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Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth
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Just a slasher

Author: Max Renn from Melborne
23 August 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If the franchise would have ended with the 2nd part, then there already would have been too many films, but the 3rd part is even more out there. Barker must have thought that too, 'cause after Anthony Hickox's 3rd part Barker jumped ship and back away from the whole thing (even if he was only just the executive producer on this one already) So he didn't have much to do with the story and he didn't hide that fact or the fact that he wasn't too pleased with the sequels. Hellraiser III made the biggest mistake it could make. It lowered Pinhead to the level of all the other baddies, he only differed from any other typical killer by looking better and having a few good one liners. So they successfully made a slasher movie out of the series. Pinhead is stuck in a block after the Big Confrontation in "Hellbound," The block containing Pinhead and the puzzle cube is bought by a young playboy as an art piece. Pinhead busies himself escaping by getting the playboy to lure victims to his presence so he can use their blood. Once free, he seeks to destroy the puzzle cube so he need never return to Hell, but a female reporter is investigating the grisly murders thus standing in his way. After the pointlessly dragged out beginning (you have to wait till almost half the film for Pinhead to escape) he is ridiculously quiet and spends the rest of the film running from the other Cenobits with the cube in his hand. Barker's pain and pleasure theme is gone, in its place we get the very original "we have to stop the bad guy before he releases chaos onto the world" theme. After the first film that's totally of logic. The makers must have wanted us to just forget that he was neither evil nor the bringer of chaos before. So this part brings to fruition what Hellbound started: in other words stripping it of meaning. Then with no original concept it just adds itself to all the other stupid, pointless horror sequels. This also meant that the terrifying Pinhead becomes someone who chases a woman how? by walking menacingly slowly behind her! He becomes a supernatural baddie in a slasher movie, who kills without discretion or reason anyone who gets close just not the one he should be killing. And the Cenobits who are made from his victims are just plain lame. The killings at the disco that were promising in the beginning of the scene quickly turns to something with which it's easy to see that the whole film should have landed in the garbage. In the bloodcurdling calm Pinheads place we got a hysterically laughing, over emoting Freddy clone. In place of the weighty, brutal atmosphere we got a silly, cartoon parody of itself kills just to shock viewers. So even the gore doesn't end up meaning too much. All in all the only thing positive that can be said about Hell on Earth is Pinhead's awesome church scene. And its true, if you forget there was a first part, that it's a perfect slasher film. 5/10

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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 ***


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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Pinhead meets Freddy.

Author: jaywolfenstien from USA
8 September 2003

With that `clever' subtitle, how could this film suck?

Enter the mistake all horror films with on screen villains make: because the heroine dies and/or moves on to other projects, the villain moves to the spotlight. This is an even more fatal blow to Hellraiser because Pinhead never was meant to be in the spotlight, have too many lines, and this series was not meant to be a slasher.

Ooh, I know, since Hellbound: Hellraiser II made the mistake of pulling off a tolerable explanation let's correct that mistake and explain it to death! Let's go into more detail about pinhead and the box and set us up for Hellraiser: Bloodline with 90 minutes of backstory and no story for itself!

I really don't have much else to say and don't think I need to say much else. Ashley Lawrence isn't the only one abandoning ship on this one (no, the 10 second cameo doesn't count), Chris Young also disappears on us. The concepts of the first two films go away, and we have Pinhead moving to Elm Street with his band of `clever' new cenobites. This is hardly an ambitious move for any horror franchise, especially for Hellraiser. I mean, don't we have enough ominous unstoppable killing machines wandering around the horror aisles at your local rental place? At least Jeepers Creepers did some things differently.

All the latter Hellraisers get points for ambition. #3 is just mediocre slasher with Cenobites and a box. It's not necessarily the worst in the series, but damn it's the most boring . . .

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We'll tear the Earth apart

Author: Rainbow2003 from Montgomery, Alabama
20 January 2003

Kevin Bernhardt is pretentious as J.P. in this eager horror farce. The remaining cast is exceptional. The costumes are sophisticated. One of the fair movies in the genre, Hellraiser 3: Hell On Earth offers meaningless horrors. 6 out of 10.

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I'm indifferent on this one

Author: Tony Carroll (antonioEKU) from Richmond, KY
16 January 2002

Ok. While I must admit I really really enjoyed this movie and probably enjoyed it most of all from the Hellraiser series from a visual standpoint, I can't really say I am going to give it a good review. Why you may ask? This one should have been the one to reveal Pinhead's past. How he got to be what he is....etc. He just kind of up and goes to earth through a statue and this is were the creepy storylines from the first one go sour really. It doesn't really have anything to do with the others. What's up with that woman's flashbacks of her father in the war. I can't remember very well but does it even explain that and it's connection to Pinhead? I don't think it did. Pinhead was never meant to be a slasher icon or anything like that....horror icon...maybe...not slasher but this movie becomes a slasher in the end and that changes Pinhead a little too much. So in the end...I find this movie to be eye candy and fun in that slasher feel....but not in the Hellraiser feel.

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pinhead is back!

Author: tnman26 ( from Huntingdon, Tn
2 November 2001

It seemed that Pinhead had joined with Freddy and Jason, to become a caricture of hiself from the previous films..but over all a fair movie..great effects and a good budget..directed by a good director.Anthony Hickox knows the horror genere real well. But its not as good as his Waxworks. Terry Farrell and Paula Marshall are beatiful its a feast on the eyes there..

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*sigh* they had to think we were stupid...

Author: boyalien from Australia
12 April 2001

OK, this movie shows incredible potential. But to those who have followed the original movie and read the book ("The Hellbound Heart" by Clive Barker) this movie seems totally confused.

I guess I had thought that if a Hollywood movie house took over the rights to the doom-gloom angst-ridden, totally atmospheric movie 'Hellraiser' they would have wanted to expand on and continue the theme. Wrong. Hellraiser was conceived of as a description of the "personal hell that one creates for themselves by doing the evil that people can't seem to help doing". In a way this is at odds with some Christian ideas (one Hell fits all, perhaps). I don't know, as I don't really follow theology as such.

So what is wrong with Hellraiser 3? Well, Hellraiser 2 finished with the Cenobites of the original DEAD/KILLED/DESTROYED (or whatever) by the "Chanard" Cenobite (this is probably due to the fact that halfway through filming the original Hellraiser 2 idea, Kirsty's father (Andrew Robinson) dropped out and the story had to be changed suddenly). Fair enough, perhaps all that meant was that they were trapped in the WOODEN block from the first two movies.. which somehow becomes a STONE pillar in the third.

OK, so not looking good to start with. However, the first half of this movie travels fairly well (Terry Farrell is great as the annoying American would-be TV journalist with some charisma-that-hasn't-yet-been-erased-by-cosmetic-surgery - admittedly rare for American TV presenters). The other characters fill their roles with precisely the correct methods for their personalities; but the film does not add up to the sum of its parts. I think this is mainly because it is over-complexified: why do we even bother with the scenes of Elliot Spencer (Pinhead's ghost) trying to encourage Joey to bring Pinhead to him, or to her, or whatever the mumbo-jumbo is about; how is it that so many new Cenobites are created from the innocent bystanders? (Cenobites are not created in generality - otherwise Julia and Frank of I and II would have been transformed, and so on). Also recall it is "desire that calls us, not hands" or whatever -- the characters of the cameraman and others were hardly destined to become new Cenobites. But somehow the crap director thought it was necessary to turn Hellraiser into "A Nightmare on Elm Street" part 2 (which similarly squashed the good ideas in the series and replaced the scary monster Krueger with some useless dummy Krueger which was totally unbelievable and not slightly scary).

A recipe for fixing this movie would simply be to remove the garbage about Elliot completely (sorry Doug, but that was poor scripting, even though you performed the part perfectly). Replace the entire sequence of the Nightclub killing and ending with a remastered, more intense thrill that does not stoop to American-levels of gore, but reminds us that the Cenobites are what we call for ourselves, through OPENING THE LAMENT CONFIGURATION, into our own realities. (*phew* can't wait to see the outtakes for this movie if ever Anchor Bay remaster it for DVD.)

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good effects, lots of gore, a weak plot and mediocre acting.

Author: cygnus x-1 from roanoke, va
11 January 2000

why they didn't stop after the second movie is beyond me, but credit should be given to writer/director Anthony Hickox for trying to take the series into a different direction.

pinhead gets a lot more screen time and has become a wisecracker of sorts. the cenobites from the first 2 films have been forgotten and a whole new group has been created for this film.

the plot is really weak so the thing that carries this movie is the once again well done gore effects. the unrated version contains a lot more gore than the R version, especially the club massacre scene.

as with every Anthony Hickox movie (he's the guy behind the Warlock series) the acting ranges from okay to borderline sleepwalking. BUT the focus of this movie is Pinhead and actor Doug Bradley does a good job once again.

strictly average at best and only worth renting for the effects and gore.

rating:5 (unrated version)

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Third Best of the Four?

Author: ah`Pook from Wellington, New Zealand
5 December 1999

Clive Barker's 'Hellraiser' and 'Hellraiser II' are fantastic

slices of gory comic-book horror, whose power lies in the

convincing mythology they create and the menace of the box and

the cenobites. The third outing, subtitled 'Hell on Earth' lacks

a lot of the mood which made the first two installments so

effective, and instead goes for a more commercial route

resembling Craven's "Nightmare on Elm Street" series. Uneven and

sometimes plodding in its pacing and structure, III nonetheless

delivers its share of shocks and gross-outs, and sticks close

enough to the storyline of the original to make it a worthwhile

sequel. The new cenobites are a bit dumb, yes. And the church

scene was absolutely unnecessary, and ruins one of the most

original aspects of the first two. That being how they don't

rely on established religious symbolism for their depiction of

evil, and therefore sidestep comparisons to "The Exorcist" et

al. But dime-store theology and characters without common sense

aside, Hellraiser III still exceeds your usual horror movie Part

III and even your usual horror movie for that matter with it's

inventive and unflinching depictions of the avenging angel,

Pinhead, extracting his pleasure from the pain, fear, and

suffering of the innocent. Just beware Part IV, 'Bloodline'. The

law of diminishing returns finally hits.

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