The second film appeared to close the door on Julia, Kirsty and all the Cenobites. But New Line wanted to resurrect the semi-dormant franchise.
Waxwork director Anthony Hickox takes the reigns for this film. The film makes some leaps in which young rich brat JP finds the statue last seen in the prior film, now petrified. He is sold the statue for his night club.
We then meet frustrated reporter Joey and her cameraman Doc. They are waiting for a story to come through the door at the local emergency room, After Doc is called away for another story, Joey is witness to a patient being rushed into the emergency room covered in chains hooked to his flesh.
As Joey tries to piece together the mystery of the young man’s death and how it is connected to a strange little puzzle box, JP has awakened Pinhead, who is wanting to be freed.
Hellraiser III builds upon a Pinhead mythology, suggesting his evil had grown so powerful, death could not stop the evil. Joey is helped in her fight for the truth (leading her to trying to stop Pinhead) by Eliot, the human soul who had become Pinhead.
The film gives us a whole new batch of Cenobites, and when Pinhead suggests they are not quite the same caliber as his previous compatriots, he is not kidding. One Cenobite is a bartender who lobs bombs, another is a DJ who shoots CDs at people. There is a almost funny chase through…well, nearly empty streets (in a supposedly big city with an active nightlife).
I have, actually, always had a soft spot for this film. Primarily because…honest to god? Pinhead has some incredibly good dialogue in the film. Sure, he has some jokes, but even a lot of those are delivered with style by Bradley. Pinhead takes a central role here, and he is not merely doing someone else’s work. He has his own goals, as he works perfectly as a tempter.
Hell on Earth has great pinhead moments, but not a ton of other great stuff to support it. I mostly like Joey, Doc and Terri (a young woman who is in an abusive relationship with JP)…but really, without Doug Bradley’s Pinhead performance, this would be a far weaker film.