Directed by: Anthony Hickox
Written by: Peter Atkins
The third film in the series had a different style and atmosphere to the first two; and in my opinion suffers for reverting to a more standard slasher fare compared to the previous entries which are impossible to pigeonhole into a particular sub-genre of horror.
The plot follows on from Hellraiser: Hellbound (1988) where Pinhead (Doug Bradley as always) is trapped in the ‘pillar of souls’ alongside the lament configuration puzzle box and he persuades a part time art collector and full time playboy to bring him the blood of victims in order to restore his flesh and thus allow him to bring his hell to Earth (as the title suggests).
Pillar of Souls
The film also explains Pinhead’s origin; he was once the human Elliot Spencer, a British Army Captain in one of the more interesting scenes of the movie. However, Elliot makes an appearance to inform Joey, a young reporter researching the strange series of deaths by being ripped apart by hooks and chains, that he and Pinhead had become separate entities and thus Pinhead now lacks any human element; leaving him to leave a path of destruction with no holding back. Pinhead also begins to form a new legion of cenobites from humans that stand in his way – who in turn help him with his merciless slaughter. These new cenobites are hit and miss as to their effectiveness with their appearance and continuity with the previous cenobites. For example a nightclub DJ becomes ‘CD’ cenobite with CDs wedged into his head which is certainly gruesome enough, the barman becomes ‘barbie’ who mixes alcohol with fire and the news cameraman has his camera wedged through his head. These are rather ‘cartoony’ compared to the well-designed (and as a result scarier) cenobites from the previous films and in this third installment the cenobites even have one-liners before or after their kills much like Freddy Krueger in the Nightmare On Elm Street series. This I believe adds to the fun of the film but detracts from Clive barker’s vision of the film series and removes the fear element of the characters.
Anthony Hickox directs in a pretty standard form and the film looks like many a 90’s horror film. The actors however are generally pretty good; particularly the ‘heroine’ Terry Farrell who plays Joey and the effects once the film gets going are also convincing – there is a stand-out massacre scene in the nightclub once Pinhead has been unleashed on Earth which should please the gorehounds out there!
Overall it was an enjoyable movie; albeit without the cleverness and originality of the previous two films. However, I’m sure that most Hellraiser fans would enjoy this sequel.
Gore Score: 8/10