Hellbound Hellraiser 2

Cenobites. No, they’re not a Millennium snack treat, but denizens of Hell. And they’re really ticked off in this sequel to the popular Clive Barker horror thriller “Hellraiser.” I can’t blame them. I mean, first they’re summoned from their slimy slumber by Frank, who figures out the key to a Chinese puzzle box that opens another dimension.

Frank gets a real taste of pain and pleasure before the Cenobites are through with him. hellboundThen Frank is resurrected by his brother Larry and Julia (Claire Higgins), Larry’s wife and Frank’s lover. Then those nasty Cenobites come to visit again, and it’s up to Kirsty (Ashley Laurence) to send them back to where they came from. Of course everyone in her life is dead, so poor Kirsty ends up in an insane asylum. And that’s all in the first film. “Hellbound” picks up just days where the original left off. Everyone thinks Kirsty is nuts except the asylum’s head shrink Dr. Channard (Kenneth Cranham), who can’t seem to get enough of her wild stories. He even has the blood-soaked mattress where Julia died brought to his private residence.

I doubt he’ll be able to get a refund, but he can sell it to a Las Vegas hotel chain. Instead, he plans to resurrect Julia, and does so by sacrificing asylum patients to the mattress. Julia returns, minus her outer skin. For Julia, beauty is indeed skin deep. She’s a mess, so that means some poor woman will have to sacrifice her epidermis. Maybe they could borrow something from Buffalo Bill’s closet in “Silence of the Lambs.” Kirsty suspects that something is up when Channard begins to take an interest in a pretty young mute girl named Tiffany, who has a penchant for solving puzzles. Ken Starr should have hired her.

Channard wants to experience pain and pleasure beyond his wildest imagination, and gets his chance when Tiffany unlocks one of the puzzle boxes. Enter the Cenobites, who want to get their hands on Kirsty. Kirsty is more than up for the challenge, and is desperate to save her father in hell. Which is exactly where Kirsty must go to do battle with the Cenobites, save her dad and Tiffany, and shut down Channard’s medical practice once and for all. Told with bold strokes in a very cinematic fashion, “Hellbound” is a splashy horror film that seems to delight in grossing out the audience.

Sharp objects play a big part in the slicing and dicing that goes on, and that’s what really rattles me. There’s one scene where a asylum patient literally tenderizes himself with a straight razor. Then there are those delightful scenes of Julia roaming around without any skin. Has Larry Flynt heard about this? Writer-director Clive Barker’s participation was minimal (he executive produced), but director Tony Randel serves Barker’s dark imagination well. The film is sharply edited and photographed, with a terrific cast that plays every disgusting scene with conviction. Even with some cheesy special and visual effects, “Hellbound” is very engaging. You want to turn away, but you can’t.



Transferred in the film’s original 1.85:1 widescreen aspect ration, the DVD looks pretty decent. There’s nice definition and the colors are strong and vivid. Even the flesh tones stand out. The blacks are not as strong as I would like, but they’re serviceable. I was really hooked on how nice the digital transfer looked. No real noticeable compression artifacts. Then it happened. The 9th Chapter Stop! The first two- and-a-half minutes of Chapter 9 are a nightmare. First the compression artifacts looked like something came between my satellite dish and the satellite. Just horrible. Digital gumbo all over the screen. Then it ended, and I thought, okay, one occurrence. That’s not too bad. Then BAM! The picture just freezes. Just sits there. I thought maybe the disc was dirty. Nope. The only way to get out of it is to punch the fast- forward button. Then it advances to the two-and half minute spot, and all is fine once again. What’s that all about? Totally unacceptable. Not only do you lose information during a vital moment in the film, it totally messes up the momentum the film has built up.


Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround Sound is honestly chilling. I wish whoever mixed the soundtrack would have hung around to transfer the digital picture. The sound is so clear and concise there were moments I thought someone was behind me. Nice definition, heart pounding basses and high ends that will curl your ear hair. Christopher Young’s pulsating score never sounded better.


How do you closed-caption blood? No captions or subtitles.


The only extras are the poor souls who volunteered to be hanging corpses in the torture room sequence.


For once, the Chapter Stops on an Anchor Bay Entertainment DVD actually register on the display panel (even though 9 Chapter Stop is a bit thrifty). Too bad about the terminal picture glitch on the 9th Chapter, though. It totally ruins an otherwise fine DVD.

VITALS: $29.99/Not Rated/108 Min./Color/9 Chapter Stops/#DV10331




HMO: Anchor Bay Entertainment

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