Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth (1992):
Pinhead, master and leader of cenobites lives inside a sculpture. JP Monroe buys this sculpture, brings a girl back home, and then the sculpture comes alive, sucking his one-night-stand into itself to bring back Pinhead, so that hell can be unleashed on earth.
What a brilliant piece of self-aware nonsense. I never really found Hellraiser or Hellraiser II: Hellbound particularly scary, but what I can at least say is that they did – just about – take themselves seriously. This one doesn’t, which is what makes it brilliant considering the fact that Hellraiser is essentially one of the greatest anti-one-night-stand franchises ever made…and that’s not really a compliment.
Everything in the third installment of the chain-imagery obsessed franchise is so over the top and just plain bonkers. There’s a section towards the end of the film where where our main heroine, a journalist, is in a church and she sobs to the priest about demons to which he then says “demons, they don’t exist! They’re just metaphors!” – and then the great metal gates of the church slam open, bright blue light and smoke pour through to reveal Pinhead, and then our heroine points and says “then what the fuck is that?!” The actor who plays Pinhead plays it like a manipulative Shakespearean villain: deep-voiced, calm, calculating, suave and oh so grand – he’s like a creepy uncle with a toolkit fetish. He has brilliant lines concerning death where he says things like: “well let’s just turn up the volume”. That’s not forgetting the sequence where he walks through the church and every time he takes a step the stain-glass windows around him explode for no apparent reason.
The final act of this film is one of the most fun and entertaining pieces of horror I think I’ve ever seen: cars set on fire, CDs are thrown at people (which then result in killing them), electrical wires come alive and start attacking people, there are random explosions, and the new army of cenobites now just look plain stupid and one of them breathes fire. I don’t think I’ve particularly described the plot well in this movie, but I don’t think doing that would serve it justice. The film knows it lacks plot and that it consists of lots of campily gruesome set-pieces, and its self-awareness makes it even better.