Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988)
HELLBOUND: HELLRAISER II
WRITER: Screenplay by Peter Atkins
Based on a story by Clive Barker
DIRECTOR: Tony Randel
STARRING: Clare Higgins as Julia
Ashley Laurence as Kirsty
Kenneth Cranham as Channard
Imogen Boorman as Tiffany
William Hope as Kyle
Doug Bradley as Pinhead
QUICK CUT: Pinhead is back, and this time so is Kirsty! But also, so is Julia! Actually, pretty much everyone is back, except for Kirsty's boyfriend. Following immediately upon events of the first movie, Kirsty continues to deal with the puzzle boxes and Cenobites, as other people try to harness their power. Oh, and also, chains!
Kirsty - She's back for more, and gets to do more. She's confident, and ready to fight Hell. I like that she's never portrayed as weak, although there are moments where she cringes and cowers a little, but that's to be expected when you're in Hell and someone loses their skin.
Kyle - With her first boyfriend out of the picture, literally, Kyle's an attempt at a love interest who works at the hospital she ends up in after the first movie. He's smart, and not naive. He doesn't just jump on board the Hellbeast bandwagon, but he is willing to admit SOMEthing is up. When he sees things for himself, he comes around very quickly.
Tiffany - Another patient at the hospital, with a Tragic Backstory that left her mute and obsessed with solving puzzles. Her character is underdeveloped, they give a few glancing blows to her story, but they never quite give her the time she needs.
Julia - Her time in Hell did not do her any favours. She's just as wicked and conniving as before, but this time with less skin and more murder on her mind.
Dr. Channard - The brains at the Channard Institute, obviously. He's had a long interest in the puzzle boxes and the Cenobites, and has been trying to look into Hell for a long time. Gotta love his tenacity...
Pinhead - The leader of the Cenobites, or at least the group we focus on in the first two movies. He's smart, honest for a hellbeing, and weirdly charismatic for someone in a leather fetish skirt, and pins in his skull.
THE GUTS: Welcome back! That's right, I'm not dead. I mean, that was all just a movie, no one came to silence Jason, er me! The Clones wasn't a *real* conspiracy to control the weather. It's nice and sunny out, ha ha! Hooboy, it's actually hot as hell out there...
So of course I'm not dead, it's not like Carl Swafford cloned me! That would just be downright silly, and not real at all! I am the real Jason Grey! The one and only! Yep! Definitely not a clone
But enough of that nonsense, because I'm me, and let's get into the next movie. Summer is here, so the heat must be brought to us by old friends Pinhead and the Cenobites, so it must be time for Hellbound: Hellraiser 2! A sequel to the original Hellraiser that the original Jason reviewed last year! So let's do this. I have such sequels to show you.
And don't worry, the caps will be normal this time out...
The movie starts off with a pretty hefty recap of the final minutes of the original film, and HOLY POTATOES is this thing bloody and violent!! What the hell did he...I watch last year?! I mean, uh, if you've already seen the first movie, this is all pretty unnecessary, but it certainly sets the tone!
Although since all that it shows you is the freaky final moments of the Cenobites from the first film, it's really a terrible 'recap' and probably leaves you more confused than if you hadn't seen that stuff here. It really is more of "Here's a taste of what you're in for, hope you're ready!"
Once we're through the credits, we watch some WW2 guy messing with the infamous paperweight, opening the box, and the gruesome, painful, scream inducing birth of Pinhead.
But Spikehead McLeatherfetish isn't the only familiar face along for this ride, Kirsty is here too. She's waking up, mere hours after the first movie, continuing right along. She's in the Channard Institute, what with the whole crazy story and house being a blood filled mess of gore and horror and corpses.
Oh, and her boyfriend from the first movie? He didn't come along for the ride, and is quickly brushed aside with a line from the cop who greets Kirsty that they let him go hours ago. AND HE WAS NEVER HEARD FROM AGAIN.
Meanwhile, some cops are going through the old house and finding some human remains, and the bloody mattress Julia was slaughtered on, so they can have whatever evidence they find shipped off to the station.
So it's time to meet the head of the institute, the eponymous, Dr. Channard, and new doctor Kyle, who both go to meet Kirsty now that she's awake. The detective leaves, with Kirsty begging him to destroy the mattress so Julia can't crawl back from the dead. Haha, coming back from the dead, how silly and unlikely.
But before the plot can move forward, Channard is called away to see another patient. So...they set up his having a chat, and then take it away before anything happens. Bah. Anyways, that night, Kirsty wanders around the halls, and sees another girl playing with a puzzle box. Not THE puzzle box, just a regular one.
Doctor Kyle shows up to offer some pills to help Kirsty sleep, but the moment she does, she gets visited by the skinless body of her father scrawling a message on her wall.
Kyle pops in the next day, and Kirsty tells him about her visitor, and he says Channard can help her with these visions, and I love the line she throws back at him, "You got a ticket to hell?" Well, hey, Channard just might, as he makes arrangements to get the bloody mattress shipped to his house.
Channard comes by, and we get a REAL recap of the events of the first movie, complete with some deleted footage. While I appreciate the recap, this movie is scratching dangerously close to being the next Silent Night Deadly Night 2, with all this reused footage.
But on the flipside...man, it is still amazing to watch even a truncated version of Frank's rebirth.
After the recap, we head to Channard's home where he has the mattress, blood and chains and all, just sitting in his study. That's gotta be several levels of unsanitary, but I digress, as Kyle breaks in, since he heard Channard's plans to have the mattress moved there.
Before he can escape, Channard returns with one of his mental patients, and sits him down on the mattress, as Kyle hides behind some handy curtains.
Channard hands the disturbed patient a razor blade so he can get rid of the maggots and stuff he sees crawling all over his skin. And what follows is pretty gruesome, as the guy proceeds to slash up his entire body, providing plenty of fresh blood for the mattress to soak up. It is easily one of the more painful things I've watched.
But finally, Julia's skinless body bursts out, and rather than saving us from more gore, it really just gets worse. We've got the slashed up bloody guy crawling around, and a skinless woman clawing her way back into our world. And it's just as bloody and gory and disturbing as it was in the first movie, if not moreso.
Kyle watches all of this as the two bloody bodies crawl ever closer to his hiding spot, and damn, I gotta say, he doesn't let out a peep. I would've probably lost my shit and screamed bloody murder the instant a body burst out of the mattress.
Later, after he escapes, and Julia calms down some, she wanders around Channard's home, leaving bloody foot and handprints everywhere, and complains about being cold. Well, yes, being skinless will do that to a body.
Channard offers her some clothes and...he probably shouldn't have offered her a white pantsuit, because it's red now!
After that little experiment, Channard wraps her up in gauze, which is a step up to help me not start screaming at the bloody mass of muscles I've been staring at for ten minutes, and she tries on a dress.
Oh, but don't worry, the creepiness continues as Channard makes out with the Invisible Woman, and just ew, no. Anyways, she declares they need skin, and yes, yes you do, please.
Meanwhile, Kyle shows up in Kirsty's hospital room to tell her what he saw, and that he wants to get her out of there, and he now believes her. He kinda has to at this point, doesn't he?
We then jump back to Channard's, where we see Julia kill a woman, and surrounded by seven more hanging bodies, in various stages of mangling and mutilation. So, we needed a few tries to find skin, yes? How did that go? "Oh, this one is too small...this one is a little baggy in the hips..."
Once she finishes killing victim number eight, Channard slices off the bandages, and it is a drastic improvement, but if ever there was a case of 'beauty is only skin deep', it's Julia.
Channard leaves, and our heroes arrive, sneaking back in, and Kyle checks the place out before Kirsty does anything. And he runs right into Julia, asking if the creature is still there, not even realising...
He finds the murder attic, while Kirsty goes through Channard's files, reading up on everything he has about the boxes and the Cenobites.
Julia offers Kyle some comfort, and a little death, as she sucks his face, practically right off. Poor bastard, didn't even survive the first half of the movie.
Kirsty hears her not-quite alive long enough to become boyfriend hit the floor, and investigates, finding herself reunited with her back from Hell, face eating, skin sucking, stepmother. And she gets knocked out.
Meanwhile, Channard returns with his puzzle solving patient, Tiffany, and lets her have a go at the puzzle box, because that can't possibly go horribly wrong.
Now, you would think, someone who has as much research as Channard does on these boxes, and Hell, and Pinhead, and everything, would know that this is a terrible idea. And in fairness, they actually address this when Julia asks if he's sure this is what he wants. And I actually GET "I need to know" as a motivation...but man, it is still a bit of a trip down stupid lane.
Anyways, Tiffany opens the box, and anything glass in the vicinity explodes violently. So, either Hell is coming, or someone just killed a Highlander nearby.
So, Pinhead and his fetish friends show up, and he stops his gash from killing the girl, like they kill everyone who opens the box. He knows it wasn't truly her calling them, but Channard. And yes, I know it makes me a bit of a nerd to know that a group of Cenobites is called a 'gash'.
Channard and Julia wander off into the newly opened hallways, enterting the labrynthine maze of Hell, and they are shortly followed by Tiffany, and once Kirsty wakes up and grabs the puzzle box, she's not far behind, in search of her father. Oh right, that plot point. All right everybody into Hell, the water's boiling!
It's a great, natural progression of the mythology to take the story directly into Hell, and really dig into the locale. Even if it is just a bunch of stone corridors, and the Devil's Carnival, which is where Tiffany wanders through for a brief bit of strange visions.
Speaking of freaky visions, Kirsty wanders into one of her own, filled with bloody photos of her past, before the Cenobites show up to say hello to an old friend.
Kirsty tries to use the box, but oops. We're already in Hell, so they can't be sent back, and they're not happy about Kirsty breaking their deal from the first flick.
But since they're in Hell, they've got time, so let Kirsty have fun exploring the corridors. What is this, Museum of the Dead, all of a sudden? At least no one is running through them shouting for someone else. Still, we're coming up on The Clones level of running here.
While Channard and Julia wander around and see things, Kirsty runs into Tiffany, urging her to figure out the puzzle that is Hell.
The evil pair find their way to a giant replica of the new formation of the box, and Julia says it's Leviathan, her god, the thing that runs the show and...really? They couldn't have made a better Hellgod than a floating hexahedron? Especially if it's supposed to be the thing that creates the Cenobites? Poor design logic, but I blame budgets and time.
Speaking of creating Cenobites, we find out Julia was released so she could gather souls, and she brought Channard to a creation chamber, to become one of Hell's creatures. I hope he likes leather...
And we are given lots of medical horror, gristly fleshy biomechanical monstrosities, and plenty of phallic and sexual imagery, as one expects to find in any good Clive Barker story.
Over in story B, Kirsty finds her house in the maze of Hell, or at least the front door. Inside is a something more akin to a mausoleum, filled with far too many candles than is probably safe, and strange writhing bodies.
Ah yes, and Frank. Uncle Frank is there too. And it turns out it was him that sent the message, to lure Kirsty there because he never got to kill her before.
Kirsty agrees to do whatever her uncle says rather than be hurt, but once he has let her go, she grabs one of the sheets off one of the platforms of the writhing bodies, and tosses it into a candle. The entire place EXPLODES into flames. Just...one sheet, a candle or two, and in an instant, fire EVERYWHERE. I *told* you those candles weren't safe.
The fire consumes Frank's skin, because we haven't seen a mass of blood and tissue without skin in at least 30 minutes. When Julia arrives, Tiffany in hand, the flames go out, and they can have a nice family reunion.
Frank calls over Julia, and before they can have their happy moment, Julia rips out his heart as a bit of revenge for his killing her in the first flick. Frank is having zero luck with the ladies this time out.
As Channard gets released in his stronger, more eviler form, the girls are still wandering the Hellways as a new hall opens up and tries to suck them up.
The girls manage to hang onto the walls, but Julia comes along and gets pulled in, as Kirsty tries to save Tiffany. The young girl grabs Julia, loosening the wraith's grip, and the vortex sucks her right up, leaving only the purloined skin behind.
Somehow, the girls actually find themselves back in the Channard Institute, and find a room full of patients trying to solve puzzle boxes. Which is about when Channardobite shows up, floating in, and with tentacles bursting from his hands, all ready to become any sort of weapon to slice people up.
Honestly, someone must've seen Phantasm, because the multipurpose blades sure do seem familiar.
And I'm pretty sure Channard killed everyone in there, but we only see him butcher one of them, so that's all that gets counted.
Oh, and when Channardobite arrives, the until this moment mute Tifffany finally says a line, and it is the most appropriate, "Oh shit..." at the sight of him. And Kirsty's reaction to her finally speaking with THAT line, is great. Just a single glance that perfect conveys, "Holy shit, she talks."
Kirsty and Tiffany run off while Channard has his murder spree, and run into Pinhead and friends, and they are ready to finally claim what Kirsty has long promised them and managed to avoid thusfar.
She may not have any boxes to use against them, since she dropped the Leviathan shaped one a few times, but she shows Pinhead a photo of his old human identity, and tries to convince him that he hasn't always been into chains and bondage. But he fights against believing he was anything other than 50 Shades of Hell.
Just as she shakes the Cenobites beliefs in themselves, and their power is weakened, Channard shows up to reclaim his other escaped patients.
But Pinhead's gash aren't ready to give them up just yet, curious about their humanity, and Pinhead chains up Channard in a scene reminiscent of the chained up Frank in his Larry suit from #1.
Unfortunately, things don't go as easily with the new Cenobite, and his palm tentacles slice through the chains with ease. And then proceed to cut through Pinhead's gash with just about equal ease.
After wiping out the group, Channard does some reconstructive surgery on Pinhead, making him look like Elliot once more, and slashes the former Cenobite's throat.
I know this moment is hugely controversial amongst fans of the series, but A) it's moot since Pinhead's back in all the future movies, and B) I'm okay with it, since they were weakened by their newly awakened humanity and C) Channard is a fresh Cenobite, newly made, and connected directly to Leviathan through the weird phallic tentacle he floats in on. Plus, the newer model is always more advanced.
While Channard gets all executional on the gash, the girls run back into the labyrinth, so Tiffany can find the hexahedron form of the box, still with Julia's skin.
They grab it and run to the center of the maze to find the lighthouse hellgod and finish things off. But before that plan can go off without a hitch, Channard arrives to try and kill them some more.
Papa Smurf tries to push Tiffany into the Cenobite creation chamber, but Julia shows up and pulls her away. The doctor gets distracted by his lover, and Tiffany scrambles back over to the puzzle box.
As Tiffany puts the box into its more familiar configuration, Channard tries to stop her, but it's too late, and Leviathan is displeased. The hellgod's phallic tentacle rips off the doctor's head, causing Tiffany to stumble back off the ledge in fear.
Fortunately, Julia is there to help the girl up, but as she does, the skin starts to peel off, and she barely gets Tiffany back onto solid ground. Once that's done, Julia peels the rest of the skin off, revealing it was Kirsty, using the fleshsuit as a distraction to sucker Channard.
Which...considering she had to climb inside someone else's skin, kiss a Cenobite, and all kinds of ew, that makes Kirsty probably the biggest and bravest hero ever.
Oh, right, we're still in Hell, and they've fiddled with the box, so things are shutting down quickly. The pair make one last hallway run for the Institute and freedom as Leviathan explodes in a disco light show.
As the pair leave behind the institute, we see a pair of movers packing up Channard's home, and one of them finds the bloodsoaked mattress, still just sitting there.
He foolishly pokes at it and gets grabbed before his buddy can come upstairs, but when he does, he finds a wooden pillar rising out of the blood, adorned with fragments of puzzle boxes, bits of flesh and Pinhead, and the end credits.
Video: Since this is a well known movie, and this is the 20th anniversary edition from Anchor Bay, it's no surprise this looks great. So great that I nearly lost it when I tweaked some images, applied some 'auto colour correction' in Photoshop, and those skinless red bodies became even MORE horrific. But I digress! It looks good. Maybe a LITTLE on the pale side, but that feels about right.
Audio: It had a good mix of effects, and these movies use a lot of atmosphere, so the sounds of Hell, the clanking chains, and the strange noises of people, things, and exploding Hellgods come across well.
Sound Bite: "My father is dead, and he's alone and he's still suffering!" says Kirsty when someone tries to remind her that uh, her dad is *dead* his suffering is over...
Body Count: Remember what I was saying about how surprised I was at The Clones having more bodies than a lot of movies I've reviewed? Yeah, and then there's THIS Hellhole. In fairness, about...ten? A dozen? of these happen off camera, but this series is not shy about dead things.
1 - Just a few minutes in, and Elliot Spencer gets dragged to Hell and turned into Pinhead. I guess that's technically death, but its not fun, either way...
2 - Slashy McRazorblade slashes himself up as a sacrifice to Julia's mattress.
3 through 9 - A bunch of bodies get killed off screen while we're at the institute.
10 - But we get to see the last one as Julia reclaims skin.
11 - Kyle gets his face sucked off by Julia in the attic. Not even halfway through the list of the dead!
12 - Frank gets his heart ripped out, and if you can die in Hell after already being dead, I guess that counts.
13 - Channard kills one of his patients.
14 - Julia is sucked away into Hell.
15 - The Cenobite Deep Throat gets a projectile from Channard in her neck.
16 - Butterball gets speared in the chest by Channard
17 - Channard pins Chatterer to a post.
18 - After doing some reconstructive surgery on Pinhead, Channard *ahem* kills him as well.
19 through 25 - We finally see the results of Channard's massacre.
26 - Channard loses his head.
27 - A poor hapless mover gets sucked into the deathbed.
Best Corpse: SO many to choose from. I *really* liked the death of the Cenobites, since when they die, we see their original human forms, and it's a great way to tease at their stories and old lives. But Channard's head getting ripped off is really great, as is his 'human' death of being transformed.
Blood Type - A+: I am hard pressed to think of a movie with more blood, gore, and GREAT effects all rolled up so perfectly into one story. Sure, there's been more blood, and gore, and effects, in other places, but Hellbound really knocks it all out of the park. And they LOVE to let you linger and get good, long looks at their effects, especially those skinless bodies. It's wonderful and ew and disgusting.
Sex Appeal: Well, if you like naked women with no skin...
Drink Up! Every time Channard makes his warbling laugh/howl of pain.
Video Nasties: As controversial as it is, I went with the death of Pinhead's Purgatory Pals, since it's a good, quick showcase of the effects, and stuff.
Movie Review: Oh, enjoy these days of early Hellraiser movies, folks. This is the height, this is the good stuff. It is almost all downhill from here. I really enjoy this movie. I remember actually seeing this one FIRST, when I was around ten, and because it bounced around, and I didn't see THIS all in order, I was really confused, and then I saw the first one...ahh, good times. But anyways...Hellraiser 2 is a nearly perfect sequel in concept. It picks up *literally* hours after the events, it carries over as many of the original characters as they could get back, and it sounds like they tried, it carries over themes and ideas, and explores them more, while not hitting the repeat button, and inverting things in some ways. Now, since Barker wasn't involved in this one as much, it doesn't have the same flair as he brought to it, but it comes REALLY close. The biggest thing it's lacking, is that a lot of the horror from the first one is psychological and emotional, while the sequel goes full on into the visceral and ickyness. Both approaches are good, and the two play well with each other, as opposed to Alien and Aliens, where the tones are so wildly different. These two movies really could be watched back to back as one large story, and it would totally work. The weakest link is probably Channard himself, being this one man wrecking ball of a force that feels a little too much deus ex..diablo ex machina to destroy the old crew, and with too many powers. He also never really felt comfortable in his Cenobite outfit, looked off, and the design felt a bit derivative of Pinhead, without having Clive around to give it a thumbs up. Also, his warbling noises are laughable, but that's the fault of processing on his voice. But I really liked how much this used and expanded upon the first movie. Still, I'd give this a solid five out of five Leviathans.
Entertainment Value: Blood, gore, horror, really weird stuff, stuff to make your skin crawl right off your body, great music and effects, a story that stands up very well to the original...I really can't complain about much of anything. There's a lot here to love, with some silliness that still manages to be horrific. The *image* of a skinless Julia in a white suit *seems* amusing, but then it gets executed and is just blueeegh. And that describes much of the movie. The aesthetic is either strange or funny in idea, but then comes across as really creepy. I love that sort of juxtaposition. Five out of five pillars of doom.