The original Hellraiser is a gothic masterpiece directed by Clive Barker from his classic novella The Hellbound Heart. The sequel, Hellbound: Hellraiser 2 is a worthy sequel that expands the original’s mythology. Hellraiser 3: Hell on Earth is an absolute mess that make next to no sense.
For whatever reason Pinhead is stuck in a statue and through a random turn of events (or is it?) the statue is splattered with blood which brings Pinhead back to life ala the villains in the first two films. The only problem here is that for a good while he is only partially restored which means lots of scenes with Doug Bradley sticking his head through a fake statue. Doug Bradley as Pinhead is all of the Hellraiser films’ strong point but it’s hard to take him serious when he is completely surrounded by a clearly fake statue.
It’s obvious that the filmmakers wanted to put Pinhead right up front this time around and it just doesn’t work. The Angel of Hell just can’t keep up his mystique when we see him walking down a city street, hanging out at a construction site and literally standing in a field in broad daylight. It also doesn’t help that the leader of the Cenobites epic dialogue has been replaced with Freddy-esque one liners and his brutal chains take a back seat to turning a glass of water into an icicle and stabbing someone in the eye. Uh, yeah.
Speaking of those Cenobites, gone is the badass Chatterer and the grotesque Butterball replaced with the Camerahead Cenobite, the Bartender Cenobite and of course the DJ Cenobite. Don’t discount them though. The Bartender Cenobite manages to cause two cop cars to explode and the DJ Cenobite does quite a bit of damage throwing CDs up people’s noses. What were they thinking?
The movie is somewhat enjoyable in a so-bad-its-mediocre way but that’s not saying much. The terribleness of it is all the more perplexing when you realize that it was written by same screenwriter as Hellbound and the superior fourth film Hellraiser: Bloodline. I guess that “Story by” credit from Clive Barker on part 2 was probably pretty integral.