Movie Review – Hellbound: Hellraiser II

1988 New World Pictures

Two and Half Star
Just like the success of A Nightmare On Elm Street guaranteed a sequel the success of Hellraiser brought about the same. Clive Barker supplied the story and produced Hellbound: Hellraiser II but Tony Randel stepped in to direct (no not the guy who played Felix Unger on the Odd Couple).As Hellbound begins we are witness as a British military officer, sometime in the 1920’s, tries and succeeds in solving the puzzle box also known as the Lament Configuration. This man is Captain Elliot Spencer and as we watch he is brought to hell and brutally transformed into the Cenobite Pinhead. Back to the future we go and we rejoin Kirsty Cotton who has been left at the Channard Institute, a psychiatric hospital, for observation by the police who are investigating the murders at the home of Larry Cotton and Julia. We are also introduced to Tiffany, another patient at the hospital who has not spoken a word in two years and who has an uncanny ability to solve puzzles. Last but not least are Dr. Channard who has a strange interest in obtaining the mattress that Julia died on and Kyle, a young doctor learning the ways of the medical world at the Institute.

Most of the original cast returned for this go round with the notable exception of Andrew Robinson who declined to return as Larry Cotton. His decision not to return caused rewrites in the screenplay that definitely hurt the end product. I read the second draft of the screenplay and I have to say its too bad Larry’s character was written out. He didn’t have a huge part in the movie but his absence definitely makes the story a little jumpy near the end. There is just too much going on and with Larry’s scenes trimmed or altered it all moves a little too quickly and throws the rhythm out of whack. Also it’s clear the budget was not adequate to properly portray the Leviathan and the Channard Cenobite as the screenplay intended. On the whole I think this is a pretty good sequel that comes up a little short in the last half hour or so.

The good:

The death of Captain Elliot and the other Cenobites was very well done. It’s too bad they couldn’t leave well enough alone and let these characters  rest in peace. But of course Pinhead proved to be very popular and another sequel was in the works in no time at all. The secondary Cenobites in the sequels were never as good as the original four.

The last stand of the notorious Cenobite Gang.

Captain Spencer finds his lost humanity.

Awesome music by Christopher Young. He really ratchets up the intensity and improves upon his already good music from the first Hellraiser.

The not so good:

Julia seems to have trouble absorbing the blood of her victims; they still seem juicy when she’s done with them. Frank’s victims were pretty well dried out when he was done with them.

The new female Cenobite looks too dainty and feminine. She’s almost cute.

Nice makeover. Definitely has a softer appearance.

Chatterer just looks wrong with eyes but if they had to change the makeup they could at least have kept the scene in the final cut explaining his change in appearance.

Just plain goofy looking. His head looks like an ass

The Channard Cenobite was just annoying and way too strong. Of course his strength was better explained in the screenplay.

Shut up already.

Excuse me sir but there’s a giant penis attached to your head.

Random thoughts and observations:

Who built Hell and the Leviathan? The Engineer?

Looks like a lot of concrete was used in the construction of Hell.

The walls are very bouncy in hell. I think they could have hidden the fact it wasn’t real stone just a little better.

How can you die in Hell if you’re already dead? Are you even deader?

How long has Julia been dead, a few days? She seems pretty familiar with the layout of Hell for being dead only a short time.

There was a scene in the screenplay showing Tiffany escaping the Institute and running into a hall of mirrors at a circus nearby. It explained a little better why she encountered the demented hall of mirrors in Hell.

I’m so glad they didn’t use the original ending where Julia rises out of the mattress.

A wire is visible pulling the curtain. Why did they even need to pull the curtain?

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