If you’re considering watching ‘Hellraiser 2: Hellbound’ you should probably ask yourself if you’re really into seeing skinless corpses ripping each other apart with hooks and chains. If this doesn’t sound like something you’d observe over dinner then you should probably steer clear of any film with a man whose face is covered with pins is plastered all over the marketing. However, if you’re one of those weirdos (and I include myself in that term!) who actually enjoyed the first ‘Hellraiser’ film and wants to explore that dark and depraved world a little more, then you can’t go far wrong with the sequel.
Yes, I know that sequels are usually inferior to the original and almost unheard of in horror terms for one to outdo its first incarnation. Now, I’m not saying that ‘Part 2’ is as shocking and original as ‘Part 1,’ simply because by definition it can’t capture the shock value of witnessing the Cenobites for the first time. However, it does give more of what Hellraiser’s audience wanted, plus it explores this terrible universe and expands on all the major themes from the original. And, for a sequel, that does kind of mean it ticks all boxes you’d want.
Most of the original’s cast return, we have the girl who survived the initial encounter with those flesh-hungry monsters, the Cenobites, Kirsty come back for more. Or rather she’s been chucked in a mental institution due to repeated rants regarding how an escaped prisoner from hell seduced her stepmother into killing her father to satisfy demons who live in a puzzle box (to be fair, you can’t blame the authorities for not believing her on that one!). And her torment isn’t over, for, from the confines of her padded cell, she repeatedly sees images of her dead father, now trapped and skinless in hell and begging for help. However, it doesn’t seem to just be her dad who’s trying to get out of having their flesh torn from their body. Her wicked stepmother and sadistic doctor also have an interest in what secrets the puzzle box has in store. Enter the Cenobites.
Again, ‘Hellraiser 2: Hellbound’ isn’t for the faint-hearted. You need a strong stomach, as the film-makers seem to delight in coming up with new and varied ways to remove and violate body parts using a variety of sharp implements. I won’t go into too much detail regarding the rest of the plot, but I will say that I actually prefer this one to the previous Hellraiser movie. This is because my one main criticism of the first film as that the Cenobites weren’t in it enough. Here, however, they’re back for good and in it for a much longer period of time – no bad thing when you see that practical make-up is a million times more disgusting than today’s overused CGI gore. Overall, whether you prefer the first or the second, I think most horror-lovers will agree that this is at least a fair sequel to the original and they do go together well as a pair. The third instalment takes the franchise in a bit of a new direction and some felt that that was the point when it started to lose momentum. However, these two films go together well, so if you have a strong stomach, give them a go with the lights turned out.