Continuing with what we are currently calling ‘Arrow’ season here at BTG, comes the second of our three part review for Arrow’s frankly stunning ‘Scarlet boxset’.
Whilst I heralded the first movie as a classic, the sequel can be infamous for two reasons, namely an increase in the intensity of gore (if possible) and secondly for the largest number of WTF moments outside of the second exorcist movie!
‘Hellraiser 2: Hellbound’ continues right after the events of the first movie. Kirstie, the girl who banished the Cenobytes has awakened inside a mental asylum. As you would expect she is a little out of it, the police have been alerted to the house within which the first film was set including, and the remains of the massacre putting her pretty much in the frame as suspect one of one. Despite several passionate attempts to make her story believed, the police are having none of it! To make matters worse she is plagued with visions of her father begging for her to release him from hell, oh why won’t anyone believe her?! Actually, rather unfortunately, one person does, a crazed doctor whose been studying the Cenobytes and the puzzle-box for some time. Needless to say Pinhead and friends get a second slice of the pie, and this time Kirstie is lured into their world, their rules, oh, and remember Julia – the frosty bitch from the first film – well she’s back too!
The plot is a bit of a departure from the first movie, and depending on your take you will either think it’s a step forward or back. ‘Hellraiser 2: Hellbound’ is firmly in the realms of the fantasy horror. With wild labyrinth sets dressed by as many hell clichés are you can cram into one studio, plenty of faux red and lighting and some of 1988s best VFX! As I’ve said you are going to either appreciate the change in direction, after all, the first movie pretty much nailed everything a Hellraiser in the real world so I suppose this was pretty much the only way to go; that said, if you liked the grim atmosphere created by the first movie, then you are possibly going to find this all a bit silly! As with many horror sequels the only way to go is forward, to add to the mythology. The plot of this movie has some hits, but far more misses. As I’ve said in the opening paragraphs, there are so many moments in this film which don’t make sense and at times the wafer thin plot meanders around in the realms of ‘what the fuck is going on now’ that it can make for frustrating viewing. Everyone is doing their best, and the Cenobytes look as good as ever, with Doug Bradley continuing to spew some of the best lines in Horror from his nailed mouth. Indeed, as you would expect, some of the movies best plot moments come from the exploration of their origins.
Where this movie does shine is the gore sequences. Whilst the first was very very gory, this one ups the intensity further with some truly nasty sequences which pretty much define this sequel from the rest. The infamous ‘mattress’ emergence of skinless ‘Julia’ being one such standout scene. The gore scenarios in this movie is nothing short of brutal, some very uncomfortable to watch – which oddly is great. I swear on some form of psychological level these Hellraiser movies prove their own content, how can you enjoy watching such suffering? - I’m sure Pinhead would have something to profound in retort! Once again, the effects are amazing and no-gore hound is left wanting come credit roll. Along with the gore sequences there are a number of additional animatronic sequences which add to the insanity factor of the whole thing! Remember that odd guardian demon thing from the first movie? Well that sort of thing. In this we see our curious doctor transformed into Cenobyte-plus, why? God (or Leviathan as its known in this movie) only knows – still he’s got some great lines to emphasis each overly dramatic entrance and with multiple appendage mutations, he’s the single answer to the NHS’s equipment crisis, too bad his specialty is amputation – still no one was left waiting long for treatment…
Overall, ‘Hellraiser 2: Hellbound’ is a swings and roundabouts affair. You will either dig the change in direction, in which case you will consider this a classic along side the first movie, if not, just sit back, take the plot as it comes and enjoy some of the best gore sequences of a decade courtesy of Arrow’s stunning 2K restorations! If you have the Scarlett box, prepare to go ‘Hellbound’ in style.