While by no means a despised film, Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth is rarely considered comparable in quality to the first two Hellraiser films. Clive Barker’s initial directorial effort is held up by many as one of the best horror films of all time, and Hellbound: Hellraiser II is often cited as one of the horror sequels that comes closest to matching the original.
That said, what the world ultimately received is not at all what Hellraiser creator Barker wanted to do with a potential third film in the franchise. As revealed by Pinhead portrayer Doug Bradley during a recent interview with the Brainwaves podcast, Barker had a much grander vision for where the series should go with its third installment.
According to Bradley, “Clive had a plan for a third Hellraiser movie which he was working on while we were filming Hellbound that didn’t involve Pinhead at all. It was a story set in Ancient Egypt. The Great Pyramid was the first Lament Configuration that was built to raise the great Pharaoh, who was the first Cenobite.”
Wow. That idea is certainly about as far from what ended up being Hellraiser III as one can imagine. Still, with Barker wanting to not use Pinhead, it’s not hard to imagine why Paramount said no to his planned storyline. Pinhead was a cash cow at the time, and remains a certified icon of the genre. No studio would ever see getting rid of him as worth the risk to the bottom line.
Plus, the Hellraiser movies have never been big budget affairs, and constructing a pyramid that functions like a Lament Configuration would presumably have been prohibitively expensive in reality. Sadly, as awesomely grand as Barker’s above idea sounds, it will presumably remain just that, realized only inside the legendary author’s delightfully twisted creative mind.