Hellbound: Hellraiser II

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Hellbound: Hellraiser II
Hellbound hellraiser ii ver2.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Tony Randel
Produced by
Screenplay by Peter Atkins
Story by Clive Barker
Starring
Music by Christopher Young
Cinematography Robin Vidgeon
Edited by
Production
company
  • Film Futures
  • Troopstar
Distributed by New World Pictures
Release date
  • December 23, 1988 (1988-12-23) (US)
  • June 16, 1989 (1989-06-16) (UK)
Running time
93 minutes[1]
Country United Kingdom
United States[2]
Language English
Box office $12.1 million[3]

Hellbound: Hellraiser II (also known as Hellraiser II: Hellbound) is a 1988 British-American body horror film directed by Tony Randel and starring Clare Higgins, Ashley Laurence, Kenneth Cranham and Doug Bradley. The film is the second entry in the Hellraiser saga and draws heavily upon (and was made by much of the same cast and crew as) its precursor, Hellraiser. Clive Barker, who wrote and directed the previous film, wrote the story and was the sequel's executive producer.

Plot[edit]

Kirsty Cotton has been admitted to a psychiatric hospital, still haunted by visions of the unspeakable horror that destroyed her family. Interviewed by Doctor Channard, and his assistant, Kyle MacRae, she tells her account of the events depicted in the first film, and pleads with them to destroy the bloody mattress her murderous stepmother, Julia Cotton died on. Despite her frantic urging, MacRae is the only one who seems to believe her.

However, it is revealed that the obsessive Dr. Channard has been searching for the Lament Configuration, the doorway to the world of the Cenobites, for years. After hearing Kirsty's story, he has the mattress brought to his home, and has one of his more deranged patients lie on the mattress and cut himself with a straight razor. The resulting blood frees Julia from the Cenobite dimension, as it did with Frank in the first film, though Julia's physical form is immediately whole, only lacking skin due to the amount of blood.

Meanwhile, Kirsty is awakened in her room to a vision of her father, who tells her in writing that he's in Hell and to help him. This is witnessed by MacRae, who had snuck inside Dr. Channard's house to investigate Kirsty's claims. He returns to Kirsty to tell her, and the two decide to return to Dr. Channard's house, so Kirsty can attempt to save her father who she believes is still trapped in Hell. They also decide to bring a young patient named Tiffany, whom Kirsty has befriended. Tiffany, who hasn't spoken for years, demonstrates an amazing aptitude for puzzles.

Meanwhile, Dr. Channard, seduced by Julia, has surreptitiously brought more mentally ill patients to his home for her to feed on. When Kirsty and the others arrive at Channard's home, MacRae heads to the attic, and discovers the grisly remains of their bodies. Julia, her skin almost completely regenerated, appears and kills him, consuming his essence and completing her skin regeneration. Kirsty hears the commotion and rushes up to the attic, and walks in on the scene. Enraged, she attacks Julia, but is knocked unconscious.

Using Tiffany as a proxy, Channard and Julia unlock the Lament Configuration puzzle box and enter the world of Pinhead and the Cenobites. Here it is learned that the act of opening the Lament Configuration is not in and of itself reason to be targeted by the Cenobites. As Pinhead states, stopping his fellow Cenobites from attacking Tiffany, it is not hands that call them, but desire. Thus, it was Channard´s desire who made him use Tiffany to open the box and, because of this, he is the Cenobites´ target.

Kirsty ventures into the Cenobites' domain and encounters Frank Cotton. He reveals that he is condemned to Hell, and that his punishment is to be teased and seduced by writhing female figures on beds that withdraw into the walls, depriving him of any pleasure. He also reveals that he tricked her by pretending to be her father to lure her into Hell so that he can use her for his own pleasures. At this point, Julia appears and destroys Frank in revenge for his killing her.

In a vie for power, Doctor Channard, having been changed into a Cenobite, kills Pinhead and his minions. Kirsty later tricks Doctor Channard by donning the deceased Julia's skin, giving Tiffany the opportunity to finish the Lament Configuration puzzle, killing Doctor Channard and allowing them to return home and close the gate between the two worlds. The movie ends with Kirsty and Tiffany leaving the now unoccupied hospital. Two men are removing what remains in the doctor's house and one of the movers comes across a blood-stained mattress on the floor. As he bends down to examine it, two arms reach out from the pool of blood, killing him as they withdraw, taking his upper half with them.

When the second mover finally enters and observes the scene, a large spinning pillar rises from the bloody floor, decorated with several Cenobite faces inset, including Pinhead's. Staring at the ghastly faces, one of them (the vagrant from the first film) speaks to the mover, asking his usual question: "What is your pleasure, sir?".

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Clive Barker returned as executive producer for the sequel. Tony Randel directed due to his experience of working with Barker on Hellraiser. Randel claims the dark tone of the movie reflected his own mindset on the world at the time. The picture was due to have a much larger budget but it decreased after financial issues with New World Pictures.

Nicholas Vince, who plays the Chatterer, received a hook to the jaw while filming a scene involving his character being impaled on a swinging torture rack surrounded by the many hanging chains. It has been claimed[by whom?] that the camera man stopped filming just at that instance. He also requested his character have eyes to help his vision, which caused some discontent with fans, who derided the new design. A scene in which the character receives his "vision" was removed from the final cut, causing some confusion at his introductory scene in Hellbound featuring him in his original "eyeless" guise.

Originally, there was going to be an extra scene during the ending when Kirsty and Tiffany are running from Channard. The scene was planned thusly; During their escape, the duo run into a doctor and nurse. The doctor demands to know what are they doing. Kirsty backs away in horror when suddenly the doctor and nurse turn into Pinhead and the Female Cenobite, before her and Tiffany continue running. The scene was filmed but was ultimately dropped from the final cut for two reasons. One was because the filmmakers thought that having actor Doug Bradley as a normal doctor would confuse the viewers, and another was because the special effects for the scene turned out poorly, so it was decided to discard it altogether. However, a photographer who was on set took some photos of Pinhead and the Female Cenobite dressed as surgeons which were used for promotion of the film, and were also used on some VHS/DVD covers of the movie, confusing fans and starting rumors about an "infamous deleted surgery scene". Some trailers do show a few shots from this unfinished scene, as well as parts of another deleted scene with Chatterer stopping the elevator with his hand and jumping at Kirsty and Tiffany. The lost scene was eventually rediscovered on a VHS workprint and announced as an extra for Arrow Video's Blu-ray reissue of the first three films in the series.

British Shakespearean actor Kenneth Cranham, who plays Channard, claimed his involvement was due to his grandson pestering him to take up the offer, being a fan of the original.

Oliver Smith, who played Skinless Frank in the original due to his skinny frame (allowing the body makeup to be realistic), reprised his role along with two extra roles as Browning (the mental patient with delusional parasitosis) and as the skinless figure Kirsty sees in the hospital who writes "I Am In Hell Help Me" in blood on the wall.

Composer Christopher Young also returned to compose a more bombastic score larger in scope. For the horn-like sound supposedly emanating from Leviathan in the center of Hell's labyrinth, he had the morse code for the word god incorporated.

Hellbound was due to be Pinhead's final appearance in a Hellraiser film, since Randel and crew expected Julia to become the figurehead of the picture and take the franchise on. The end scene with the Pillar of souls was originally meant to be Julia, raising fully formed from the mattress, opening her mouth from which black light shoots and fills the screen. However, Claire Higgins decided she did not want to return to the character again and declined to make a further sequel. Because the film was commissioned within a week of Hellraiser's release and its strong returns, the producers did not realize the full extent of Pinhead's popularity until after Hellbound's completion.[4] After the realization of Pinhead's popularity, it was decided he would become the main focus and recurring character of the franchise.

Alternate screenplay[edit]

An alternate script with Kirsty's father Larry exists, written before Andrew Robinson declined to reprise the role.[5] Many reasons were given for this including disagreement over fees and a clash of schedules although nothing has ever been confirmed. Dr. Channard was originally called Dr. Malahide but this was changed by the director. It was revealed in the Documentary "Leviathan: The Story of Hellraiser and Hellbound: Hellraiser 2" from Andrew Robinson that he was not a fan of the script and decided to not return as his character was finished anyway. Writer Peter Atkins said that despite liking Andrew Robinson as an actor he was relieved that he declined as it made the narrative work a lot better in the finished project.

Reception[edit]

Hellbound was initially rated X by the Motion Picture Association of America, which would have limited it to those 17 and older. Barker attributed this to preferring explicit displays of the grotesque rather than hinting at it.[6] Released December 1988 in the US, Hellbound grossed $12,090,735 (US)[3] and £980,503 (UK).[7] Critical response was initially mixed, and many critics cited stronger violence and an incoherent plot. Flimsy props and sets have also been criticized, as well as praised for their scope and design for such a low-budget picture. Critics later commended the film on strong visuals that echo and match Barker's own original.[original research?] The film has a 50% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 20 reviews.[8]

References[edit]

External links[edit]