Metal & Movies Mash-Up: Motorhead and Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth

There are many things in this weird and wonderful world that go together perfectly; mac and cheese, bacon and eggs, beer and curry, Pegg and Frost, Han Solo and Chewbacca, Affleck and Lopez. OK, there are some things that go well together. However, there are two popular worlds that are a huge part of this particular writer’s life, that get on together like a house on fire; rock music and horror movies. Both genres embody everything that’s good about their respective industries and over time there have been many collaborations between the two worlds. Various rockers have lent either their musical, or acting, talents to the movie world and horror in particular, including the likes of Ozzy Osbourne, Henry Rollins and David Bowie. What we’re going to focus on primarily is a collaboration between one of the most prominent British rock stars of all time, Lemmy Kilmister, whose band Motorhead wrote a track for good ol’ Pinhead and co in Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth, fittingly called “Hellraiser”. So, stop scrolling through those YouTube shorts funny cat videos, and get ready to be transported to a time when rock stars drank hard, partied harder, and took on the similarly badass Cenobites, here on JoBlo Horror Originals!

Rock music and the world of heavy metal may be a polarising musical genre for some, but if you ‘get’ the impact the music can have on an individual, it can be a transportative and therapeutic experience. Yup, that’s right, folks, heavy, aggressive music is incredibly good for the soul. What fills my horror and gore loving black heart more than anything is seeing the impact and appreciation the younger generation has for classic rock and metal. I’m often surprised, but elated, when my band cranks out a classic rock tune and we talk with the younglings afterwards about how awesome they think the likes of Iron Maiden, Megadeth and Guns n’ Roses are, to name but a few.

There’s one such band who formed in 1975 and released their eponymous debut album, ‘Motorhead’ in 1977, who not only tore a new hole in the rock industry, but whose legacy lives on through their music and alternative endeavours. Motörhead is undoubtedly one of the most influential and enduring bands in the history of rock music. Known for their relentless energy, gritty sound, and rebellious attitude, they became synonymous with the genre of heavy metal and earned a dedicated following worldwide. I was fortunate to meet their legendary, and sadly late, lead singer Lemmy on a trip to Barcelona a while back, and his friendly, warm persona was in stark contrast to the gravelly voiced dude who prowled around the stage. He even got the friends I was with a couple of VIP passes to their show that evening.

With over twenty studio albums, it’s hard to separate their back catalogue down to the ones I love, and the ones I’m not so keen on, as every album has its merits. Top of the list has to be Ace of Spades, with its legendary title track, plus some standout tracks like “Fast and Loose”, “The Hammer” and “(We Are) The Road Crew”. I also love the spaghetti western themed album cover, with Lemmy and co resplendent in their leather and cowboy hats. Other favourites have to be 1979’s Overkill, Orgasmatron from 1986, “Bastards” from 1993 and “Bomber” from 1979. Like I said earlier, I like all of their albums, but I guess if I was choosing my least favourite, I’d probably point my cranked up Rickenbacker at the likes of March or Die, which is kind of ironic given that this video is dedicated to one of its songs; “Hellraiser”, but more on that shortly. I probably also listen to Hammered, Snake Bite Love and Kiss of Death a little less frequently than others.

What it all boils down to, though, is that Motorhead gained a huge amount of fame and notoriety during the 80s and 90s, and like many other rock and metal acts, they were soon thrust upon the mainstream media in other, more cinematic, ways. Guns n’ Roses famously lent their standout track from their Use Your Illusion II album, “You Could be Mine” in James Cameron’s groundbreaking sci-fi sequel, Terminator 2: Judgment Day and they also appeared in Clint Eastwood’s 1988 action crime flick The Dead Pool in a funeral scene and also a sequence where Slash fires a harpoon gun through a window. Other notable rock acts that have made their mark on the horror world are Alice Cooper, who recorded songs for Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives and famously played Freddy Krueger’s father in Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare and, of course, White Zombie frontman Rob Zombie, whose music is not only hugely influenced by the horror genre, but who has also gone on to direct some popular, and not so well received, horror movies.

This all leads us to a horror franchise that as soon as the first instalment, Hellraiser, was released in 1987, had firmly established itself in pop culture. Mainly thanks to the devilishly handsome cenobite himself, Pinhead, plus his similarly fetching colleagues of course. The movie spawned many sequels over the years, mainly thanks to its unique world-building and themes of desire, pain and the pursuit of pleasure. Including popular songs and appearances by musical artists was one of the key selling points of movies back in the 80s and 90s, so with the huge popularity of both Hellraiser and Hellbound: Hellraiser II, the production team turned to Motorhead to produce a song that would fit in nicely with the third movie, Hellraiser III: Hell in Earth.

The song “Hellraiser” was initially co-written by the bat-bothering Ozzy Osbourne, with Zakk Wylde and Lemmy Kilmister, and was originally recorded for Ozzy’s 1991 album No More Tears. Lemmy and the other members of Motorhead tweaked some lyrics in the song slightly and re-recorded it for the third entry in the Hellraiser series. Neither version of the song had anything to do with dimension hopping BDSM demons but I guess the opportunity to collaborate with one of the most prominent names in rock was too good to pass up. The song was released in 1992 to promote the band’s tenth studio album and features on the end credits of Hell on Earth.

The opportunity to promote both song and movie meant that a kick-ass, hilarious video could be produced for the movie as a neat tie-in, and included a specially shot appearance from Pinhead himself. The video opens with an ominous warning from Kirsty Cotton, the original heroine from the first Hellraiser movie, which is taken from her cameo in part three. We then see the members of Motorhead, then comprised of Lemmy, guitarists Wurzel and Phil Campbell and drummer Mikkey Dee, play to what looks like a mostly empty venue. Apart from Pinhead and some dodgy looking henchmen. The following few minutes sees one of the band’s roadie’s being abducted by Pinhead and his beastly mates, plus a lovely game of cards between Lemmy and the Hell Priest himself, while the rest of the band watch on. The video ends with Lemmy seemingly putting a spell on Pinhead whose head stretches and morphs in defeat. Or so it seems.

Motorhead Lemmy Ozzy Osbourne

Pinhead actor Doug Bradley looked back on his time shooting the video and reminisced about the card game featuring something synonymous with Motorhead, saying fittingly that, “the card game finished with me getting the ace of spades”. The idea, according to the actor, was that “Lemmy wins the game, but at the price of losing his soul.” The actor also reminisce about how Lemmy would order a decanter full of what he described as ‘amber liquid’ AKA whiskey, naturally, that the British rock legend threw back while filming the scene.

Motorhead actually recorded another song for the movie, aptly called “Hell on Earth”, and while it’s directly inspired by the Hellraiser franchise, it’s a touch pedestrian, and doesn’t rock as much as the movie’s better known and more memorable track, “Hellraiser”. A few years ago, back in 2021 which was, in fact, thirty years after Ozzy’s first effort, both versions of the song were cut together in a special edition ‘30 Anniversary Mix’. The version features vocals by both Lemmy and Ozzy Osbourne and an awesome animated video was created to showcase the song, replete with the rock legends chugging whiskey, playing video games in a seedy bar and laying waste to interdimensional beasties. Directors Mark Szumski and Gina Niespodziani did a great job with the video’s visuals, and it’s a joy to see animated Lemmy take on a huge green winged demon, armed with only his Rickenbacker bass guitar.

Ultimately then, for us fans of both heavy metal and horror movies, the opportunity to look back on collaborations such as Motorhead’s journey to rock out, and play cards with the Cenobites, is a real thrill. Their music has been synonymous with everything that was iconic about the metal genre in the 80s and 90s, and while Lemmy often dabbled within the movie world on various projects, perhaps the most legendary collaboration he had was on Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth.

The rock legend sadly passed away on December 28th, 2015, after a short battle with an aggressive form of cancer, and heart failure. His legacy lives on through Motorhead’s music, and there’s not many characters like him left in the world of heavy metal and rock music. Hopefully we’ll get the opportunity to re-evaluate some other kick-ass rock and horror team-ups here at JoBlo. But, for now, grab yourself a wee dram of whiskey, crank up your Rickenbacker to eleven, and dive back into freakish fun that is Hellraiser: Hell on Earth. Lemmy would appreciate it, I’m sure!

Originally published at https://www.joblo.com/motorhead-hellraiser/

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