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The movie opens with a something of a highlights reel of the best and grossest scenes from part 1. Continuing immediately from where Hellraiser (1987) ended, we find Kirsty (Ashley Laurence; Hellraiser, Warlock III) in a mental hospital where her account of what happened to her father, uncle Frank and stepmother Julia (Clare Higgins; Being Human) is received as more than a little hard to swallow.
Whereas Hellraiser (1987) delivered credible character reactions to an incredible evil force, Hellbound takes a nosedive into bonkersville in terms of plot believability. I, in no way, mean this as a complaint…I LOVE this movie. But this "movie" is the point in the franchise when we stop using the word "film." Clive Barker’s infernal art and brilliant storytelling are behind us now. It seems that perhaps our new director Tony Randel (Amityville: It's About Time, Fist of the North Star) was trying a little too hard to fill Horror Master Clive Barker's (Nightbreed, Hellraiser) shoes. The gore--which was already heavy, sloppily gross and pleasurably unique in part one--is now turned up to an "11" and the plot elements seem to have shifted from credible to nonsense. Almost every event in the story evidences this mania—not that the horror genre is known for its storytelling. In fact, as bonkers as it is, this story is told more eloquently than most horror (especially in the late 80s).
Now in a mental hospital, the doctor in charge of Kirsty's case just happens to be an amateur expert and collector obsessed with all things occult, especially the Puzzle Box and its history. In other words, coincidence has been pushed to the extreme as Kirsty's caregiver has been waiting for this! After Kirsty warns police to destroy the mattress on which Julia died in part 1 (because Kirsty somehow understands exactly how coming back from Hell works all the sudden), Dr. Channard (Kenneth Cranham; Hot Fuzz) somehow gets the police to deliver this murder case evidence to his private residence with the intentions of summoning Julia. For a blood offering he checks out a deeply disturbed patient from the screaming basement ward of his mental hospital--it's what you'd expect from an 1800's mental hospital…in a horror movie…on steroids…and then more extreme!!! Dr. Channard seems to frequently bring disturbed patients to his home without restriction.
So clearly, this movie has gone to comicbook lengths to bring something crazy to the screen. But you know what? It remains crazy awesome!!! I haven't read Clive Barker's books (on which this is based), but I think we can safely assume that these actions were all much more carefully explained and tactfully justified in his detailed pages. Meanwhile, in Hellraiser movieland, no one seems concerned with the disappearance of several patients.
It may sound like I’m slamming the plot. I’m not. In fact, overall the story itself remains elegantly unique. After all, whatever liberties this director took in making this film, it is still based on Barker’s refined writing.
After Julia's "resurrection," she sexually beguiles Channard--even though she hasn't any skin--to help fully restore her with more victims. He obliges and we get to enjoy a room full of life-drained corpses. But this isn't enough for Channard. He wants to know and see the secrets of the Hell that is The Labyrinth. So he brings a mute patient with a knack for puzzle-solving to open the gate to Hell with the Puzzle Box.
Things get yet crazier as Channard and Julia wander the corridors of Hell. He gets transformed into a Cenobite himself (simply referred to as "the Channard Cenobite") by the God of Hell Leviathan and is for some reason way tougher than Pinhead and his Cenobite gang. He kills loads of people with his stop-motion bladed hand tentacles, so Kirsty gets Pinhead to see his inner child and wears Julia's skin as a suit. A lot of cool stuff is happening, FOR SURE!
Whereas part 1 was entirely based on illustrating one man’s escape from Hell and the temptations required to accomplish the task, this sequel addresses that component just in the first act and then moves on to exploring the Labyrinth and witnessing various personal Hells while being swiftly introduced to how Barker’s Hell works and is ruled. Despite the busy plot of this movie (it does cover a lot), it remains very dark and creepy and, more importantly, the plot makes sense. We can’t say that about a lot of horror. Its gore-pleasing effects are abundant, the story pushes the Hellraiser franchise into a new dimension, and we learn more about the background of the Cenobites and the mythology behind Barker’s Hellish Labyrinth.
This movie is buckets of cool and one of the more interesting horror installments (along with part 1) of its decade.
Gore fans will love this film for the buckets of blood, alone, but there is just a bit more to enjoy.
** WARNING! SPOILER ALERT! **
In Clive Barker's vision of Hell, those who rule it do so a bit differently than we see in most of the cinema -- the "Cenobites" have ethics. Morals. Not the evil cackling and brain-dead chortling of most Hell-ish horror movies -- at least, not as much -- the movie eschews the banality of evil and gives us rulers of Hell who are not just subject to the occasional technicality: they are also subject to moral quandaries.
The subtle intelligence of this premise is easily lost among those buckets of blood I mentioned earlier, but there IS more to this movie than all the blood and guts that first meet the eye.
The film suffers from some seriously unrealistic reactions by characters who find themselves in Hell. Not truly predictable, has both original and interesting ideas, with some entirely predictable segments -- there is plenty hear to make you groan, and also plenty to enjoy. If you're like me, there's even more to make you cover your eyes and duck under the table.
An aurua of grief and loss resides over this film, just observing the wet tear filled eye of Ashley Lawrence's Kirsty as we hear Pinhead say: "the sweet suffering" captures the mood perfectly. Director Tony Randel had just broken up with his transatlantic girlfriend while shooting, so his mood of bittersweet heartbreak permeates the film. Great physical special effects and performances from all. This Anchor Bay release is great value as it includes featurettes and commentaries from the cast and crew.
This and the first Hellbound are the only 2 movies I wanted to own. They were both a type of film (and story) that were unlike any horror trope until that time. The puzzle box, Hell, Pinhead, the daughter, the doctor, the stepmother, the chains and hooks of hell were a new type of story. Some of the effects haven't aged well, but the ideas behind them are still stunning. Pinhead may be the last original horror monster that's come around since Freddy or Myers. He's certainly unique. It spawned so many terrible films, which I find depressing. There's so much material, so much potential; it was all squandered by people who didn't know what to do with it.
This is Arrows 2K remastered release. The film itself is very aged and not the greatest print to begin with. The remastering is nothing stellar, somewhat disappointed, but it's probably going to be the best we'll ever see.
Suite du classique"hellraiser",ce second opus est un trés bon film,qui n'a pas à rougir de son illustre prédécésseur.Reprenant les choses,là ou le premier c'est arrété.Ce second voyage au pays de la douleur et du plaisir,est un agréable divertissement qui plonge le spectateur dans un monde fantastique,ou la logique n'a pas sa place.Vous retrouvez ici,les personnages clefs du film de barker,dont bien-sur le terrible"pinhead",leader des demons,dont on apprend ici un élément capital sur sa véritable identité(vous en saurez plus dans le 3éme film),avant qu'il ne s'amuse avec la fameuse boite.L'atmosphére du film,est moins malsaine,mais le contenus fantastique et trés imaginatif de l'ensemble,fait passer un trés trés bon moment...alors allez-y!!!Prenez un ticket pour l'enfer,et revenez!!!15sur20.
Mein Favorit unter den Horrorklassikern:-) habe damals die ungekürzte Fassung gesehen von daher fielen mir natürl. die paar fehlenden krasseren Szenen auf ,die herausgeschnitten wurden..wer die Geschichte um den geheimnisvollen Würfel und die grausamen Cenobiten aber noch nicht gesehen hat und die ungek. Fassung nicht kennt ,wird wahrsch. trotzdem Gefallen an der Story und der Umsetzung finden..interessanter Horrorkult für nen Dvdabend mit Freunde:-)