Spooky Isles continues its special day celebrating 25 years since the release of Hellraiser, with its most notable sequel – Hellbound: Hellraiser 2. Review by ANDREW GARVEY
Released just a year after the ground-breaking original, Hellbound is widely regarded as the best of far too many sequels. Produced by Clive Barker and directed by American Tony Randel – who worked, largely uncredited – on the first film, Hellbound quickly recaps a little of the story so far before giving us a frenzied glimpse of an army officer’s painful, gory transformation from puzzle box meddler to the iconic lead Cenobite unofficially known as Pinhead.
Set immediately after the original film, Hellbound sees surviving heroine Kirsty, having perhaps unwisely told the authorities everything she’d seen and experienced, being held at the Channard Institute, a suitably creepy psychiatric hospital. A skinless man soon appears in Kirsty’s room, daubing ‘I am in Hell, help me’ on the tiled wall in his own blood.
Certain this is her dead father Larry and determined to help him, Kirsty explains to the sinister Dr. Channard all about the gruesome fates of Frank, Julia and Larry with the help of yet more clips from the first film, including, quite carelessly, some details her character didn’t and couldn’t actually know. Oops.
Channard, of course already has a very unhealthy fascination with the puzzle box and what it can do. Using a blood-soaked mattress from the house and taking advantage of one of his patient’s terrifying hallucinations, the villainous Channard revives a skinless Julia, suggesting he’s not entirely au fait with the Hippocratic Oath.
Obviously, as Julia, like Frank in the first film, needs more blood to fully regenerate, things are about to become very unpleasant for Channard’s hapless patients, but what is in store Kirsty, helpful young doctor Kyle, Tiffany, a silent young patient obsessed with solving puzzles and Channard himself?
Rehashing and outright repeating many of the same ideas from the first film, Hellbound at least adds to our understanding of the Hellraiser mythos with most of the last half set in an imaginatively realised, quite disturbing Hell.
Unfortunately, Hellbound relies far too much on wacky, ‘cutting edge’ camera trickery, inevitably giving it a more dated look when viewed years later. Indeed, much of it looks like a cheesy heavy metal music video.
It also has a far less coherent plot and a sometimes ill-judged script (we really don’t need the kind of one liners that turned Freddy Krueger into a pantomime bad guy) that leaves many, many questions unanswered.
More fantastical, and certainly imaginative, it’s nothing like as scary as the original. Just weirder. It’s not a bad film, just a slightly disappointing one considering what it followed.
ANDREW GARVEY lives in Staffordshire. He writes (infrequently) about mixed martial arts, professional wrestling, history, horror and folklore. Follow him on Twitter: @AMGarvey Check out more Andrew Garvey articles for the Spooky Isles here.