It All Happens In The Dark

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“We do keep finding each other, don’t we?”

Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988)

The first time I saw this sequel I thought it was hogwash. Yes, hogwash! A very subpar entry in the Hellraiser series. Now, I recognize it for what it is – the best Hellraiser sequel that has been made – and I’m a big fan of the Hellraiser sequels (except for Bloodline and Revelations). I’m not entirely sure why they are so often better than all the other franchise crap that gets churned out (especially considering that most came from the notorious Dimension Films) but maybe because these are direct to video (or DVD) affairs, they can get away with more? Or I just have way lowered expectations? Whatever it is, they sure do have some oomph. Now, I know many of the later entries were conceived as non-Pinhead entities before the studio came along and folded them in with the Hellrasier mythos – and possibly that may be part of why they are such a cut above. Who knows. I don’t! See, I admit it! But I sure do enjoy them more than the immediately declining in quality Nightmare on Elm Street (exceptions happen people! New Nightmare is awe-inspiring) or Halloween (H20 was good, see I mentioned exceptions already) offerings. And I refuse to talk bad about anything Friday The 13th related (unless we’re discussing that remake… or maybe A New Beginning) even if I did want to throw the $5.50 Walmart copy of Jason Goes To Hell into the street after I first watched it. But I digress…

Hellraiser 2 picks up right where Hellraiser left off – we even get a flashback to the events of the first film. How kind and considerate. Except… I thought the house burned down at the end of the original, and yet the mattress Julia died on seems pretty well intact. I mean minus all those blood stains – I wouldn’t suggest putting your best sheets on it or anything.

Well, now Kirsty wakes up in an institution and no one believes her cah-razy story about puzzle-boxes and demons from hell coming to claim and maim souls. Oh… but wait. That guy in charge… Dr. Chinnard (Kenneth Cranham)… he’s up to something! He arranges to have the bloody Julia-was-here mattress sent to his house. And gee whiz, he has three of the puzzle-boxes under glass in his study. And lots of cryptic spooooooky drawings on the wall that look very raising hellish.

Kyle (William Hope) – the new romantic interest (what about Steve?!) and assistant to Dr. Chinnard – decides to investigate Kirsty’s story – by breaking into Chinnard’s house wherein he discovers the strange collection. And hides behind a curtain all Hamlet-like when the mattress is delivered and the good doctor pulls a patient from solitary confinement to feed to the bed springs of doom. And boom – Julia returns, minus her skin.

This sequel specifically mines the same territory as Clive Barker’s original. I appreciated that they furthered the fairy tale elements set up in the first film, even if they do totally overplay it and make it way too obvious. Hell is not other people… hell is… the recycled set from Labyrinth inspired by M.C. ESCHER.

Also, there is this big black rotating triangle that looks like that thing that appears over The Sims but is much, much more wicked and not even green. It is called Leviathan and I had to wonder why something so powerful in the underwold would adopt the name of such a lame-ass underwater “thriller.” But I do like Meg Foster, so again, I digress…

A quite enjoyable sidetrip down the rabbit (hell?) hole. B-


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