Saturday, October 13, 2012
Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth (1992)
I've been a lifelong fan of all things Hellraiser - but ironically I never read the story it's based on from the beginning. I think it's too late now anyway, I'm more of a non-fiction reader and most of my time is focused on movies and music. Hellraiser 2 is by far the best in the series, but I've always had a very soft spot for Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth. It's the first sign of the franchise going a more goofy and silly route (not as silly as many others, and it always kept some kind of seriousness) and in this movie it means some outrageous technological Cenobites and an unhealthy dose of crappy nineties fashion and music.
The young owner of The Boiler Room, a hip night club for goth kids, needs something new to spend his money on and gets a strange pillar for a couple of bucks. It's of course a cursed pillar, including the Pinhead-demon - who just wants out to raise a little hell again....
Originally it was meant for writer Peter Atkins to direct, but the company thought he had to little experience as a director and asked genre veteran and cult favourite Anthony Hickox to take over the wheel instead. It's impossible to say what could have happen with Atkins doing the directing but I think Hickox, with his usual flair did a pretty good job with a silly script. Maybe he made it more silly with his directing, I have no idea, but the man is a visual genius and always packs his productions with creative camera solutions and colourful characters - so even here. He likes his slow-motion or prankster-style attitude when it comes to on-camera gags and gore (even if it could have been even gorier...).
So even if the style and story is quite far away from what happen in the first and part 2, it still hangs together very good with the mythology - and gives us a clue to what will happen in the very uneven, but also underrated, part 4 (who became an Allan Smithee-movie after the production company took the movie away from its director). I actually like how the story departs from the usual Hellraiser-gloom and dives right into neon-lights and pseudo-goth kids dancing. It's like the filmmakers trying to spoof the fans a little bit, poke fun at the darkness and sadomasochistic themes - just like they did with the fun Hellraiser: Hellworld many years later.
And yes, regarding the CD-cenobite. I need to quote David Zuzelo in his review of Hellraiser: Revelations: "Dear Clive Barker. You signed off on CD FACE, how the hell can you not sign off on this? The checks are probably smaller, but the reputation doesn't shrink any further in my opinion". Yeah, this was regarding Clive Barker's hate of the Revelations-movie, when he's one of the men (aka producers) behind the silliest Cenobite of them all! Money talks. I kinda like the Cenobites in this film It's nice to see some new faces, so to speak, and these aren't bad - even if they seem to make things explode rather than torture people with chains and hooks that much. But they're nasty bitches and that's what we like, I guess.
Hellraiser III isn't exactly a heavy-weight sequel, but it's never boring and delivers some interesting ideas, some gore, some nudity and a nice change of location. Instead of British social realism and ugly mental patients we get young, hot men and women getting torn to pieces. I like that. It feels good.