HELLRAISER III: HELL ON EARTH
Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth is mostly a chase movie, full of explosions and with Pinhead and the Cenobites reduced to little more than campy variations of Freddy Krueger, spitting out lame one-liners and conjuring up novelty deaths for victims. The new batch of Cenobites reveal a complete lack of imagination in their creation. Rather than Clive Barkers visions of demonic sadists whose bodies are fetishistically decorated in leather, with open wounds and metal piercing their flesh, we instead have Cenobites who, for pitys sake, fire deadly CDs from their head and have camera lenses in the place of an eye, perhaps at the most imaginative, one who smokes a cigarette through a wound in the middle of her throat, and in the most pathetic example, a former barman who now mixes Molotov cocktails and ignites them with his flaming breath. There is a shabby ordinariness to their creation. The Cenobites worked best when they were mysterious and threatening this films greatest failing is in bringing them too much into the light and once there having no real idea what to do with them. As a result, Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth has none of the threat that the previous two films did its horror consists of only a few gore effects, which are displayed with no directorial suspense or skill, and good many explosions. Moreover, Clive Barkers original vision has become conceptually simplified becoming a Cenobite no longer even entails having to sell ones soul in effect, now those who are merely killed by Pinhead can end up as Cenobites; and the Lament Configuration no longer functions as a key to the beyond but more like a crucifix in a vampire film.
The only remnant of Clive Barkers original creation is the most obvious one Doug Bradley returning as Pinhead. Doug Bradley is the only one in the film who gives Clive Barkers original vision of forbidden pleasure any airing, conjuring up all manner of sadistic delights in the way he toys with Peter Atkinss dialogue in his wonderful basso voice. Unfortunately, even he cannot escape the Freddy Krueger role that the film insistently pushes him into. Regrettably, Doug Bradley has also become somewhat more chubby cheeked since the last film, with the result that Pinhead looks positively cute at times.
The one thing that the script does do, if nothing else, is take up on the appalling mistake that the second film made, of humanising Pinhead at its climax this film does not, as one would have thought, forget all about that and continue on regardless, but instead takes the idea up and makes it the thematic centerpiece of the film. As a result, we have a much more dualistic Hellraiser than the previous two it becomes a fight between evil as embodied by Pinhead and minions and between the uncorrupted innocence of Pinheads original human self. Unfortunately, here Clive Barkers original vision of a darkly sexual Faustian deal has petered out into traditional Christian morality. Also for some reason the first two films English setting has now been translated to an American city, the filmmakers clearly hoping that nobody will notice.
The other Hellraiser sequels are: Hellraiser (1987), Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988), Hellraiser: Bloodline (1996), Hellraiser: Inferno (2000), Hellraiser: Hellseeker (2002), Hellraiser: Deader (2005), Hellraiser: Hellworld (2005), Hellraiser: Revelations (2011) and Hellraiser: Judgment (2018). A remake of the original has been announced.
Director Anthony Hickox has made a number of other genre films, including the genre homage Waxwork (1988), the vampire film Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat (1990), Waxwork II: Lost in Time (1992), Warlock: The Armageddon (1993), the werewolf tv movie Full Eclipse (1993), Prince Valiant (1997) from the comic-strip, the action techno-thriller Storm Catcher (1999), the sadomasochism thriller Jill the Ripper/Jill Rips/Tied (2000), the biowarfare spill thriller Contaminated Man (2000), the action films Blast! (2004) and Submerged (2005), and the psycho-thriller Knife Edge (2009), while he has also produced Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest (1995) and Carnival of Souls (1998) and written Prisoners of the Sun (2013).