Film Corner: Hellraiser 3

Hellraiser 3: Hell on Earth

Kissmate continues his Hellraiser watch-a-thon:

This movie occurs after Kirsty convinced the Cenobites to die to protect her and Jennifer. So wonder what this is gonna be about. Their resurrection, or something else?

Before we begin, let me start off on a small rant. All the DVDs I have of this series have not come with captions. I have to use outside sources or re-buy the movie on Amazon just to know what's being said! If you're going to make an artsy film with poetic lines that aren't the usual words said in every day English, then either give the audience words to read with it or balance your sound properly so everyone can follow along! I'm not even Hard of Hearing and I can't hear a single word anyone is saying without deafening myself with the overly loud ambient noises. Chains and footsteps rise louder than the main characters. It's very annoying and frustrating and not very good! I would say this is an old idea that's been solved, but I swear if it's not this with sound, then it's this idea with light!

We start off with a dark-haired man in a loud car with steel-toed Cherry Red cowboy boots, leather jacket, pompadour, and a cigarette pack. Who does this guy think he is, the Fonz? He looks like he thinks he's the most important thing on the planet. He walks into a storefront called "Pyramid Gallery". Dark inside, random Orientalism. He's drawn to a spinning pillar depicting bodies, naked and writhing. There's a face that looks like Pinhead and a quick flash of the Puzzle Box. The rich kid is interrupted by an old scruffy man. He says it's not his, but he'll sell it for "however much you think it's worth". Without looking at the wad of cash, the scruffy man grabs the kid's outstretched hand filled with money. "Exactly the figure I had in mind. Take pleasure in it." What the fuck....?!

Cut to a new scene of a journalist, Miss Joey, getting a shit gig: sit in an empty ER and wait for something to happen. As her cameraman gets pulled into another direction, she's left behind to contemplate how shitty her life/career is. She walks around to get a break from the boredom, and finds excitement as a man covered in hooks and chains is rushed into ICU on a gurney! She tries to get some answers from a fleeing girl, but before she can ask any more beyond WTF, he gets electrocuted and blows up! It's a very sudden course of events!

Bereft of fleeing girl and any answers, Joey starts looking for her answers at a rave called "The Boiler Room" owned by the douchebag from before, known as JP. It takes her a while to find anyone who will help her, but assistance finally arrives in the form of a phone call late at night. (A particular note here is how she keeps mentioning how pretty the girl she's looking for is. It feels kinda sapphic!) Joey dreams of her father being left behind and dying in the Vietnam war, but is interrupted by a call from the girl who brought the boy to the ER. She's named Terri. She'll spill some answers if Joey will get a guest room ready. Joey agrees, not thinking twice about it.

Terri takes her time talking and milling about Joey's apartment before saying anything about the incident. She clearly doesn't want this good thing to be over as her whole life has been shitty ex after shitty ex. Terri finally does give Joey some information and a piece that fell off the pillar and was in the dying boy's hands: the Puzzle Box imitation from the Pillar. We go to look at the pillar and see the piece that's missing left a huge hole. JP notices too- OMFG, JP PUT HIS HAND IN THE HOLE WHY OH WHY YOU SHIT FOR BRAINS!!!! Of course, a rat bites him and gnaws on his fingers. The pillar drinks the blood that spews from his wound and gains a pinkish hue. JP's reaction is a very simple smile and "whoa".

Seeking more information, Terri and Joey break in into the art gallery where JP got the Pillar and find out that the Pyramid Gallery gains its items from high school art clubs, bankrupt sales, and closed-down asylums. Like the Channard Institution. OH NO. CHANNARD. YUP, THERE'S THE BOX DRAWINGS. FUCK.

For some reason, we cut back to JP. He's at his club seducing a girl who looks and sounds like a Barbie doll. JP talks about how wonderful she is but after they have lack-luster sex, he tells her that he doesn't care about her and to hit the road. I'm honestly surprised *she's* surprised at his reaction! The girl flips out with a very wooden performance while backing away, getting closer to the Pillar. Suddenly, chains burst out of the Pillar, rip off her skin, and drag her into the art piece! JP freaks out as Pinhead's eyes stare at him.

"Not quite."

Pinhead waxes omnisciently poetic as he persuades JP to help him. I believe JP's arrogant and foolish enough to fall for this shit. And he proves me right! If Pinhead doesn't screw this guy over, I will be very disappointed in everyone. Meanwhile: Joey's cameraman gives her a package that came in the mail, a tape. It's Kirsty detailing what the Puzzle Box is/does/houses. There's a portion of the tape that doesn't exist when re-winded, but it calls to Joey. It's Pinhead's human-part telling Joey that Kirsty is telling the truth. Weird!

We cut to Terri back at the condo as she picks up the Box. I get worried as she plays with it, but she interrupted by a phone call. JP tries to bring her back with words and pleases, but she resists. It's only after someone calls to congratulate Joey on getting a job in Montreal does she leave. I don't recall anyone saying anything about Montreal before, which makes this feel like a trap. An upset Terri splits, leaving behind a goodbye note which makes Joey very unhappy. Pinhead's residual Humanity calls out to her in her dreams. "You must help me!"

Terri goes back to JP's place as she feels she has nowhere else to go. JP plays the part of the abusive ex wanting her back, but it's all a setup to get her close to the Pillar so she can be Pinhead's next meal. She manages to escape with Hidden Brass Knuckles To The Jaw (an old classic!), but Pinhead's words draw her back in. Either go back to an uncaring world, or kill JP and open a world of pleasures. Hmmm, what is a girl to do...? HOLY FUCK THE PILLAR COMING TO LIFE IS AMAZINGLY GORY AND AWESOME! HI, PINS!

Joey wakes up to an old vacuum-tube radio playing by itself in the closet. Pinhead's Humanity tells her to look out the window, which she does with no emotion on her face. The view of the city is gone, replaced with Pinhead's Humanity's Tent. She walks through the window and through a few war-horror-filled rooms before finding the man named Elliot Spencer. He waxes poetic at her about ghost stuff. Bottom-line, Pinhead isn't playing by the rules anymore and he needs to be stopped. The plan: Drag Evil!Pinhead to Elliot's World where Elliot can spank him. Joey is apprehensive, but Elliot soothes her anxiety telling her how special she is.

Back at The Boiler Room, we notice something isn't right as all the creepy imagery comes to life little by little. Pinhead blows up the door and walks down the staircase. He looks like a king walking down to meet his subjects. I expected the people to start partying harder, but they seem genuinely freaked out and start trying to get away. Barbed wire, hooks, ice, killer CDs; he's releasing a bloodbath in that club. Joey sees that the Boiler Room is bleeding from the news and gets her cameraman to help her. He doesn't see the same story; a careful camera pan shows us her TV was possessed and not even plugged in!

No sign of her cameraman or Terri as she brings the Box to the club. Dead bodies everywhere. It's like Hell moved into this place. We see some mild ideas for Cenobites that might have been scrapped at some point: Billiards-Mouth, Ice-Breath, Long-Tongue, Cross-Face, Dice-Eyes, etc. Oh wow, the cameraman is literally a Camera-Head Man now! Shit. I liked him. He wasn't shitty or creepy at Joey, just fatherly and friendly. I'm gonna miss him.

Pins walks in, waxing poetic again, and tries to grab the Box from Joey, but is repelled by the very Box itself! Rules must be obeyed! Other Cenobites made from the dead club-goers and Joey's friends come after her, but she does her best to escape them! Aw, the cameraman and Terri are both Cenobites now and that's sad. What's sadder is Terri has a less interesting Cenobite design than the cameraman. Then again, she didn't have must physical character besides shitty exes and smoking, so a smoking Cenobite she'll be! (Ana's note: It feels like they wanted to keep Terri "pretty" and skimped on the creativeness of the design rather than risk making a female character ugly. I hate that.)

There's a scene with a church and a priest and.... Look, I'm all for religious philosophizing in movies, but this wasn't that. This scene was a middle finger waving in the general direction of a church while the owner of said finger skateboarded by. The priest said and did nothing wrong. The church had no one else in it. There were no other mentions of the church in the movie to reference back to. All we have is this scene of Pins going apeshit and forcing the priest into a Black Mass. And that's it. Honestly, it feels like a scene made just for the trailer.

Joey opens the box to trap the Cenobites inside. She thinks it's over when she finds herself in a dream where her father approaches her. He calls her by name and tells her that he's here to take the Box away. Joey hands it to him and realizes too late that he shouldn't know her name: her father died before she was born! Pins morphs back and cackles at his trick, but it gives her an idea. Before he strikes her down, she changes their location to be the tent where Elliot opened the box, the place she saw in her window. Elliot thanks her, but Pins is clever. He ties her up and tempts Elliot with her flesh. "Unable to resist", Elliot allows the two of them to become one person again, but manages to tell Joey one last time to send him to Hell. After some fiddling with the Box, she stabs Pins and ends it all for good!

Joey wakes in the construction site she opened the Box in and breathes a sigh of relief. She finds a nice patch of wet cement and buries the box deep under the surface. She walks away, content that no one will find the Box again. Years later, we see the land that has emerged from that spot. A large modern business building stands tall with a golden box-like sculpture outside. Inside, the high ceiling reveals a particular design that seems to mimic a particular Puzzle Box we've all seen before... The End...?

This Movie had some ups and downs (the lowest being the church scene), but there are some good ideas being thrown around here! The resurrection theme came back, as I predicted. It's cool to see a Cenobite come back very similarly like a human. The Humanity vs Evil!Pins is an interesting idea. Elliot already went down the path of evil once, so his tempting was genuine! Elliot's clever haunting through Joey's dreams was inventive, and is further proof that he is Pins. Gods, how does one play mind-games to win against oneself? I still think Elliot lost as he is now in Hell, but it was enough to stun Pins and get him vulnerable enough to send him to Hell too. A bittersweet end, really.

The new Cenobites were... hit or miss. It makes me question what kind of person makes a Cenobite and who's just another victim. In the first two movies, I felt it took a sadistic/selfish person to be changed into a Cenobite while the rest are just victim fodder. Channard was a sadist and an immoral doctor, thus making him a perfect Cenobite. Julia was always a little selfish and cold, but her love and servitude to Frank changed her to be more like a Cenobite. So when she comes out of the mattress looking good and feeling in charge, it's clear she's different from that unhappy wife of Larry's. JP was definitely self-centered enough that I could see him being a shitty, but true, Cenobite. The rest, though? Doc the Cameraman was sweet and generous. He cared deeply for his coworker and friend! Terri had been hurt all her life and wasn't afraid to lash out if she felt hurt again, but I wouldn't call her sadistic. I felt like the filmmakers wanted to make new Cenobites and just us shocking reveals, so they made them and to hell with the lore if it didn't make sense. That bugs me.

An interesting character study done in this movie is Pinhead himself. His human self, Elliot is the show of restraint we see in the first two movies. He's the side that doesn't move or speak without purpose. No word or movement is out of place. His emotions are in control. He doesn't try to go against the rules because it's physically impossible. But we see Evil!Pins dive for the Box and fail. He reacts strongly to small needling. Evil!Pins doesn't have the same restraint that Regular/Full!Pinhead and Elliot has. I like the juxtaposition we see in this film. Will it continue? Only one way to find out!

For this film, 7/10. I enjoyed it and will enjoy watching it again, but it has a different feel that the other films, so definitely keep that in mind when watching. Also, HOLY SHIT WAS THIS FILM SAPPHIC! Both Kissmate and I were begging Terri and Joey to get together, but alas. It was not meant to be. (Maybe in fanfic it will, though.)


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