.

The Ramble:

According to our narrator and folksy French singing cowboy, the girls of the Falcons volleyball team are a tough bunch; unfortunately, they are also slated to die by the end of the film. Spoiler alert?

Although the team is great at volleyball, the girls aren’t always as wonderful about caring for and supporting each other, as their coach laments. Good thing the trip back home will give the girls plenty of opportunity to bond as they drive along the countryside in a janky RV.

The girls run the full gamut of high school stereotypes: Hazuki, team captain; Morgane, the bitchy yet insecure queen bee; M.A., the timid and, er, fat(?) one; lesbian supercouple Dany and Tatiana; Jeanne, the modest overachiever, and her bff, Lise.

When it becomes clear that the team is no longer on the right track for home, the group stops at the world’s creepiest house, complete with many taxidermy animals ornamenting the walls and sinisterly silent bartender.

After he actually licks one of the girl’s faces, a fight erupts and the team leaves rather quickly. Opting to drive on and then stop to camp out for the night proves to be a fatal mistake (though it looks downright cozy): our head creep returns with a tiny dog and a mob of murderous henchmen. Forced to run, the girls split up as coach leaves them high and dry.

As the girls dodge murder, they have another danger to face: that of their past misdeeds and personal drama bubbling up. While the bodies pile up, so do the resentments. After many of the girls are captured or killed, it comes down to three remaining heroines to rescue them all. But will they even care about helping their teammates after all of the teenage drama they’ve suffered at their hands?

The Rating:

2/5 Pink Panther Heads

I give this film most credit for the final scene, honestly. Spoiler alert: I would so watch a sequel about the remaining volleyball team girls going around and beating up dirtbag dudes.

Most of the (admittedly short) runtime here just served to remind me how gross it is that so many films fetishize teenage girls. There’s a scene in which Morgane does a completely unnecessary table dance that made me so uncomfortable.

I did like some of the dynamics between the girls, but they spend so much of the film being incredibly awful to each other that it’s a bit difficult to stomach. A lot of the humor here just does not work; Lise does a striptease that isn’t intended to be sexy, though it is meant to be funny and is not at all. I wish the humor here had let us in on the joke instead of making me feel like this is the work of a misogynist making fun of (while also being turned on by) a bunch of high school girls.

Would my rugged blog wife save this one from a band of creeps or leave it to its horrible fate? Read her review here to find out!

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Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

Lady J, or: Voulez-vous coucher avec moi?

Soft laughter echoing across marble stairs.  Gently twirling parasols.  Delicate lace sleeves.  More hats than you could wear in a lifetime.  It can only be period drama month on the Blog Collab.

The Film:

Lady J

The Premise:

A woman of the French nobility seeks revenge on the libertine who broke her heart.

The Ramble:

The Marquis des Arcis is a piece of work, let me tell you.  A libertine who claims to love all of his conquests, the Marquis has his sights set on widowed Madame de La Pommeraye.

Fully aware of his terrible reputation, Pommeraye resists his advances, proclaiming her belief in friendship only, not love.  However, the Marquis and his charm begin to take effect, and the two become lovers.

A man kisses the hand of a woman dressed in fashionable pink dress and hat.

Even from the French countryside, news travels fast, and Pommeraye becomes the subject of nasty gossip in Paris.  Unconcerned as their love is so pure, Pommeraye prances merrily along.

When the Marquis must travel for business, so our troubles begin.  As he travels more frequently, he becomes increasingly distant.  Unable to take it any longer, Pommeraye confronts the Marquis about the lack of love between them.  Heartbroken over their breakup, Pommeraye nevertheless remains friends with her ex…while also doing some scheming.  Of course there’s scheming.

A woman with a parasol touches the shoulder of a man while they walk in a forested area.

After hearing some scandalous gossip from her bestie, Pommeraye hatches an inspired plan.  The scandal involves a woman born out of wedlock who nevertheless makes a good match to a member of the nobility.  As it turns out, her fiancé is a next-level schemer, and arranges for a fake wedding.  When she takes him to court, this woman inevitably loses, and turns with her daughter to a den of vice (le gasp) where they earn a living through sex work.

Inspired to seek vengeance against the Marquis with these two women, Pommeraye sets them up in a flat of their own as long as they follow the path of righteousness.

After introducing the Marquis to her pious friend and lovely daughter, he becomes obsessed.  So consumed with his thoughts of Mademoiselle J, the Marquis begs Pommeraye to reunite them.  Pommeraye at last allows him to join them for dinner when he “happens to be in the neighborhood.”  During dinner, Pommeraye grills him on the questionable morality of libertines and prods him to speak in praise of living by the words of Christ.

A man and woman dressed elegantly talk to a woman and her teenage daughter, who are dressed somberly.

Hiring the equivalent of 19th century PIs, the Marquis tracks down Mademoiselle J and propositions her repeatedly.  He writes romantic letters, offering jewels, houses, monthly income, and significant amounts of his fortune.

Pommeraye, intercepting his letters, urges Madame J to reject all of these offers as they are not enough.  Finally, the Marquis realizes the only acceptable offer is one of marriage, which Mademoiselle J is reluctant to accept.  Conflicted about lying about her past and her feelings for the Marquis, Mademoiselle J eventually accepts as a way to provide for her mother.

A woman in an elaborate yellow dress reads a letter in an elegant room as servants look on.

Shortly after the wedding, Pommeraye takes Madame J and the newlyweds on a fun day trip…to the den of vice (dun dun dun).  How will the Marquis react when he learns the truth about Mademoiselle J’s past and Pommeraye’s present schemes?

The Rating:

4/5 Pink Panther Heads

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again:  I am always here for a period drama.  The scenery, the costumes, the melodrama, the passive-aggressive lines of dialogue–I love it so much.

Though the obvious comparison is probably Dangerous Liaisons, this is actually quite sweet for a revenge film. Pommeraye herself starts out as a somewhat sympathetic character, but her schemes ultimately have the power to hurt a lot of people and she gives zero fucks.

I appreciate that this is reasonably progressive concerning women’s sexuality, especially where period dramas are concerned.  The Marquis is of course a bit of a douche when it comes to Mademoiselle J’s past as a sex worker, but the story resists the idea that she is somehow unclean or immoral.  Meanwhile, Pommeraye’s schemes actually do, as promised, ensure that a man no longer acts as a libertine (though not necessarily in the way she intends).

There’s also quite a lot of farcical fun here.  The scene at dinner cracked me up with all of the uncomfortable squirming the Marquis endured.  The amount of times he unconvincingly just happens to bump into Madame J and her daughter is quite entertaining too.

Would my blog wife remain steadfast or plan an elaborate fake wedding just to get this one off her case?  Find out by reading her review here!

Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

The Most Assassinated Woman in the World, or: Frenchy McFrenchface

This week’s film brings Horror Month to a close (say it isn’t so)!  In true French spirit, this film does horror with style (and is based on a true story!).

The Film:

The Most Assassinated Woman in the World

The Premise:

Paula Maxa, famous for dying onstage in every performance, may be the target of a real-life killer.

The Ramble:

Welcome to 1930s Paris, a world full of cigarettes, drama, religious zealots, and…murder?  The (in)famous Paula Maxa has the distinction of being murdered every night at the Grand Guignol Theatre, much to the dismay of a die-hard group of protestors.  Believing her violent act will yield acts of real violence, the protestors only seem to create more intrigue around the scandalous show.

You have to give credit to the theater crew for keeping things fresh–Paula’s deaths are always gruesomely staged with a disturbing amount of attention to detail.  Whether being stabbed, choked, or beheaded, the stunts always look real.  Possibly because the blood and body parts involved aren’t props but harvested from human victims…?

A woman looks in horror at another woman who has just lost an eye, the wound bleeding profusely.

On this particular evening, there are several audience members of note watching the show.  First is an older man with his young lover in a private box.  The man in question seems much more interested in Paula’s bloody death than anything his lover has to offer.  That can’t be good.

Another person of importance is a journalist, Jean, writing a story about the Grand Guignol as a den of depravity.  After the show the next night, Jean meets Paula at a bar straight out of a film noir.  He’s immediately intrigued and determined to learn more about the glamorous, aloof star.

Meanwhile, Paula is having flashbacks to her younger days, and they aren’t particularly happy memories.  These seem to be influenced in part by the awful director who is determined to drive Paula insane for some reason?  Mostly because he’s a douche?

A woman looks at herself in the mirror of a dressing room, a picture of a man and woman on the beach hanging on a wall behind her.

As Paula opens up to Jean, she reveals the tragic secret in her past she’s held onto for so many years.  She also hints that she’s ready to leave the theatre and will do so with an appropriate amount of dramatic flair.

A man and woman lie at opposite ends of a bed, heads next to each other.

Unfortunately, someone else seems ready for Paula to exit, stage left, in real life.  The choice to re-create Paula’s past onstage seems rather ominous.  Like Paula’s past, will this story end in tragedy?

The Rating:

3/5 Pink Panther Heads

More film noir than horror, this film has a wonderful aura of mystery.  The gory effects paired with the melodramatic onstage deaths are impossible to resist.  As an added bonus, the film fits in nicely with the blog collab’s unoffical subtheme:  Women Who Look Good Smoking.

However, there are a lot of elements that never feel fully fleshed out.  I expected more to happen with the religious zealots, and almost all of the character motivations are confusing.  This is the kind of film where I anticipate a clever twist, but the end is just…a very French ending indeed.  (Not in a dirty way.)

Would my blog wife resurrect this act for a grand finale or let it die IRL?  Find out in her review here!

Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

Madame Bovary, or: Arsenic and Gold Plates

November is the month of love on the blog–specifically love for the Blog Collab and our partnership.  In line with age-old tradition, our theme for this month revolves around choosing films that remind us of each other.  This week is Christa’s pick, and I think I’ve done well for myself if period dramas are the films immediately associated with me.

The Film:

Madame Bovary (2014)

The Premise:

France.  Extramarital affairs.  Massive debts as a result of too many gold encased centerpieces.  You know the drill.

The Ramble:

If 150+ years isn’t long enough to catch up on the basic plot of this story, this film considerately drops a few hints right away that it doesn’t end super well for the titular Madame Bovary.  Guess what?  Being a middle class married woman in the 19th century French countryside isn’t usually the most fun in literature.

Short diversion:  though set in France, this adaptation feels English AF, and the accents are confusing.  We have pseudo-French, British, American, and a few I couldn’t identify super easily.  Call me old-fashioned, but I want to hear actors in a French story at least make an attempt to put on a terrible French accent.

Returning to our story–almost immediately after her education in what looks like the world’s most boring martial arts school (but is actually a French convent), Emma marries a youngish doctor and moves to a small town outside of Rouen.  Everyone is stoked about the good match she’s made and predicts she’ll enjoy a comfortable, quiet life with her husband.  A ha ha.  Ha.

A man and woman ride through the French countryside on a horse-drawn buggy.
They see me rollin’…

For whatever reason, Paul Giamatti has a small role in this as a pharmacist/unintentional wingman for Emma.  He introduces Emma to a young legal clerk, Leon, with the dubious honor of being the last romantic in France.  Though Emma is really into this guy, the most scandalous thing she’s willing to do is walk slowly through a golden field with him.  That seems to be the end of that (at least for now).

A man and woman walk through a field together.
Period drama requirements satisfied in this scene:  bonnets, sideburns, symbolically wild/flowy hair on men, walking in fields.

Bored with the countryside, Emma tries to convince her husband to move to a city with more excitement or at least some more dudes to scope out.  Sorry, Emma–not going to happen.  Her only consolation is buying expensive shit on credit so she’ll have a shiny new wardrobe and extravagant decor.

After some time, Emma meets a marquis at a really fancy fox hunting party (which also makes this story feel even more fucking English).  Though initially Emma only offers friendship to the Marquis, she becomes tired with the constant disappointment that is life and begins an affair with him.  Eventually, Emma plans to run away to Paris with the Marquis, but…that doesn’t work out very well for her.  She does get some apricots out of it, though.

A woman stands in front of a table filled with food, reading a letter.
Break-up note accompanied by food is…not the worst idea, actually.

Luckily, Leon shows up again around this time.  However, Emma has also amassed much more debt than her husband can ever pay off by this point.  Unless Emma can rustle up 10,000 francs, she will lose everything.  Guess who’s there for her in her hour of need?

Spoiler:  it rhymes with marsenic.

The Rating:

3/5 Pink Panther Heads

I do always love the scenery, costumes, and symbolism of a period drama.  The sweeping landscape shots are beautiful, though (again), there’s something about all of this that feels so English.

However, we’re sorely missing a glimpse into Emma’s inner workings.  We see her reacting to feelings of emptiness and boredom without understanding where these feelings come from or what drives her to spending money and conducting affairs.  She’s also described as intelligent yet overly romantic, but neither of these characteristics shines through.  In this adaptation, Emma is actually somewhat boring herself and honestly not the brightest.  As a result, there is very little redeeming about her character, and it’s difficult to be sad when she meets an unhappy end.

At a certain point, this film ends up feeling like it’s crossing off items on the period drama checklist:  furtive glances at church, melancholy walks in the countryside, forbidden meetings at night.  You can get all that and more from so many other period dramas, in addition to more fully developed characters and deeper significance (plus less confusing accents).

Would Christa plate this one in gold or send it away to walk alone in the woods?  Find out in her review here!

two young women stand in a rundown lot, eyes closed, faces tilted upward, smiling
Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

Divines, or: Au Revoir, Feelings

Not cool, Christa.

First film of the new year and I’m already ugly crying.  We’re kicking off 2017 by knocking off a handful of titles that have been on our movie bucket list forever.  First up is Divines, which will just toy with all of your emotions before crumpling them into a ball and kicking them.  In the best possible way.  Make sure you’re not wearing mascara before you watch.

The Film:

Divines

Where to Watch:

Netflix (US)

The Premise:

Teens in Paris are determined to make money by any means possible to escape their tough neighborhood and family dysfunction.

The Uncondensed Version:

Dounia and her bff Maimouna are teenagers living in a rough Paris neighborhood.  The two are always getting into trouble, blowing off school, and causing mayhem in general.  Dounia has the added chip on her shoulder from her mother’s reputation for sleeping around—which means all of the little asshole kids call Dounia a bastard.

Things really kick into high gear when Dounia gets sick of all this shit and drops out of school, determined to make as much money as possible and leave everyone else in the dust.

Enter Dounia’s idol, Rebecca, a drug dealer who seems to have it all.  Dounia comes up with a bold plan to get Rebecca’s attention…which actually pays off, and both Dounia and Maimouna wind up working for Rebecca.

a young woman with a cigarette tells a young man, "Cash is my only brother."
Preach.

In addition to working together and causing trouble, Dounia and Maimouna like to sneak into the theater when dance recitals are happening and make snarky comments.  That is, snarky until Dounia develops a major crush on one of the dancers, Djigui, whose day job is working security at the mall.  (He does have really nice eyes and a fucking hot back tattoo.)  In typical teenage girl fashion, she’s a complete jerk to him and makes fun of his dancing…which may be the only time in recorded history that tactic actually works.

bird's eye view of a shirtless man onstage
Also the tactic of watching/recording him while he’s shirtless.  Apparently when I do it, it’s creepy and illegal.

As the relationship between Dounia and Djigui intensifies, so too does her role in Rebecca’s criminal activities.  Rebecca’s plan is to steal money from her old supplier, who supposedly has 100,000 hidden in his apartment.  Dounia will get herself invited to his apartment…once she conquers walking in heels.

At the club, Dounia does catch Reda’s eye but later gets in trouble when she provokes the police.  Her mom, Maimouna’s parents, and Rebecca are all pissed.  Dounia loses permission to see her bff and loses Rebecca’s trust.  Determined to make things right with Rebecca, Dounia arranges to meet up with Reda.

a young man drives near the Arc de Triomphe in Paris as two young women stand, raising their arms out of the convertible roof
THIS.  Is my favorite scene.  Along with every other scene Dounia and Maimouna have together.

Unfortunately, the night she will meet with Reda is also the night Djigui invites her to his recital.  What will Dounia choose and what will the consequences be?  I’ll answer one of those questions:  major.  Major consequences.

The Rating:

4.5/5 Pink Panther Heads

I deducted 1/2 of a PPH because it took me a while to get invested in this one, maybe 30 mins or so.  It’s really hard to get under the surface of Dounia’s personality at first—she’s cocky, tough as nails, and single-mindedly focused on making money.  She’s also incredibly talented at making cringe worthy decisions that you can see unravelling as soon as she commits to them.

I also find it really challenging to sympathize with teenagers at this point in my life.

However, once I finally started to understand Dounia’s motivations and the vulnerabilities she constantly works to cover up, I fell hard for her character.  The relationship between Dounia and Maimouna is so fucking lovely and perfect, it makes me almost want to be a teenager again.  Almost.  Just be warned that all of those horrible decisions Dounia makes don’t come cheaply and don’t come without serious repercussions.

What did my divine blog wife think?  Does she have feelings left or is she also just an empty husk now?  Read her review here to find out!

Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

The Tenant, or: Please Don’t Make Poles Talk About Feelings

This is easily our classiest horror-themed month for the Blog Collab, so of course we’re working in a…classic…Polanski film?

The Film:

The Tenant

Where to Watch:

Reasonably challenging to find (at least for free)–good luck!

The Uncondensed Version:

Trelkovsky is a Pole looking for an apartment in Paris.  He asks the concierge to show him the apartment, but she is rather unwelcoming and initially dismissive until bribed.  Her dog isn’t any friendlier and tries to bite him in a scene reminiscent of The Pink Panther Strikes Again (which coincidentally[?] was released the same year).

a man recoils from a small dog sitting on a plush chair
“Does your dog bite?”

The concierge reveals the previous tenant threw herself out of the window, and shows Trelkovsky the glass that needs to be repaired below.  She rather cryptically explains that the previous tenant isn’t dead, but won’t be returning to the apartment and laughs rather sinisterly.  There is also no bathroom in the apartment.  Even so, apartments are hard to come by in Paris, so Trelkovsky eagerly snatches the place up (I can relate even in Dayton).

Out of curiosity, Trelkovsky tracks down the previous tenant in the hospital, Simone Choule.  Simone has just woken from a coma and is in a full body cast, but it doesn’t stop her from producing absolutely horrific screams when she sees Trelkovsky, her friend Stella, or perhaps all of the above.

a man in a suit stands next to a woman wearing a scarf, colorful necklace, and fur-lined jacket
So much ’70s chic happening in this still.

Perhaps to seem a bit less of a creep, Trelkovsky pretends to be a friend of Simone’s, which gets him a drink and a semi-drunken grope at the movies with Stella.

Trelkovsky invites a few people over to celebrate his new place and in general goes about having a normal life, but there is a vague sense that all is not well when increasingly surreal incidents begin happening.  First, he finds a human tooth in a hole in the wall.  Then, he is confronted by a woman and her young daughter about a noise complaint he allegedly made about them.  In turn, he is on the receiving end of several noise complaints.  He also sees people just silently standing unmoving in the toilet for hours.

Further complications arise when one of Simone’s friends visits the apartment and reveals he was in love with her.  Once he starts crying, he can’t stop and (like a true Pole), Trelkovsky becomes incredibly uncomfortable in the face of emotions.

a man rests his head on his hands at a bar, seated next to another man
I’ve seen 127 Hours…there’s only one way this can end.

The turning point seems to be when Trelkovsky’s apartment is robbed and, rather than looking out for him, the neighbors and landlord continue to harangue him about how much noise he makes.  Trelkovsky, quite patient up to this point, becomes irritable, paranoid, and quite unhinged.

It just gets more confusing when he is asked to sign a petition complaining about tenants he has never met, buys a wig, slaps a random child (I mean, who hasn’t had that impulse?), and witnesses a very strange ritual in the streets.  As he unravels completely, Trelkovsky insists that “they” drove Simone to suicide, and they are trying to do the same with him.  I say this rhetorically but also in hopes of an answer—what the actual fuck is going on with this film?

an older man holding a baguette gestures to another man standing in the hallway of an apartment building
I walk around with a baguette since I am stereotypical French landlord.

The Rating:

3/5 Pink Panther Heads

If this weren’t for the blog, I probably would’ve given up on this one.  It’s a solid 2 hours and only gets more incomprehensible as the time goes on.

What I do like about this one is the commentary on city life and living amongst strangers.  Trelkovsky tries to keep to himself as advised, but he is still on the receiving end of noise complaints and interference from nosy neighbors.  There is an absurdity to the entire situation—no matter how quietly he lives, his neighbors find fault and want him to essentially cease to exist.  The landlord suggests he wear slippers, and the police even intervene when they receive multiple noise complaints about Trelkovsky.

Ironically, everyone (including those dispensing unwanted advice) tells Trelkovsky to mind his own business to solve his neighbor problems.  (And we all remember how well that worked for Jimmy Stewart in Rear Window.)  This further antagonizes him, making him even more isolated and paranoid.

The ending reminds me so much of Rosemary’s Baby, with Trelkovsky becoming cornered and trapped just as much as Rosemary by dark and perhaps evil forces (Rosemary’s Baby is so much better, though).  As with every Roman Polanski movie, this just sort of makes me want to watch Chinatown again.  Or maybe I should just…leave it (sorry [no, I’m not]).

Would Christa have a drink and uncomfortable cry with this film or start a petition to get this one out of her neighborhood?  Find out by reading her review here!

Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

Hellraiser IV, or: Past, Pinhead, Future

I don’t know what to call March except fantastic. This month’s features brought to you by Pinhead and Ewan McGregor. My personal hope is that Christa and I throwing these ideas together and sending them out into the universe, we will bring about the next major entertainment announcement of Ewan McGregor as Pinhead. You have no idea how thoroughly that would complete my life.

But you do. If you’ve made it to this point with this blog, you most decidedly do.

BTW, if you come up with an appropriate name for this month’s theme, I will be forever in your debt. Just be aware that I am already in a lot of debt.

The Film:

Hellraiser IV: Bloodline

Where to Watch:

Netflix (US)

The Premise:

Pinhead returns (again) in past, present, and future timelines to end the bloodline that created the original demon Rubik’s cube.

The Uncondensed Version:

I Googled this one a little (a lot) and realized that (a) this film is 20 years old, and (b) this is the last of the Hellraiser franchise to get a theatrical release. Bodes well, right?

The premise is somewhat complex(?) for the 3rd sequel in a horror franchise. Our story follows the Merchant family in 18th-century France, the present (ahem, 1996), and the future.

As the film opens on a spaceship that looks like a deconstructed Rubik’s cube (believe it or not, this is a critical detail that will become vitally important later), we meet the first Merchant. He appears to be using a robot to solve a Rubik’s cube/summon Pinhead. Just as he is about to accomplish this task, he’s rudely interrupted by the military space police.

Future Merchant has pulled a big no-no in taking over the ship, hijacking it, and pursuing his personal demon-fighting agenda. But since this film is practically an extended episode of Star Trek: TOS, don’t worry—Merchant is about to explain everything.

…Beginning with the first Merchant (chronologically), a French toymaker (not a euphemism, actually). This Merchant, aka LeMarchand, has created a masterfully crafted box (Rubik’s cube) on commission for a rather odd French aristocrat. When LeMarchand’s wife fails to appreciate the genius of his work, he storms off in a huff to deliver the box to the French aristocrat (also a magician because of course he fucking is).

A young man in period clothing smiles, holding up a gold puzzle-box that is intricately engraved.
To be fair, if only thing your invention does is summon demons, there is probably a very limited market for it.  Even among French aristocrats.

Unfortunately, LeMarchand gets a bit more than anticipated when he witnesses the magician and his assistant (Adam Scott [sporting ‘80s rocker hair]???) performing a satanic ritual to summon a demon, Angelique. If you were wondering, the ritual involves a lot of organ removal and blood draining.

LeMarchand is, understandably, quite disturbed, and vows to steal the box back. However, things don’t go quite as planned, and Adam Scott tells LeMarchand that his bloodline will be cursed as he helped unleash demons upon the world.

Actor Adam Scott has extremely long, flowing hair, and stands in a candelit room.
I SERIOUSLY DON’T KNOW HOW TO REACT TO THIS.

Flashforward to 1990s Merchant, aka John. John is an architect prone to recurring nightmares. Matters don’t improve when he receives an award for his work, drawing the attention of Angelique.

Angelique has a lot of potential as a character, but I inevitably kept comparing her to Julia off Hellraiser I and II. No one in this franchise is as cool as Julia. No one.

Angelique tricks this sleazy business dude into summoning Pinhead. She and Pinhead have a very odd, somewhat antagonistic relationship that also borders on being sadomasochistic. Very confusing, and leads to cryptic lines like “Temptation is illusion” and “I am pain.”

Pinhead, a demon wearing all-leather and with pins sticking out of his face and skull, looms above the camera, looking down.
YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS.

Anyway, the moral of the story is that Pinhead and Angelique decide to kill John’s baby. As soon as someone threatens to kill a baby, I am out because all suspense is lost. You know that 98% of time in a Hollywood film, no one is actually going to kill a fucking baby.

Is that awful?

So there’s a showdown between Pinhead and John, which ends the way you might expect, mostly.

A man stands behind a woman in a dimly lit room; the woman is looking off to the side with an exasperated expression.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that you should always run when someone asks if you’d like to play a game.

And finally, we return to the future.

The officer who arrested Merchant, Rimmer (one of the writers had to be a huge sci-fi fan), releases future Merchant to stop Pinhead.

How will he ever manage that?

Let’s just say it’s no accident the ship looks like a deconstructed Rubik’s cube.

The Rating:

3/5 Pink Panther Heads

Okay, I’m never going to hate a Hellraiser film, but I feel sorta bad that 1996 people paid money to see this.

I wanted the part in 18th century France to go on longer, but I will always want the historical period part to go on longer. The plot is very loosely tied together, and all 3 Merchants are so bland that it’s rather difficult to care about them.  Even when their children are threatened by demons.

Missed the presence of other Cenobites, as well as Julia (of course).

Did this film make Christa want to summon a demon or was she ready to send it straight to hell? Find out in her review here!