Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth (1992)
What’s This About: Pinhead is back and stuck in an evil statue. He just needs a few souls to come back to…Ya know what, the more I think about it, I’m not sure what this movie is about. I guess Pinhead wants global domination or maybe just a hug.
Here are some of my observations as I watched the film:
- Out of shear coincidence I picked two movies in a row directed by Anthony Hickox. That also star Paula Marshall. (And have a cameo by Zach Galligan.)
- It’s been a while since I last saw Hellraiser 2 so hopefully that won’t be a problem.
- Already 30 seconds in and I’m regretting this.
- I can watch the piss out any 80s flick—especially horror—but the 90s is a completely different story. I don’t know if it was the fashion, the bad special effects or lack of talent (or all of the above) but they don’t jive with me as much as other decades.
- How much is this statue worth? How about 38 dollars?
- At a hospital we meet our heroine who’s a reporter hoping to break her really big story. She walks along a quiet corridor until orderlies rush down a man on a gurney with metal chains attached to him. When she goes in the OR the guy is being electrocuted by the chains but they aren’t attached to anything, just suspended in mid-air. Where’s the electricity coming from?!
- Cool head explosion though. And glad they showed his EKG flatline for added emphasis.
- Hahaha. Before the reporter, Joey, went into the OR she questioned a woman who was with the chained guy on the gurney. She had asked where were they when he got injured and the girl said The Boiler Room. I though she meant an actual boiler room not a club named The Boiler Room. I mean can you blame me? 67% of horror movies have at least one scene in a boiler room.
- Joey goes to the bartender at the club and tells him that she’s looking for “a pretty girl.” He immediately tells her which way to find her.
- She walked past about 15 pretty girls so far!
- Apparently this band playing at the club is Armored Saint. Heard of them but never heard them. Not too shabby. But we’re not here for music! We’re here for the Hellraising!
- Hahaha. So now she’s asking either a DJ or a sound engineer for the whereabouts of the pretty girl. At least this time she gives some physical descriptions. The fella still says that doesn’t help him. Guess he’s not as astute as the bartender.
- Wait now she’s in a posh restaurant with candles and a violinist? What kind of club is this? Dance hall, concert venue that plays metal and a fancy dining all in one!
- I vaguely remember Pinhead, back when he was human, was a Vietnam vet. Or am I wrong?
- Yeah I’m wrong. I don’t know whose ‘Nam flashbacks these are.
- Paula Marshall plays Terri, the pretty girl Joey’s been looking for. Anyway she somehow got Joey’s phone number and calls her in the middle of the night and now she’s in Joey’s apartment chatting.
- After seeing Paula Marshall in 2 flicks now I’m realizing that she’s pretty but one horrible actress.
- So Joey is a reporter trying to find out what happened to that guy at the hospital and Terri might have that info. But instead of divulging that information she’s being incredibly shifty. She’s the one who called Joey!
- Why is this movie making the chains a big deal? Sure the Cenobites used chains as a means of torture but it wasn’t the only thing they used. Are they trying to make chains to Pinhead like chef’s knife to Michael Myers or knife-fingered glove to Freddy or ham sandwich to Mama Cass?
- So Terri says she’s seen that guy who died at the club a bunch of times but never really knew him. Seconds later she’s holding up the Cenobite puzzle box and saying that he said the chains came from this. So despite he not really knowing Terri, he explained that magic torture chains come out pop a puzzle box and then gave her the puzzle box? OK.
- Now would be a good time to mention that the puzzle box most likely came out of this ghastly statue that the dude in the beginning of the flick bought. The same dude that owns the Boiler Room. Now he’s hearing noises and sticking his hand in a hole in the statue.
- The giant rat or hamster that was in the hole is violently biting this dude’s hand and while he’s flailing his hand to get the rodent off, his blood is splattering all over the statue and the statue is sucking it up. The dude sees this and is pleasantly surprised.
- Terri can’t cook for shit. What is it with Terrys this month?
- So Joey let this derelict chick, who she just met, stay over and is allowing her to cook her breakfast?
- Terri is in awe of Joey’s apartment. She goes over to the window and tells Joey to check out the view. Dimwit.
- Of course Terri knows how to pick a lock to break and enter the same shop that sold the Boiler Room owner, J.P., the statue.
- And of course Joey is fine with this. Gotta earn that Pulitzer!
- Never seen a sex scene with the fella actually smoking while doing the deed. Kinda funny.
- His hands also seem to be superglued to her breasts. Maybe he really loves breasts.
- The statue approves of his tremendous orgasm.
- Did Joey just say Dr. Phallic or Dr. Fallon?
- She also mentioned Channard, which was the evil doctor from the second Hellraiser, so some kudos is due to this film for having some continuity to the series. Unlike another Anthony Hickox feature.
- Joey just gave Terri an open invitation to stay with her. Again, she just met her, what yesterday, and she is a skilled lock picker.
- This chick that J.P. picked up and fucked in the same night is getting upset that he’s rejecting her now. She just can’t believe it!
- The chick gets too close to the statue and Pinhead’s head appears and grabs her using the chains. Sure the gore was awesome because he used the chains to rip her skin off revealing a screaming woman with all her muscles exposed but he then sucks her into the statue with some of the worst special effects that only the early 90s can provide. It’s safe to assume Pinhead is absorbing souls/bodies to become corporeal again. Which is fine although the whole point of Pinhead and the Cenobites wasn’t that they are killers but torturers for the sinners. The only sin this woman committed was bad acting and bad judgment in picking a guy to sleep with.
- “What you did was fucking evil man!”
- This statue with a Pinhead talking head on it is something you’d see in a Disney World ride.
- J.P. shoots Pinhead in the mouth twice. At least I think he did. How else would you explain Pinhead spitting those bullets out?
- See the problem or issue I’m having is Pinhead isn’t supposed to be the main villain. What made the first Hellraiser so good was Frank who escaped the Cenobites and wanted to rejoin Earth who made his old girlfriend collect bodies for him to consume. This movie is doing practically the same thing but now Pinhead wants to be on Earth.
- Joey’s coworker looks like Sam Elliott and Hulk Hogan combined.
- I don’t remember Hellraiser 2 well enough to know if the video Joey’s watching is the same footage of Kirsty talking to her therapist. (*It’s not)
- Come to think of it, how does Joey afford this lavish, two-floor apartment in NYC when she’s hardly a worthwhile established reporter?
- Umm. This movie promised me a Zach Galligan cameo and I want it to make due quick with that promise!
- J.P. called Terri. How did he know she’s at Joey’s apartment? How did he get Joey’s number? Did Pinhead give him these deets?
- Another call, that Terri leaves the answering machine pick up, says that Joey got a new job in Monterey and that “…guess you’ll have to sell that apartment. Hahaha.” That’s seriously how it ended to make Terri think Joey was backstabbing her to leave to join J.P. Joey comes home and finds a note that says “Enjoy Monterey. You liar.” Terri really really really really loved that apartment!
- More ‘Nam flashbacks. With Joey watching the battle in a white dressing gown. Wait. Now it’s WWI and human Pinhead is talking to her. WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN!?!?!
- Human Pinhead is now talking to Joey on her TV after she awakes from her nightmare. He’s relentless!
- I’m sure J.P. wants to feed Terri to the Pinhead statue but he’s taking his sweet-ass time. He’s probably struggling with the whole murdering someone aspect of this whole plan.
- As J.P. grabs her, Pinhead’s screaming and talking kinda making this whole thing a lot harder. I seem to recall Pinhead using magical chains with hooks for that other gal a few scenes back. Guess he forgot.
- If Pinhead is stuck more or less in a statue, you’d think that his pins wouldn’t be a factor. Like he’s already being tortured by being stuck in a statue. And the pins obviously could be pulled out, no? I’m asking too many questions I know.
- Pinhead’s trying to reason with Terri after trying to use J.P. to kill her.
- So now he used Terri to move J.P. closer to the statue so he can chain him up and absorb his body and essence. Is there no loyalty for Pinhead?!
- I think the Pinhead statue just splooged.
- After absorbing J.P., Pinhead escapes from the statue. It only took two souls huh? Or maybe there were a few other victims before J.P. bought the statue. It was a used statue after all.
- Joey is awakened (wait, she fell back asleep after that nightmare and her TV talking to her?!) by the sounds of an old timey radio playing music from the 20s. The radio then tells her to go to her window which is now a portal with human Pinhead on the other side. She walks through of course.
- There’s more in this movie regarding human Pinhead’s stint in the armed forces in WWI than anything else. I’m not sure what the relevance is.
- Human Pinhead aka Elliot Spencer just referred to himself to Joey as a ghost and asks her for her help.
- He explains that after the war he found the puzzle box and opened it becoming the Cenobite and was a minion of hell. Now his soul is in two and the evil one is released now on Earth.
- I love how Spencer tasks this random reporter to save the world. Not to go and get someone who is better equipped for this. No. You, random 20-something reporter, will be perfect.
- At least the soundtrack to this is decent. Still on the cusp between hair metal and alternative grunge, they chose to make most of the tunes the former.
- Pinhead makes his appearance in the middle of the Boiler Room. Must be “leather & chains” night at the Boiler.
- OK wait a minute. I get him using the chains to try to grab club goers and I can also buy that short spear that impaled that hapless dude to the wall but what I will take issue with is a girl’s drink evaporating up above the glass, take the form of Pinhead’s face, then take the form of a dagger as it solidifies into ice and thrusts itself into her face.
- Yeah people are getting slaughtered in various weird ways. The DJ gets killed with his own CDs acting like razor blades and flying on their own into his face. Bet he wishes he used cassette tapes.
- That would’ve been a great gory scene if it wasn’t so silly and goofy.
- This movie lacks all the tension and creepiness of the original.
- I’m beginning to think Anthony Hickox is a terrible director.
- Joey woke up (AGAIN!?!) to the TV report of the slaughter at the Boiler Room. Although I’m not sure what to believe because we are shown that her TV was unplugged. First, who unplugged it?! And second, who sent the message to Joey?
- Now she’s at the Boiler Room and there’s no sign of any cops or detectives or EMTs so I’m assuming some dark forces fooled her into going there. But why?! Pinhead doesn’t even know of her unless Terri is behind all this.
- But still worth noting that Pinhead killed every single club goer that night without anyone escaping to get help. Kudos to Pinhead. Does this mean he also killed everyone next door at the fancy restaurant portion of the club?
- Oh no, Joey’s co-worker is dead too. shucks.
- Is this the finale? There’s still 25 minutes left. Don’t get me wrong I want this done quickly but it just feels like a very long finale.
- Pinhead can’t do anything to Joey because she has the box. The box is protecting her. Joey is being saved by her box.
- She’s now in the street and Pinhead is using power cables, hydrants and chains that come out of the sewers to get her. He even makes a car explode. This is beyond dumb.
- What’s also strange is this is a completely empty NYC street. There was one taxi cab that almost hit Joey but otherwise this town is dead!
- Hahahaha. Joey is now being attacked by her co-worker who is now a Cenobite. Half his face is a video camera because he was her cameraman. This is embarrassing.
- And out of his camera eye he shoots rockets? Did a 7-year-old write this?
- OK, remember when I mentioned 3 bullet points ago that this street was devoid of anyone. Yeah well this movie decided to add some random rocker dude bumping into Joey running away from explosions and he is completely oblivious to all the destruction and chaos going on down this street.
- He then bumps into the Cameraman Cenobite and gets a camera lens through his brain.
- The DJ from the Boiler Room is also a Cenobite that uses CDs to kill people.
- There are more explosions in this one scene than all of the first 4 Die Hards combined. What happened to the good ol’ days of Hellraiser where they killed people using knives, hooks and needles? Rambo killed less people with explosions.
- Oh good the cops.
- That cop totally didn’t see that flying CD to the face at all. AT ALL! Hey lighten man, we’re just throwing.
- Another Cenobite throws, what the cops quickly realize is, gasoline and despite the one cop yelling: “Shit! Gasoline! Run!” They just stand there while the Cenobite spits fire out of his mouth engulfing them in flames and exploding their squad cars.
- Cameraman Cenobite is using puns. When the cops die he says: “That’s a wrap.” I believe earlier he asked Joey if she’s “ready for her close-up.” What happened to this franchise?! Oh yeah. Anthony Hickox and Miramax that’s what.
- Another finale in a church. How come there’s never a finale in a horror movie in a synagogue? Why not a supermarket?
- Joey implores a priest that she needs help back to her apartment (then why did she go in this church? Did she think the priest has a private helicopter? Does she think the church has private underground subways?) and says that the demons are coming. The priest chuckles and tells her that demons aren’t real and that they are just parables (appreciate the candor). Pinhead then opens the main doors and Joey says to the priest “Then what the fuck is that?” I might say the same thing about this movie.
- You think that a major demon or servant of Satan wouldn’t be able to enter hallowed ground or have any powers within a place of holy worship but this movie don’t give a shit. Pinhead even uses his powers to melt a silver crucifix the priest was using to ward Pinhead off with welding his hand to the silver in the process.
- Oh yeah I forgot all about Terri. She’s a Cenobite now. Big deal.
- So this movie thinks that whatever defined a person will translate into their Cenobite persona. The TV cameraman has a literal camera-eye. The DJ uses killer CDs. Terri was a terrible chain-smoker so she has cigarettes sticking out of her neck. Is this movie a parody?
- Also Pinhead killed way over a hundred club goers that night but he only made the DJ, the bartender, the cameraman, JP and Terri Cenobites? Is he only limited to just 5 minions?
- Hey um Joey, do you think you might want to do something other than just stand there while Terri Cenobite and JP Cenobite approach you and attack you.
- She manages to solve the puzzle box within seconds (isn’t the puzzle box supposed to be challenging—didn’t it take Spencer a long time to solve?) and it lays on the ground and starts zapping the Cenobites like a little laser tank and sucking them into the box. This is utterly ridiculous.
- And then it transports Joey into a field somehow. Which I’m assuming is Vietnam since she is greeted by her dad. This does not look like Vietnam.
- Joey then gets confused because he knew her name? She literally just asked him after she gave him the puzzle box: “How…did you know…my name?” But it’s her dad. Did he die before she was born? That’s a detail we didn’t know!
- Of course it’s Pinhead anyway and now he has the box. And she yells that “it’s not fair!”
- It’s really off-putting seeing Pinhead in the daylight. It also makes the makeup look like absolute garbage.
- Wait. How did they now transport to limbo where Spenser is? Spencer told her that she had to bring the Cenobites and Pinhead to her apartment window like how she entered earlier in the film. Aw fuck it.
- Why does Pinhead look so awful? It’s still Doug Bradley but he just doesn’t look right anymore. He also is playing the role worse than before. This movie’s performances make the original look like Shakespeare.
- I was promised a Zach Galligan cameo and I have yet to see him.
- Clive Barker really executive produced this? (according to Wikipedia he wasn’t involved until post-production. And then he still put his name on it?!)
- Now we’re witnessing some truly awful special effects of Spenser and Pinhead fighting each other off but having huge dumb bulges in their foreheads that keep growing to connect their heads. This happens for a minute until Pinhead sucks in Spencer completely.
- While Pinhead slowly, and I mean s l o w l y, walks towards Joey, Joey has more than enough time to activate the blade option of the puzzle box (is it a Swiss Army Knife now? And how did she know it could do that?!) and stabs him in the chest. He never saw it coming! And to make the scene even more baffling he approached her with a knife instead of using his special magic chains and hooks. Fuck this movie.
- He then gets sucked into the box and this movie sucks even more than I thought it would.
- Now I’m just waiting for the last jump scare or sign of an impending sequel.
- Hahahaha. So Joey goes to a construction site for a future building and buries the puzzle box in the gravel. The movie then cuts forward in time to the office building it became and the interior architecture and style of art of the lobby is all puzzle box design. Did I miss the fact that this was a spoof?
- How did this not kill the franchise. I shudder to think what the other 7 sequels are like.
Was it Entertaining:
Any Good Gore: That’s the only plus in this movie is it went well with the blood and guts. I still prefer the effects from the previous two Hellraisers but the skin flaying scene was very well done.
Any Nudity: There would’ve been if Mr. Grabby-hands didn’t keep his grubby paws on the chick’s chest the whole time he was boinking her.
Best Quote: If I go the Schlock route then the Cameraman Cenobite’s “That’s a Wrap.” For a Hellraiser flick though I shouldn’t have to go the Schlock route but nothing is scared anymore.
Best Scene: Easy answer is when Pinhead killed that bimbo.
Worst Scene: When I think of Pinhead and the Cenobites I think minions of hell that creep up to victims who sinned and need to be tormented for eternity using simple yet effective torturing devices. Not explosions and certainly not rockets out of camera lenses. That whole street scene was totally anti-Hellraiser it wasn’t even funny.
Final Thoughts: The original Hellraiser and even the second one are great horror flicks. I would rank the original in my top ten for sure. Pinhead is iconic enough to carry a franchise but what I saw here was a travesty to his character and the whole mythos of Hellraiser. Why does every horror franchise get cheesier and dumber as it goes along? So frustrating that movie executives never take these characters of terror seriously? They all become jokes. And besides going a little further into Pinhead’s human side, this installment fumbled in continuing or contributing much to the franchise’s legacy. I would skip this one if you’re a Hellraiser fan.
Score: 4 Magical Chains to the Balls (out of ten)