Upon its initial release, in December of 1988, Hellbound: Hellraiser II, didn't seem, to me anyway, to be a worthy successor to the first film. But in recent years, I have grown fond of this sequel and I really appreciate the efforts they made to expand upon the "Hellraiser" universe. I especially enjoyed how they dove-tailed directly into part 2. Again, not a usual technique in a horror franchise, but one that worked well, here.
Again, for those of you that need it...
Picking up right where Hellraiser left off, Hellbound: Hellraiser II expands upon the terrifying universe created in Clive Barker's original film – taking the story into the very depths of hell itself. Having escaped the clutches of Pinhead and the demonic Cenobites, Kirsty Cotton (Ashley Laurence) awakens to find herself detained at the Channard Institute, a hospital for the mentally ill. But her torments are far from over – the chief doctor at the institute is determined to unleash the powers of Hell to achieve his own twisted ends. "Hellbound: Hellraiser II" is one of the most celebrated horror sequels of all time, offering a vision that is both more gruesome and fantastical than its predecessor.
Like its predecessor, Hellbound: Hellraiser II is an excellent 2K restoration, and provides you with a beautiful, High Definition (1080p) presentation, as well as Lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 Audio. And, like "Hellraiser", there are a few scenes of graininess, and a noticeable drop in clarity, especially during the darker scenes. Though noticeable, it does nothing to diminish the impact of the sinister aspect, nor the overall quality of the restoration. The audio is also a thing of beauty, the soundtrack is a clarion call to cruelty and the dialog is clear and up front not to mention the screams, the roar of the hellish winds, and rising in a glorious baritone, Pinhead. Doug Bradley shines in the role and truly deserves more credit for carrying the entire mythology. Without him in this role, I dare say "Hellraiser" would not have been the powerhouse of horror, it was.
I have included a full listing of the special features, and they are all excellent and comprehensive, but my favorites are Leviathan: The Story of Hellbound: Hellraiser 2.
I have to say, I own the Scarlet Box, and I absolutely love that set; however, if you are just looking for parts 1 & 2, to add to your collection, I cannot recommend these discs, enough. From the alt-artwork, and reversible covers, tons of special features, and not to mention the quality of the scans, a Hellraiser fan should look no further than these Arrow Video releases.
I could say something about it tearing your soul apart, but will cause such sweet sweet suffering, and we wouldn't want any of that... Would we?!
Hellbound: Hellraiser 2 Special Features
- 2K restoration approved by director of photography Robin Vidgeon
- Uncompressed PCM Stereo 2.0 and Lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 sound
- Audio commentary with director Tony Randel and writer Peter Atkins
- Audio commentary with Randel, Atkins and actress Ashley Laurence
- Leviathan: The Story of Hellbound: Hellraiser II: Brand new version of the definitive documentary on the making of Hellbound, featuring interviews with key cast and crew members
- Being Frank: Sean Chapman on Hellbound: Actor Sean Chapman talks about reprising the role of Frank Cotton in the first Hellraiser sequel
- Surgeon Scene: The legendary excised sequence
- Lost in the Labyrinth: Vintage featurette including interviews with Barker, Randel, Keen, Atkins and others
- Under the Skin: Doug Bradley on Hellbound: Hellraiser II