Monday, October 13, 2014

The MONTH of HORROR - Day 13: Hellbound: Hellraiser 2

Okay, let's see what we've got here... *inhales deeply* bloody, skinless people, crimson soaked masturbation, a giant phallic worm creature, sado-masochistic cutting and stabbing, familial molestation, necrophilia, and brutal slayings of mentally ill and handicapped people--THE ARISTOCRATS! I would not have been surprised at all if this 'Hellraiser' sequel had ended with that punch line.

This movie is absolutely nuts.

Now, if you thought the original was a tad on the bizarre side then prepare yourself for the cavalcade of funhouse freakshow oddities contained within this second entry of the series. It's totally bananas, and I love it. What I really find interesting here is that once again, the Cenobites are used only in moderation, as their first appearance isn't until nearly an hour in! I guess the point here is that they're really not villains at all but it's the humans in the story who are truly despicable once more. If you happen to summon the Cenobites, well then, that's kind of your problem, isn't it? They're just doing their job, which so happens to entail delivering the most painful torture imaginable--you called, and they answered, so quit your whining.

Clare Higgins, who played the evil stepmom in the first, and was killed, is now resurrected here because that's just the way it is. She's brought back to earth by the nefarious Dr. Phillip Channard (Kenneth Cranham) who is fascinated, and intrigued by this hellish realm where pain and pleasure co-exist as one. Again, very plot heavy, too much so at times so I won't get into the specific details of where it all goes, and why certain things happen; all you need to know is that eventually, the characters all wind up in hell, and it's a pretty nifty, labyrinthine place. The good (bad) doctor is later tricked by Clare as he gets... trapped? Tortured? Murdered? It's difficult to put into words exactly what happens to him but after being subjected to some horrific, and gruesome experiments, I think he becomes some sort of all-powerful lord of hell who can shoot dicks with teeth out of his fingers. Right? RIGHT!? Amazing, I know.

Visually, for a horror flick, this movie is just on a whole other level. It's rare to see worlds like this where the filmmakers just say "screw it" and really go for it. I was reminded of Don Coscarelli's Phantasm series at times because it also explores other dimensions with a bizarre, "throw everything at the wall" sort of gusto--some of the things here are just gleefully messed up. Major kudos to the production design because it is ridiculously ambitious at times, some of the coolest stuff I've ever seen in a horror movie. Again, like in the first, if you can stomach the gore, the brutality, and the weirdness then this is one you'd be crazy to miss.

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