31 Fright Nights: Halloween 2017, Night #10 – Hellbound: Hellraiser 2 (1988)

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Director: Tony Randel

Writer(s): Peter Atkins

Studio/Distributor: New World Pictures

Budget: $3m

Box Office: $12.1m

Release Date: 13 March, 1987

IMDb Rating: 6.5/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 48%

UK Blu Ray release? As part of the trilogy

Cast

Clare Higgins – Julia Cotton

Ashley Laurence – Kirsty Cotton

Kenneth Cranham – Dr Philip Channard

Imogen Boorman – Tiffany

Sean Chapman – Uncle Frank Cotton

William Hope – Kyle MacRae

Doug Bradley – Pinhead

Barbie Wilde – Female Cenobite

Simon Bamford – Butterball

Nicholas Vince – Chatterer

Trailer

Plot According to IMDb

Kirsty is brought to an institution after the death of her family, where the occult-obsessive head resurrects Julia and unleashes the Cenobites once again.

Inertia’s Insight

The murderous Rubik’s cube and its fetishistic leather-bound inhabitants return for a sequel that promises more body horror than David Cronenberg at a BDSM conference. Clive Barker takes a backseat, providing story duties only and leaving the film in the hands of sophomore filmmaker Tony Randel to craft a sequel that progresses the world of the Cenobites, retaining the horror but little of the shock that made the first film such a success.

It picks up pretty much where Hellraiser left us – the aftermath of Hell on Earth. There’s a quick recap of events and then we’re transported to the hospital, where Kirsty is stuck looking and sounding like a bit of a lunatic. Understandable really, when you hear her relay the events she has lived through.

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As Kirsty takes a bit of time out courtesy of some good hospital drugs, we’re shown the hospital by way of Dr Channard, the seemingly upper-class gentleman that assess Kirsty. We see a girl who is obsessed with puzzles (handy), and an unsettling and macabre basement that houses the insane. The tension builds as we don’t know when or how the Cenobites are going to reappear.

The film is quite heavy on the recap – we get a snapshot at the start that’s enough, but then it divulges a lengthy recap as Kirsty tells her story. It’s this that piques Dr Channard’s interesting, setting about a chain (literally) of events that brings the Lament Configuration back in play. We quickly see how evil Dr. Channard is, his manipulation of his patient is difficult to watch, but what it brings about is even worse.

The mattress scene is heavy stuff. The graphic self-harming scene is hard enough to stomach, but when the fleshy form emerges from the mattress in a sea of blood and pursues the patient, it leaves you wincing. Once she’s finished devouring him, we learn that it’s Julia that has emerged from the mattress. The bitch is back.

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Thankfully, despite its earlier propensity to try and cram the previous film in by way of recap, Julia’s path to healing happens quickly enough so that time is devoted to the continuation of this story, rather than retelling. That said, her healing is no less gruesome thank Frank’s in Hellraiser. Dried out bodies hang from the ceiling as Julia glows with life, this juxtaposition reinforcing the macabre of this hellish world.

Just as soon as the box is brought in to play with the help of the puzzle loving patient, the Cenobites return with pins intact and nipples suitably pierced. Their entrance is still chilling, and we feel about as much dread as Kirsty does when she sees them again, knowing we’re in for a ride. And some ride it is, as the sequel decides to take us out of our world and into theirs, allowing us to see what we only glimpsed in the first film.

And what a world it is. A maze of corridors leading to rooms that offer the blurred line between pleasure and pain, with a whole assortment of creatures that would have H.R. Giger frothing at the nips. It’s a twisted world where perceptions are flipped. It appears that Dr Channard gets his comeuppance, but just as soon as he’s taken away for a world of pain and Julia rules like Queen Bitch, he returns renewed, a phallic villain that attempts to overthrow the Cenobites and reign as the new King of Hell.

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But then it takes an odd turn. The Cenobites seem to take a back seat for most of the film, then when the final showdown happens, Pinhead all of a sudden has a heart. Kirsty attempts to reason with them (again) in order for them to continue to reign, but this seems to backfire as we see the people behind the leather when they are supposedly killed by the doc. It just seems odd to give Pinhead, the man who promises to tear your soul apart, turning into someone that would sew it back up for you again.

And so you kind of feel Barker missing in the final act. The filmmakers take us into hell but they don’t quite know how to bring us back, and this that leaves a bit of a bitter taste in your mouth, as though there was more to give but you just never got it.

Inertia’s Ideal Score ( out of 5)

★★★

Trivia

  • Andrew Robinson refused to reprise his role as Larry Cotton
  • The horn sound that is continually made by Leviathan is Morse Code for GOD
  • An in-depth subplot detailing the origins of Pinhead was scripted but deleted in pre-production due to last minute budget cuts. Much of this became Hellraiser III.

Quotes

PINHEAD: Your suffering will be legendary, even in Hell!


Tomorrow: Night #11 – Saw II (2005)

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