The F*ckin Black Sheep: Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth (1992)

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

THE BLACK SHEEP is an ongoing column featuring different takes on films that either the writer HATED, but that the majority of film fans LOVED, or that the writer LOVED, but that most others LOATH. We’re hoping this column will promote constructive and geek fueled discussion. Dig in!

Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth (1992)
Directed by Anthony Hickox

“What really makes HELLRAISER III stand out is the sheer f*cked up nature of it all.”

I have to admit that I’ve never been much of a HELLRAISER fan. The original flick is a cold, lifeless exercise in graphic filmmaking. Clive Barker obviously knows how to deliver a dark environment and can make everything look cool as hell, but for me, zero entertainment factor comes from it. Seeing how I didn’t dig the first one, well…I have mostly left the franchise alone. Never say never.

With Halloween here, the timing seemed appropriate to revisit it once more to see if a connection could be found with one of horror’s more enduring franchises. Thankfully, I picked an entertaining one in HELLRAISER III: HELL ON EARTH.

For the third entry into the Pinhead saga, the story revolves around hot reporter Joey (STAR TREK DS9’s Terry Farrell) who just can’t catch a break and uncover a good story. However, things change when she encounters something truly bizarre and bloody at a hospital where she meets the young and sexy Terri (Paula Marshall) who leads her to rich playboy asshole J.P. (Kevin Bernhardt) who uses his club to bed women in his torture pad. Of course, all this leads us to Pinhead (Doug Bradley), now held captive in a big block. He needs J.P. to bring a few more hot ladies to his block so he can suck out their souls and be free to do a lot of shitty things.

To my surprise, I found HELLRAISER III’s story pretty straightforward which isn’t something I can often say about the franchise along with bringing that needed entertainment factor. It might not equal that of NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET for comic relief, but director Anthony Hickox (the man who brought us WAXWORK and later a lot of straight to DVD action movies) supplies LOTS of death and carnage. It isn’t exactly “enjoyable” (that makes me sound like a nutcase) like a FRIDAY THE 13th film, but it looks fantastic thanks to special effects by Bob Keen, who did everything from EVENT HORIZON to THE NEVERENDING STORY. For example, when Pinhead finally — and expectedly — becomes free to make people suffer horribly at J.P.’s club The Boiler Room, he slaughters the entire club, laughing himself silly while doing so. (At least the guy enjoys his work.) The effects here are excellent.

Maybe it’s because I’m a massive STAR TREK fan, but Terry Farrell really shines as Joey. The role is a pretty standard nosey reporter just looking for that big scoop but for whom nothing ever works out. As clichéd as the character’s setup is, somehow Farrell makes it work. She sounds sincere and thoroughly innocent, which obviously works nicely to contrast the pure evil (and a whole lotta leather) of Pinhead’s world. However, what really makes HELLRAISER III stand out is the sheer f*cked up nature of it all. The violence. The gore. The anarchy of death left in Pinhead’s wake. That’s shown in graphic detail when one of J.P’s conquests get her skin ripped off like a piece of fried chicken.

Overall, the acting isn’t superb, and it’s all quite cheesy, but at least HELLRAISER III ends up being entertaining. Actually, of all the things within the movie, the most memorable might come at the very end, where we get Motörhead’s “Hellraiser,” written by rock gods Lemmy, Ozzy, and Zakk Wylde. That alone makes it all worthwhile.



Source: Arrow in the Head

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