Archive for the 'B-movies' Category

May

Comments Off on Hellraiser: Inferno

“Hellraiser: Inferno” is a helluva lot better if you don’t think of it as a Hellraiser movie. I’m not sure it was meant to be honestly. You could have swapped the Hellraiser stuff with Candyman or Leprechaun or probably Alf without using very much whiteout, and the story itself is a total departure from every Hellraiser we’ve seen so far.
Craig Sheffer would be playing his second Clive Barker hero here (after Boone from “Nightbreed”) if this were a real Hellraiser movie from Clive Barker, but he’s not, so — anyway, he plays Joseph Thorne, a shady detective with a flair for solving puzzles and playing games. When not being an arsebiscuit to his partner through the unlikely medium of crosswords, he may be found snorting coke, stealing from crime scenes, and cheating on his truly lovely wife with hookers. He’s a flawed protagonist. He’s also the narrator, in another departure from the Hellraiser template, and as faithful as he is to his wife and daughter, probably should pencil him in as an unreliable narrator, too.

Thorne and his partner Tony are called to the super opulent scene of a homicide, and it turns out Thorne knew the victim in school and even bullied him. (Flawed protagonist!) It did not get better for the dead guy, and somewhere along the way, he got himself a hold of the Hellraiser box, and the box got a hold of him, like it do. The true detectives also find a child’s finger encased in a candle at the scene, a particularly chilling little touch that viscerally troubles absentee father Thorne.

Starting with a murder scene and an imperative to hunt down the killer before he finishes murdering the child he sawed that finger off’n, things deescalate quickly when Thorne takes the box along for sexytimes with a hooker. (Flawed protagonist!) He opens it, of course, but strangely, chains do not jet out and get themselves hooked into his face. No! Pinhead, sweetie, did you forget to turn your out-of-office on?
Instead of being shown such sights, he has a dream (or dream-like?) sequence where hotsy-totsy Cenobites try groping him to death, and then a chase, a jump scare, awake, and it’s daylight. Back to work and hunting down that darn killer. Okaaaaaay.

Back at the office, Thorne gets a call from his special friend from the night before, who sounds like she’s about 5 seconds from getting Cenobitified. He rushes back to the no-tell motel, discovers the hooker’s body, along with a child’s finger party favor, and fetches his partner Tony. Thorne then manipulates Tony into helping him clean the crime scene to cover up his involvement, all the while also planting evidence to make Tony a patsy should he get too much conscience and turn on Thorne. (Flawed protagonist!)

Kind of pissed off with each other, but even more desperate to stop the killings than before, Thorne and Tony find themselves on the trail of a mysterious mastermind, known only in breathless criminal whispers as “The Engineer.” I will tell you right now that trail is going to basically involve following chunks of people who know Thorne, along with the occasional child’s finger.

Also, let me tell you about the Engineer. The Engineer is part of the Hellraiser mythos that is never explicitly discussed onscreen up to this point, although he’s familiar to fans, especially fans of the novella. You know that flying snapping thing that chased Kirsty in the first one? That was the Engineer. In lore, he was maybe human once, maybe the one who first opened the gate to hell, but is definitely the one who makes the Cenobites all their fun action features. I suppose taking license with the mythos by making the Engineer the Big Bad is arguable, but to me, it’s one more thing that screams that this movie happened when someone played Hellraiser Mad Libs in someone’s psychological horror spec script.

Craig Sheffer actually does a pretty darn good job with this role. Thorne is a bastard all right, but Sheffer still makes empathy happen and convincingly veers from smarmy self-control to unhinged brutality to utterly beaten and back as the plot demands it. I kind of like that the movie dares to make him such a barely-mitigated dick.

The new Cenobites seem to be purposefully symbolic in their blinded, hypersexualized designs, which is a nice first for the series and unexpectedly deep. There’s also a sort of return of the Chatterer Cenobite, although this one is legless, and somehow that might be creepier.

And then the murders are fairly unflinching and “Criminal Minds” grade disturbing at times, realism that is risky, but interesting, following four movies of nothing but fantastical gore.

I don’t have all good things to say. Honestly, I’m kind of shocked I had that much good to say. For one thing, it drags, often and not in a fun RuPaul way. Also, once the movie starts to invest heavily into the psychological part of its alleged psychological horror, it peels away into a tedious and gory “Groundhog Day.” It tries for profound, but it just gets stuck in a b.s. death spiral, although, I guess, at least the b.s. is internally consistent. Consistent with itself, of course, not Hellraiser or anything from the mind of Clive Barker. Pinhead, the box, and especially the Engineer just do not need to be here, and it makes more sense for everybody if they’re not. But at least Doug Bradley got a paycheck out of it.

roadside attractions

  • Boone! How ya been, Boone?
  • Flawed protagonist!
  • Genuinely creepy new Cenobites
  • Absolutely everybody dying except the guy that deserves to die
  • OK horror movie in there somewhere
  • With special guest star: Pinhead, the Hell Priest
  • What a twist!
totals

8

blood

BLOOD

Grim, realistic horror that’s effective, yet generally no worse than most police procedurals nowadays.

0

blood

BREASTS


Direct to video with minor sexytimes, yet you will have to content yourself with Craig Sheffer nips.

8

beast

BEASTS These are probably the best Cenobites since the original Cenobites. I would also accept them as fine Silent Hill creatures as well. Not enough of ’em though.

6 OVERALL Could have been worse, could have been better, was not a real Hellraiser either way.
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May

Comments Off on I Drink Your Blood

I Drink Your Blood
1970 – X – 83 Minutes – Grindhouse Releasing
Starring Bhaskar, Lynn Lowry, Jadin Wong – Directed by David E. Durston

If there are two problems tearing this country apart, it’s definitely rabies and LSD. And satanic hippie cults. Okay, so three things. And hippies, can’t forget them. But, who is going to inform us about these evils and the destruction they cause, leaving people’s lives in shambles? Who? I’ll tell you who! Director David Durston with his film I Drink Your Blood, although there is no blood drinking, except for the chicken’s at the beginning, but nothing that would imply “yours”. The title was actually thought up by the film’s producer in order to sell it as a double feature, as it played alongside I Eat Your Skin. I guess something like “I Accidentally Drank Rabid Dog’s Blood and Now I Have Rabies” isn’t nearly as catchy.

It’s a film that seemingly takes those things seriously during an era when we weren’t quite informed on what they are nor really had any scientific idea what they were, so it comes off as rather… hysterical. This is only reinforced by how absolutely bonkers things get throughout the movie as hippies and construction workers run amok, all because of tainted meat pies. I always knew that those would somehow be responsible for an outbreak resulting in many deaths. Never trusted a meat pie as far as I could throw it and believe me, I can throw one pretty dang far.

idyb_2A satanic hippie cult, led by the almost Cesar Romero-Joker-esque quality Horace Bones, who call themselves “SADOS (short for Sons and Daughters of Satan),” have to hole up in a Podunk little town with a tiny population to avoid any detection from the fuzz, you dig? You see, one night during the group’s little get together for one of their little rituals, which they do totally butt nekkid, local girl Sylvia is spotted watching the festivity. However, locals aren’t allowed on the scene and she is beaten (to which her new-found friend of the group, Andy, seems a little too casual about this). While trying to leave this little town, their van breaks down and they do the next logical thing, which is buy meat pies from the local bakery run by Mildred, who tells them that most of the town is abandoned and awaiting demolition. Ah, good thing they decided to get some food from the Exposition Bakery! The group decides to whole up in a hotel indefinitely.

Let’s talk about the group for a minute. As I mentioned, the group is led by the Native American Horace Bones. Andy is the sensitive one, who isn’t happy with the group. Then you have Rollo, the angry black man. Shelley is the questionable member, never sure what his intentions are. There is also Sue-Lin, the group’s mystical Asian woman, there is also a promiscuous groovy chick (whose name I forget) and then you have Molly, the overweight woman who is pregnant with Horace’s spawn and the cute mute Carrie, played by an uncredited Lynn Lowry in her screen debut! It’s a diverse group and everyone is here to stereo-typically represent everyone!

Sylvia’s brother Pete, who steals the show with his “gee-golly-educational film” performance, is rather unsettled by them and knows they are up to something… probably because Horace is a cackling madman and the group isn’t exactly subtle, even though the townspeople never really catch on to this. Pete’s grandfather, the veterinarian (don’t worry, this will make sense in a moment), decides to take action against Sylvia’s abusers, but his plan is easily foiled by Horace who just simply takes his shotgun away from him. Good going, pops. The old man is beaten and drugged with LSD and trips serious balls in one of the most laughable scenes to follow.

idyb_3So what is LSD? Well, don’t worry. The film seemingly pauses for a moment and switches over to ‘Educational Film Mode’ and lets Pete be the voice of the audience to ask what is that L.S… whatever you call it stuff and Sylvia explains what it is and the dangers it holds. Trust me when I say it’s going to take you out of the movie for a moment, but it’s going to leave you chuckling. And the best part is, the film hasn’t even kicked into high gear!

That night, a rabid dog is strolling around and making noise, so Pete puts the thing down with his granddad’s double barrel and devises genius plan. It’s so genius, I’m sure there are some twisted, evil kid tendencies with Pete that the film unfortunately doesn’t go into, but his family may want to have him checked out: He sneaks out with his granddad’s veterinary kit and uses a syringe to siphon the dog’s infected blood, injecting them into the meat pies the Sons and Daughters of Satan of been buying. Seriously, out of all the evil revenge plans in every movie ever, is that not one of the best? It’s unclear if Pete’s intentions were to kill them, make them sick or maybe he didn’t know what would happen, but you can definitely say he got more than what he bargained for!

The members of SADOS fall ill that night, sweating and gripping their stomachs in pain, until they start foaming out the mouth and becoming violent, even toward each other. Rollo severs the foot off another member with an axe and runs off, chasing the groovy chick after being thwarted by Horace and his sword, Molly and Carrie bolt and Andy heads off to hide at Sylvia’s since he was the only one who didn’t eat the meat pies. He takes shelter there and along with her, and no worries, Pete is there too to get in the way and do whatever it is that Pete does. Whatever is though is sure to make you laugh.

idyb_4Having a group of rabid, Satan worshiping hippies is bad enough to unleash on an unsuspecting town, but the groovy chick offers herself to all of the construction workers (yes… ALL twenty or thirty of them) in order to feel protected, but unbeknownst to her, she infects all of them! Every rabies infected psychopath sets their eyes on Sylvia, Pete, Mildred, Andy and even grandpa and the most bat-sh#t crazy finale ensues, accompanied by some outstanding, hectic psycho music to play along to enhance the chaos. The survivors try to defend themselves and survive as the town runs rabid, quite literally, and all kinds of violence ensues including an epic sword fight, a decapitation and plenty of shotgun blasts… and of course a PSA about rabies in the guise of an exploitation film that’s gone completely bonkers.

Now the film does end with an open question, one that will be blindingly obvious, so I recommend checking out the deleted ending that not only ties that loose end up, but also ends the film on a very dark and grim, but fitting, note.

I Drink Your Blood
If you were to ask me what an exploitation film is, I would point you to I Drink Your Blood as the prime example. This is without a doubt my favorite movie of all time. Everything about it is honest, meaning that it comes from a place of love for what it is. The filmmakers clearly loved horror films and wanted to tell an amazing story, no matter how wild or seemingly unreal things got it. It has that certain type of genuine feel to it that all of these movies that homage films of the 70’s and 80’s claim to have. Everything about this film works, right down from the comic-book bright red blood, the idea of a new disease and how little they knew about it at the time, making it more frightening, the groovy score mixed with some good old fashioned 70’s Satanic hippie cult fun, it’s not only educational, but it’s a pure bloody good time.

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • SADOS; Sons and Daughters of Dumb.
  • Hippies! Hippies everywhere!
  • Rat hunt.
  • L.S… whatever you call it stuff.
  • Rabies Pie.
  • Need a “hand” making that sandwich?
  • Andy’s only trying to get a-head.
totals

8

blood

BLOOD

Blood and rabies go together like peanut butter and ladies.

6

blood

BREASTS

Plenty of dirty hippie boobs. And Lynn Lowry’s.

10

beast

BEASTS

Satanic Hippies!? Rabid psychopaths?! Rabid Satanic hippie psychopaths!

8 OVERALL
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May

Comments Off on WolfCop

Welcome back, folks. Know those instances when the stars align and all the good things in the universe let forth a movie to satisfy your most inner B-movie aficionado? Well. Look no further than today’s review! It has everything you could ever want in, not only a horror movie, but a raunchy comedy, a bad superhero flick, and lastly, a gore-fest. Oh, yeah. This movie has all of that, and more! So let’s dive right in.

The movie begins in a backwater port town filled with degenerates and law breakers on almost every conceivable corner. No, really, it’s illustrated often enough. Our main character, whose name is irrelevant, because all you’ll call him is ‘Wolf Cop’, wakes up, hungover and late for work. As a sheriff. The next few minutes are spent with him as we watch his drive to work, passing by several crimes on the way, ranging from assault to public intoxication. The next scene or two establishes something we’ve already figured out: The town sucks, the three person police force sucks, and our main guy is an alcoholic. Yup. I think they hammered that nail home hard enough.

Well, after several scenes of continuing alcohol libation and police work that makes a school crossing guard look like the entire SWAT team, we come to the first plot point of the movie: a murder, most foul! And our less than sober hero was involved. With badly shot flashbacks plaguing him, and a new scar, that seems more decorative than menacing, and a hangover to match it all; we begin another day with our hero. This is the first time anything is actually being let on about the supernatural aspect of this movie. Yeah, I know, this is slow going, but trust me when I say it’s worth it. Behold the second plot point! The town’s drink and shoot event is mysteriously canceled! Oh…no?

All the commotion and ‘who-dun-it’ type questions that keep coming up get our main character to actually do something about it! What’s surprising is that this is supposed to be a horror comedy, but these few minutes of detective work actually feel like a cop movie for just a moment. But, it IS a horror comedy, so shenanigans must be at foot! Wolf Cop begins to feel a little sick, throws up on the hot girl in the movie, goes down stairs to the bathroom, and begins probably the most painful werewolf transformation of all time. Go ahead, ask why it’s so painful. Since you asked so nicely I’ll iterate.

While the rest of the movie is off-kilter, there is one aspect that remains true: The transformation of the wolf by shedding the human skin. Only what makes this particular change so incredibly hard to bear is simple: It starts with a very clear, dynamically framed shot of the main character’s penis, which, after secreting blood, promptly explodes. You read that right. Explodes. It’s like a car crash. It’s horrifying, you wince every time, but you can’t help but watch. My current count is three. Okay, five. After some less than hospitable men follow him down to the bathroom the gratuitous violence finally starts.

Or, rather, we can cut away after some very teasing shots of what the werewolf looks like. Yeah, we don’t get to see it, just yet. More things happen! More characters are introduced! Funny dialogue! No, really, some of the lines are hilarious, most I can’t post here, but all worth a listen. We get to see more cop work and the main guy cope with his new heightened senses, and resisting the want to rip apart a guy kicking a dog. I can sympathize. Human wolf cop goes back to the bathroom where he made a mess, trying to figure out what happened. Yeah, I know.

A couple of scenes later we get to finally meet the wolf. While the design is nothing original, it is used to it’s utmost hilarity. An over sized wolf man stuffed inside a cop uniform two sizes too small. He responds to a robbery in progress and delivers the line that I was hoping to use in this review. Great minds and their thinking, I guess. After that scene and all the laughs that go with it we get some more violence! And I mean violence! But we can’t have a superhero wolfcop without a superhero wolfcop vehicle! Cue the heavy metal car building montage!

We burn down the rural road number 9,230 to drug barn number 2,412 to fight bad guys! And this is where gratuity becomes the norm. In the midst of a raging gunfight set to the backdrop of a burning barn we have limbs torn off, heads severed from shoulders, all sorts of blood spilled in all sorts of ways, and probably my favorite moments of this entire movie: A man with his face ripped off, clean to the skull, running around screaming at the top of his lungs. I don’t feel bad for guffawing at the entire thing, and neither should you.

One of the only problems I had with this movie, in the beginning, was the slow progression of the plot. Yes, folks, there is one. But as the movie goes on the plot points come one after another, and at one point, so many at one point that you just have to throw your hands up and go ‘Okay, sure!’ But, it’s still all highly entertaining. There is some more who-dun-it type stuff, and a lot more drinking, humor, and violence left to go in the movie, as it seems the drink and hunt event wasn’t exactly ‘canceled’, but rather goes through a change of venue. You’ll see.

The last scenes of this beautiful, blood filled, cornucopia begin to creep up on us, and all the oddball antics begin to make sense. But, you know me, folks. No spoilers, here. This movie is a great watch. It has all the stereotypes, all the tropes, and every single bit of over-the-top ridiculousness that makes B-movies wonderful. This gore/comedy/schlock-fest gets two enthusiastic thumbs up from this Deadman. Give it a watch, folks, and thank me later. Thanks for coming, don’t forget the speakers, and, as always, stay tuned!

roadside attractions

  • Breakfast of champions.
  • Fuzzy Handcuffs.
  • Is this band the entire soundtrack?
  • Keep an eye out.
  • This band is the entire soundtrack.
  • Sequel bait much?
totals

10

blood

BLOOD

Buckets upon buckets upon body parts.

7

blood

BREASTS

While not many, they are top shelf.

10

beast

BEASTS

Not a single complaint.

9.3 OVERALL
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May

posted by sikkdays | May 4, 2015 | B-movie Reviews, B-movies, Bad movie, Review by Sikkdays, Sci-Fi

Comments Off on Super Hybrid

Most cars destroy your wallet. This one puts you out of your misery and eats you. If you loved Christine you are going to somewhat enjoy Super Hybrid. That was my thinking as I went into it. Sure, this film is not going to compete with my memory of how much I enjoyed Christine. Yet, it featured some cool cars, had some ambitious special effects and modern pacing to entertain me. Also, shapeshifting cars that run on blood are better for the environment.

One night, stereotypical dudes are walking down the alley after a way cool night of Bud Lights at the sport’s bar where they watched sports because stereotype. They walk by a black Chevy Nova disinterested because bro-versation is needed to build this one-dimensional character stereotype, dude. One turns around and the car is replaced with a red Corvette, unlocked with the keys in it. Surely an insurance scam, “the owner wants us to take it.” They get in, the doors shut and the windows tint but not before we see a bloody hand and face.

Tentacle porn?Other dimensional, alien cars know enough to manipulate people to get inside, but can’t read traffic signs. Thus, it runs through an intersection and gets t-boned in a terrible accident. This sets us up for the rest of the film as the car is impounded in an inner city police garage where a bunch a bunch of people that don’t like each other work third shift. That’s right, third shift because scary things don’t happen when the sun is out.

Our unhappy cast consists of three grease monkeys, a college student, jerk boss, jersey girl, and Tilda the lead. Unfortunately, the writer seems influenced by the outcry that there are not enough strong, female characters. He made the mistake of many Hollywood productions by simply changing the gender of the lead. She is an action hero in the film. Male or female, the Tilda character is not a strong character beyond the will to survive a demon turtle squid from Neptune’s moon Thalassa. I’ll steer clear of getting lost in debate, but actresses and audiences alike want strong characters who are female, not Dr. Steel from R.O.T.O.R. No offense to buff ladies, I’m just saying the lead role in Air Bud is played by a dog, but it’s not a complex, multi-dimensionsional character with flaws. The ShamWow guy could easily play his Air-ness.

Squidmobile takes out one grease monkey who finds the door open and gets too close. I suppose I should mention that once victims are inside, before the windows tint to hide the gore we see some easily rendered tentacles attack folks. After the grease monkey goes missing the others find the car which is not where it is supposed to be. The hood won’t pop and they need to go get a rig to move it. Meanwhile as they look for the missing grease monkey, victim two stumbles onto an attractive car that simply opens its door. This time Tilda has witnessed the act and rolls across the top of the vehicle when it tries to mow her down.

People devouring monster car is a hard sell to her jerk boss and the others. The jerk boss, played by Oded Fehr was the worst. How hard is it to be a curmudgeon? His character is not a nice guy. Yet, he’s just not believable as a jerk boss. If he was trying to be the rough exterior with a soft interior, it didn’t work. Perhaps it was the script, but he took me out of the movie almost every time he spoke.

rules of the roadThe not-so jerk boss & the others go looking for the dead greasers or the supposed car of doom. Instead, they find a seventies wood panel station wagon. Tilda and her nephew college student say the car’s surface feels like the other one! Yet, the last grease monkey and the boss think their crazy. Let’s just pry the hood open with a crowbar and…those aren’t horses! Apparently on Neptune horsepower is measured in slimy tentacle maws. This grocery getter has 405 STM (Slimy tentacle maws) under its hood and it is angry. At this point, I was confused how the alien could perfectly imitate the exterior and interior of a car but not the engine compartment.

After running for their lives and hiding behind a few cars College, the Canadian version of Jeremy & Jason London, tells us that this angry bag of alien meat must be like a squid he read about in school. We learn that the made up latin named squid Parateuthis Inoculatus, can mimic other animals, plants and things to snare prey. Obviously this alien must do the same, but it imitates cars because America? I mean I like cars as much as the next guy but if you’re looking to start a body count maybe disguise yourself as a porn star. Species probably wouldn’t have spawned so many sequels if Natasha Henstridge’s part was played by a Mustang.

Nonetheless, the car continues to prey on them and jerk boss won’t let anyone out of the building because he wants to kill it for a big reward. I thought Space X was about getting a vehicle into outer space not finding one from outer space, but what do I know?

I won’t bore you with all the less than gory details. Car changes appearance, kills someone, they fight back and car changes appearance again. Squidmobile can transform into other cars but we don’t ever see it happen. Is it a Christine movie without the special effects because they can’t afford them? Well, it transforms into many cars which smash into other vehicles. So, they spent the budget on automobiles, I guess.

There’s plenty of killer car films out there and I would recommend you find them because even though it is a hybrid, this film didn’t go the distance. Try one of Barry Goodall’s suggestions like The Car or The Wraith. There’s not many killer car movies that have been remake. In fact the odds aren’t that good.

roadside attractions

  • murdered out Nova
  • sinister station wagon
  • purple people-eater pick up
  • zero car insurance commercials
  • heat vision minus jack
  • shape shifting
  • New Turtle Wax spokesalien
  • tentacle porn
  • Jersey girl
totals

1

blood

BLOOD

Lots of metallic, alien blue blood that every character can touch without consequence. Otherwise, we’re on empty.

2

blood

BREASTS

We are not over sexualizing the main character aside from a wet tank top because strong female character.

4

beast

BEASTS

Sound design and the cars bring our squidy turtle alive.

3 OVERALL
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Apr

Comments Off on Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth

You know, sometimes a horror series just takes three entries to get where it’s going. Jason didn’t play goalie until “Friday the 13th Part III” and Freddy’s comic timing never gelled until “Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors.” So FINALLY, after two movies of being an amoral undead dom invoked by sweaty humans pawing the famous puzzle box, Pinhead’s doin’ it for himself.

The story opens with J.P., a rich jerk, at an art gallery checking out a large baroque pillar smothered in sensual bas-relief carvings – you know, faces and hips and boobs and suchlike. Pinhead’s face and the puzzle box are also floating around in there somewhere, like gluten in your lite beer. If you watched “Hellbound: Hellraiser II,” you may dimly connect this lovely artwork to a cheap prop rising from a blood-soaked mattress in Dr. Channard’s house at the end, complete with, my favorite, a pair of adorable rutting skeleton marionettes on one side. That must have just been hell’s first concept piece.

J.P. is approached by a plausible Kris Kristofferson impersonator/scary drifter, and instead of whipping out his gun, because you know J.P. is the kind of guy that has a Glock tucked in the waistband of his Bugle Boys at all times, he proceeds to negotiate with this guy like he’s the legal owner of something other than the lice in his beard. Mysterious guy tells J.P. the pillar is his and accepts a clutch of bills without counting or caring. Fans of the series so far know where this is going. Although non-English-speaking fans of “Sabado Gigante” probably know where it’s going, too.

We meet our heroine, Joey, who is neither an 8-year-old boy nor a kangaroo. No, Joey is a reporter, or wants to be, and on this particular night, she is fretful because the news desk dispatched her to the hospital emergency room to cover people…um, generically croaking, I guess. And Death must have been still nursing his ankle injury at Peter Griffin’s house, because no one in the city is dying. Poor Joey is super put out by this lack of suffering to report on and convinced the news desk purposefully sent her to cover bupkus. (One might argue a good reporter could turn a totally empty emergency room into a story, Joey.) Despite this being our first glimpse into her character, Joey remains sympathetic, but then this is the same era where it took 9 seasons for audiences to realize the characters in “Seinfeld” were terrible people.

Joey’s cameraman Doc, a sweet Motorhead roadie of a man, is called away to assist another reporter on an actual story. Joey resumes having a sad. But then a man is wheeled in on a gurney covered in chains that summarily electrocute him, and Joey’s night is immediately looking up. She doesn’t have a cameraman and the guy is dead, but he was accompanied by a distraught girl, and Joey is on her like maggots on the guy in the straitjacket in “Hellraiser II.” She doesn’t get much out of the terrified witness though except the location where the guy got chained, a club called The Boiler Room.

As Joey goes after her big story, J.P., the owner of the Boiler Room, discovers a defect in his newest conversation piece where the puzzle box had been. With the help of a critter nested in the hole, J.P. learns how much his new art enjoys soaking up blood. It’s not far from there to find out sacrificing ladies to the pillar is not only a great way to avoid awkwardness after anonymous sex, but it also brings his new bestie Pinhead to life. J.P. cannot imagine a downside.

Joey heads to the Boiler Room and eventually reconnects with the witness, Terri, who just happens also to be J.P.’s off-again girlfriend. Terri crashes at Joey’s pad and gives her the puzzle box, along with a Lifetime Channel’s worth of wronged woman woes. She tells Joey how she never dreams and it’s clear she never hopes for much either; she expects Joey to exploit her, too. When Joey treats her with kindness and offers to let her stay at her condo even after she’s got her story, Terri’s amazed and grateful. But that won’t stop her getting scared of being abandoned again and running to J.P. when he calls.

Terri might not dream, but Joey sure does, and that’s where Pinhead’s better angel comes in. You see, Joey’s father was killed as a soldier in Vietnam, and we join her in a recurring nightmare where she screams for a Medevac to come to her father’s rescue. Also joining Joey this time is Captain Elliott Spenser, a ghost from a previous generation’s war, but you might recognize him better when his face is scored with nails.

A dream of one war is a dream of all wars, Spenser says, explaining how he reached out to her from the eternal WWII limbo where his soul now hangs its hat. (I hope that doesn’t include the Great Joel Versus Mike Compuserve Flame War of 1996.) Spenser tells Joey how he became Pinhead, was released by a friend – meaning Kirsty, the heroine of the first two movies, but I’m pretty darn sure I saw Dr. Channard de-Cenobitify him and cut his throat in “Hellraiser II” – but that his evil was too dang evil to destroy. (That’s the Law of Conservation of Evil established in 1978 by Dr. Sam Loomis.) So Pinhead’s distilled evil got congealed in the pillar of hellstuff that survived the climax of “Hellraiser II” by being made into art, while his better nature went to dream-purgatory-limbo-ville. Sure, you’ve got an authoritative British accent, I’ll buy it. And so will Joey.

The problem is that Captain Spenser can’t do much about Pinhead in the physical world. He needs Joey to bring Pinhead through to the dream plane, where he has power to, erm, do stuff. And you may be thinking – wait. Is Pinhead’s ghost asking Joey to enact reverse Elm Street kid maneuvers against Pinhead? What what what? And a good half and a bad half? Wasn’t that, like, the plot of 10 episodes of “Star Trek”? Yep and yep.
Meanwhile J.P. tries to feed Terri to Pinhead, and that doesn’t work out too well for him. Terri’s weakness for bad men will still be her undoing, although Pinhead is definitely a step up from J.P. So, unbound from the rules of hell and upstairs from a club full of people who have reflexes slowed by drink, Evil!Pinhead begins speechifying and butchering, also raising new, incredibly silly Cenobites from among the dead to help out.

From here it’s blood and Pinhead monologues all the way down. You could argue pretty persuasively on either side of whether “Hellraiser III” was a damning or redemptive moment for the franchise. The director, Anthony Hickox, you may remember as director of such films as “Waxwork,” “Waxwork II: Lost in Time”, and “Warlock II: the Armaggeddon,” and he brings a jewel-toned, distorted-lens panache to the series along with a mordant sense of humor and zeal for extravagant bloodletting. Clive Barker was an executive producer, but the movie doesn’t feel Clive Barker-y anymore. It’s less serious for sure, but also less fantastic; and while it looks better, or more expensive, (hat tip to Hickox on that, it wasn’t) it’s less beautiful somehow. But it is fun, and while the plot bursts into dust at the lightest scrutiny like so much Dracula in sunshine, you could also say that about “Hellraiser II.”

Fun fact: I’m originally from the Piedmont-Triad area of North Carolina, the same general area that gave you Andy Griffith and NASCAR, sorry, and surprisingly, it also gave you “Hellraiser III.” They filmed it largely in Winston-Salem and High Point, and though the movie desperately tries to convey it’s in New York or a similar metropolis, it’s so not. There are no skyscrapers, no public transport, no crowded streets – hell, no city, at least as TV defines it. There’s some urban sprawl and ornamental trees resplendent in magnificent fall color, I guess. They used a bunch of locals, so you can play “spot the Southerner,” but most conspicuously they had a local anchorman at the time, Rick Amme from WXII, as the TV reporter for the Boiler Room slaughter coverage, and you may notice, Rick has a pretty hick accent as TV anchormen go. So there’s an esoteric drinking game for you.

roadside attractions

  • Piercing fetishes, check
  • Chains with hooks, check
  • One skinless corpse, check
  • Extreme Cenobite makeovers, check
  • New, yet by now extremely dated Cenobites
  • Pinheads Gone Wild
  • Mild sexytimes footage
  • Small Southern cities impersonating big Northern cities
totals

10

blood

BLOOD

It is a Hellraiser; there will be blood.

.5

blood

BREASTS


Boobs are almost shown several times, but the nudity remains basic-cable-before-10:00-appropriate.

7

beast

BEASTS Pretty weak field for a Hellraiser with only the new Cenobites and no other monsters.

8 OVERALL Enjoyable and less confused than “Hellraiser II” was by the end, and it’s fun to watch Pinhead finally cut loose.
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Watch the trailer to “Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth”

trailers

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About the Highway

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