Coming Soon: Feeders, a short story by P.Meredith
The Backwoods
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Directed by Anthony Hickox

Written by Clive Barker and Peter Atkins

Starring : Terry Farrell, Doug Bradley and Kevin Bernhardt

At the end of Hellbound Pinhead and the puzzle cube become stuck in a block which is bought by a young playboy as sculpture in this film. Pinhead plans to escape by getting the playboy to lure victims into his presence so that he can use their blood. Once free, he seeks to destroy the puzzle cube so he need never return to Hell, but a female reporter is investigating the grisly murders and stands in his way.

Review : Lets be honest, for many fans Hellbound : Hellraiser II was the last good Hellraiser film but I think that Hellraiser III is not as bad as they make out. Is it weaker than the first two films? Yes. Does the big studio and the extra budget detract from the film? Possibly. For me the weakness in this film comes down to the lack of involvement by Clive Barker, who wrote and directed the original and scripted the second. This film merely uses his charcters and in many ways does that pretty badly. The first two films set out clear rules on how the Cenobites were summoned and behaved, but those rules seem to have been ignored, and many of the trademark characteristics of the Cenobites, such as their pale blue skin, have disappeared. Worse still Pinhead has become decidedly more chatty in this film and spends so much time on screen that it detracts from his shock value.

Don't get confused though because despite everything I've said I really like this film. It takes the film into a new genre - more slasher than chiller - and does it quite successfully. The pacing of the film is good, the performances are as good as they ever where and the urban setting makes for a change of scenery. The music score mixes the classic themes into something I'm not quite so fond of, you should never alter theme music once it is attached to a character in my opinion. The budget has afforded them some great special and visual effects which create some excellent set pieces and it even has some new Cenobites.

The real problem for me, and I think many Hellraiser fans, is the shift in the character of Pinhead. For unknown reasons this film tries to make out that Pinhead is not evil, that he is not the ruler of hell and reduces him to little more than an unstoppable killing machine. This seems unforgivable to diehard fans because Pinhead is what made the Hellraiser films different to Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street. Despite that Doug Bradley puts in his usual excellent performance and also appears as Elliot Spencer, the good counter to his evil Pinhead.

What this film tries to do is give Hellraiser fans something different because a franchise needs to evolve to keep the fans interested. Unfortunately this film succeeds in giving us little we haven't seen before but it is still fun and stylish.

In Short : A step down from Hellraiser and Hellbound, but if you enjoyed those films try watching this film again with a different mindset. If you've never seen a Hellraiser film then you can do worse than begin with Hellraiser III.

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