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I'm not quite sure what happened to poor ol' Pinhead, but his character
got an overhaul for this misfire of a film. He is transformed from his
mysterious visage into a gimmicky Freddy Krueger-type mass-murderer.
Once upon a time in the series, you had to open a puzzlebox searching for the secrets of pain and pleasure to be attacked by the Cenobites. But no more. Hell, all you have to do now is go to a nightclub and you're on the victims list. Sillyness abounds as the DJ becomes a CD throwing cenobite and a cameraman launches missiles (yes, missiles) from the lens buried in his head. Stupid.
Way off base when compared with the rest of the series, and not worth your time.
Watching this film as part of a four movie Hellraiserthon, I was full of expectation after the brilliance of the first two films. This third venture was a total disappointment, replacing the plot and tension of the earlier films with pretty girls and lots of mindless violence. The only saving grace was the excellent performance by Doug Bradley as a very confident and menacing Pinhead. Personally, I'd watch the first two films many times again, but skip this vacation from quality.
first of all, Hellraiser III isn't a BAD film. In fact, it's quite good if
it would stand on its own. And it certainly is one of the more decent
efforts in the overall disappointing decade of the 90's. Compared to the
first two Hellraisers, however, it's a bit of a failure. Hellraiser ('87)
and Hellbound ('88) were horrorfilms in the purest possible form and my two
all-time favorites. There were 4 indicators in those movies that brought
them close to being the definition of horror.
1. Creating a unique and utterly morbid atmosphere (through settings, music etc...)
2. Building up an unbearable tension ( the occasional twists etc..)
3. Showing nasty and very bloody sequences in a beautiful way
4. The presence of a true horror icon !! ( in this case...PINHEAD )
Hellraiser III fails to at least 3 of these points...The dark and macabre settings from Hell and the mental institution are replaced by a bar which plays horrible rock music, there's almost no tension to detect and it's a very predictable story. The gore however is still present, but the quality of it doesn't come near the originals. The Boiler Room massacre puts Clive Barker to shame, I think. The whole story know turns around the character of Pinhead. He's more than ever the star of this movie and that almost goes wrong. He talks too much and he even starts to become funny. That certainly isn't good for a horror icon. ( Look at what a joke Fred Krueger became ). Director Anthony Hickox obviously is a big fan of Pinhead and he wanted the movie to be especially about him. Every now and then Hickox tries to link this film to the original story but it clearly isn't his biggest concern. The tapes about Kirsty in the Chanard institute and the dream-sequences where Joey meets Elliot Spencer are too fake and forced. The movie does explain where Pinhead comes from but it certainly isn't stressed enough...
Hellraiser III goes very much over the top near the end and I almost lost my love towards Pinhead after the church scene ! I'm trying to forget that particular part. It really is a shame that this movie is part of the series. If this would have been a new film ( with a new demon ) it would have been an enjoyable, well-made change. But as part of a great series it fails to deliver and you're left behind with a disappointment. This movie was followed by episode 4: Bloodline and a few others after that. The fourth is a surprisingly good attempt to bring back the spirit of the original ones and should be watched directly after the first two. Everything that came after part 4 should be skipped unless you're a die-hard Pinhead fan.
I have yet to see Bloodline or Inferno, but Hell on Earth is the worst of the first three Hellraiser movies. It lacks both the wit and the sheer terror of the first two films. What's more, it breaks the rules established in the previous Hellraiser films (that is, Cenobites cannot harm the truly innocent, the Cenobites can be summoned or banished by the box, and so on). And while Pinhead actually spoke very little in the first two films, in Hell on Earth he is downright talky. Unfortunately, only a few of his lines are very memorable. It is unfortunate that Clive Barker did not have more to do with this movie (he wrote and directed the first and wrote the story for the second), as it might have turned out much better.
Being a slasher horror fan during it's rising in the late 70's early 80's
watched the first 2 HellRaiser films and when I saw part 3 I was
disapointed. But watching it again (HBO 01/27/04) I gotta say I was
impressed with the story in general.
I Really got into the last bit where the PinHead chracter confronts it's "good self" Very good plot twist written in the classic feel for the character.
If you were a fan of the first and second HellRaiser films rewatch 3 with an open mind... time heals all wounds.
One of the reasons I liked the first two Hellraiser movies was because it had different elements of evil. You had the wife who was willing to kill for her creepy skinless lover that lived in the attic, and than you had the demons that came from a puzzle box. The sequel to the first one had the same things that made the first one great. But in this one you just have Pinehead who is not as witty as he was in the first and second one. It seems to me that the makers of this movie are looking for another Freddy and Jason and I have to say that those two are stating to look really good and Pinehead is starting to look really bad. This movie could have been something good. But its not so don't wast your money.
The films 'Hellraiser' and 'Hellbound: Hellraiser II,' weren't like
anything ever seen before. They were doors into new worlds. The end of
II was an open ending, so it seemed only natural that more sequels
come, and 4 years later we got one. But something had changed, and not
necessarily for the better. It was decided that Pinhead, otherwise
known as the Lead Cenobite, would be the villain and given more to do
this time around. On top of that a big studio, in this case Paramount,
would be the new distributor and we all know what can happen sometimes
when a big studio gets involved. If I'm making it sound like I hate
'Hellraiser III,' I don't, but like other fans I feel this is where the
series began to lose it.
Pros: Pace moves right along. Good performances, the standout being Paula Marshall. The urban setting is a nice change of scenery. An OK score that mixes some classic 'Hellraiser' themes with some new stuff. Some really good special and visual effects. The war scenes are well done. Some excellent set pieces, my personal fave being the one in the club. Some pretty neat new Cenobites.
Cons: No real surprises or much we haven't already seen. Though Doug Bradley does a good job as both Pinhead and Captain Elliot Spencer, the fact that Pinhead is made the villain and given more screen time does make him a bit less scary and mysterious. The final confrontation is kind of disappointing.
Final thoughts: Though not at all a bad film, this second sequel to Clive Barker's ground breaking film is a step down from it's predecessors. As I said there's not much here fans haven't already seen and both Pinhead and the film are pretty much on the same level as other movie monsters of the time, which was never the idea. But still it's fun, has some style, and is far more interesting than some of the other sequels.
My rating: 3.5/5
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Hellraiser III" significantly ups the bar in production values
compared to the 2 previous films. Actually filmed in America this time
(the other 2 were shot in Britain although they were set in America),
everything about "Hellraiser III" is bigger, grander and more
spectacular than its predecessors.
Apart from the story, that is. Although Clive Barker is an executive producer, his hand is noticeably absent from the screenplay. Bolted together by Peter Atkins and a hack who went on to work with the Power Rangers, the story loses a lot of its emotional appeal. The film focuses more on gore and spectacle than the original tale of obsession, love and loss, and is weaker as a result. Attempts are made to provide the heroine with an emotional back-story, but they descend into cliché by using that tired old "I lost my father/brother/son/hamster in Vietnam" plot device.
I could tell that I wasn't engaging with the story when I noted the use of an old-fashioned wireless set as a way of initially communicating with the Pinhead Cenobite's original human persona. Captain Spencer is meant to have been a British army officer from WWI (1914-1918), but public radio broadcasting didn't start in Britain until 1922. Being able to nitpick like this when you've paid to watch something on the big screen is not the sign of a particularly good film.
The idea of a Cenobite without any moral compass reduces Pinhead (A horror creation on a par with Dracula, in my opinion) to the same level as every other stereotypical celluloid purveyor of pointless cruelty and ultra-violence.
Adding insult to injury, the closing credits are accompanied by some amorphous Goth-rock band belting out a track called "Hellraiser". How imaginative. All the ambiguity, magic and mystery of the original films has been well and truly bled out by "Hellraiser III". Avoid.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In a city without pain, a reporter, Joey (Terry Farrell), discovers a
man being attacked by seemingly alive chains. Before she can get her
scoop, the man explodes into a shower of meaty chunks. Hearing the
story of a mysterious box, Joey tracks it down to an embarrassingly 90s
club called The Boiler Room. There, she finds out that clubgoers are
being fed into a pillar by some rich prick (Kevin Bernhardt) to sustain
Pinhead (Doug Bradley) in an attempt to bring him and his legion of
Cenobites back to the world. It's up to Joey to defeat the Cenobites
and send them back to hell where they belong. . . or bring Hell on
In what's obviously the most action-packed of the first three films of the Hellraiser series, Hell on Earth seems to take a turn more for the style of the stalk-and-kill-type slashers, regardless of 1992 being a dead year for the slasher subgenre. All four of the major slasher series (Freddy, Jason, Michael, Chucky) had already reached their break by this point, so it seems that Hellraiser was either too late on becoming a 'slasher'-type film. . . or they just wanted to become a way to fill the void. Either way, while it made for a faster-paced Hellraiser, it did not make for a better one. Now, I'm not saying it's a bad film, because it's not. . . just very mediocre (which is the worst type of film to me). It's an interesting film just to see a new look at the franchise and there's a nice amount of the classic Hellraiser violence, gore, & horror. . . but the painfully good tension of the first two Hellraiser is greatly lost in exchange for all of the action. I would suggest this to fans of the franchise as there's a good amount of Cenobite action and all. . . even though some of the Cenobites are ridiculously dumb (I'm sorry, but CD-head? Gasoline-martini man? C'mon now). But, it's definitely the worst of the first three (the only ones I've seen thus far, but I have IV sitting in front of me ready to be watched & reviewed). . . but it did keep me entertained and that at least allows it to have an average rating.
Final verdict: 5.5/10.
HELLRAISER III: HELL ON EARTH (1992)
starring: Terry Farrell, Doug Bradley, Paula Marshall, Kevin Bernhardt, Ashley Laurence, Ken Carpenter.
plot: Reporter Joey (Terry Farrell), troubled teenager Terri (Paula Marshall) and playboy club owner J.P. (Kevin Bernhardt) are in danger from Pinhead (Doug Bradley) after he is resurrected from his purgatory. Meanwhile, Elliot Spencer's ghost contacts Joey in order to save him from his purgatory, and Pinhead sets out to create 'hell on earth' by creating new cenobites.
the good: The thing that kept me engaged the most was the characters. Joey and Terri had great chemistry and make a good example of true friendship, Doug Bradley is great as the evil Pinhead and the good Elliot Spencer, I loved to hate the selfish and cocky J.P. and Ashley Laurence has a cute cameo as Kirsty.
It also had some fun action and great visuals from director Anthony Hickox.
the bad: Even though Doug Bradley was great as Pinhead, here he is missing what the other films have. The emphasis on how Pinhead is not evil. He does not run hell, he just works at it. He does what has to be done. Here he is just an unstoppable killing machine.
I also hated Ken Carpenter as Doc, he is a horrible actor!
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