Hellbound: Hellraiser 2 (1988)
By: Drexl on March 19, 2004  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Simitar (Australia USA Import). All Regions, NTSC. 1.85 (16:9 enhanced)& 4:3. English DD 5.1, English 2.0. 99 minutes
The Movie
Director: Tony Randel
Starring: Ashley Laurence, Clare Higgins, Kenneth Cranham, Imogen Boorman, Doug Bradley
Screenplay: Peter Atkins, Clive Barker
Music: Christopher Young
Tagline: "It Will Tear Your Soul Apart Like Never Before"
In the movie world, any film that successfully rakes in a little bit of a profit will, inevitably, find itself blessed with a sequel or ten - resulting in many lame, brainless follow-ups to a successful horror flick polluting cinema screens and video-store shelves. Luckily for fans of Pinhead and Co., Hellraiser creator Clive Barker, after the sequel was given the go-ahead, decided to expand on the ideas and characters of the first movie to ensure that Hellbound was more than just a case of 'more of the same.' Barker's plot outline and ideas were passed to writer Peter Atkins and Tony Randel was signed up to direct the sequel.

After a quick recap of the final moments from the original, Hellbound finds Kirsty (Ashley Lawrence) banged up in a Mental Institution under the watchful gaze of the suspiciously shifty Dr. Channard, who's intentions aren't entirely concerned with Kirsty's well-being. Channard has in his possession a familiar-looking, blood-soaked mattress which he uses, with the help of a hospital inmate and a straight razor, to resurrect Julia (Claire Higgins.) Kirsty, meanwhile, is haunted by a skinless creature who pleads with her, 'I am in hell. Help me.' Also resident at the hospital is a young girl, Tiffany, who has a talent for solving puzzles. Needless to say, a certain puzzle-box finds it's way into her hands and, as a result, all hell (quite literally) breaks loose…

So what's new? Well, firstly, the role of Julia is cleverly reversed from seduced to seducer in this sequel. After being manipulated by Frank in the original movie, she uses the easily led Channard to help provide her with victims to aid her 'reconstruction.' It's a neat twist for her character, that's for sure. Secondly, the background of the Cenobites is explored in some detail, with Pinhead's creation being revealed as well as his human form grabbing some screen-time. Pinhead is undoubtedly the star of this franchise and the expansion of his character found here is most welcome and in keeping with Barker's original intentions for the sequel.

Visually, Hellbound retains a similar look to the original movie with flashes of bright lighting and some strikingly macabre images - the sight of a skinless Julia, wrapped in pure white bandages is especially memorable. It's worth mentioning at this point that Hellbound is one of the most relentlessly gory films that this reviewer has ever seen, with hardly a minute passing without some kind of gore effect being splashed across the screen. The previously mentioned scene with the hospital inmate hacking away at himself with a razor will send even hardened gorehounds stomachs a-churning and splatter-fans will be delighted with the grue on display here. Needless to say that the squeamish out there can consider themselves suitably forewarned! (Hellbound has suffered from censorship in some territories but the print on offer here is the unrated Director's cut of the film.)
Presented in 1.85 anamorphic widescreen with a full-frame option, Hellbound looks very nice thanks to this THX approved transfer. Blacks are nice and rich and colour reproduction is good. The transfer carries a good level of detail and the print used is virtually damage free. Some grain is present, especially during some of the later special effects sequences, but that is really the only criticism that can be made regarding this transfer.
A choice of 5.1 or Stereo Surround. Both tracks are nice and punchy with clear dialogue and effects. The excellent music score is nicely reproduced. No background noise or other unwelcome clatter was to be found. A good quality audio presentation.
Extra Features
First up is a commentary track featuring Randel, Laurence and Atkins. Randel is an interesting and honest speaker, happy to give credit to other crew members for their contributions and equally happy to point out his own errors and discuss things he would change about the film. Laurence and Atkins add some interesting opinions and memories concerning the film and, together, the three contributors provide a fun commentary track.

A 17 minute featurette, 'Lost In The Labyrinth' follows next. A short piece interviewing all the major players in the movie's creation. Not bad of it's kind.

The extras are rounded off with the usual theatrical trailer and that old favourite, the stills gallery. A THX set-up guide is also available should it be required and the menus are animated and scored.
The Verdict
A worthy and enjoyable sequel that succeeds in expanding on the ideas of the original movie and therefore avoids being just another pointless cash-in. The disc carries a good quality audio/video presentation and a satisfying selection of bonus goodies. All this adds up to a release that should be part of any horror fans collection.
Movie Score
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