Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth

  • Directed by Anthony Hickox
  • September 11, 1992 (US)

A young reporter encounters the unbound Cenobite High Priest and must send him back to Hell.

Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth is the third film in the Hellraiser series and is a significant departure from the first two. The previous iterations of the concept while not necessarily scary (I am a bit jaded in the horror department) they were filled with disturbing imagery and either attempted to be or actually accomplish being surreal to one extent or another. They got weird in other words and it helped them stand above others.

This film is more of a dark supernatural fantasy with horror elements and a touch of action than it is anything else. Gone is the need to use the Lament Configuration (largely) to summon the Cenobites. Many of the victims that die here die because they get in the way and not because they summon the Cenobites.

In the last film Pinhead (Doug Bradley) was separated from his human part leaving pure evil behind and in the context of the story is racing around without that to temper it. Somehow that made Pinhead quite the jokester as he utters some quips and makes a few jokes dark jokes that put him more in line with the general horror movie villains of the era than it does with what made him so unique. He no longer operates by a code or speaks when necessary.

Kirsty Cotton (Ashley Laurence) makes a videoed cameo appearance. Essentially she hands the story off to reporter Joey Summerskill (Terry Farrell) who’s the journalist that wants a big story yet keeps finding herself getting crappy assignments. When I saw Farrell in the part all I could think of was her in the Rodney Dangerfield classic Back to School. That’s the only other thing I knew from her at the time as this film free dates DS9 by just a smidge. She’s a fine actress and does the part justice. Other than Doug Bradley she’s probably the best performer in this whole movie.

Our intrepid reporter is apparently nursing some emotional wounds from the death of her father during Vietnam. Or are her dreams of her father’s death just a way to connect the character to Pinhead’s better half? I think the latter. It’s a way to give the characters a connection without actually crafting one.

Director Anthony Hickox has done some entertaining guilty pleasures in his career (have you seen Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat?) and knows how to make schlock good but just kind of halfhearted it here. The story is weak and just not…fun. There are explosions, blood, and funny kills but as stories go it’s just nothing.

This all begins when a scumbag club owner purchases a weird piece of art that was somewhat featured at the end of the last film. The problem is without using the puzzle box to summon the Cenobites this just becomes a generic horror film with a Hellraiser covering. There is the implication that this all started with somebody opening the box but that is unclear and becomes increasingly implausible for a starting point as the movie goes on.

The story is not bad but it is nothing great. It is watchable for the cool new Cenobites, but they are all one off characters. They are gimmicks and not disturbing creations. The last ones had some connection to what lured them to the puzzle box. But these are just movie punchlines and nothing more.

Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth is a significant step down from the first two films. It lacks any of the elements that made its predecessors special. In the end you can skip this and stick with the originals.

Published by warrenwatchedamovie

Just a movie lover trying spread the love.

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