Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth (Anthony Hickox, 1992, USA/UK)

Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth is the first film in the Hellraiser franchise to be made without the direct involvement of Clive Barker. It also was the first film in the franchise to be shot outside of the UK. The rights for the series changed hands from New World Pictures to the Weinstein brothers. In contrast to the baroque gothic horror of the first Hellraiser, and the ambitious fantasy world-building of Hellraiser IIHellraiser III feels more aligned with traditional slasher films of the period. Stripped down to the minimalist setting of the first film (in this case, the film is set primarily in a New York City club and an apartment attached to it), this film also features Pinhead (Doug Bradley) as a more central character.

While Pinhead became a cultural phenomenon from the first two films, those films were largely not driven by his presence. This is not the case with Hellraiser III, and Pinhead here occupies the same narrative space that Freddy Krueger would come to have as the Nightmare on Elm Street series progressed. While the acting and writing of the film are subpar compared to the first two films, the film does showcase some quite innovative setpieces, including a scene in the club that is truly over-the-top. The film is also noteworthy for the duality it brings to the Pinhead character - this time his "human" self is at war with his Cenobite self. Hellraiser III does not break any new ground in the franchise, but it is a respectable splatter film. The film also benefits from a great soundtrack, including many metal bands, and notably features one of Motorhead's best-known songs ("Hellraiser") over the end credits. The pain and pleasure motif of the first two films is less present here, and the film seems to be more concerned with technology bringing evil.



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