Hellbound: Hellraiser II
Now who do you think is the last person on the face of the Earth that incarcerated teenager, Kirsty Cotton (Ashley Laurence), wants to see again? Her dead Dad, Larry (Andrew Robinson)? Who calls out her name from beyond the grave. Or maybe it's her evil dead Uncle, Frank (Sean Chapman)? Who was the trickster that killed her Dad quite recently. Or what about her dead step-mum, Julia (Clare Higgins)? She's the wicked vixen who helped her lover and her husbands brother, Frank, come back from hell, plus was involved with her Dad's demise also.
Funnily enough, the one person who can help us answer this question is Kirsty's very own doctor. No. Not Doctor Kyle (William Hope). Though he is very helpful in putting the piecing together. Instead it's Doctor Philip Channard (Kenneth Cranham). He's the cleaver chap who is quite knowledgeable on the occult affairs associated with Kirty's previous adventure. And in addition to this, he's the nut-job who brings back to life Kirsty's step-mum, Julia, by allowing her to feed on his own patients at the hospital.
Oh! And do you what to know what else Doctor Channard uses his patience's for? Apart from a light snack of course! He uses one in particular; named Tiffany (Imogen Boorman), to open a doorway to Hell like Frank did before her.
Bloody Hell! That's most probably why what next transpires all kicks off when 'the gang' take a stroll down to the land of the damned! As relatives blow - demons know woe - doctors take over the operation - and Leviathan has a slight libation.
Not the end by a long shot.
Now before I review this classic horror sequel, 'Hellbound - Hellraiser II', I want to play a little game with you before hand. Firstly, I want you to read the following filmic facts. And secondly, I want you to figure out what most of these facts have in common. Begin...
(1) The director of this film, Tony Randal, worked with Clive Baker on the first Hellraiser film [click here for review]. Clive was Tony's producer on this sequel. (2) In the script 'Doctor Channard' was called 'Doctor Malahide'. The name 'Channard' derives from the name of the surgeon who successfully completed the first successful heart transplant, Christiaan Barnard. (3) This was supposed to be Pinhead's last appearance within this film franchise, because the Julia character was then going to replace him as its figurehead. The fan's demanded otherwise. (4) The fractured 'horn sound' that Leviathan continually makes is actually the Morse code word for 'God'. (5) The actor who played the Channard Cenobite, Kenneth Cranham, sustained a neck injury whilst filming, and that is why stuntman, Bronco McLoughlin, played his 'make-up-ed' role for the rest of the shoot. (6) The budget of this flick was considerately reduced due to financial restraints posed upon it by the production company, New World Pictures. (7) The Larry Cotton character from the first movie was originally meant to be in this instalment. But the actor who played him, Andrew Robinson, did not want to reprise his role. (8) Kenneth Cranham only accepted to be apart of this movie because his Grandson loved the original so much. (9) Before starring in the Hellraiser films, actress, Ashley Laurence, starred with Martin Landon in the 'Highway to Heaven' television series. (10) Nicholas Vince, who played Chatter, requested that his character have eyes so he could see what he was doing. There was a scene shot which showed this transformation, but it was never inserted for some reason.
OK, so have you figured it out yet? It's quite simple if you think about it. No. It does not have anything to do with the size of Ashley Laurence's tits. Instead, this film is very-very-very associative to its previous chapter.
Simple that, huh?
You see, I found the only draw back to 'Hellbound - Hellraiser II', is that like most of other sequels made in this era, it tried to go over the same ground than it's preceding incarnation did. Please note; I am not trying to imply that it's the same thing. Or that it does not attempt to do something new. It's not that at all. Instead, I am saying that it does dip slightly where the overall narrative is concerned, as well as having a certain jaded quality about it as well.
Here, let me explain what I mean by this in bullet-point-ed fashion: (1) Now all of the actors are very good in this piece, although at times they can come across a bit too mannered for my liking. Honestly, a certain about of levity could have lifted the earnest tone a bit. (2) I am fairly sure that I watched the full version of this flick - 97 minutes - so I am quite confused why the latter half of it appeared quite mumbled and fractured in places. One minute one thing is happening. And the next minute something completely different. Without any explanation given what so ever. For example, in the penultimate scene where Channard confronts Pinhead; firstly Pinhead is de-powered, and the next minute Kirsty and Tiffany run off to do find a dagger whilst Channard is left hanging in the air. Also, why did Kirsty feel the need to wear Julia's skin to save Tiffany? Strange that, huh? (3) As much as the producers gave this film less cash to splash, in my opinion, this movie looked even better than the first. Oh! Except for Channard chattering hands. That did not work for me at all. (4) There's a freshness about this film that I really did warm up to. It was as if it wasn't trying to imitate Clive's vision of 'Hellraiser', but enhance it instead. To me, this aspect gave this piece more scope in style and plot, without diluting the overall concept.
All in all I would call 'Hellbound - Hellraiser II' quite a good film. It's not better than the first. But it is a lot better than some of horror films out and about at the moment. It's scary. It looks good. The tone is solemn. Plus it is well acted by a great cast - particularly Kenneth Cranham, Ashley Laurence, and Clare Higgins. Don't you agree Clive?
THE RATING: A