Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988)

Directed by Tony Randel and Written by Peter Atkins.

Where as the original Hellraiser started us out with a quiet scene of a man buying a box, Hellbound started out with a bang, showing the end of the first film again while playing epic operatic music… and then we see the beginning of Pinhead. Much like Frank last film it looked like he was after something more than the pleasures of earth could give him.

The story to this film follows almost immediately after the original, with Kirsty being admitted to a mental hospital under the care of Doctor Channard, who secretly lusts for the puzzle box and the Cenobites that are called. While many parts of the plot of this film echo quite closely to the original; Julia coming back instead of Frank and needing more people to consume so she may become whole and Channard being seduced in to it by her, Randel and Atkins made it their own enough that it wasn’t a complete retread. Giving a human villain in the form of Channard meant that they could make a more grounded threat and explore the birth of a Cenobite much further, giving some interesting light to the existing ones. Channard was already twisted, keeping mental patients in the basement of the hospital and searching for the puzzle box, and hell just made him in to what he already was on earth; one of them, a Cenobite. Kirsty’s role again is the same as in the first one; she’s almost like a bystander who is forced to be a hero because the events of the film are so connected to her. The themes of lust (whether for pain or pleasure) are abundant in this film.

While the first film used shadows to shroud the Cenobites in mystery and add to the terror (not knowing what’s really in the shadows), Hellbound went the opposite way. Julia’s lack of flesh is in full view with some spectacular makeup effects that cover her in blood, muscles, and veins. The gore effects are just as much on point, from our first scene with Doctor Channard when he’s prodding the open brain to the corpses of Julia’s victims, the scenes on earth are disgusting, if not nearly as scary as they pulled off in the first movie. The Cenobites are brought back in all their bloody proto-BDSM delight and no detail is left out. Pinhead got a good facelift, the creases in his face even more visible and the nails more real. It feels like there’s a little less perfection to him, a little more of a man who got nails smashed in to his head.

Doug Bradley makes a glorious return as Pinhead and brings even more to the character. He gives him a sort of black humor. He’s not just a monster of the puzzle box, but something that used to be human and still has a but of humor to him. The humor fit well, not Freddy Kruger level but enough to give Pinhead more character. Ashley Laurence again brings a great performance to Kirsty, giving her that bit of innocence but an air of experience as she faces evil that she’s already faced before. Clare Higgins resurrects Julia with nothing but pure evilness and newcomer Kenneth Cranham plays the villain well as both human and Cenobite.

Tony Randel does well in the directors chair, putting his own mark on the series and using light to combat the way Clive Barker used darkness, utilizing bright sets and bright red blood. The soundtrack was very Operatic, giving the movie a feeling of a bigger stage.

While not as groundbreaking or creepy as Cliver Barker’s original, Hellbound manages to make its own name and prove that it’s a worthy sequel. With good performances from the cast and solid gore effects, it’s definitely worth a watch.

So what did you think of Hellbound? How was it compared to the original? Leave a comment and let me know!

I’ll see you next time for Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth!



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