Hailing from London, Anthony Hickox started out as a club promoter, but found himself writing and directing his first feature film after arriving in Los Angles in the late 80’s. It is said that Tony met producer Staffan Ahrenberg after crashing into his car. Tony talked Staffan into accepting a script as payment for the damage and Waxwork was born three days later. Eventually, the film found it’s way to a studio and it is now credited as one of the first self referential horror films. Hickox would then go on to make Waxwork II: Lost in Time, Warlock: Armageddon, and Hellraiser 3: Hell on Earth just to name a few.
Hellraiser 3 has a backstory as colorful as Hickox’s entry into the film world. The first in the franchise to be filmed outside of the UK, the first in the franchise to show Pinhead’s human side, the first film to be released under the Dimension Films banner, the first horror film to utilize CGI and the first Hellraiser to not be fully endorsed by Clive Barker, it would seem that Hickox had a lot going against him, but he still turned out a fun, gory film that holds up remarkably well. Imbuing the film with his personal film techniques, Hellraiser 3 is a love it or hate it entry into the franchise, but I find it to be as wonderfully unique as Hickox proves to be in this interview.
1. Hell on Earth is the first Hellraiser film to be shot in America. Did you find this to be an asset to production or did you worry about changing up the overall aesthetic of the film series?
No! I’m a Brit who loves American film making. Thats why I came here! The opportunity to bring Hell to a new audience was a privilege.
2. The Boiler Room and the character of JP are very American in their overt masculinity and, in ways, a hard rock version of Patrick Bateman. Did you have any specific influences for either of these?
I ran night clubs in London. Love that this was set in one. As for Munro. He was Petes alter ego! I just wanted to bring him to life. And live the guy all men really want to be! Sorry! 😂
3. Everything about the movie is very visually indicative of the year that it was made and I love it. Did you do this on purpose?
Nope! Only if I had a time machine!!! Didn’t realize Waxork was dated either! That was just how it was…but saw Waxwork recently! Wtf??? Hellraiser too, but not soooo dated!! We had a memo on the call sheet for all club extras: no fucking mustaches!!!
4. Horror and metal music always seem to go hand in hand and the soundtrack for the film is a wonderful time capsule of 90’s rock and metal. Was this a conscious effort to try to grab the music crowd? Or just a reflection of your own tastes?
Me? I love Elvis and techno punk! But I did feel that Hell needed a metal background. First meeting with Lenny was pretty funny!
5. How closely did you work with screenwriter Peter Atkins?
I love Pete!!! We still work together! In fact Hell was first movie id directed that I hadn’t written. I said I need him on set.
They were like: what the fuck for?! I was: I need to know why he wrote every line if I want change it. And he was there whole time.
Cut to: Barbie
6. There is some mild controversy surrounding the making of Hellraiser 3:Hell on Earth. Namely, that Clive Barker was wary that you would maintain the tone he would prefer for the film. How did you decide to tackle this personal challenge ?
Fuck Clive! He wasn’t involved. Miramax paid him to put his name on. Then he says i ruined his vision? Why wasn’t he there during the shoot??? Would have been amazing. He hated that I suggest ‘God’ or a higher power that balanced pinhead. Told me the whole point of Hellraiser was there is no God. Get that!
But also thought: if Pinhead is the ‘Devil’. Then of course he’s been lying the first two movies!
And America needs to know there’s hope. And whatever Clive or some fans say. Hell3 was no3 in box office opening weekend on only 800 screens and most successful of all the movies.
So fuck Clive! Complain to whoever you worship! We made Pinhead into a star.
Actually. I really liked him. Just read all this pretentious bullshit on why my version was the worst! Hahaha
Ps do you know the camera assistant now DP’s and directs ‘Walking Dead’?!
7. Is it true that Hellraiser 3 is the first horror film to use CGI and did Barker (who was allegedly not sold on the cgi) eventually come around to it’s inclusion in the movie?
Yes! Was so cool to be on the cutting edge.
It was Weinstein s idea after seeing that Micheal Jackson video. Again! Clive had nothing to do with Hell 3 apart from the check!!! Sorry.
8. When Pinhead materializes in the club, it becomes an epic showcase of strange and gruesome deaths. How was this to film? Fun, a nightmare or a little bit of both and how did Zack Galligan get involved?
Waxwork!!! We couldn’t afford the scene in the original shoot. That is why I did blood under door shot. After Weinsteins saw it they said if we give you three more days? What would you shoot? Them brothers are smart. Fixed ending too…
9. New cenobites were introduced in this film. Did you feel a special responsibility to give them the weight and respect that they deserved, but still stay true to your own voice?
They aren’t Cenobites! Shit. Never made that clear! They are Pinhead’s servants after he’s been released from the confines of hell!
10. Hellraiser 3 is, truly, one of my favorite in the series. You took on a beloved franchise, filmed it in a new country, put a new look and feel (love your dual camera show of Pinhead), added some CGI and it was the first film under the Dimension film label. What was your greatest takeaway from the experience?
The fact you just said that…
11. Did anyone keep the Pillar of Souls?
Funny! I just thought that tonight.
But do have the Iron Maiden from Warlock. Try it anytime.
We want to thank Anthony for taking time out to participate in this interview. Anthony will be attending the Popcorn Frights “Hellraiser III: Hell On Earth anniversary screening ” today March 2nd at 9pm at the O Cinema in Wynwood, Miami. Grab tickets here while you can!
We also want to thank Lisa Fremont for her contribution to the site by doing this interview for us. You can follow her on Twitter @lcfremont and also check out her other work for our friends at http://www.haddonfieldhorror.com/