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Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth
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Index 133 reviews in total 

Beginning to lack charm

5/10
Author: moviefanman76-blogspot-com from United States
2 August 2013

Clive Barker's Hellraiser (1987) is considered by many to be one of the most unique horror films of the late 80's. What emphasized those opinions were gruesome images along with its Gothic tone. A year later, New World Pictures released Hellraiser II: Hellbound (1988) and although it wasn't as critically praised, it still resonated with many fans. I found it enjoyable but the writing was much weaker than I had expected it to be. Then, jump four years later and we get Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth (1992), which to many just didn't satisfy and bordered on the edge of really bad. The sad thing is that, it is bad, even with the few good things it has going for it.

The plot is about a "down on their luck" news reporter, Joey (Terry Farrell), who can't find a decent story to save her career. That is, until she comes into contact with the lament configuration after watching a hospital patient's head explode. Amazingly after being okay with such a traumatizing experience, this intrigues her more to find out what this tiny puzzle box is all about. To do this, she digs into the past using archives from Dr. Channard's mental asylum and interview footage of Kirsty Cotton. It is also explained to why Pinhead is back in this movie because in the movie before, he was killed off. This is one of the better parts, at least when it comes to the back-story and continuity. Peter Atkins, the same writer of Hellraiser II: Hellbound (1988), wrote the screenplay.

I'll admit, it's very much appreciated that Atkins' is keeping the continuity straight. If that wasn't at least on track, my rating would probably be lower. But even so, Atkins' ability to give explanations to why this mystical puzzle box decides to make various humans cenobites, and others not, makes no sense. Is it just by random chance? The cast on the other hand is another bowl of mixed nuts. It's great to see that the casting department had Ashley Laurence come back for a small cameo in the asylum footage and of course Doug Bradley as Pinhead himself. That was great, but the main lead, Terry Farrell wasn't. Farrell just didn't make her character come off as a strong female lead, no matter how many times one says "Go to hell!".

Unfortunately, dialog is another problem. I don't know what Atkins was thinking when it came to dialog, but almost every character here (and maybe even a little bit of Doug Bradley's lines) all have this sarcastic if not watered down dialog that makes them sound like these lines were written for a bad comedy. The Hellraiser franchise is not a comedy, not even a dark comedy, so why are characters making bad puns or being overly sarcastic? Even some of the new cenobites have corny dialog. For example, any female besides Joey (Farrell) wasn't that smart in speech or actions. What's up with that? It wasn't necessary then and it isn't now.

Let's not forget though, this is a horror franchise so there will be plenty of death, blood and ugly images. And for those who wish to see that, yes, you will get your eye full worth without a doubt. But, if you're the viewer looking for the same kind of tone and chills you felt from Hellraiser (1987), it won't be found here. Even more surprising is how absent Randy Miller's score to the film was. I was actually impressed with his work from both Darkman II: The Return of Durant (1995) and Darkman III: Die Darkman Die (1996) because he not only made sure he stuck to the original theme, but added some unique tracks to them as well.

Here however, right from the intro credits is Christopher Young's music! It's not to say Miller didn't provide anything, because I know there were tunes in there I never heard before but it seemed like most of the music was just recycled and edited. It's sad when a composer comes off as sounding lazy – especially if they aren't that bad to begin with. It's not to say this movie doesn't pull through, but its original tone and atmosphere of the picture no longer exists which makes it depressing that a franchise so likable is beginning to lose its charm. It's beginning to get to a point where the only reason why someone would want to watch this is for Pinhead alone. But Doug Bradley can't carry this picture by himself. Otherwise it would've worked from the first installment.

The third entry is much lighter in atmosphere and doesn't carry itself the way the first two did. The continuity is thankfully kept in order but the dialog isn't too clever and the only real character that's worth a watch is Pinhead himself.

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Bloody sequel let down horrendous acting and script

5/10
Author: atinder from United Kingdom
2 November 2012

seen once before, one scene as always stood out to in this movie, scene when girl skin torn of her body in the movie. (I enjoyed that scene)

The plot was little confusing at first with a the whole dream angle of the movie, (It makes sense at the end of the movie) , some parts of the movie, I felt like i missed something long the away,

This is a lot gory then second movie, which I did enjoyed nasty gory bloody scenes,

What bring this movie down is really horrendous acting from the whole cast and half the things they say don''t fit in with scene that just happens, scripts was really bad.

One scenes that really cracked me was . The Priest. Demons aren't real. They're parables, metaphors. Joey, as the doors open and Pinhead enters] Then what the BEEP is that?

I have no idea, what meaning of the last scene meant.

5 out of 10

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What the...???

2/10
Author: candycat301 from United States
7 August 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This move was a HUGE disappointment. "Even hell has rules", but none of the rules established in I and II were continued into the third installment of this movie. For instance, only those individuals with the right "desires" (such as carnal, sadism, etc.)and who managed to open the box were taken by the Cenobites into hell. Innocents were not to be touched. However, in this movie, Pinhead kills dozens of innocent people who never touched the box, and several of those victims were turned into Cenobites who later go after the heroine. Huh???? Even Frank and Julia were not turned into Cenobites and they were both evil! This movie was not worth the time I spent watching it.

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Pinhead gets technical

6/10
Author: Kristine (kristinedrama14@msn.com) from Chicago, Illinois
17 March 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Strange thing in the world of the horror genre, we have the big names of Jason, Freddy and Michael. But there are a few names while still well known for some reason didn't provide such a big splash when it came to the box office like Hellraiser with Pinhead who is one of the best monsters in cinema. The monster is nothing more than about torture and pain, he feels no mercy towards anyone and loves the pleasure of hurting your flesh. The first Hellraiser is without a doubt a twisted crazy classic, to get into Clive Barker's head must be a trip. He created some very disturbing images that will never get out of your head once you see Hellraiser. It was the first time where a horror film had started dark and stayed dark throughout the entire movie and there was no letting go to let you breathe. Then the sequel came along, still staying dark and having a new world to take us into with the same characters and our questions from the first film were answered. It was a good sequel that could hold up a candle to the original. Then, in the spirit of most horror films, we were given the third Hellraiser called Hell on Earth.

The revelation of his own former humanity has resulted in Pinhead being split into two distinct entities: His former self, British Army Captain Eliot Spencer, and a manifestation of Spencer's id, which takes on the form of Pinhead. While Spencer ends up in limbo, Pinhead is trapped, along with the puzzle box, amongst the writhing figures and distorted faces etched into the surface of an intricately carved pillar - the Pillar of Souls. The pillar is bought by the rich and spoiled J.P. Monroe, owner of a popular nightclub called The Boiler Room. An ambitious young television reporter, Joey, slowly begins to learn about Pinhead and the mysterious puzzle box. She is introduced to the pain the box can bring when she views a teenage club-goer being ripped apart by the box's chains in a hospital emergency room. Joey is contacted by the spirit of Elliot Spencer, who tells her that this "Pinhead" is a separate entity. Without Spencer's humanity to act as a balancing influence, this Pinhead is completely evil and has no sense of order. Rather than abide by the laws of the Cenobite realm, he will indiscriminately wreak havoc on Earth for his own pleasure unless he can be stopped.

So given new eye candy with Terry Farrell as the leading lady, competing with Ashley Laurence as Kirsty is no easy task. Terry does do pretty well in keeping up with Elliot Spencer, but her scenes with Pinhead are not up to par. A lot of fans did complain about the new cenobites, that they were too goofy looking, I agree in some sense but still liked the over all look of them. I thought they still were pretty intimidating, well except for the CD throwing cenobite, what was that about? I loved how in the end there were about 10 explosions every 2 minutes and they kept going and going and going. I also got a great kick out of how every person Joey bumped into died a second later in the end, if she ran into me on the other street, I'd be more afraid of her than Pinhead. The way people reacted in this film was unreal at times and the story was a bit silly and a let down from the two previous films. But I did find a certain entertainment from the film and I think some people are a little too harsh on it. Pinhead came to bring Hell on Earth and he certainly did for an hour and a half.

6/10

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The first mainstream Hellraiser film does well enough while leaving some key things behind

Author: Robert W. (Robert_duder@hotmail.com) from Ontario, Canada
14 July 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

What made Hellraiser one and two brilliant besides the direct hand that Clive Barker had in it was the special effects. They were low budget films that they went out of their way to create this incredible fantasy world with well made special effects that drew you into their world and created this twisted fantasy world. When a film doesn't have a huge backing or Hollywood money I think the film makers get to do more creatively and have to work with less and that is what can make or break an indie film especially a horror indie film. So enter Hellraiser 3 which you can absolutely tell was the film where they started to get Hollywood money. The special effects are a little less realistic and more computer generated. The story is a little more mainstream and same with the characters. Sadly we also lose the main character of Kirsty Cotton who was the Hellraiser scream queen from one and two although fortunately she is shown in a small segment to help move the story along. Hellraiser 3 isn't bad and it still keeps the continuity going which is great but I felt like it sort of trivialized Pinhead and made him the joke rather than the evil killer.

Kevin Bernhardt is the sleazy club owner who is sucked into Pinhead's evil world of lust and pain. His character is vapid and emotionless and basically just there to be the evil human villain which I suppose he accomplishes. Terry Farrell is our new heroine and she does well as the strong headstrong reporter. Her connection to Pinhead's character works well and the investigation she does carries the story well. Paula Marshall is decent as the lost homeless girl being used and abused by Bernhardt's character. Marshall and Farrell have good chemistry together and I think are underused as a team. Of course Doug Bradley returns to his signature role as Pinhead and his real life counterpart Elliot Spencer. Bradley embodies Pinhead and is certainly a horror master in character. I cannot imagine anyone else playing Pinhead. The voice, his behaviour and the entire character is twisted and disturbing even though Hellraiser 3 made him seem a little less mysterious and evil and more mainstream.

One of the highlights of the film and perhaps some might think as a stumble is the addition of the creative, twisted, and almost humorous 'new' cennobites created by the puzzle box. Camerahead (played by Ken Carpenter) who also plays Farrell's human camera man before being turned, CD the DJ (my favourite as he has some incredibly gory kills with flashy saw like CD's), and Barbie Cennobite (a bartender turned killer). The climatic scene of the three cennobites attacking civilians in the street is without a doubt a cool scene although as mentioned very Hollywood. But for me it did not ruin the film, it simply made it a little more mainstream. It didn't hold the true level of fear and mystery and gore that the first two films did. Director Anthony Hickox started with some truly great really bad B-Movie horror films so this was right up his alley at the time but he definitely slipped into just straight up bad B-Movies which is unfortunate because I do see some talent here. If you're a true Hellraiser fan obviously this one might offend your senses but for a third instalment and as a huge horror buff I didn't mind this one bit. It was worthy albeit different than the previous ones. The series may be stepping downwards but its a slow stepping so not so bad. 8/10

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More Story Driven Less Talent

6/10
Author: turock from United States
6 April 2011

The first and second film in this series are probably the best, they offer up a decent story that is well acted. I've seen them both recently and can say that as horror movies go they still hold up even after all this time.

With the push for digital effects in movies going higher and higher, well they had to cut the budget somewhere.

While this the 3rd movie in the series has more back story for the main villain Pinhead, the acting talent working opposite Doug Bradley is lacking. Thats not to say Terry Ferrel's is a bad actress just that her talents either aren't quite developed in this film or it was made in a hurry to meet a deadline.

Gone are the cenobite assistants to Pinhead, replaced by a new cast of cenobites, most of which just feel cheep and cookie cutter made.

Many of the characters come across as very fake, as if either the actors aren't all that good or the production was in a hurry to finish and didn't get the best performance from each cast member.

Special Effects for the time were decent costumes were not bad. What struck me as odd was the heavy 80's look through out this film, despite the fact that it was filmed in 92 a time when grunge was on the rise.

All in all this film is good if you enjoy the series, but if your new to horror or aren't really big on the genre then id avoid this film.

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Harshly judged tantalising third

7/10
Author: amesmonde from http://amzn.to/MoCNii novelist/producer
26 March 2011

A work of art contains 'Pinhead' who is hellbent on escaping and unleashing hell on earth, armed with a puzzle box can reporter Joey Summerskill stop his evil?

Clive Barker is absent from a writing role which leaves Peter Akins to take up the reigns and to his credit this screen-play connects the previous films via various flash backs and recordings. However, the story follows a more linear narrative than it's predecessor. Follow up Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth swaps the grittiness of the modestly budgeted first for a glossier grander slicker 3rd.  Pinhead is given more story, dialogue and exposition - possibly to appease a wider audience. 

Hell on earth is really a one-man-show, British actor Doug Bradley is allowed to give a pleasing head-to-head performance as both Pinhead and his former-self Captain Elliot Spencer. Terry Ferrell as the snooping reporter who walks the film playing the genre piece like an 80s thriller. There are some new less-menacing cenobites, that said,Terri/Female Cenobite played by Paula Marshall is noteworthy but her appearance is all too brief. The rest of the cast are forgettable, mainly their purpose is to allow Pinhead some elaborate torture kills.

The special effects (although now dated) are digestible and oddly even though this film was made in 1992 it feels late eighties. Director Anthony Hickox competently delivers an entertaining instalment despite the choppy editing, lack of tension and gore.   Nevertheless, there are enough dream sequences, dead bodies and bloody scenes to keep most chill seekers happy until the explosive final act. 

Overall, in a traditional movie sense Hellraiser III is arguably a very strong sequel and viewer is left with tantalising closing scene, but in retrospect the concept is an empty promise.

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There is nothing majorly good here. There is nothing majorly evil. There is only flesh.

6/10
Author: tyler-and-jack from Edinburgh.
20 March 2011

I like director Anthony Hickox and I like the Hellraiser movies so Hellraiser III: Hell On Earth has a lot in it's favour, as far as I'm concerned. Sadly, there's no denying that this was the movie that seemed to concentrate on turning Pinhead into a Freddy Krueger type, a horror icon who has as many one-liners as he has ways to kill someone.

The story is a rather simple one. The cenobites are trapped in a statue that club owner J.P. Monroe (Kevin Bernhardt) buys for himself. A bit of blood later and we're in familiar territory with chains and hooks and pleasurable pain for those who find themselves at the mercy of the agents of the puzzle box. Reporter Joanne Summerskill (Terry Farrell) is, meanwhile, trying to make a name for herself with a newsworthy story. She's also been having some strange dreams lately, dreams that may allow someone very important to male contact with her.

This movie is not a very good one. The acting is almost consistently abysmal from everyone involved (though Farrell does okay and Doug Bradley is very good), the script by Peter Atkins limps from one set-piece to the next with many boring moments in between and the extra time devoted to the backstory of Pinhead is something that many fans felt was unwarranted. Pinhead was just Pinhead - we found out that he'd once been a man in the second movie but there was no need to delve further into detail.

Hickox directs all this competently enough but he's hampered by the weak material (though this would be far from the worst of the series). Thankfully, he pulls out all of the stops for the moments of major carnage. The sequence of destruction that takes place in "The Boiler Room" is still impressive for it's FX and nastiness.

With some great gore, a touch of nudity and some creative new cenobites, this isn't a waste of time for fans of the first two movies but it's worth bearing in mind that it takes the series almost into standard slasher fare as opposed to the crazy darkness of the first two films.

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More Pinhead less imagination

Author: mahashemi from United Kingdom
16 June 2007

I watched all the Hellraisors together in one day and have to say loved them all. Hell on earth was very different from the other two ,somthing that Buffy the Vampire slayer were inspired by, it can be placed in a different genre.More mess ,more blood,more people but less effort , which have obviously put off all the fans.

For me the main pleasure was to see more of Pinhead and enjoy his presence but in return we loose all of those beautiful creepy Hitchcock moments, imaginative atmosphere of hell , the endless labyrinth and the mysterious mythology and of course powerful female character Julia , the queen of Hell. The female character Joey doesn't bring anything to the film the mass murdering scenes are just simply brutal and stupid but fun to watch . and end chase is just sad and silly but the transformed bartender and camera man are great.

basically if you replace the pinhead with something else it would simply be unwatchable. but hey , its just another chapter,just Pinhead being adventurous for a change.

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"Human dreams...such fertile ground for the seeds of torment."

Author: Backlash007 from Kentucky
4 December 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

~Spoiler~

Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth is a guilty pleasure of mine. It just has an entirely different feel to it that separates itself from the first two. It's more of a slasher flick than a Hellraiser film in my opinion. Even though Clive Barker is still producing, Pete Atkins is still writing, and Bob Keen is still handling effects, many things have changed to make it different. I believe the main thing is the change of locales; from England to North Carolina. It really has a big effect on the overall feel of the movie. And of course the director's own stylistic approach changes the tone. I don't know how Tony Randel captured Barker's sense of style so well in Hellraiser II. Anthony Hickox (one of my favorite unsung horror directors) is at the helm this time and brings his own sensibilities to the movie. There's nothing whatsoever wrong with that, it just has a bit of campy humor lurking beneath the surface. It's not as classy as the other pictures is what I'm trying to say. Peter Atkins still writes great dialogue though; dialogue that only a slightly smarmy, aristocratic villain could deliver. He's at his best writing for monsters who are almost regal (like Pinhead and the Djinn). And Doug Bradley presents said dialogue relishing every evil remark. Bradley finally gets top billing this time around and some sizable screen time outside of the Pinhead make-up. We get more on the Elliot Spencer backstory that was brought up briefly in Hellbound. You have to dig Doug Bradley. You have to love someone who loves their work. And he absolutely adores playing Pinhead. So much so that he felt rage and jealousy upon seeing a stand-in with his costume on. How great is that? He's really quite possessed with the character and he is the only one who can ever play it (much like Robert Englund and Freddy Krueger). Terry Farrell is fine in the lead and Hickox regular Paula Marshall is quite good as well. Watch for Ashley Lawrence in a cameo as well. Blink and you might miss her (a big disappointment for me). As I mentioned earlier I feel that one downfall is the campy elements, the new Cenobites in particular. They include Barbie (played by writer Atkins, which is pretty cool) who makes gasoline cocktails, Camerahead is pretty self-explanatory, and CD who was a DJ that throws CD's at his victims. The Camerahead Cenobite delivers lines such as "That's a wrap!" and "Are you ready for your close-up?" It just seems a bit misplaced. Though as Pinhead proclaims "they are shadows" of his former minions. The second downfall is the absence of the Christopher Young score. I feel that his Hellraiser score is one of the best in horror history. It's a shame they couldn't utilize it a bit more in this picture. The effects are still wonderful though. The first time you see Pinhead emerge from the pillar (where we left him at the end of part II) is quite shocking and unexpected. That scene blew me away when I was younger. Also, the club massacre scene is something to behold. You can see some influence from this sequence in the party massacre scene in Wishmaster (which Atkins also wrote). The money shot of the film is just after Pinhead breaks free from the pillar and the camera pushes in to reveal him as he beckons Marshall's character forth. Sadly, the rest of the sequels throw continuity out the window so this is the last of the "trilogy." Watch for Armored Saint performing in the club scenes and a cameo by Hickox himself in a dream sequence.

Note for genre buffs: Clive Barker directed Motorhead's video for the song Hellraiser. Unfortunately it is not featured on the DVD. Also keep a sharp eye out for Waxwork's Zach Galligan.

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