Thursday, April 10, 2014

Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988)

The first Hellraiser ended with leather-fetish demons running wild and killing everyone except the third-act main chick and her Haircut 100-looking boyfriend. Now this chick is in the loony bin, where her plugged-in shrink uses his knowledge of the magical Rubik's Cube -- let's call it the "Barker Box" -- to resurrect the ugly bitch from Part 1, because for some reason that will remain incomprehensible well past the end of time, nobody can resist this hideous trick's non-existent charms. And once restored to her former, mannish glory, this bitch is totally cool with him solving the Barker Box and summoning the demons therein, which should be the last thing she'd want to do and his first clue that something might be amiss. The gates to Hell swing open, everyone strolls on in (including this stunning blonde who suddenly becomes a main character), and it all ends with a gruesome/goofy demon-on-demon-on-hottie throwdown. Despite what many would have you believe (never, ever, trust a movie critic) this sequel is considerably better than Part 1: it's creepier; it doesn't look all thrown-together and low-rent; the director has obviously directed something before, even if it was just a school play or something; it actually takes the time to explore some of its own ideas (if only in the most ham-fisted manner imaginable); there's some good, unintrusive humor; and I liked all the little, clever touches, like the fact that one of the demons was apparently still a little boy when he was originally dragged to Hell for sex crimes (I wonder what his pervo story was?), and the moving man from Part 1 who returns as (I assume) the same moving man for Part 2. Don't get typecast, dude. Sure, the main chick entirely forgets that she has a boyfriend halfway through, and the end feels more like a superhero movie than a horror flick, but after Hellraiser 1 anything is an improvement so I have no choice but to declare this followup inoffensive and competent. And that's the highest praise you'll get from me, Hellraiser II.
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