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Case Number 01488

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Hellbound: Hellraiser II

Anchor Bay // 1988 // 99 Minutes // Unrated
Reviewed by Judge Kevin Lee (Retired) // October 31st, 2001

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All Rise...

Editor's Note

Our reviews of Hellbound: Hellraiser II: 20th Anniversary Edition (published January 12th, 2009) and Hellraiser: Lament Configuration Box Set (published April 17th, 2009) are also available.

The Charge

It will tear your soul apart…again!

Opening Statement

Blood. Lots of blood. Buckets and buckets o' blood. People bleed from cuts. People bleed because they have no skin. On top of all the blood, we also get to see what would happen to someone when they get torn apart by hooks. A man hallucinating that maggots are crawling out of his skin slices up his arms, chest and genitals. By the time I finished watching Hellbound: Hellraiser II I was bleeding from the eyes.

Facts of the Case

In 1978, John Carpenter launched a new trend in horror films with his vision of the slasher film, Halloween, and creepy mass murderer Michael Myers. Yeah, movies like Psycho predate Halloween, but a trend of recurring horror villains was started here. Movies were produced that featured characters like Jason, Freddy Krueger, Pumpkinhead, Chucky, Carrot Top, and Jim Carrey. In 1987, overrated horror mastermind Clive Barker entered this increasingly stale genre and inflicted Hellraiser upon the world. It was placed in theaters where in stayed for about 45 minutes and then disappeared…and mind you, the film was 94 minutes long. We hoped that maybe that was the last time we'd see Pinhead, a minor character in charge of the Cenobites and his own little corner of Hell. (As a side note, wouldn't "Pinhead and the Cenobites" be a good name for a band?)

Instead of just calling it a day, someone had to bring the Cenobites back to the big screen and pick up right where the first movie left off. To be honest, I've never seen Hellraiser (though I'm familiar with Clive Barker's work, as well as that of his brother, Bob) and after viewing the sequel, I would guess I have no intention to. On top of that, there would appear to be about 136 more sequels to Hellraiser, some of which can still be seen today.

The Evidence

Hellraiser II opens with a man working on a puzzle box that happens to be a key to Hell. I really don't know how many times this needs to be said, but Rule #1 is you should never tamper with keys to Hell. Bad things will happen, and we soon realize the truth as he's dragged into Hell and watches someone get ripped apart by hooks. After that, he's bound by the hooks, a knife carves his scalp into sections, and nails are pounded into his skull. Pinhead is born.

After this, we see an all-too-brief recap of the first film featuring clips that last roughly .25 seconds each and depict people yelling "Nnoooo!" ensuring that you will have absolutely no clue as to what you just saw or what the current movie is about. This will be helpful later on.

Kirsty (Ashley Laurence) wakes up in a mental institution with a police detective at her bedside, asking about the night before (depicted in the first movie). Her father's dead, and a mattress with lots of blood on it is the only remaining evidence. Kirsty warns that this mattress needs to be destroyed because it can be used to bring her skinless Aunt Julia (Clare Higgins) back to life. Rule #2 is that you should always destroy artifacts that can raise the dead. This rule is promptly ignored by Doctor Cannard, who uses the mattress to bring Julia back to life in one of the most grotesque scenes ever put on film.

Rule #3 of horror movies simply states that if you have no skin, you should not wear white clothes. Julia ignores this fashion tip, much to my chagrin.

A few other pieces begin to come together. Kirsty has a vision of her father, who seems to be trapped in Hell, and the girl in the room across the hall, Tiffany (Imogen Boorman), is rather adept at putting puzzles together. Kirsty realizes she needs to go to Hell to rescue her father, which is helped by the fact the Cannard wants to open the door to Hell with Julia's help.

Once this is accomplished, we discover Hell is basically one big Escher drawing after another, and I will begrudgingly admit that the design of the matte paintings used to depict Hell was rather nifty. Cannard gets turned into a new Cenobite of some sort, Pinhead remembers his humanity, and lots and lots of blood is spilled and Hellbound: Hellraiser II degenerates into a massive incomprehensible mess.

The movie is a bit of a turkey to the point that I'm really at a loss to describe it. If you're looking for gore, gruesome make-up effects and cheesy special effects, this is your Holy Grail.

Anchor Bay has once again done a great job of bringing a horror movie to DVD. The video, overall, is a little shaky with some problems with graininess, though the blood comes through with solid red colors. The audio carries THX certification and is rather impressive. All sound channels are used effectively throughout, and scenes where flying hooks are impaling people are of special note. The special features on this DVD are really for fans only. The commentary is informative, with plenty of information on where the film was cut for an "R" rating (the uncut version is featured on the DVD) and on the various puzzle boxes that they used. Overall, though, I can't really say I was all too impressed with the features, but this could be that I've become horribly jaded from other DVD presentations.

The Rebuttal Witnesses

What is the big deal with Pinhead? The character has achieved some sort of bizarre cult status after appearing briefly (or so I'm told) in Hellraiser and then not really doing a whole lot in Hellbound: Hellraiser II. I just don't understand these things.

Did I also mention there was a lot of blood in this movie?

Closing Statement

If you need a good night blood and guts, this is the most fabulous movie ever. Otherwise, Hellbound is nothing more than a discombobulated mass of confusion and an overall terrible movie. I could also recommend not watching this movie while eating.

The Verdict

If I knew what to charge this movie with, I'm sure the verdict would be guilty.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 80
Audio: 95
Extras: 80
Acting: 50
Story: 50
Judgment: 50

Perp Profile

Studio: Anchor Bay
Video Formats:
• 1.85:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• None
Running Time: 99 Minutes
Release Year: 1988
MPAA Rating: Unrated
• Bad
• Horror

Distinguishing Marks

• Theatrical Trailers
• "Lost In the Labyrinth" Featurette
• Still Gallery
• Feature Commentary with Tony Randel, Ashley Laurence and Peter Atkins


• IMDb

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