* Prices may differ from that shown
Hellbound: Hellraiser II was already sprouting life before Hellraiser had even hit theatres in 1987, such was the excitement of the executives at New World Pictures. The film was set to be released the following year, and the storyline was set to pick up a few hours after the end of the original film.
Clive Barker, who wrote and directed the original film with a measly $1,000,000 budget, was no longer in the driving seat for the sequel and instead executive produced it along with Christopher Figg. The new writer, Peter Atkins, provided the screenplay (which had to undergo a major adjustment when it became clear that Andrew Robinson, who played Larry in the original, had left the project) and Tony Randel was brought in to direct.
~ [ Plot ] ~
Several hours after the events of Hellraiser Kirsty finds herself in a mental institution, undergoing examination for her bizarre tale of demons and magic boxes. Doctor Channard, the head honcho at the institute, shows a special interest in her story and we quickly learn that his interest isn't one of a professional nature. She realises that she must return to Hell in order to seek out her father, murdered in the original film by her stepmother and his brother, and save him from his torment. Another patient at the institute, Tiffany (Imogen Boorman), is a master puzzle solver and the desire to exploit her talents drags her into the nightmarish world of the Cenobites. The story begins to gain momentum as the pair join forces in an attempt to escape from Hell.
~ [ Script ] ~
Perhaps the weakest link the film has is its script. The storyline feels disjointed, uneven and makes little sense. Much of the dialogue betrays the understated, non-clichéd nature of the original film and transforms its characters into something significantly different from what they were, and the new characters introduced follow suit. Almost every line delivered by the Channard Cenobite is a pithy one-liner doctor-based pun which reeks of Hollywood Mature Cheddar, Pinhead now has a sense of humour and Kirsty is now a ridiculously fearless fembot. However, the most irritating and damaging character alteration comes in the form of Julia, who is now (for reasons which I'm still not sure of after a dozen or so viewings) an employee of Hell. Her personality seems to have been lifted directly from a children's fairytale about a wicked aunt, exaggerated beyond belief.
As mentioned, the storyline is incoherent at best. One of the film's opening scenes shows American police officers inspecting the England-based home of the Cotton family; Kirsty is now in possession of reams of back story about the Cenobites and uncle Frank's encounters with them, despite the fact that she knew little or nothing about it during the original film (the sequel begins several hours after the first); Kirsty is in a mental hospital despite her apparent good mental health a few hours earlier and is being interviewed by an American detective, and on it goes.
Fans of the first film were understandably eager to find out more about Pinhead and his crew, and the writer attempts to deliver on this desire, but fails miserably. One absolutely ridiculous scene involves [spoilers >] Kirsty finding a photograph which she somehow understands to be of Pinhead when he was human and shows it to him just before he tears her apart, and this is all it takes to subdue him. Immediately after this, another Cenobite arrives and does battle with the four who make up Pinhead's posse, kills them with ease, and when they die they revert to their human form, one of whom is a child. To characterise all of this as the writer blowing his storyteller's load would be an understatement; far too much ground is covered by this film, much of it happening in one or two short scenes, and none of it is satisfying and little of it makes sense. [< end of spoilers]
To take this film as a sequel to the influential and respected horror film Hellraiser is a painful business. However, if you simply approach the film as a genre film which tries to deliver scares and gore it is somewhat successful. There is plenty here which will give you a fairly good horror movie experience, and for its time its imagery and themes were quite fresh, but don't expect the film, its characters or its storyline to exhibit any kinship with Hellraiser.
~ [ Acting ] ~
William Hope of Aliens fame plays the part of Kyle McRae, a doctor at the mental hospital which houses Kirsty. His performance in Aliens was solid, but for some reason he seems to have suffered a talent haemorrhage when he came to film Hellbound; he comes across as an unconvincing caricature, with a stupidity, naivety and lack of craftsmanship which defies belief. Ashley Laurence, who plays Kirsty, does the best she can with the material that's available to her; she is a fine actress and squeezes every ounce of believability she can out of the inherently unbelievable script. Doug Bradley (Pinhead) likewise does what he can, but his demeanour and "presence" on-screen is so far removed from that of Hellraiser that I'm not sure what he was thinking. It is my hope that the director simply pushed the character too far in an effort to make him grander and more imposing, which is the mistake Clive Barker was consciously trying not to make in the original, and that the actor simply went along with it.
Kenneth Cranham, who plays doctor Channard and runs the Channard mental institute, is a seasoned actor with plenty of credible and impressive work under his belt. His menacing presence on-screen is strangely juxtaposed with the drivel that comes out of his mouth, courtesy of the writer. The same can be said of Clare Higgins, an equally well-travelled actress with a huge back catalogue of respected stage and screen work, including her performance in the original Hellraiser as Julia. The writer and the actress seem to be locked in a bitter battle to see who can humiliate who; the actress brings a gravitas to the screen which highlights the writing's amateurishness, and the writing is attempting to make the actress look like an idiot by having her spit out his hackneyed scribblings.
With the exception of William Hope, whose performance is indefensible even in light of the terrible material he was working with, the acting talent available to the film is diluted and caricatured by lazy writing and inexperienced directing.
~ [ Special Effects ] ~
The special effects in Hellbound are significantly better than those in Hellraiser, but they're still very much of their time. The scenes of violence look more realistic, but somehow manage to carry less weight than those in the original film. Some scenes and effects gags do impress, however; Channard's upgrade to Cenobite status, the skinlessness of the lead character, Browning's self-mutilation and eventual demise, and several other minor moments showcasing the gruesome alteration of flesh.
The long shots of Hell are matt paintings, and they're quite obviously paintings when you watch the film. The orange electrical charges which accompanied the Cenobites in the first film are no longer here, and CGI effects of this nature are significantly more convincing in Hellbound.
Confusingly, with all of the state-of-the-art effects capabilities the film had at its disposal, the SFX team opted to use stop-motion to animate the tentacles of the Channard Cenobite. It looks incredibly out of place amongst the realistic gore and visuals which surround it.
The sequel's larger budget and more experienced team does indeed show through, but 22 years later the film's visuals are in extremis.
~ [ The DVD ] ~
The Anchor Bay special edition DVD, released in 2004, features the unedited film and a plethora of extra features. The transfer is excellent, and the extra features are informative and interesting. The features included are as follows:
* Complete, uncut DVD transfer of Hellbound: Hellraiser II
* Audio commentary with Tony Randel, Ashley Laurence and Peter Atkins
* Audio commentary with Tony Randel and Peter Atkins
* Hellbound: Lost in the Labyrinth featurette
* Under The Skin: Doug Bradley on Hellraiser II
* On-set interviews with Clive Barker, Tony Randel, Clare Higgins, Ashley Laurence, Imogen Boorman and Kenneth Crantham
* Behind the scenes montage
* Four theatrical trailers
* Two TV spots
* Stills gallery
* Script DVD-ROM
If you are buying the film for the first time I highly recommend the Anchor Bay special edition, mainly because no other DVD version of the film contains any extras of significance, but also because every other version of the film available in the UK is censored.
The extra features are genuinely interesting, and I have to admit that I enjoyed watching them (and listening to the commentaries) more than I enjoyed the film.
~ [ Conclusion ] ~
I'm a huge fan of Hellraiser, I quite enjoy many of the sequels, and my scathing review of Hellbound goes against my geeky love of these films. I'm reviewing the film objectively, assuming rightly that the people reading it are probably devoid of my childhood fascination with these grisly images. The film is bad, and there's no getting away from it. Horror films are generally bad, however; just like in music or literature, any project which sets out to tick the boxes of some particular genre is already compromised beyond redemption. If you look at the most well-known horror films of the past several decades you'll see a pattern, in that they're all utterly mediocre and unbelievable. But they're popular all the same. Hellbound falls neatly into line with films of its ilk, and in that respect the film is successful.
In the scheme of things, there really wasn't a requirement for a sequel to Clive Barker's Hellraiser. However, the basic concept of it would allow so, and the concept was one that could be explored well, even if it chose to use other characters from those established in the first movie, providing it kept to the rules of the box and the cenobites. So, when a sequel, starring 2 of the main players from the first movie appeared, surely it would be good, right? Well, storm clouds appeared when it became clear that Barker wasn't doing the script or directing this picture, and his only credits were for the story and as Executive Producer, with Tony Randel and Peter Atkins taking over as director and screenplay author respectively.
The movie picks up pretty much right after the events of the first movie, where the beautiful Kirsty Cotton(Ashley Lawrence) has been sent to the Channard Institute, run by the seedy Dr.Channard(Kenneth Cranham), who harbours an interest in the occult. Kirsty is brought to the institute, for the mentally trouble, due to her constant tales of the cenobites who killed her family.
When Channard catches wind of the fact the mattress her stepmoth Julia(Clare Higgins) died on, he realises this is his chance to see the afterlife, and arranges for it to be delivered to his home. There he tricks an insane patient into repeatedley cutting himself, which reincarnates Julia, who instructs him to open the Lament Configuration puzzle box if he wants to witness the wonders of the Labyrinth.
Kirsty twigs to this, and she, with the help of a nice guy doctor, break into Channards, where she finds a collection of puzzle boxes, and a picture of a man who looks a lot like the Pin-Headed Cenobite she encountered before. Sadly, she is KOed by Julia, and Channard has brought a young girl who has a knack for solving puzzles to solve the configuration and open the door to hell. This girl, Tiffany(Imogen Boorman), is mute, due to witnessing Channard kill her mother, but she solves the puzzle, and the cenobites appear.
Channard is lead by Julia into the Labyrinth, where he becomes a Cenobite, just as Kirsty gets Tiffany and they enter hell on a quest to find Kirsty's dead father, all the while avoiding Pinhead(Doug Bradley) and his gang of Cenobites.
I see no point in trying to talk about the rest of the plot, seeing as it makes laughably little sense to me. Exactly why Channard wants the portal to hell opened is completely unclear. Why Tiffany is wandering about the Labyrinth is also up in the air. How Julia got her role is a mystery, and we won't even talk about the ridiculous element of the return of Frank Cotton for a whole 20 minutes.
The movie really has no direction. You are never aware of exactly what we are watching for. The fact that it isn't even remotely scary really just adds to the movie's problems. The film has a good basic idea, which it somehow manages to turn into a bit of a confusing balls-up that attempts to cover it up by showing a lot of gore. For me it doesn't work, and it's hard to keep my attention on the movie when it at times doesn't even attempt to make sense. The ending starts out looking cool with the two delivery men from the first movie making a cameo, but it quickly degenerates into something so offensive it's stupid. The less said about what happens to the cenobites the better. The Channard Cenobite looks pretty cool, but just turns into an embarrassment who spouts Freddy Krueger style wisecracks all the time. And come to think of it, why does the Chatterer completely change his appearance at one point with no explanation?
I'm sure Barker himself even admits that this film doesn't make sense, and while I concede Randel is good with the imagery of hell, full of catwalks and chasms, his movie isn't good enough to support it. He and Atkins encountered similar problems with their Fist of the North Star movie.
The acting in the movie is generally of a high standard as well. Lawrence is still effective both as an actress and as eye candy, and Higgins once again shines in her villainous role.
Bradley once again plays a fairly minor role, despite taking up the cover, and what he does do he once again steals the show with as the cool,calm,collected and cutting Pinhead.
The Christopher Young score is once again wonderful, and really does do it's best to set up an epic and scary mood to the proceedings, and is one of the few flawless aspects to the movie.
The effects, for 1988, and even in general, are pretty good. It is once again an incredibly gruesome movie, and all of the blood splatter and grotesque effects are all handled very well, and it even incorporates some well executed Stop Motion.
On the whole, Hellbound is a massive advertisement for Style Over Substance. It looks great, has a good cast and a wonderful score, yet it falls down in the story stakes. It really is a shame, I would have loved to have seen the idea of Kirsty searching the afterlife for her father, and running into trouble from Frank, done much better, and even the Channard plot is pretty cool, it's just the fact that they didn't quite work out how to combine the two into any sort of coherent and enjoyable story.
Much as I hate to do this, considering how much I loved the original, I can't give Hellbound any more than 2 stars, and it's not getting a recommended. I realise I have probably rated worse made movies the same and recommended them, but they weren't sequels to classic movies, that had awesome potential that was sent rushing down the pan. I don't recommend Hellbound: Hellraiser 2, to anyone but those who are out to see every Hellraiser(which would probably make you the type of person the Cenobites would want to see, ie you enjoy pain too much), because it simply isn't all that good.
One thing that has to be said in it's favour, is that it does feature one absolute peach of a line, delivered by Pinhead, to Kirsty:
"Your suffering will be legendary, even in hell!"
Finding decent sequels can be a tricky business. Finding good horror sequels is even trickier so when they do come along its something of an event. Having made its mark in 1987, Toney Randel took over the directors chair from Clive Barker for the second outing in the Hellraiser series - Hellbound: Hellraiser II, released in 1989. Having introduced the minions from Hell - the Cenobites - in the first movie, most of the cast was reformed for the second movie in what was to become one of the biggest horror franchises in movie history.
Having survived the ordeal with the Cenobites and the demise of her father, her step-mother and the evil uncle Frank, Kirsty Cotton (Ashley Laurence), finds herself in a psychiatric ward. Dr Channard (Kenneth Cranham) is keen to hear her story and upon discovering that the bloody mattress central to the conclusion of the first movie may hold esoteric secrets, Channard has it delivered to his home where he forces a patient to cut himself, releasing blood into the mattress which, in turn, allows the soul of the malevolent Julia (Clare Higgins), Kirstys step mother (why are all step mothers shown as evil?), to escape the dimension its trapped in and enter the world partially formed. Part and parcel of Channards curiosity is his search for the Lament Configuration, a doorway to another dimension. Seduced by the partially formed Julia, Channard lures more patients back to his house for Julia to feed on, thus reforming again from the semi-skeletal state she is in. Discovering the gruesome cabal, Channards assistant, Dr McRae (William Hope) takes both Kirsty and a young patient called Tiffany (Imogen Boorman) to Channards home in an attempt to find Kirstys father who she believes is held captive in another world, accessible through the secrets of the puzzle box that Channard holds precious. As McRae meets an unfortunate ending at the hands of the now completely rejuvenated Julia, Tiffany is forced to unravel the puzzle box, opening a portal of Hell and allowing Channard and Julia to enter and the Cenobites to seek out new flesh.
Hellraiser II caused some consternation amongst its fan base after its release. Not so much because the movie was bad. Far from it, for a sequel, Hellraiser II was inventive, highly visual and took the viewer to the labyrinthine bowels of Hell and is a testimony to Peter Atkins screenplay. No, it was more the alleged humanisation of the demonic creations - the Cenobites - reprised and recreated for the follow up movie. Theres no doubt that their dialogue is more prevalent although, once again, we get some inspired lines like Pinheads taunting of Kirsty Oh, Kirsty. So eager to play, so reluctant to admit it.. The movie has some rough edges too. Julias reincarnation is not as marked as Franks from the first movie where the impressive under the floorboard to partially fleshed uncle is replaced by a somewhat briefer rejuvenation in the sequel. Once again, the Cenobites appear all too easy to evade for the most part, despite their mystical properties although without this aspect, the story would quickly grind to a halt. Some of the special effects appear cluncky and the stop animation is decidedly inferior when compared to Nick Parks work on land mark creations like Wallace and Gromit but then maybe that was too much to expect for a low budget, British horror flick.
Where the movie succeeds is in its wonderfully imaginative screen inventions once again. Channards conversion from flawed doctor to spawn of Hell is the stuff of nightmares; as is the movies depiction of Hell complete with rotating obelisk along with corridors and morgue-like rooms straight from Dantes Inferno. Tony Randel was a relatively unknown director at the time and his work in Hellraiser II went on to see him write the story for the third movie in the sequence, albeit Hellraiser III heralded the start of a terminal decline in quality. Essentially, the story should have concluded at the end of the second movie. With the original cast largely in tact, acting performances are what you would expect from a horror movie of this magnitude. Ashley Laurence spends most of her time mentally tortured by the whole experience as well as running away a lot, ably backed up by the mute Imogen Boorman playing Tiffany the savant. Sean Chapman is reduced to cameo as evil uncle Frank with a nominal part of the story, locked in one of the vaults of Hell. Archive footage reintroduces both Julia and Larry Cotton from the first movie whilst the skinless Julia is played by Deborah Joel. Apart from the now customary iconic exchanges with Douglas Bradys Pinhead and the rest of the Cenobites, the star of the movie for me is the ponderous Kenneth Cranham as Dr Channard. Convincing as the curious but cruel doctor, his role is central to the movie and whilst he is reduced to a semi-cartoon creation later on, his depiction of the naivety of someone looking for things best kept secret is credible and he does get the best scenes of carnage towards the end of the movie (youll never want to stay in a hospital ward again!) as well as featuring in a particularly memorable scene that will ensure that you never look at straight-jackets in quite the same light.
Hellraiser II was a commendable sequel following on from the seminal original that had etched a line in the horror/fantasy genre sand. With a viable story, imaginative effects and a highly visual screen landscape, the movie is a natural progression in the story even with its minor flaws and rough production edges. With another doom-laden but potent musical score from Christopher Young, Hellraiser II is as gory and graphic as its predecessor and with a strong theme of horror and violence, it lives up to its 18 certificate. Again, this is one for adults only and with a reasonable 97 minute run time, fans of the franchise will be pleased with this one whilst horror/fantasy aficionados will find it a very decent movie to watch. For everyone else, it may tear your soul apart. Eventually.
Thanks for reading
More info at:www.houseofhorrors.com/hellraiser.htm
DVD available at Play.com from £9.99
As some may know from my previous reviews, I'm not a fan of gore movies per se - particularly the new wave of meaningless torture-as-porn embodied by "Hostel" or the "Saw" trilogy. However, there is an exception to every rule and for me that exception is Hellraiser II, a film where the sheer imagination, performances and overall a sucessfull screenplay assisted by the creator of the Cenobites, Clive Barker makes it a great horror film in spite of the gore, not because of it.
The sole survivor of her family from the first film, Kirsty Cotton (Ashley Laurence) is under care of the psychiatrist Doctor Channard (An excellent Kenneth Cranham) in a mental hospital. The good Doctor's curiosity is peaked at hearing Kirsty's pleads to destroy the blood-drenched mattress her bitch-of-a-stepmother (Clare Higgins) died upon and in so doing deny her egress from Hell. He releases a skinless Julia and quickly becomes besotted with her. Unbeknownst to Channard, Julia has other reasons for wanting to bring him into the realm of Leviathan. Togeather they imprison Kirsty and use a child as proxy to open the Lament configuration (the puzzle box). The Cenobites arrive.
Directed by the pretty much unknown before and since Tony Randel, Hellbound goes beyond initial glimpses into the Cenobite reality and plunges us directly into a very fleshy hell, a modern equivalent of Dante's inferno. With any horror movie, the trick is to make the audience care about what happens to the heroes in question. In this film, there are but two and because one of them is a mute it is left to the dynamic between Kirsty and her stepmother to sustain interest. If this was all that there was, Hellbound would have been an abject failure, however this is the point whereby the script reveals its hidden card in the form of the demons known as Cenobites.
Earlier I mentioned imagination, and the Cenobites captured mine as they did many others. Sado-machistic torturers who bear the hallmarks of self-inflicted mutilation, the first film reduced them to little more than inhuman monsters. The sequel manages to do the unimaginable, it manages to make us care about them. Hellbound shows us the people they once were before they became what they are now, and although these are the merest of glances with all but Pinhead, it makes us wonder what happened to them to bring them so low - whether it was the simple act of opening the box or something more sinister or tragic. For me, they join a very restrictive pantheon of memorable monsters, stuck somewhere between Geiger's Alien and the living infection from The Thing.
Pinhead is the leader of a group of four demons, "Theologians of the Order of the Gash". This has less to do with female anatomy and more to do with a "holy" tenant of inflicting pain by means of hooks on chains of which all are priests. Their primary targets are mortals, preferably evil in nature drawn by the a hedonistic desire to experience the summit of pleasure and pain. As the film will show, there are more than one type or one order of Cenobites created under the auspices of Leviathan, lord of Hell and everyone just getting along is certainly not a pre-requisite - more a question of survival of the twisted.
For the record, the Theologians are all bald and dressed in black and red leather:
Pinhead Captain Elliott Spenser, The Angel of Suffering, The Dark Prince of Pain. (Doug Bradley). Appearance: See name.
Sister Nikoletta - (Barbie Wilde). Appearance: Bald, blue skinned, throat held open by wires.
Laslo - Appearance: Bald, Blue-skinned, obese to the point of having no neck, slits for nostrils
The Angel of Suffering - (Nicholas Vince). Appearance: Bald, Blue-skinned, heavily mutilated with eyes sewn shut and chattering teeth.
The acting of this film is'nt great with the exception of Cranham, but it is serviceable. The film scores heavily on imaginative visuals, some of which bear Barker's influence of creating fairytale monstrosities for adults and the ending is satisfying, creating more questions rather than simply being horribly predictable. The film's score comes from Christopher Young, a composer who has now written music for 90 films to say nothing of television though he seems to be coasting here. Hellbound explores the darkest recesses of the human heart and although sometimes contradictory in nature, it is nonetheless believable because as adults we know the horrors that humans are capable of in reality making this dark fantasy far from a leap of faith.
In some parts surpassing the original movie with suprising ease and in others resulting in frustrating plot holes, Hellbound is a film that I would watch again - and that for me is the final measure of its success. It is the best of the series and the last in the series worth watching. The DVD can be bought from a partner of Amazon's for £4.
Clare Higgins .... Julia Cotton
Ashley Laurence .... Kirsty Cotton
Kenneth Cranham .... Dr. Philip Channard/Channard Cenobite
Imogen Boorman .... Tiffany
Sean Chapman .... Frank Cotton
William Hope .... Kyle MacRae
Doug Bradley .... Pinhead/Captain Elliot Spencer
Barbie Wilde .... Female Cenobite
Simon Bamford .... Butterball Cenobite
Nicholas Vince .... Chatterer Cenobite
Oliver Smith .... Browning/Skinless Frank
Angus MacInnes .... Detective Ronson
Deborah Joel .... Skinless Julia
If you don't own a multi-region DVD player or intend to purchase one, then this review will be useless to you. But, if you love the movies as much as i do, then read anyway and see what you're missing. This is a limited edition tin box DVD set of Hellraiser and Hellbound, the sequel. If you've read my review for the first half of this box set, under Hellraiser, you should know how much i love that movie. Now for the second half of the set and indeed the second movie of the series, Hellbound. Again, a brief synopsis, starting straight after the ending of the first one, police find the victims (or what's left of them) of Franks unfortunate victims. Kirsty is put in a mental hospital (she's suffering a supposed loss of memory) with the infamous box to help jog her memory. She is visited by what she believes to be her father, begging her for help. With "Dr" Chanard, in charge of her well being and having an obsession with the whole mythology of the Cenobites, it's not long before he's resurrected Julia, become a Cenobite himself and begun his reign of terror in the hospital. As before, i'll leave it there not wanting to spoil it for anybody who hasn't seen it. Now for the gore hounds amongst you, this was a treat in the UK, though heavily cut. Guess what? This is the FULL UNCUT version!!! The main diferrences are the FULL birth of Pinhead at the beginning, the full self mutilation scene (if you've seen it, you know what i mean) and the full birth of the "Chanard Cenobite", roughly 9 minutes of extra gore judging by the times on my UK video compared to the time of this DVD. If you've got a weak stomach, then this is most DEFINATELY NOT for you. Some do not like the story, in it's full gory, sorry, i mean glory, i consider it to be a worthy sequel. The movie comes, as does the first in the box set, Hellraiser, in digitally remastered THX g
iving perfect picture and sound quality, with the amount of STRONG gore, i leave this to you as to whether this is a good thing or not, personally, i say...OH HELL YEAH!!! Then, there's the choice of full or wide screen. A still gallery, theatrical trailer, audio commentary from director Tony Randel, Ashley (Kirsty) Lawrence, and writer Peter Atkins. Add an exclusive (to this DVD) documentary entitled "Lost In The Labyrinth" and packaged in a gorgeous metal tin, with Pinhead painted on the front and this is a gorehounds, DVD import horror collectors dream (or nightmare).
In the aftermath of the events contained within the first film, Kirsty is sent to a psychiatric hospital. However, the events of the night which destroyed her family are about to catch up with her. Channard, one of the top psychiatrists at the hospital, has become obsessed with the Chinese puzzle box and its links with the Cenobite hell. Resurrecting Julia from the mattress which was the site of her death in order to be his companion and guide to the sights of Hell, he then chooses a young girl from the hospital who suffers from a compulsion to solve puzzles to summon the Cenobites, intending to follow them secretly back into the netherworld. Once again, Kirsty is left to confront the duo of Frank and Julia, whilst also attempting to protect the young girl and to rescue her father from his internment with the Cenobites. For anyone familiar with the first Hellraiser film, this is just the kind of follow up the Doctor ordered. True, it doesn’t contain the amount of originality the first instalment did, but there again what sequel does? And the revelation as to how the Cenobites themselves were actually created is a worthwhile addition to the Hellraiser canon. Where this film excels, however, is in the visuals. Even though the first film was pretty effective, this sequel easily outmatches it in sheer audacity. A larger budget is evident, and the gore flows furiously throughout the entire film, a horror fan’s dream. The visualisation of Hell itself is also a memorable one, and it is actually difficult to say who is the more memorably nasty screen villain, Pinhead or the new Channard Cenobite, since both are incredibly effective; the transition from the old to the new Cenobite order is thus interesting and is brilliantly played by all concerned. Basically, this is what a good sequel should be. It stays faithful to the vision of the first film, and yet still adds something quite valuable to the mythos. It retains the majorit
y of the characters who were so effective before (although the lack of an appearance by Andrew Robinson is somewhat of a disappointment), adds some excellent new ones, and all in all provides 90 minutes of superb horror entertainment. If you’ve seen the first film, then this is well worth a look.
For Kirsty the nightmares never end with her father's skinned corpse and the demonic cenobites still fresh in her memory. Then the doctor re-opens the channel between the dimensions and once again she is propelled into their horrifying world.