Film Review - Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth

Starring - Doug Bradley, Terry Farrell, Paula Marshall, Kevin Bernhardt, Ken Carpenter, Ashley Laurence | Directed by Anthony Hickox | Paramount DVD WS R 93min 1992

Review By Joker

So the Puzzle Box has been passed to me, and now I have duty of keeping this franchise review going. So now it's time for a look at Hell on Earth as I review Hellraiser III.

Joey Summerskill is a TV reporter who is stuck doing lame stories, but one night she stumbles onto a case while at the ER, you see she witness a teen coming in for help who is ripped apart before her eyes by chains! The dead youth was brought in by a young pretty girl named Terry who is dating the asshole JP Monroe the owner of a club called the boiler room, and Joey really needs to find her to crack this story. The club is filled with all types of odd artwork that includes a pillar that houses the evil spirit of Pinhead and when Joey goes looking for Terry she gets to see just how scummy JP is. Terry breaks up with JP and stays with Joey to fill her in on the puzzle box that is reveled to be the source of the chains that killed the youth, and to make things worse Pinhead is breaking free of the pillar and is using JP to bring him victims to get stronger with false promises. But when Pinhead uses Terry to free himself from the his prison its up to Joey armed with the puzzle box to fight off Pinhead and his new crew of cenobites who want to bring Hell to Earth! Joey is helped by Captain Elliott Spencer (Pinheads human counterpart) in her dreams who is the key of ending his terror forever. Is Joey strong enough to defeat Pinhead or will she be the reason the world as we know it coming to an end, watch this third film in the popular Hellraiser series to find out.

This third film in the series is more of a slasher film then a psychological horror film like the two that came before it, and while some might dislike this change I find this third in the series a fun blood soaked ride that was a nice way to update the series and save it from just repeating the past. The film has Pinhead and his human self being split apart and both sides at odds with each other and a poor reporter is caught in the middle. Doug Bradley returns as both Pinhead and Captain Elliott Spencer and seems to do pretty well in juggling them both, Pinhead in this one is less of the bored demon of the box and is more of a smooth talking Freddy Kruger style demon who seems to enjoy playing cat and mouse with his target victim, and while this aspect of Pinhead is less interesting he seems to return to the classic attitude Pinhead when he and Spencer merge together again in the end. Bradley as Spencer seems to be less animated and is more of a gateway character to explain the return of Pinhead who died in the second film. The character of Joey Summerskill is a good one but lacks the innocent yet tough charm of Kristy Cotton, even with that said Joey is sweet and caring and seems way less ready to go head to head with an more evil version of Pinhead making you wonder just how she makes it out alive. Speaking of Kristy Cotton, Ashley Laurence returns for a small cameo as she appears on some old VHS tapes from The Channard Institute speaking of the box and Cenobites, with this cameo and reference it made this film seem like it was part of the original story line. The last character I want to bring up is Terry played by the beautiful Paula Marshall she is a great character who you find yourself cheering for to get a better life. There is also new Cenobites in this one that include CD who throws CDs at peoples skulls, Pistonhead who is JP with pistons through his brain, Dreamer who is Terry turned into a Cenobite, Camerahead who shoots a camera lens through peoples skulls and Barbie a chubby man with barbwire around his face who spits fire, none of these hold a candle to the originals and a funny thing Pinhead himself even says so in the film!

The film goes for some over the top blood and gore that includes skin being ripped off, ice knifes in the mouth, chains with hooks ripping into flesh and many more and while the films blood and body count are up the effects are pure 90's design and lack the girt needed to make them feel gross. The odd thing about this one as well is that Pinhead in this one really seems to enjoy killing and when he massacres the night club of goers he seems to be happy like a little kid in a candy store, and that's the polar opposite of Pinhead of the first two films who seemed more ho hum about killing. The film also seems to polished while the past films in the series had a dark art house look and feel to them this one had a Hollywood gleam to it that made it seem to mainstream looking. While this is a clear Hollywood made sequel with a bigger budget and more of your typical slasher elements I still find this one a good watch.

I also have a great memory of this film, you see growing up much like most the reviewers that work here I was a Horror film fan and much like Xmortis the Hellraiser series always peeked my interest and when I was just a little Jester and not quite a Joker, my father took me to a store and after seeing me staring at a used copy of the film on VHS he bought me it making my day! I know it's a strange story for a horror review just thought I would throw it in.

The DVD has a few extras that include a featurette on Clive Barker and the original trailer. While there is a Unrated print of the film out there this far every DVD release has been the rated version.

While this is not on par with the past two in the series it still is a fun addition to the story line that keeps the legend and myth of Pinhead alive. I know fans will be happy to see that Pinhead has way more screen time in this sequel then any that came before it and I am sure fans of Kruger like puns will have fun with Pinheads over done smart ass one liners. I would say this sequel is worth a watch and while it might not be for all fans it's still is a bloody good time!

Now the time has come for me to pass the Box over to Juliet who will be your guide for the next two films in the series.