Dec 12, 2018
Being a fan ofHellraiser: Bloodline, I've always longed to see Kevin Yagher's original director's cut that he showed to Dimension Films before he exited the project. Over the years many fans believed that his version was lost when former Dimension Films head Bob Weinstein wanted to rework the film into a more commercial-style story that focused more on the iconic Pinhead. There are many different opinions as to whyBloodlineturned out the way it did, but with this article I'm going to stay away from the drama and talk about how Kevin Yagher's original director's cut does exist!
This is exciting news!
He confirmed this to some fans that were attending Texas Frightmare 2018 telling them that not only does he have his director's cut, but all the cuts that he made to try and appease the studio. There have been different running times thrown around for the director's cut with Yagher claiming his cut ran 11o minutes in an old Fangoria interview done back in 1996, but recently he's gone on record that his versions ran from ninety-four to sixty-six minutes.
So what did Yagher's original version contain that's not in the final cut? His version has the original 18th century past segment which included a lot of different footage that's never been seen before. The film originally opened with Philip Lemarchand creating the Lament Configuration instead of starting in outer-space. There was also the original delivery of the box scene where Philip meets Angelique for the first time where he learns the designs of the box were her idea and it was she who wanted him to make it. This moment would've been followed by the famous gamblers sequence where Angelique lures a group of French noblemen into opening the box as she strips away articles of clothing in order for them to continue to play her "new game." This sequence can be seen as a flashback in a leaked work print version that was an attempt to please the studio. Or you can watch the scene that Jose uploaded onto our official Facebook page. The character of Auguste had a much larger part and most of his scenes ended up on the cutting room floor. There was also a masked-ball sequence that was totally removed where Lemarchand goes back to retrieve the box only to be killed by Angelique's clown cenobites. The film's theatrical trailer (which is cut from Yagher's version) and pictures online show a lot of these deleted moments.
The present day segment contained a lot more moments between the characters that would've made them more interesting. For example, John Merchant was struggling a lot more with his dreams about his grandmother and the relationship between him and Angelique was more complex. Jacques's death was different by being de-aged into a rotting corpse. The most interesting subplot that was deleted was the rivalry between Pinhead and Angelique. In the released version the Princess seems to dance to the Hell Priest's every whim, but originally there was a power struggle going on between them that created a interesting dynamic between the two characters. In fact, during the scene where Angelique has Paul Merchant open the prototype of the Elysium Configuration, in Kevin's version, she's actually trying to destroy Pinhead so she can have total control of Hell. Again, all of this can be seen in the leaked work print if you're able to track down a copy of it.
Finally, the major difference in the future part of the story is the overall structure of how Paul's mission is to kill the Cenobites and destroy the box which he does in Kevin's director's cut. It also includes the original ending that shows what happens to Angelique and the Twin Cenobites. I'm also assuming that Kevin's version would've included Peter's original scripted epilogue where the story goes back to how it began with Philip finishing the box. It was a perfect ending that paid homage to Clive Barker's original film and would've been a nice way to wrap up the franchise if they would've stopped at Bloodline.
The next question I have is would fans want to even see it? I personally would love to see his original director's cut even though he never got a chance to complete it. He's gone on record as saying that he was about 80-85% done with his version before he left. Most of what he hadn't shot were the kills, but other than that he'd shot all of Peter Atkins script. Some people have told me he will release his cut online for fans to see sometime in the future, but I think it would be better if it got an official release with a new edition of the movie on bluray. If enough fans show interest maybe that will get Scream Factory or Arrow Video to produce a special edition. I would like to see Arrow Video do one since they've been doing such a great job of releasing a lot of Clive Barker related movies. The Scarlet Boxsetand the recently released Candymaneditions are fantastic. Maybe we can get a tell all commentary with Kevin himself with screenwriter Peter Atkins moderating it.
To garner more interest for a possible release, below I've attached writer Peter Atkins fourth draft of the screenplay which is very close to what Yagher shot. When you click the link just scroll down the page until you see the Hellraiser: Bloodlinescript. It's one of the best scripts of the series! I highly recommend it. The script was provided by Peter Atkins who gave it to Ed Martinez and was then transcribed by Hellbound Web webmaster Mark Adams.
Also, from the archive of The Hellbound Web you can see a lot of the deleted scenes in screen grabs that Mark also was kind of enough to provide for fans.
I think it would be good for fans to get in touch with Kevin himself by visiting his official site and letting him know that they'd love to see his version of the movie. It's also a great site to see a lot of the amazing work that he's done over the years. He truly is a first rate make-up effect artist.
Don't forget to watch our interview with Kevin at this year's Texas Frightmare Weekend where he talks about the troubles of the production and what led him to leaving the project.
Different versions of films always are released in some shape or form eventually. From theAlien 3workprint, the original version ofHalloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, to Clive Barker's director's cut of Nightbreed. The timing has to be right sometimes and I think for Hellraiser: Bloodlinethe time has come for a release.
Special thanks must go to Peter Atkins, Kyle Hart, Danny Stewart, Ed Martinez, and Mark Adams of The Hellbound Web for providing sources to make this article possible.