Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth (1992) Review
“What began in Hell, will end on Earth. “
Synopsis: An investigative reporter must send the newly unbound Pinhead and his legions back to Hell.
Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth is where the franchise starts to go off the rails, ignoring the rules it sets up in Hellraiser and Hellraiser II. This is also the first movie to star Kirsty (Ashley Laurence) in only a supporting role; from here on out, the Cenobites are the only real link between movies.
Hellraiser III’s bizarre and nonsensical plot revolves around a nightclub, Pinhead’s past, and a plucky young reporter. When Joey (Terry Farrell) stumbles across a mysterious death at the hospital, she pursues the cause, never dreaming of the depths of the world she’s exploring. It’s a nonsensical world. Though this movie obligingly features a puzzle box, it’s not relevant to most of the movie. Instead, the Cenobite entrance to our world is… a grotesque statue with Pinhead’s face.
This ends with Pinhead (Doug Bradley) fighting his human self inside Joey’s dream world, which makes about as much sense as it sounds.
The only bright spots in Hellraiser III are the more engaging characters and the Cenobites. Pinhead begins a tradition of rapidly replacing his minions in each movie; here, we get some very creative if unexplained Cenobite additions. (This of course blurs the lines we’ve been given about Cenobite backstory, but the audience is forced to just go with it.) Makeup and gore are good as usual, though they have less opportunity to shine in this flick than in the first two.
Taken as a standalone movie, Hellraiser III is slightly less annoying, but as part of the franchise, it’s frustrating for audiences. It isn’t a terrible movie, but it fails to uphold either the tone or the mythology of the first two. Add in a healthy dose of confusion regarding the plot, and it’s a rough watch for fans.
Calamity Brains’ Rating: C