Return to the
domain of pleasure and pain as Kirsty Cotton is committed to a psychiatric
hospital run by the strange Dr. Channard. But when the doctor uncovers
the secret of the Lament Configuration, he resurrects the skinless corpse
of Kirsty's evil stepmother and calls forth the legions of the damned led
by Pinhead. Now, the doorway to hell has been re-opened, the brutal Cenobites
again walk the Earth and the sweet suffering of evil has only just begun.
"Your suffering will
be legendary, even in hell!"
II, like the rest of the series, requires an extreme suspension of
disbelief. Obviously, horror movies are not meant to portray reality, but
there was not a single solitary piece of the real world presented here.
Not for even one second of film time did anything resembling real life
show up in the movie, and this took a lot away from the film's potential.
Think about how much more effective the film would have been had Kirsty
Cotton been kept in a psychiatric hospital that even remotely resembled
even the most dismal hospital in the real world. I would have been much
more interested had she been placed in an atmosphere of normality, beyond
which she knows the hellish creatures that are the Cenobites lurk. I mean,
a hospital that doesn't seem to have electricity, that has a violent ward
that looks more like a medieval torture chamber, and that allows patients
to roam the halls doesn't do justice to the film's personality. What this
type of thing does is give the entire film a creepy mood, and takes away
from the effectiveness of the parts of the film that are really meant to
be scary. There just wasn't much creativity in the movie's presentation.
Kirsty, a PATIENT in the hospital, wanders down the darkened hall one evening,
and she comes upon the room of Tiffany who, as Kirsty's doctor explains
to her after finding her (rather than taking her back to her own room),
is a complete mystery because she never speaks. She just sits around and
solves puzzles (like little wooden boxes!! Kirsty didn't seem bothered
by that little detail…). Also, did anybody ever figure out why the hell
she touched the blood from her wall (`…I am in Hell help me…') to her LIPS?!
Maybe she really does belong in the psych ward.
Hellraiser II goes more in depth into some of the things that were
presented in part 1. For example, the film starts off with a quick scene
showing Pinhead's creation, and the film also takes the audience into the
world of the Cenobites. It gives an idea of where they come from and how
they are made. It is this element of the film that saves it from absolute
failure. The script was awful (`You have got to destroy that mattress!
You have GOT to destroy that mattress!!' Or how about this, my favorite,
`Kyle, when I think, I hurt.' That's brilliant, Kirsty), the atmosphere
was entirely overdone. Kirsty and Kyle, her ‘doctor,' momentarily develop
a hint of a ridiculous romance, and the film was packed with careless mistakes
(like the fact that, after Julia eats enough women to get her skin back,
Dr. Channard cuts her bandages off and she has MAKEUP on. I guess it must
have come with the skin…). Then there were trivial things like when Ashley
and Tiffany (whose real name we never learn), barely escape one of those
Hell tunnels into a room and there are two beams of light showing on the
wall, having come through the window. What's this, two suns?
At any rate, the movie itself was clumsily put together, but luckily it
went into detail about the things that made the equally poor original so
successful. The Cenobites, ironically enough, are given a more human side,
and even the thoroughly evil Pinhead shows a bit of compassion at the end
of the film (a lot of good it does him…). The best element of Hellraiser
II, like part 1, was the convincing makeup done on the skinless people.
There were some intricate details there, and the desired gross-out reaction
is pretty successfully attained. Some scenes were actually painful to watch
(remember that poor nutcase who tried to get the maggots off himself with
the straight razor?), which I think is a mark of at least limited success
for this type of horror film.
If you are a horror fan, the entire Hellraiser series is obviously
mandatory viewing, but I think that other people, before you immediately
dismiss the Hellraiser films as complete wastes of time, should
realize that they are not meant to be mainstream films. These are made
for people who are into this kind of splatter film, and as a splatter film
it succeeds on many levels. It creates fascinating characters (the Cenobites,
not the numbingly boring humans), tells an unlikely but interesting story
about their interaction with the living world, and never fails to throw
in buckets and buckets of blood and gore. It's good horror and it's fun
to watch, but it probably won't go down in history as a classic horror
- Dr. Channard's name in the script was Dr. Malahide. "Channard"
is derived from Christian Barnaard, who performed the world's first successful
- When Kirsty is being chased down the corridor by the monster in
hell, the trolley that the creature is being dragged on is visible for
a few seconds.
- Andrew Robinson refused to reprise his role as Larry Cotton, forcing
hasty script rewrites. This partially accounts for the muddled story structure
of the final film.
- Hellbound: Hellraiser 2 grossed $11,090,735 in the US.
- Because of an neck accident, Kenneth Cranham only wore the Channard
Cenobite makeup for one day. Stuntman Bronco McLoughlin played the Channard
Cenobite for the rest of the shoot.
- Released December 23, 1988 to US theaters.
- The horn sound that is continually made by Leviathan is Morse
code for "God".