aka: Hellraiser 2
Director: Tony Randel
Starring: Clare Higgins, Ashley Laurence, Kenneth Cranham, Imogen Boorman, Sean Chapman
It will tear your soul apart… again
Kirsty Cotton survives her worst nightmare, but also lost her father and stepmother after the atrocious events that happened in their house after the gateway to hell was opened. Of course nobody believes Kirsty when she tells the story of what happened and she is quickly admitted to a hospital where she is put under the care of Dr. Phillip Channard.
Kirsty is still haunted by the entities from hell and when she gets a bloody message that she believe is from her father, asking for her help from hell, she desperately tries to find a way to save him from the eternal torment of the cenobites.
After the huge success of Hellraiser, it was only a matter of time before a sequel was put into production and only a year after the release of the first film Hellbound was ready to disturb horror fans worldwide. Most of the crew involved with the first film came back for the second film, except a few changes like Tony Randel directing the film instead of Clive Barker who rather stayed on as a producer instead.
The film kept the dark tone from the first one, but the Hellraiser world was expanded and the audience was brought directly into hell and the home of the cenobites. The story is a bit more choppy this time around though and although Ashley Laurence is still likeable as Kirsty, there’s not much effort put into the characters in this film. Instead there is a bigger focus on delivering a nightmare of a movie, filled with gruesome and bloody scenes. The effort to deliver a more visual experience is alright with me, but there is some really dated effects in this one and it’s obvious that they where going way beyond what their budget was letting them do.
That does set this film apart from the rest of the series though, since no other Hellraiser film attempts to deliver as much visual effects as this one does. With some tighter work by director Tony Randel, who would go on to do a few good 90’s horror films such as Children of the Night, Ticks and Amityville 1992: It’s About Time, the story would perhaps not become so lost between all the grizzly gore and nightmarish visuals. At the same time, the world we are presented is unique and something we probably will never get to revisit in cinema again.
While Laurence makes a great heroine as Kirsty, we are introduced to a new bad guy in Hellbound. He is not as interesting as the original cenobites and I would rather see Pinhead and his company create all the havoc and destruction instead. The filmmakers did recognize that Pinhead struck a chord with the audience in the first one, so they give us a little peek of his backstory in this even though it doesn’t serve the story here that much.
Even though it seems a bit rushed at times and the story could have used some more work, Hellbound does deliver a nightmarish visual treat that are worth checking out. It is strangely enough the only sequel in the Hellraiser series that actually feels like it belongs together with the first film and despite its flaws, it is a hell of a fun ride.