I watched the first two Hellraiser movies for the first time last year, so I figured this year I'd do the next two and continue doing two per year until I've slogged my way though the entire franchise. My soul will never be the same.
#23) Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth (1992) (Oct 23)
"Oh, it's unbearable, isn't it? The suffering of strangers, the agony of friends. There is a secret song at the center of the world, Joey, and its sound is like razors through flesh."
(MILD SPOILER WARNING)
After the direction Hellbound: Hellraiser II took with the cenobites, the series was pretty much lost to me. Poor word of mouth of the further sequels also didn't leave me with much hope, so I went into Hellraiser III with no expectations.
The second the Pinhead statue skinned then devoured the woman I knew what mindset I had to have for this one, so I sat down and got myself ready for a ridiculous time and I ended up laughing my ass off as this movie descended into absurdity.
I don't quite know how we got to this point from the dark, bleak original about sexual perversions and temptations to a robotic cenobite walking around throwing CDs into people's faces, but holy shit this was hilarious.
I can't believe how over-the-top this one got. Even Pinhead's typical gloomy dialogue was turned up to 11. It was so fun to watch him walk around spouting dark poetry like some goth kid performing a self-written monologue for his drama class. Hell, he even desecrates a Church! This one has it all!
#24) Hellraiser: Bloodline (1996) (Oct 24)
"'Pain?' How dare you use that word. What you think of as pain is a shadow. Pain has a face. Allow me to show it to you. Gentlemen, I... am... pain."
PINHEAD IN SPAAAAAAACCCCCCCCEEEEEEEEEEE!
Of course like all quality
horror franchises, you just have to go to space for a sequel and after the insanity of Hellraiser 3, how could this go wrong? Seeing "Alan Smithee" listed as the director during the opening credits should have tipped me off.
Unlike Hellraiser II and III, this one actually seems to dial it back a bit and is closer in feel to the original film. There's even some direct visual references to Barker's work. Unfortunately, the plot and acting just aren't good enough to support the more serious take on the world and the whole thing comes off as a bit of a bore.
The space stuff only serves as bookended sections of the film, the rest deals with the main character's decedents (one of which is the creator of the puzzle box). It's actually not a bad idea, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired. Pinhead gets way too much screen time, and even him babbling on with his Gothic mumbo jumbo can't save Doug Bradley's tired, bored performance. He really phoned this one in. The lead actor is pretty terrible as well.
Pinhead himself is also greatly out of character. His more evil/active nature in #3 is explained and then resolved in that film, so I don't see why his new personality is carried over into this one. Instead of pleasing/punishing people for opening the box, he's actively trying to link Earth and Hell so he can destroy the world? Why? Perhaps this one was better in the script stage before the studio involvement ruined it, but as it is, I don't think it really made much sense.
And then of course after this one Pinhead is banished from theaters and imprisoned to straight to DVD for eternity. Oh, the horror!