Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988)

Tony Randel directs Clare Higgins, Ashley Laurence and Kenneth Cranham in this direct follow-up to Hellraiser where Kirsty is committed to a mental institute run by a psychiatrist obsessed with resurrecting Julia and witnessing the cenobites himself.

Even more so than the first entry this has a woozy nightmare logic to the story, so that if you miss five minutes you’ll have no idea where the characters are and how things got quite so bad. For a shortish film, with 10 minutes of “Previously on Hellraiser” padding, there are a lot of ideas moshing for attention. The highlights are Claire Higgins’ Julia taking centre stage, being rebirthed via a blood soaked mattress, and our prolonged trip to labyrinths of hell. The cenobites again stay in the background… slightly ineffectually here… at one point they have Kirsty cornered but decide to let her run loose around hell for… well… reasons? Did you come for tight plotting though? Or absolute psychosexual gore carnage! Skin is flayed, and sliced, and worn, and lost! The terror FX are even more convincing here and the budget is clearly grander (even if is still doesn’t fully match the ambition or scale of the Clive Barker approved vision). Like Nightbreed, this feels more like an adult fairy tale, a fantasy adventure, that leans on horror iconography and 18 certificate violence rather than fairies and dragons. A fitting sequel to a genre classic.


Check out my wife Natalie’s Point Horror blog https://cornsyrup.co.uk

We also do a podcast together called The Worst Movies We Own. It is available on Spotify or here https://letterboxd.com/bobbycarroll/list/the-worst-movies-we-own-podcast-ranking-and/

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