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Frank's Movie Log

My life at the movies.

A still from Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988)

Hellbound: Hellraiser II

1988 | United Kingdom | 97 min
  • Watched on Thursday Jan 21, 2021 via Amazon
    C: 3 stars (out of 5)

    The big-bad dangles from an extradimensional entity’s unending tree-trunk-sized penis. And that’s not the film’s most bonkers aspect.

    Set just after the events of Hellraiser, our protagonist, played by Ashley Laurence, wakes up in a sanatorium. She’s under the care a psychiatrist played by Kenneth Cranham. Unbeknownst to Laurence, Cranham has an interest in Hell and a collection of puzzle boxes to access it. Soon Ashley’s venturing there to rescue her father. She faces opposition from her wicked stepmother turned Queen of Hell and Cranham who’s become… something else.

    I enjoyed the performances, particularly Cranham’s turn in a prototype of David Cronenberg’s role in Clive Barker’s next picture, Nightbreed. Clare Higgins plays stepmother Julia with relish, and Doug Bradley still chills as Pinhead.

    But coming just a year after the prior film, the production feels rushed. The visual effects, so effective in the first film, prove uneven here. Ditto the subtext and black humor. And the disjointed ending’s more-bonkers-than-the-giant-penis twist had me laughing. Methinks budget and time constraints compromised Barker’s story.

    While it’s not a good film, it’s not a train wreck either. I can appreciate the potential enough to warrant investigating its production. The Arrow Blu-ray includes two commentaries and a making-of documentary. Perhaps they’ll shed some light on the original vision and what went wrong…

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