An update on the graphical issues with this game. I contacted gog support only to find out that windows 8.1 is not officially supported for this title, they offered me a refund but I wanted to see if could still get the game running. In steam discussions I came across someone suggesting that the much-maligned KB3000850 windows update was the culprit. I have access to another windows 8 machine lacking this update, I just tested Alone in the Dark 4 and the game ran without any issues.
I now need to research if I can rollback this one update on my computer. I installed it some time ago ignorant of the many issues reported by others. It is possible that this update is not even the problem, but it is the best explanation I have at the moment.