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Monday, 1 July 2013

Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988).

Hellbound: Hellraiser II is a rarity in the horror genre. It is a sequel that actually improves on the film that came before it. The story is much deeper, the setting more open, and we discover a little more about Pinhead, and where the cenobites reside. The film treats what happened previously with respect, while moving forward and telling it's own dark and macabre tale.

Our heroine from the original Hellraiser, Kirsty, is placed in a mental hospital after recounting the things that happened to her in the first movie. No one seems to take Kirsty seriously, except for Dr. Channard, who is the head administrator and brain surgeon of the hospital, and his assistant Kyle. We find out Dr. Channard is obsessed with unlocking the secrets of the box, and he manages to resurrect Julia from the matress she died on in the original film. Of course, the Cenobites are not pleased, and want their victim back.

Although Hellbound: Hellraiser II does rehash some of the ideas in the first movie, it does expand the viewers knowledge about the universe the characters inhabit, and it even goes as far as to show you some of the origin of Pinhead. The film is gorier, a lot more outlandish and sexier than it's predecessor, and has a much more epic feel, in both story and with what is being shown on screen. We actually get to visit Hell this time (in the original film, it is never mentioned where the Cenobites come from), and it is the combination of matte paintings and beautiful sets that bring Hell to life.

It is such a shame that one thing really takes the wind out of the sails of this film. The Cenobites, who you expect to be supernaturally powered un-killable creatures, come across as incredibly weak near the end of the movie. So weak in fact, that you almost feel sorry for them. Whether this was the writers intention or not is a moot point. It takes a lot of power out of the movie, and after investing your fear into these denizens of Hell, they are easily dispatched, which really is disappointing.

Even though I felt a little let down, Hellbound: Hellraiser II improves on the original on almost all levels. Even though Clive Barker didn't direct this time (this film was directed by Tony Randel), I feel this film is most representative of his work, blending the fantastical and the horrific with great expertise. The FX again are amazing, with stop motion animation blending seamlessly with practical FX, and the gore quota is even higher than the original Hellraiser. The story works well, and as mentioned before, manages to expand on the characters set up in the first movie.

If you haven't yet seen Hellbound: Hellraiser II because the later sequels have put you off, I ask that you give it a go. I am sure you will be suitably impressed  both with the story and the awe inspiring visuals. Never before or since has Hell looked so appealing....

Darkest regards......Dani.


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