Hellbound - Hellraiser II (1988)

Okay, whereas the first one was a well plotted, intelligent look at the way some people become bored with their lives and are willing to try any excess to get some excitement, this is a bizarre and exploitative follow-up which discards plot and logic in favour of more blood, excessive violence and even more disturbing imagery.

But when you put it like that, how can it fail to appear on these pages? I won't even try to explain what happens during the film, suffice to say that Uncle Frank apparently didn't die at the end of the first one, and neither did Aunt Julia. It's just a couple of hours after the Cenobites (for that is their name) were vanquished by turning their box back on them, but they're still knocking about. Hell is actually seen properly this time as well, as an enormous maze with a big twisty thing on the top of it, which probably looked quite impressive back in '89 but now looks a bit shite.

Oh yes, and there's a new Cenobite on the block, in the form of that bloke from Shine On Harvey Moon, who has cheese wire pulled across his face and a big drill thing stuck in the top of his head, and then proceeds to lay waste to an entire ward of mental patients with a variety of medical implements which have been grafted into his body. Nice.

What saves the film is its brass balls. It doesn't make sense, it's pretty gross, but it goes all-out to look good and eventually ties up all its own loose ends, whilst being very entertaining at the same time. As has been said about many films before, check in your brain before watching - but not because it's so stupid, because trying to work out what is going on just isn't worth the time and effort.

I believe the censors and their little scissors may have got to this before it was released in the UK, which might explain a certain amount of head scratching on my part. But that doesn't explain why the makers, when faced with the infinite possibilities of DVD, didn't make full use of 'em and bung a few deleted scenes on to try and please us. Oh, well, never mind…

Director: Tony Randel Writer(s): Peter Atkins, Clive Barker (novel The Hellbound Heart)

Cast: Clare Higgins - Julia Cotton, Ashley Laurence - Kirsty Cotton, Kenneth Cranham - Dr. Channard, Imogen Boorman - Tiffany, Sean Chapman - Frank Cotton, William Hope - Kyle MacRae, Doug Bradley - Pinhead/Captain Elliot Spencer, Barbie Wilde - Female Cenobite, Simon Bamford - Butterball Cenobite, Nicholas Vince - Chatterer Cenobite, Oliver Smith - Browning, Angus MacInnes - Ronson, Deborah Joel - 'Skinless' Julia, James Tillitt - Officer Cortez, Bradley Lavelle - Officer Kucich, Edwin Craig - Wheelchair Patient, Ron Travis - Workman 1, Oliver Parker - Workman 2, Catherine Chevalier - Tiffany's Mother


Last updated: February 23, 2010

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