Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth (1992) Poster

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What happened?
Jawn1388 October 2001
I'm not quite sure what happened to poor ol' Pinhead, but his character sure got an overhaul for this misfire of a film. He is transformed from his more 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.
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5/10
Hellraiser falls by the wayside
Tophee11 January 1999
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.
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8/10
Ya know...
Skyfish27 January 2004
Being a slasher horror fan during it's rising in the late 70's early 80's I 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.
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The Worst of the First Three
spacelord4 November 2000
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.
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6/10
The "waste" of a perfectly good franchise
Coventry15 October 2003
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.
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6/10
An Okay 3rd Installment
Gafke22 January 2006
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.
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1/10
Pinewood to Hollywood - A Step Too Far
Mark Hale28 August 2006
Warning: 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.
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