Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth (1992)

hellraiser iii hell on earth poster 1992 movie
5.5 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Acting: 5/10
Visuals: 5/10

More of Pinhead's story

Lame Cenobites, bad story

Movie Info

Movie Name: Hellraiser III:  Hell on Earth

Studio: Dimension Films

Genre(s): Horror/B-Movie

Release Date(s): September 11, 1992

MPAA Rating: R

hellraiser iii hell on earth statue rips skin off woman doug bradley

Give me some skin, lady!

A strange statue has surfaced on Earth…straight from Hell.  When a nightclub owner named J.P. Monroe (Kevin Bernhardt) purchases the statue for his club the Boiler Room, he invites evil in.  An up-and-coming reporter named Joey Summerskill (Terry Farrell) sees a man brought into the local ER torn apart by something no one can explain and realizes that it is the story she is looking for.  Joey begins to investigate the Boiler Room and the statues ties to a psychiatric hospital where multiple deaths occurred…but it could be too late.  Pinhead (Doug Bradley) is now loose on Earth, and the humanity which was stripped from him might be the only thing to stop him.

Directed by Anthony Hickox, Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth is a horror sequel.  Following Hellbound:  Hellraiser II (1988), the movie received much less favorable reviews from critics and fans but still did reasonably well at the box office.

Hellraiser III followed the events of Hellbound: Hellraiser II by bringing back Pinhead in spite of his death in the popular sequel, but Hellraiser III just never had the punch of Hellraiser or Hellbound…and it still is a rather weak entry.

hellraiser hell on earth pinhead crucified church doug bradley i am the way

I am the Way

The problem with Hellraiser III is that it ditched the popular storyline of the previous two films.  Yes, the statue see in the movie was seen at the end of Hellraiser II, but other than a brief video cameo by Kristy (Ashley Laurence), all of the cast except Doug Bradley is gone.  Pinhead was really suppose to die in the end of Hellraiser II, but the popularity led to his character’s return in this sequel.  The producers had to find a way to rejoin his soul to the Cenobite Pinhead and that leads to kind of a dull plot.

The good thing presented in the movie is a bit more background on the man who became Pinhead and Doug Bradley gets the opportunity to be more than the leering Pinhead.  In Hellbound: Hellraiser II we learned he was a soldier, but we learn mor about Captain Elliott Spencer and how he became Pinhead.  It is the only good to come out of Hellraiser III and that really adds to the story presented in the first two films.  The lead played by Terry Farrell does not have the realism that Ashley Laurence brought to her down-to-Earth Kristy, and her stakes are not as high as Kristy’s which makes her less interesting.

hellraiser iii hell on earth cd cenobite

Going for “Most ’90s Killer”: The CD Cenobite!

The visuals of Hellraiser and Hellbound were impressive despite the budgets and really got into that strange fantasy/horror world.  With Pinhead’s death, the other Cenobites were also killed.  That means no Chatterer, no Butterball, no female Cenobite.  With a great opportunity to create really cool new Cenobites, the producers of this film created some of the lamest Cenobites on record.  Be it the CD shooting Cenobite, the video taping Cenobite, or the firebreathing Cenobite, many have aptly called them Borg rip-offs.  With the changes in the formats of the Hellraiser stories from this point on, the Cenobites of the first two films definitely remain the high point of the twisted creations.

Hellraiser III really shows a sharp decline in quality and story of the Hellraiser franchise which until this point had managed to make a good alternative to the popular slasher films of ’80s and early ’90s.  The series still has interesting ground to cover, but it feels like the films are just being made for profit and less for necessity.  Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth was followed by Hellraiser:  Bloodline in 1996.

Related Links:

Hellraiser (1987)

Hellbound:  Hellraiser II (1988)

Hellraiser:  Bloodline (1996)

Hellraiser:  Inferno (2000)

Hellraiser:  Hellseeker (2002)

Hellraiser:  Deader (2005)

Hellraiser:  Hellworld (2005)

Hellraiser:  Revelations (2011)

Hellraiser:  Judgment (2018)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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