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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.
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
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.
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!
Where Hellraiser 1 and 2 were both very dark and very British,
Hellraiser 3: Hell On Earth is very Hollywood.
J. P. Monroe is the scumbag, soulless owner of The Boiler Room, a somewhat gothy dance club decorated with morbid art. In his search for more profane objects to add to his collection, J. P. comes across, and subsequently purchases, an odd pillar in an art gallery, which fans of the first two films will have no trouble recognizing. Enter Joey Summerskill, a frustrated reporter who comes across a bizarre death in a hospital emergency room. As she watches, a young man is torn to pieces by hooks and chains that appear out of midair. Eager to discover the story behind the gruesome, supernatural death, and with only one clue to follow, Joey arrives at the Boiler Room and befriends the insecure and abused Terri, J. P.'s ex girlfriend. Together, they discover the history of the Lament Configuration, the bizarre happenings at the Channard Institute and the story of Kirsty Cotton. But it doesn't end there. Joey begins having dreams about a man named Elliot Spencer, a World War One soldier who warns her that evil has been unleashed in the form of his own evil alter ego, the Cenobite Pinhead. Indeed, Pinhead soon breaks free and turns The Boiler Room into a slaughterhouse. Now he wants Joey. But can Elliot Spencer stop Pinhead before Joey is taken to Hell?
This isn't a terrible sequel, really. It's not great, but it's nowhere near as bad as some of the others that followed. There's some nice bloody gore and naked girls, and Pinhead, as always, seems to be enjoying himself immensely, seducing his victims with a smile and making his offer of an eternity of pain seem quite irresistible. His scene with a priest is particularly nasty and blasphemous...and wickedly funny. The storyline doesn't always make sense, there's a lot of unintentionally laughable moments and some of the acting borders on the ridiculous, but all in all, Hellraiser 3 is pretty good cinematic junk food. If nothing else, Doug Bradley alone always makes these films watchable with his flawless portrayal of Pinhead.
6 out of 10.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth starts in a New York art galley where
night club owning playboy J.P. Monroe (Kevin Bernhardt) buys an
interesting & unique piece of art, a sculpture that contains the
remains of Pinhead (Doug Bradley) the sadistic Cenobite from the
original Hellriaser (1987) & Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988). Joey
Summerskill (Terry Farrell) is a journalist on assignment reporting for
a news program from an emergency ward in a Hospital where she is
witness to a strange incident. A guy is rushed in with hooks attached
to chains piercing his flesh, Joey looks on as the guy's head explodes.
The guy was brought in with a girl named Terri (Paula Marshall) whom
Joey locates & questions about the incident. Terri says that the guy
stole a strange puzzle box from Monroe's sculpture & that's where the
hooks came from, the sculpture is in Monroe's night club The Boiler
Room. Joey is determined to find out the secret of the puzzle box &
land herself a big story. Meanwhile Pinhead has convinced Monroe to
bring him victims so that he may resurrect himself & raise hell on
Directed by Anthony Hickox this is the point where it's generally agreed the Hellraiser series became crap, while Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth isn't really that bad it's nowhere near as good as it's illustrious predecessors. The script by Peter Atkins, who also makes an appearance as one of the new Cenobites, turns the series into the crappy horror franchise that it has become & tries as hard as it can to appeal to the American teenage market, ugh. For a start it makes a central character out of Pinhead, the previous films were never just about him, they were about an overall feel, creepiness & atmosphere & not revolving around a invulnerable horror character spouting lots of one-liners. The other Cenobites also disappoint, instead of the twisted grotesque design from the previous films Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth turns them into a gimmick, from a bartender (writer Peter Atkins in a cameo) who uses his fire breath to ignite alcohol, a DJ (Brent Bolthouse) who has CD's implanted in his face & he uses them to throw at people (they must have razor edges or something) & Doc (Ken Carpenter) as the cameraman who has a camera stuck through his head, right. They come across as tacky & crowd pleasing. In the previous films the Cenobites were kept in the background, all mysterious & menacing while this time around they dominate & have little purpose. The films starts off a bit slow but things pick up at the end & it's not a bad watch but just comes a such a disappointment after the two originals which were two of the best horrors to come along in decades.
Director Hickox has to take responsibility for ruining the series. The films set in New York, again to appeal to American audiences, he gives Pinhead's alter ego Elliot Spencer a large role & it all becomes supernatural & muddled. In the end Pinhead fights himself & it's just mundane. The other Cenobites are wasted, they use their 'special power' to kill someone & that's it. The puzzle box is almost completely forgotten & is no longer needed to summon the Cenobites. The dark atmosphere & tension present in the previous films is severely lacking & replaces them with explosions & silly novelty deaths. There are a few decent gore scenes, hooks embedded in flesh, exploding heads, severed limbs, skinless people, a hole on someones head, a melted hand & death by lethal CD's!
Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth had studio backing which is why it ended up so commercialised so it probably had a decent budget. The film looks nice throughout & has good production values. The acting didn't impress me.
This is a disappointing film yet at the same time not a particularly bad one in it's own right. If you liked the first two for their originality, darkness & gore then I'm pretty sure that you will be very disappointed with Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth like I was. Having said that I still think it's OK & worth a watch.
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