Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988) starring Ashley Laurence, Imogen Boorman, Kenneth Cranham, William Hope, Doug Bradley, Clare Higgins directed by Tony Randel Movie Review

Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988)   2/52/52/52/52/5

Ashley Laurence in Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988)

Pinheads & Needles

I never got "Hellraiser", I never got what was so amazing about it that it had horror fans proclaiming it a classic and unsurprisingly I don't think a lot when it comes to the sequel "Hellbound: Hellraiser II". In truth pretty much everything I said about the first movie I could say about the 2nd except with the special effects being the only real good thing about it. But I have to add that this 2nd movie has an even weaker storyline which basically makes it feel like a series of gratuitous scenes full of visual horror and little else.

Picking up shortly after the first movie left off Kirsty Cotton (Ashley Laurence) is in a mental institution where the police are trying to make sense of what she is on about after discovering the bloodbath at her home. Dr. Channard (Kenneth Cranham - Layer Cake) is particularly interested in Kirsty as he has been searching for the doorway into hell for a long time and finally has the missing piece to get him there. At the same time Kirsty believes her father is calling for her help from the other side and believes she needs to go to there to save him.

Kenneth Cranham in Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988)

So "Hellbound: Hellraiser II" just didn't do it for me and that starts with what for me is a weak storyline which barely works as a vehicle for all the visual gore. We have various things going on from Channard's fascination with the gateway having spent many a year researching it and we also have Kirsty believing her father is calling for her help. That is basically it so we have Channard using the blood soaked mattress from the house to bring Julia back, feeding her insane patients whilst Kirsty with the help of Channard's assistant Kyle discovers this and ends up in Hell with Channard, Julia and an innocent girl called Tiffany with a penchant for puzzle solving.

What that really means is that we have scene after scene of visual gore, from flashbacks to remind us of what happened in the first movie to Julia emerging from the blood soaked mattress to suck on victim's blood to regenerate. Visually yes it is impressive, the special effects guys have done a stunning job and not just when it comes to make-up as the sets look fantastic. But this sort of horror which borders on mindless violence does little for me with very few scenes ending up anything close to being disturbing and only because one of those featured a baby with a needle and thread. I am sure there are those who love this sort of horror, but it just fails to deliver any real frights.

And as for the acting well to be honest it is totally forgettable with the only memorable moment being the fact we see Doug Bradley as Captain Elliot Spencer before becoming Pinhead. Again I am sure some will love the even more over the top evil of Clare Higgins as Julia or Kenneth Cranham delivering over the top sinister as Dr. Channard but it did nothing for me.

What this all boils down to is that unsurprisingly "Hellbound: Hellraiser II" just didn't do it for me. It is just not my sort of horror and failed to really deliver anything close to a fright other than one disturbing scene. But again for those who love visual gore it probably entertains.