director Tony Randel
Hellbound: Hellraiser II was the first sequel to the innovative 1987 Clive Barker directorial debut, Hellraiser. Barker, however, didn’t retain the rights to what would go on to his most iconic and lasting property, and by even one year and first sequel later, he’s there as producer only.
I saw these films back in the day but I wasn’t all that crazy about them. It was only last year that I revisited the first Hellraiser, coming to terms with the fact that it is indeed an original and worthy piece of late 1980’s horror. Still, it took me over a year to get around to watching any of the sequels. I’d wrongly remembered Hellbound being a disappointment (and further wrongly that I’d ever seen another film in the series besides it.)
Hellbound benefits with having been made fresh on the heels of the first film, with many key cast members in place, and continuity, design, and logic falling into place in ways that a lot of films flail at. Ashley Lawrence returns as Kirsty, currently under psychiatric care following the events of Hellraiser. She wants to rescue her father from the world of the cenobites, but it turns out the head doctor, Dr. Philip Channard (Kenneth Cranham), has aspirations of his own, including three of the magic puzzle cubes. Using the bloodied mattress retrieved from her house, the doctor summons back a skinless Julia (Claire Higgins) from the dark world and they start on their bloody quest for entering and taking over the world of the M.C. Escher BDSM Übermenschen.
I don’t recall what I liked or disliked about Hellbound back in 1988. It’s actually a very good follow up to the first film, featuring lots of bloody gruesomeness, imaginative development of the cenobite universe, good performances from the cast, and as I noted before, good continuity of the whole. Really, it’s as decent a follow-up as one might hope for, although I must admit that I’d forgotten that they had killed off the main cenobites so readily.