Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988)
Back of the box...
“For Kirsty Cotton (Ashley Laurence), the nightmares never end. Still fresh in her fevered memory are her father’s skinned corpse, the evil machinations of her Uncle Frank’s re-animated body, and the unspeakable perversity of the Cenobites. But for Kirsty, the worst is yet to come. From beyond the Outer Darkness, from the darkest regions of her imagination comes Hellbound: Hellraiser II.
Dr. Channard re-opens the channel between dimensions, making an unholy alliance that will once again propel Kirsty into the horrifying world beyond. And for a second time, she must confront the dark desires of the demonic Cenobites and the awesome powers of their master, Leviathan. Lord of Hell’s Labyrinth.
Between this world and the next, between extreme pleasure and excruciating pain, between salvation and utter horror, there is Hellbound: Hellraiser II.”
Director: Tony Randel
Starring: Doug Bradley, Ashley Laurence, Clare Higgins
Watch the Trailer
The film opens by delving into Pinhead’s past where we find Captain Elliot Spencer, the Hell Priest in his human form, opening the puzzle box and being transformed into the Cenobite we all know and love. Greenlit while the first film was still in post production, Hellbound: Hellraiser II was meant to be Pinhead’s final appearance with Julia Cotton continuing on as the villain of the series. The unexpected popularity of Doug Bradley’s Pinhead character led to a changing of gears for the franchise (which we discuss in more detail in our review of the first film) but here we have the Hell Priest once more as he was originally intended.
The story picks up immediately after the first film as Kirsty regains consciousness in a psychiatric hospital while cops are investigating the death of her father and mother-in-law. Naturally, no one believes her story but one of Kirsty’s doctors knows more than he’s letting on and has his own plans for the puzzle box which, of course, go horribly wrong. The Cenobites gain the home field advantage as our characters find themselves in Hell’s M.C. Escher inspired, horror-filled labyrinth.
The amount of blood and gore increased significantly from the first film, despite pressure to edit it down and avoid an X rating. For example, in an interview with Oliver Smith, the man who plays Browning, he talks about slicing his body open with a razor over Julia’s bloody mattress and mentions that in the original scene he also cut his dick off! This obviously didn’t make the final film and while we’re not sure whether the footage still exists, feel free to do that research on your own, we’d honestly rather not know! In addition to blood and gore, Hellbound: Hellraiser II also gives us more time with the Cenobites and introduces a new, more terrifying monster we like to call Dr. Cenobite.
One of Clive Barker’s goals with this film was to explore the humanity of the Interdimensional demons, which is achieved through looking into their pasts and seeing their transition from man to monster. He wanted it to be clear that at their core, they are human beings who had been manipulated by their own desires. They were once like us but in their extreme disenchantment and detachment with the world they sought something more to fill the void. Pinhead illustrates this concept with the line, “It is not hands that summon us, it is desire.” This kind of dialogue distinguishes the Cenobites from other horror villains as it places them in a nebulous position between good and evil which, combined with their grotesque appearance, extreme acts of bodily harm, and troubled pasts, makes them far more interesting. As to be expected from a Hellraiser movie, the visual effects are amazing, creative, disgusting, and disturbing while the dialogue, especially from the Cenobites, is near biblical in its epicness.