January 3, 2011

Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988)

"Kirsty is brought to an institution after the death of her family, where the occult-obsessive head resurrects Julia and unleashes the Cenobites once again."

Now I know it's bizarre to rate a sequel higher than the first film in a series but while I found the original "Hellraiser" (1987) impressive, it wasn't until Clare Higgins came back as the skinless Julia (albeit with Deborah Joel as her body double) that I really felt that true horror had been achieved.

It's a pity that all the later "Hellraiser" films are so appalling compared to this as if they'd continued to get more brutal and surreal then I think a lot more people would be buying into them today rather than discounting "Hellraiser" as a franchise which has outstayed its welcome.

Every actor in "Hellbound" gives an outstanding performance which is only possible because they are all what I term "real actors". Apart from Doug Bradley and Ashley Laurence, none of the actors were known to me for doing horror and it was quite a shock to see the calibre of Kenneth Cranham, Clare Higgins and even Imogen Boormen (also known later for being the lead in the BBC's "Iphigenia at Aulis") in something like this.

The surrealness of the monsters and the effects used to create them in "Hellbound" really make this extraordinary.

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