Sunday, March 11, 2012

Project Hellraiser: Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth (1992)

Project Hellraiser Log: How can mankind create such films? I watch this film and feel myself slowly drifting off into the land of sleep, countless times! The hooks of its chains dig into me and force me to keep my eyes open. No, I can’t sleep; they won’t ever let me again! The movie is sinister and terrible. I have no choice but to go on and do…well, what I usually do…

Director: Anthony Hickox
Starring: Terry Farrell, Doug Bradley

I mean seriously, how is this movie THIS BORING? I can’t even describe how boring it is except to say that I couldn’t remember what happened in it right after I finished watching it. Hellraiser III is a miracle of bland characters, nonexistent story and phoned in directing so perfectly unmemorable that it will be like you never watched the movie at all, and isn't that the ONLY way to watch a movie? After all, that way it will seem BRAND NEW again when you watch it a second time, and brand new after that when you watch it a third time!

Wait...no, that's actually really stupid.

The movie begins with some asshole discovering the big pillar of Cenobite faces that rose from the ground at the end of the last movie. It’s still not explained and never truly is, so let’s just skip it.

Then we see our new main character Joey, who is very different from Kirsty as a main character, in that she’s about three times as annoying. Joey is a TV journalist who is hard up for stories and needs a good one to send her career on the right path because her manager seems to think he’s Billy Mays and shouts all the damn time. So in response, she shouts at everyone else in a loud, commanding voice, because being intimidating is DEFINITELY gonna get you some good interviews! Grade A journalism! Two thumbs up!

"I'm a crappy journalist who can't even emote the simplest lines into anything resembling the same ballpark as credibility! Hooray for incompetence!"

Oh, and her cameraman is Hulk Hogan:

"I was the stunt double from Mr. Nanny. I think this is a step up!"

…or Hulk Hogan’s stand-in, I guess…

Okay, so the story seems to be that Joey is in the emergency room hunting stories when they drag in a guy with bloody chains dangling out of him and a black haired goth-looking chick. The guy with the chains has a seizure from Hell as the chains whip out and start to attack everyone and electrocute him somehow – it’s never really explained, don’t worry; the movie isn’t getting any smarter on us magically. Joey of course thinks this is the coolest thing ever and wants to do a story about it!

Her first step is to go to this night club called The Boiler Room and just ask around if anyone has seen a pretty girl. What, does she expect the bartender to just point her in a random direction and go “there’s the only pretty girl in the entire bar”? I guess she did, because that’s what happens, and the black haired goth-chick from before tells her no dice. So Joey’s response is to go home and have a contrived flashback dream that serves no purpose at all, except a rather empty scare way later in the movie:

"If I open my mouth wide enough, people will take me seriously and really believe that I'm in battle in this bright, sunny, peaceful-looking field."

So then she gets woken up by a call from the goth chick, whose name is Teresa, and who wants to come over and talk now. Joey tells Teresa her entire backstory about how her dad died in the war, or something, because I guess telling random strangers intimate details about her past seems like the logical thing to do. The weird thing about this scene is that even though Teresa wanted to come over and talk about the stuff Joey wanted to know about, she still gets mad and starts screaming about how she doesn’t want to talk about that stuff. So why did she come over at all then? Because she’s a terribly written character.

"Don't judge me, I'm a pouty stripper with a heart of gold! I'm supposed to be the emotional connection in the movie so I'm gonna over-act times a million to try to get any measly little reaction out of you!" 

Oh, and the acting in this movie is awful, I mean awful. Nobody in this movie is any good. The chick playing Joey is just terribly bland and unconvincing, reciting every line like she’s reading it on a cue card. Is this really the best actress they could get? The Hulk Hogan lookalike who follows her around is somehow even less convincing. But on the other end of the spectrum, the girl playing Teresa over-emotes everything and acts like she’s on crack the entire time. I can’t even decide which one is worse!

Then we flash back to Mr. Discovers-The-Cenobites, the guy from the first scene who owns the bar, who is having sex with a random chick from said bar. He acts like a douchebag to her afterwards and she gets really surprised for some reason I’m not sure. Did she expect him to sweep her off her feet and marry her? “Oh no, the guy I slept with at a sleazy bar is treating me like crap? HOW UNEXPECTED!” Pfft. Then she gets eaten by the Pinhead statue and turned into a high school biology diorama:

There's a caption contest for you!

The Pinhead statue goes on a long rant about how Mr. Bar Owner Guy has to help him out because they’re both the same kind of evil. Mr. Bar Owner Guy tries to say he isn’t, but Pinhead says “The evil has been in you since you killed your parents…” Wait, what? He killed his parents? That’s an interesting plot thread…will it be elaborated on or even brought up ever again? Of course not! It’s just one throw-away line shoved into one of the last scenes this guy is in. This is just astronomically stupid! It’s like if I made a movie about a bunch of real estate brokers doing normal things except for one line where one of them says “I remember when I was a space traveler from the seventy-sixth dimension of Zaxar…” and then it’s never brought up again. HOW IS IT THIS HARD TO TELL A COHERENT STORY?!

So he kills Teresa – glad she was in the movie – and then Pinhead comes out and starts wreaking havoc on the whole bar, killing everyone inside:

Death by CDs! That'll teach you to pirate music.
...no, I have no idea WTF the filmmakers were smoking when they made this scene, or why there are no other deaths in the entire movie like it. It's just a strange aberration of nature.

Afterwards, Joey is walking outside when she’s attacked by the cenobite versions of all the people killed in the bar. Her cameraman Hulk-Hogan-lookalike has been transformed into a cenobite with a camera lens sticking out of one eye, and the DJ has been transformed into one that can shoot CDs like bullets – it’s really ridiculous and gimmicky, but…no, actually I have no ‘buts.’ It’s just ridiculous and gimmicky. I especially love the stupid little lines the Hogan lookalike says after he kills people, like when he kills the cops, he says “That’s a wrap.” And when he kills this other guy, he says “Ready for your close-up?” It’s like a 60 year old trying to be hip and write “witty” lines for the kids. Both funny AND embarrassing at the same time!

They get killed off and Joey is chased into a church by Pinhead himself. The priest in the church assures her that she must be delusional because there’s no such thing as demons…wait, really? A PRIEST says there are no such things as demons?! Isn’t that a bit counterproductive to their whole belief system? Oh well. Pinhead does a whole thing where he crucifies himself in mid-air with some nails out of his head, and the scene was pretty obviously just made for the trailer…

Joey finds some kind of portal to the past where the human version of Pinhead for some reason is telling her how to stop his evil side, although it’s not really clear why, as in the last movie he wasn’t portrayed anything like this. I expected it to be some kind of farce or trick, but SPOILERS, nope actually, not at all – it really is just his human form trying to suddenly foil his demonic form, without any kind of deeper subtext or explanation to it besides ‘WE NEED A CLICHÉ GOOD VS EVIL SUBPLOT IN THIS MOVIE.’ Go figure.

Pinhead ties Joey up in some bondage BDSM stuff and hangs her from the ceiling because….because. Then he meets up with his old human self and…this happens:

Okay, seriously, whoever commissioned this part needs to be locked up.

Personally, I liked Scott Pilgrim’s version better:


Joey escapes and decides to hide the puzzle box in the first random place she sees, which is the wet cement of a new construction site right nearby, because THAT isn’t stupid as hell. Seriously, why doesn't she just take it home and bury it in her attic or something? Oh, right, because then we couldn't have any more brilliant sequels, and the makers of the franchise couldn't rob the audiences of any more money. Excuse me for being so dense. 

God this movie sucked; it was just so…lacking in anything resembling life that I couldn’t even stand it. Hellraiser III was like the first two movies on Ritalin. It was completely tired and unexciting in every way possible. I’m serious; this shit was putting me to sleep for most of the runtime. Even Doug Bradley wasn’t as good this time, and he didn’t use his cool deep voice at all, instead opting for a more generic British-accented voice that sounds like a third rate James Bond villain or something. And if you don’t have Doug Bradley being awesome in a Hellraiser movie, then what do you have? Nothing, that’s what.

But at the end of the day, this was just a boring movie. It was forgettable and it didn’t leave any real impact on me at all. It was just a big old lump of nothing and while I gained nothing from watching it, I technically didn’t lose anything either. Some people think these sort of movies are the worst, but then again, some people haven’t seen Hellraiser IV: Bloodline…