Kirsty Cotton (Ashley Laurence) wakes in the Channard Institute, a psychiatric hospital, where she is questioned about the events leading up to the destruction of her home, which involved her stepmother, Julia (Clare Higgins), and a bloody mattress. Kirsty tells the police that her uncle, Frank (Sean Chapman), opened a puzzle box to an alternate dimension populated by monsters named Cenobites who torture human quarry and then recounts the events that happened and her confrontation with the cenobites Pinhead (Doug Bradley), Chatterer (Nicholas Vince), Butterball (Simon Bamford) and the female cenobite (Barbie Wilde). Kirsty’s story amazes the detectives, who are incredulous and take the bloody mattress as evidence. Kirsty is then turned over to Dr. Phillip Channard (Kenneth Cranham) and his assistant, Kyle MacRae (William Hope), who instantly becomes smitten with Kirsty. That night, Kirsty befriends another patient, Tiffany (Imogen Boorman), a semi-catatonic young girl with an incredible skill for solving puzzles. Later, in her room, Kirsty finds a message written in blood stating “I AM IN HELL. HELP ME.” Believing it was sent by her father, Kirsty tells her story to Kyle, who encourages her to tell Dr. Channard about the Cenobites. Unbeknownst to Kyle, Dr. Channard already knows everything that has been happening; he is obsessed with the Lament Configuration, the box that opens the portal to the Cenobite realm, and has been collecting every piece of information he can obtain on it. Kyle goes to Dr. Channard’s house to speak with him, and discovers his “treasure room” of Cenobite-related paraphernalia. While Kyle hides, Dr. Channard arrives with the bloody mattress that Julia died on, and goads a psychiatric patient into mutilating himself on it; the resultant blood summons up a zombie-like Julia from the Cenobite realm, and she proceeds to consume the psychiatric patient to nourish herself. Kyle escapes and tells Kirsty, who encourages Kyle to help her break out of the institute so she can help stop the Cenobite-Julia and save her father in the Cenobite realm…

Clive Barker returned as producer for the sequel to “Hellraiser”, with Tony Randel directing 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. “Hellbound: Hellraiser II” 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. After the realization of Pinhead’s popularity, it was decided he would become the main focus and recurring character of the franchise. Critical response was initially mixed, many critics citing 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. Browning’s bed scene gained a lot of notoriety and was released in full on the uncut version of Hellbound on the Special Edition Lament Configuration box set and the film is widely regarded as the strongest of all the sequels and the closest in spirit of the original. “Hellbound: Hellraiser II” is actually a bit bloodier and freakier than the first one and I do like the original idea and the cenobite realm. There´s plenty of material to extract from the original storyline, but this doesn´t really happen in either “Hellraiser” or “Hellbound: Hellraiser II”, but apparently in the third one which I will see. The minus is of course the incoherent plot, the sometimes wobbly acting and the shoddy special effects. But, despite these flaws there´s still something that holds your attention. And it´s interesting how the production company didn´t see what a great villain they had in Pinhead until after the completion of “Hellbound: Hellraiser II”. I´m looking forward to see the third one. (3 out of 5)

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