I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma. ~ Eartha Kitt
Published February 26th 2021
Where do the bad folks go when they die?
It is nine years after the events of Hell House II: The Abaddon Hotel. An eccentric millionaire named Russell Wynn plans to reopen the hotel to stage a play called Insomnia, based on the story of Faust. Predictably, opening night does not go smoothly.
Jordan Kaplan as Max, one of the cast of Russell's theatre production.
Hell House III is the final film in the trilogy, and it does a pretty good job of tying everything up. I liked it more than the second film because the writers seem to have put a bit more effort into making the viewer actually care about some of the characters, and the cast have the acting chops to pull it off.
I particularly liked the journalist, Vanessa (Elizabeth Vermilyea), who is understandably reluctant to be involved in a project centered on the Abaddon Hotel, where the previous host of her show, Morning Mysteries, died. She also says some of the obvious things that as a viewer I wanted to shout at the screen, like "you'd think the town would just stop holding events here". Gabriel Chytry has an interesting vibe going on as the eccentric millionaire Russell. Some of the minor characters are also good value, like the crew member who comments that "this is the least enjoyable show I've worked on, and I've done children's theatre in Alabama!"
Bits of the plot annoyed me, such as the fact that even though it's been almost a decade and there are new owners, still nobody has gotten rid of the props from the original Hell House show. If I owned that hotel (assuming I'd made the baffling decision not to immediately just burn the entire building to the ground), taking those evil clown mannequins out and chucking them on a bonfire would be the first thing I'd do. On the other hand, at least the characters in this film were behaving a little more sensibly than the ones in the first two. For example, they at least have the sense not to sleep in the hotel (although one of them does visit the basement on a drunken dare to kiss one of the evil clowns).
Russell with the crew. I have a theory that the actor on the left was cast because she looks like she belongs in a Renaissance painting.
The ending is odd but made a pleasant change from just some more of what we'd seen in the first two movies. Russell's last supper of bread rolls and wine with the crew the night before the show opens is a nice touch. We even get some closure regarding what happened to the characters from the first film.
Hell House III: Lake of Fire is a surprisingly good conclusion to the trilogy, worthwhile watching if you saw the first two movies.