Saturday, October 29

31 Days of Horror: Day 19

Hellbound: Hellraiser II
Dir: Tony Randel
Starring: Doug Bradley and Ashley Laurence

This is the final sequel, maybe. Nostalgia plays a big role in the films I’ve picked this harvest season. Way back in the late 80’s, a young nine year old snuck into a double, grindhouse-esque, feature, which was showing the awkward pairing of Child’s Play and Hellbound: Hellraiser II. How a nine-year old copes with nearly four hours of haunting horrors might explain why someone would nosedive into 31 days of continuous horror flicks, and spend countless hours writing about it.

 The world that Barker creates is terrifying. The originality behind the first Hellraiser is undeniable, it also helps that the author of the novel was the director of the film. What came of this sequel was an interesting, if at times muddled, canon of imagery and mythology. So, Kristy Cotton survives, barely, the onslaught of Cenobites, including that of the iconic Pinhead, and she tries to tell the authorities what happened to her parents, to which she explains that a group of pleasure/pain seeking demons took them, to which the authorities say “you’re crazy, take her to the asylum”. There is this overwhelming sense that everyone seems to be the most diabolic, evil seeking person in many of the worlds that Barker creates, specifically those that are in positions of authority (social commentary?). Again, just like Halloween 2, we move the sequel to the hospital, however Hellbound takes another step and doesn’t keep the story confined to the setting. The imagery and mythology that Barker incorporates into his films are the scariest things about his films. Be it the bliss of sadism that Pinhead embodies or the subtle use of music composition, the entire film is littered with deliberate elements of gothic horror.

What could have been one outstanding, stand alone, horror flick with Hellraiser transformed into a franchise due in large part to the successful execution of Hellbound. Unfortunately, further films in the series haven’t been treated with such respect, but Hellbound is a suitable sequel that progressed the mythology Barker created. Day 19, raising hell. 

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