Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988)

The Hellbound Halloween continues! It’s a reference to The Hellbound Heart, the story by Mr. Clive Barker that Hellraiser is based on, by the way. This is the last film in the franchise that Barker had a direct hand in, which is a little concerning since it’s only the second film. Yup, from here on out the quality steadily decreases–although I remember Hellraiser: Inferno being decent–until we hit the bottom of the barrel with the last two. But that’s something we’ll touch on later in the month; right now let’s end Julia’s reign of evil!

Hellbound: Hellraiser II is set something like a day after the events of Hellraiser. Kirsty is in a mental hospital since her story of demons coming out of a puzzle box to skin her dad isn’t quite believed by the police. She’s in the care of Dar. Channard (Kenneth Cranham) who takes an interest in the bloody mattress that Julia died on. Didn’t she get stabbed on some stairs? I guess she crawled into bed and bled out. Anyway, turns out Channard is evil! He has a subbasement full of abused patients and he’s obsessed with the cenobites. He sacrifices a patient–who happens to be the same actor who played skinless Frank last time–to resurrect a skinless Julia. He feeds her a bunch of people until she’s back to normal and ready to begin phase two. See, another patient of Channard’s is Tiffany (Imogen Boorman) who is a mute girl obsessed with puzzles. They give her the puzzle box, and of course she solves it. But Pinhead and his gash are pretty good examples of “Lawful Evil,” not inflicting unending pain on Tiffany because–and I quote–“It is not hands that call us. It is desire.” Tiffany is barely there, so they turn their attentions to Julia and Channard. They escape into Hell, where Julia reveals that she’s now a devotee of the evil god Leviathan, who allowed her to escape so she could collect souls. Souls like Channard, who gets shoved into a cenobite-making… thing. Meanwhile, Kirsty and Tiffany enter Hell because Kirsty is convinced her dad is stuck there. He’s not–Andrew Robinson didn’t come back for the sequel so the script had to be changed–so it was all a ploy by Frank, who still wants to fuck his niece. Julia stops him, still mad about him killing her. The cenobites corner Kirsty but she tells them that they aren’t ageless beings of evil, but were all human at one point. This shakes them enough that they defend the girls against the new Channard cenobite, but the four demons are easily dispatched. Channard tries to kill Tiffany before she can close the box to Hell, but Julia distracts him with a kiss. Psych! It’s actually Kirsty wearing Julia’s skin after she was easily defeated earlier! Gross. Channard dies, the portal to Hell closes, and Kirsty and Tiffany leave the institute. Kirsty’s story continued in the 2011 Boom! Studios Hellraiser comic. Then we have your standard horror movie cliffhanger ending that suggests someone from Hell might return, but if it was supposed to be Julia, that never happens.

Remember when I said Pinhead and the cenobites weren’t the main antagonists at first? This movie really runs with that idea, even having Pinhead and his friends embrace their rediscovered humanity. We see that literally as when they’re killed, they revert back to their human forms. We saw some of Pinhead before as a military captain named Elliot Spencer, but the full backstory got cut and is more fleshed out in Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth. Butterball was just a fat guy while Female Cenobite is revealed to be a pretty lady, whose backstory expanded on outside the movie revealed her to be nun. Chatterer was special as his death revealed he was a kid. His tragic backstory of being a young, gay prostitute was written by Nicholas Vince, a good friend of Barker’s and the actor who played Chatterer in the first two movies. Sad story aside, I sincerely love that the actor got to tell the character’s story in an official capacity.

So Pinhead and the rest are dead. That first part quickly gets fixed in Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth because the original plan of Julia becoming a queen of Hell and the main antagonist got thrown out the window when fans fell in love with Pinhead. “Love” might be a strong word, but you get the idea. And it makes sense–Pinhead has a very creepy and distinctive look, while Julia would prefer to look like a normal woman. Sure, her skinless and wearing a blood-soaked white suit was a great look, but it just doesn’t stack up to a dude with nails pounded into his skull.

These first two movies had a few characters that didn’t really matter that I want to mention briefly here. Kirsty had a boyfriend named Steve (Robert Hines) in the first film, but he’s completely absent in this sequel. “Don’t worry about him,” a cop tells her. “He’s okay. We sent him home hours ago.” Sure, why not. Kirsty almost had a romantic interest this movie in the nurse Kyle (William Hope), but he gets eaten by Julia. And the last nobody is actually one that amuses me more than it should: in the first film, we briefly see two movers in Larry’s house. One of them (Oliver Parker) makes a pass at Kirsty but is quickly forgotten about… until the end of this movie. It closes with two movers, one of whom is Oliver Parker again! Same character? Probably. He gets eaten, so it doesn’t matter too much. Just a funny little connection I never noticed before.

So this is the last Hellraiser film that I know I enjoyed. Next time–Wednesday, so expect a different horror movie tomorrow–features the return of Pinhead and a new collection of cenobites, painfully reminding us it’s now the 90’s. One of them is named CD! Can you guess what he has embedded in his skull and also throws?

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Next: Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth


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12 thoughts on “Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988)

  1. It’s very sad what actually happened to the Hellraiser franchise after the second one. Hellbound might be the best sequel ever made because it truly opened the dimension and its existence paralleled to ours much wider. Leviathan is an interesting concept and something I wish they kept rolling with.

    With the bad sequels in mind. How would have you fixed Hellraiser? Just to have a good conversation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hm… You know, I’m not sure where I would go. My immediate response would be to try and keep the series close to what Clive Barker imagined, but I’ve been reading the Boom! Studios series he co-wrote and just got to the part where Pinhead renounced being a cenobite and tried to overthrow Leviathan. But I’d want to do some kind of personal mystery story. A family member or loved one goes missing in a bloody way, and the survivors have to piece together what kind of a person they really were with visions of the cenobites suggesting the answer is “not good.”

      Liked by 1 person

    • In one of the most convoluted ways possible! Bored with Hell, he convinces Kirsty Cotton–who has been hunting cenobites for decades–to take his place as leader of the cenobites, which through Hell magic allows him to become human again (Elliot Spencer). He helps Tiffany and other hunters destroy the rest of the puzzle boxes, which opens a gate to Hell that a bunch of damned souls use to escape. Spencer then makes a deal with a strange entity–I’m currently reading through the sequel, Clive Barker’s Hellraiser: The Dark Watch so the entity hasn’t been named yet–that gives him near unlimited power. Spencer then takes command of the Hellish legions on Earth, summons Leviathan to Earth as well, and tries to deconstruct the god like an elaborate puzzle box. He’s stopped not just because Leviathan is stronger than he anticipated, but through the teamwork of cenobite Kirsty, detective Harry D’Amour (from Barker’s story The Last Illusion and the movie The Lord of Illusion), a scorned Female Cenobite (oh, yeah, the original cenobites came back but Chatterer and Butterball were killed again), and the comatose body of Priscilla Spencer, Elliot’s daughter from the time he… um… sexually assaulted his own daughter. He thought it was an illusion from Leviathan, but it wasn’t. The whole thing was a trip. I think I understood about half of what was going on.

      Liked by 1 person

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