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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

HELLRAISER III: HELL ON EARTH


STATS:
Hellraiser 3: Hell on Earth
1992
Director: Anthony Hickox (WAXWORK!)
Writer: Peter Atkins, Tony Randel (not Randall)
Starring: Terry Farrell, Doug Bradley, Paula Marshall, Kevin Bernhardt

WHA’ HAPPENED?
Joey Summerskill is a reporter who gets drawn into the world of Pinhead and the puzzle box. She takes in a runaway who knows a little bit about some of the random killings going on in the city. (Hint: it’s a giant alligator.) Meanwhile, club owner/professional douche JP Monroe unleashes Pinhead, who is now freed from his past life and able to take over the world or something. It’s up to Joey to catch the Cenobite and reunite him with his former soul. A lot of people die.

ISN’T THAT SPECIAL?
The Hellraiser movies never caught on with the mainstream, but man do they have a passionate (and pretty scary) following. I am not among the converted, but I admire their refusal to become more mainstream. (Except for Hellraiser: Deader. I can’t really defend that one.)

Also, another Hellraiser sequel is on its way, with someone not named Doug Bradley portraying Pinhead. I smell a disaster, so I thought I’d lead up to that with articles on a few of the better entries.

Not this one.

SHIRTS AND SKINS:
Club owner/profession douche JP spends a lot of time shirtless and bulging. When fully clothed, he looks like a Tom of Finland character.


BLOOD AND GUTS:
This film has one of the highest body counts I’ve seen. An entire underground club gets ripped apart by Pinhead magic. People get sliced by CDs, impaled by camera equipment, and generally torn apart by those trademark hooks. Jesus wept, indeed. Then he threw up a little.

Keep in mind, this is the glory days of the early 90s, when most special effects were of the latex and glue variety, but every couple minutes you’d catch a glimpse of bad CG. There were a couple moments of bad CG (those flying CDs, for example), but most kills hold up surprisingly well.

Unlike some OTHER horror film released in the same year.

RANDOM THOUGHTS:
Motorhead produced TWO title songs for the film: “Hellraiser” and “Hell on Earth”. They sound like Motorhead songs.

One of the new Cenobites has some hardcore Freddy-Krueger-style one-liners. (For example, he has a camera jutting through his face, and after he kills someone, he says, “That’s a wrap!” Get it?)

Pinhead melts crosses and openly mocks Jesus. I doubt that this movie played well in the Bible Belt.

They’re much too peaceful for that.

OK. IS IT GAY?
Well, anything Clive Barker puts his hands on is at least a little gay-friendly (and baroque, in the best sense of the word). The problem is that Barker’s fingerprints aren’t really on this film. Sure, Pinhead and Kirsty are both in it, but it seems more like an imitation of his style than an actual addition to the franchise. The final girl isn’t as tough and memorable as Kirsty, and the whole just seems less… weird. The film doesn’t lack in blood and nastiness, and the Pinhead character isn’t misused (as he is in Hellseeker),

I give this a decidedly non-gay John Wayne.

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