Hellraiser is a tough act to follow, and this sequel proves it. Starting out strong, it eventually becomes convoluted, yet still manages to carry over and expand upon the themes and subtext introduced in the original film. Overall though, the picture is a mess.
Where Hellbound: Hellraiser II loses its way is in the second act when as I'll discuss momentarily, Ashley Laurence (reprising her role from the first film) enters into the hell dimension in search of her father. Andrew Robinson is seen only in flashbacks from Hellraiser, and doing some research I discovered that he was supposed to appear in this movie but declined. Instead of recasting, the filmmakers went for extensive script changes and it shows. The idea that Laurence is going into hell to rescue her father is then completely lost. It appears as though they shot the scenes where it is introduced that she intends to do just that, but then had to scramble to make changes once they reached the part where she was supposed to be actually doing it.
Clare Higgins reprises her role as the evil Julia, taking the place of Frank (who also returns, briefly) as the bloody, resurrected corpse. She is joined by Kenneth Cranham as Dr. Channard, a new character who is way more nasty than Julia and Frank ever were. His intentions are understandably diabolical.
|Finally a shooting day where I don't have to sit through hours of make-up application.|
|Even creatures from hell are subjected to Hollywood sexism.|
|We're bad and we know it - she, literally to the bone!|
|Never wear white after labor day or after being resurrected.|
At the hospital, Laurence has visions of her father calling to her from hell and feels the urge to go and rescue him. The Doctor also has a mute patient (Imogen Boorman) who is a puzzle expert working on the boxes to open the door to the other realm. She does so successfully and the Cenobites are summoned.
|I'm in hell because the filmmakers wouldn't pay me enough to come back.|
As I mentioned above, it is when Laurence and Boorman enter the other realm that the plot gets messy and confusing. There appear to be a lot of elements cut out in terms of Boorman's back story as well as Laurence's intentions. Higgins plays a much bigger role in this and really is a standout, as is the Doctor. The Cenobites again take a back seat to these other 'big bads', and get only minimal screen time which I think hurts the picture. As one comment on IMDb put it most succinctly, the picture 'goes to hell when they uh, go to hell'.
|Very few lines to memorize - cool!|
|You know how hard it is to sleep with a head like this?|
|About half the people reading this are going to lose their mind over this still.|
|Somebody get this thing off my head so I can go to the restroom.|