Thursday, April 8, 2010

Grave Reviews #13

Hellbound: Hellraiser II

Director: Tony Randel

Starring: Ashley Laurence, Clare Higgins, Kenneth Cranham, Imogen Boorman, Sean Chapman, William Hope and Doug Bradley.

A sequel to Hellraiser that was based on Clive Barker's novella The Hellbound Heart, this movie sees the return of the sadomasochistic Cenobities and the coveted Lament Configuration.

Kirsty (Laurence) wakes up at the Channard Institute, a mental hospital run by Dr Philip Channard (Cranham). There she relates in desperation the events of the last film, the crimes of her Uncle Frank (Chapman) and her mother-in-law and Frank's lover Julia (Higgins) who using the Lament Configuration summon and betray the Cenobites of Hell lead by Pinhead (Bradley). Kirsty literally makes it out with her skin intact when she hands Frank to the Cenobites who had disguised himself using the skin of Kirsty's father.

At the asylum also is Tiffany (Boorman), a girl who doesn't speak and has a penchant for solving puzzles. Channard learns of a bloody mattress that was found at Kirsty's house and she begs him to destroy it for otherwise Julia will just come back the same way as Frank did. The first night there she gets a visit from her skinless father begging for salvation from the torment of Hell.



Channard has the mattress taken to his house and sacrifices an asylum inmate to ressurect Julia so he can use her and Tiffany to glimpse Hell. Meanwhile Channard's assistant Kyle witnesses Julia's ressurection and frees Kirsty to put a stop to the madness.

Julia now wearing her own skin due to many bloody sacrifices tricks Kyle and kills him, and captures Kirsty. Channard uses Tiffany to solve the Lament Configuration, and the Cenobites appear ready to claim Tiffany, when Pinhead realises it wasn't her but Channard that ordered the box solved.

Kirsty wakes to discover Channard's house merging with the realm of Hell and runs into the Labyrinth looking for her damned father. Tiffany walks her own path through Hell to face her own personal demons and past just as Kirsty is tormented by her own. Kirsty crosses paths with Pinhead and she is powerless to use the Lament Configuration because she is already in Hell and has nothing to bargain with this time. Pinhead explains that each Hell is different, a person's own personal Hell. Pinhead suggests Kirsty explore Hell for the time being because the Cenobites have eternity to know her flesh.

Channard is led through the Labyrinth by Julia, and Kirsty begs Tiffany to help them get out of Hell since she solved the box. Julia and Channard make it to the centre of Hell to Leviathan, the God of the Cenobites and the Lord of the Labyrinth. It all becomes too much for Channard, who desires to leave. Julia reveals she was allowed to come back to Earth because Leviathan craves souls, and she will feed the doctor's to her God and forces him into the Chamber of the Engineer where he is painfully transformed into a Cenobite.

Kirsty discovers a representation of her Father's house and enters it alone, to discover to her horror it's Frank's chamber and the person that met her in her hospital room was actually Frank pretending to be her father. Kirsty torches the room burning off Frank's precious skin in the process. Julia walks in with Tiffany, and Frank attempts to seduce her once more but it betrayed and murdered by Julia because she is now above him and has set her sights on becoming the Queen of Hell. Both Kirsty and Tiffany use this moment to escape.


Channard resurrects as a Cenobite and ponders why he hesitated at the exquisite pain of it. Julia and the girls get caught up in the maelstrom of the labyrinth while escaping down a corridor, and as Tiffany tries to save Julia to Kirsty's protest, Julia's new skin is ripped from her flesh and she is hurtled screaming away from them. The girls flee once more, and suddenly find themselves back at Channard's Institute, which is Channard's own Hellish domain. They flee once again only to be cornered by Pinhead and the Cenobites where she challenges Pinhead to remember his own humanity from a photo she found of him in his pre-Hell days.

Channard appears desperate to feast on their souls and surprisingly Pinhead protects them by using his hooks to ensnare the Doctor. Channard is able to smite a few lesser Cenobites in the process and proclaims himself the new head Cenobite. Pinhead reverts back to his human form to die at the end of Channard's tentacle scalpels. Tiffany realises she has to solve the puzzle and makes her way back to the centre to Leviathan picking up a diamond form of the box along the way from Julia's discarded skin.

The box that Tiffany finds resembles Leviathan's form to the letter, and attempts to use the box's magic as a link to disable Leviathan's power but Channard turns up to spoil their plans. A bit of quick thinking on Kirsty's part gets her wearing Julia's skin to distract the Doctor long enough to change the box back to its original form neutralising the Cenobite's power and kill Channard. Leviathan begins to change shape to resemble the box, firing death rays at the escaping girls but they manage to make it back to their own realm and leave the Institute never to look back.

At the end, furniture removalists are cleaning out Channard's house and discover the bloody mattress which claims one of them as a sacrifice. His friend stares in horror as a bloody column of Cenobites and tortured souls arises from the mattress and asks the bewildered man: "What is your pleasure sir?"

***

In my opinion this is the best Hellraiser movie out of all eight that were made. I enjoyed the first one, and rate the fourth one but while number three was passable the other four I feel were like flogging a dead horse. Some of you may know that the first Hellraiser is up for a modern remake, apparently sans Bradley as Pinhead, and I'm at a loss as to what they can do with it except update the dated 80s SFX.

I enjoy Barker's rendition of Hell as I do his other warped works, thought I prefer his movie adaptations to his actual stories, mainly Nightbreed and Lord of Illusions. One must wonder what went on in his mind to invent such demented material but I for one enjoy the result. In a bit of trivia for those who are fans but don't know: the word Cenobite is actually a Latin form of MONK. The Cenobites are certainly Monks of Hell.

My Grade is B+

2 comments:

  1. This is my favorite one -- I thought it was better than the first Hellraiser. I'd forgotten Kenneth Cranham was in this! Those cenobites creep me out -- I don't know which one is worse: the constantly chattering one, or the one whose throat is open and exposed -- yech!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hello Nicole,

    I'm glad you agree with me on this Hellraiser as the best one. I think for me it's primarily due to the protags going to the Cenobite's hellrealm, and a lot of questions are answered about the mythology.

    Of course the origin of the Lament Configuration is in Hellraiser: Bloodine which is #4.

    My favourite Cenobite is Angelique from #4, never stand in Hell's way!!

    ReplyDelete