Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988) – Tony Randel

DK Canada’s Monsters in the Movies continues to guide me through the demonic darkness of the Devil’s Work, and brings me to one of my favourite horror creations, Clive Barker’s Hellraiser. The first film is gory, unnerving, and slickly created by Barker himself, and now thanks to Monsters in the Movies, I get to revisit the sequel.

Following very quickly on the success of the first film, Hellbound: Hellraiser II was released a single year later, and continued the story of Kirsty (Ashley Laurence), picking up shortly after the close of the first film. She finds herself in a psych ward overseen by the vile Channard (Kenneth Cranham), who despite pretending not to believe Kirsty’s story of Lament Configurations, and Cenobites, knows that they are real, because he has a collection of his own in his home, including the blood soaked and chain-filled mattress that oversaw the demise of Julia (Clare Higgins) in the first film.

It is from this mattress that Clare is resurrected via spilled blood, and in the space of just a few minutes, Kirsty, with a puzzle-solving mute girl named Tiffany (Imogen Boorman) at her side plunge into the outer edges of hell itself.

Pursued by the Cenobites led by Pinhead (Doug Bradley), or Hell Priest as he and Barker prefer, they confront the darkness that is Leviathan, and have to find a way out before the pain and pleasure loving demons can feast on their flesh and souls.

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It’s been a while since I watched this one, and as much as I love the first two films, watching this one now, it feels rushed. Everything happens so fast that there’s little time for world or character building, though the labyrinth of Leviathan is pretty damned cool.

But still, I wanted more.

And then I thought to myself, what about a limited television series. One that takes its time, building the horror, the world, the tension, the lust, the blood, all of it, exploring characters and giving them depth, something that is almost afforded Bradley’s cenobite in this film, but not quite enough.

Pinhead has said it himself, “we have such sights to show you.” You know what, let’s take our time and explore them. Barker created a beautiful and frightening version of hell where pain and pleasure are melded and inextricable, and populated it with some horrific beings that are fascinating and have a history, a reality that could be explored.

I’ll always enjoy the first two Hellraiser films, and I will always want more, to explore those dark corners of the cenobite mythology. So studios, skip that film reboot you were talking about, and develop a series instead!

Check this one out and other demonic stories in DK Books’ Monsters in the Movies and watch something monstrous tonight!

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