Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Hellbound: Hellraiser II: Help Me Understand You

There are many different questions that float around my head every single day. What does David Lynch think about when he's peeing? Why am I the only person who doesn't believe in Lucio Fulci? What business does an owl have eating a Tootsie Roll Pop? Why is my cat's head so small? Questions that have been plaguing me since I first became a woman (I was 11 and it was a rainy day).

But perhaps the most frustrating of questions, the question that wakes me up in the middle of night and the question that makes me want to shake Jeeves for not explaining it better is---What the hell are you talking about Hellraiser 2? I've seen it about 5 times and every single time I leave the realm of Hell feeling more and more confused. What am I so confused about? I think the better question is why are potato chips so delicious? AND ALSO what am I not confused about?

The following is an actual transcript from my head while watching Hellbound: Hellraiser II. Some names and places have been changed because I don't remember what their names are.

Also, please keep explanations relating to "The novella" to yourself. If you can't explain something in the film using the film than newsflash, it doesn't make sense.

Your Boyfriend Was Meaningless to the Plot So He's Gone!

Kirsty wakes up alone and sad in the Channard Institute. Visions of what she just went through race through her head when suddenly she wonders---what happened to my boyfriend?

Don't worry, they sent her boyfriend home hours ago. Say what? How does that make sense? Putting aside the fact that the actor who played that guy either died or decided he had better roles to play---that is the worst explanation for the absence of a character that I have ever seen.

First of all, he witnessed all those demon shenanigans too and I'll be damned if he wasn't also spitting out "tall tales" of almost being killed by this thing, when he woke up.

Second of all. Weren't these two just found in the ruins of a major crime scene? Yes, let's let your boyfriend go because he could never possibly be a suspect. Don't these people watch crime shows? Don't they know that when a girl hates her stepmother she always has her boyfriend kill her? Gosh.

Anyways this is always my first confusion. Kirsty's boyfriend (I'll pretend his name is...Bill.) Bill, where the hell did you go? And why doesn't Kirsty care about you?

Haven't You Ever Heard of AIDS?

Here's a good one. Imagine that you lay awake in the Channard Institute alone and upset. Suddenly a heater begins whistling and you see your father. Well it MIGHT be your father or it could be your mean Uncle pretending to be him, whatever. The point is--if you saw your skinless father writing a message to you on the wall in his gooey muscle blood, what would ever possess you to touch the blood.........and then taste some?

Yuck indeed. What was she hoping to accomplish there? If by tasting it she could magically tell if it was really her father? I guess Kirsty is more powerful than we thought.

Stop Lying, You Know Nothing

I have always been so fascinated by how Hellraiser II basically recounts the entire plot of the first movie within 5 minutes. It's so magical that I even saw Hellraiser II first before I ever saw Hellraiser and I don't regret a second of it because Hellraiser II was so thorough. Anyways thanks to this ingenious plot re-hashing device, we now are convinced that Kirsty is a liar.

She explains things to doctor with a big nose--that we didn't even understand.

Let's recount what really happened huh? Kirsty thought Julia was cheating on her father. Kirsty found out that Julia had killed the man she was supposed to be having sex with. Kirsty then meets skinless Uncle Frank. Skinless Uncle Frank frightens her, she runs away. Kirsty finds the puzzle box, has no idea what it is, throws it out the window and then faints and blah blah opens the puzzle box, and meets the cenobites. The cenobites tell her nothing. She really should have no fucking clue who these loonies dressed in pleather are. Blah blah blah she goes back to her house blah blah Frank gets nabbed by the cenobites. The End. But guess what? Technically, Kirsty should still have no fucking clue what just happened.

She tells the doctor with the big nose things like, "Julia brought Frank men to make him stronger" and even name drops the cenobites while meanwhile I'm thinking wait a minute..you don't know their proper names. And somehow she knows that the mattress must be destroyed because Julia could come back? But how on earth would she draw that conclusion from the little information she had? As far as she knew, Frank flew in on a jet plane. How would she possibly know that Frank died in that attic and only came back because blood spilt on the floor where he died?

Yeah that's what I thought. Lies! Gee Kirsty...you sure know an awful lot about something you don't know anything about.

Butch Today, Gone Tomorrow

This always bothers me the most. Remember how awful Julia's hair cut is in the first film? Well if you don't I'll remind you.

There see it's awful.

Anyways, after she gets reformed out of the mattress, she magically receives her old skin back. And her hair is long and pretty now.

Why? Is that really fair? Isn't hell a terrible place? I mean gosh if I knew you could magically get hotter and get whatever hair cut you wanted while there, I would have broken the law sooner.

We Need a Puzzle Solver to Solve the Puzzle Box!

Why does it always seem like to me, that the elusive puzzle box is extremely easy to solve? All you have to do is turn the dial thing until the box moves, and then pull it up, twist it and push it down into the corresponding slots. Really, not that difficult. If Frank, Kirsty and Pinhead's former self, could all do it on their own, then I think Dr. Channard---who by the way is a doctor so obviously he's you know...smart....I think that maybe just maybe he could solve it on his own.

But nope, nope, we need someone who is really good at puzzles to do it!

It Is Not Hands That Call Us. It Is Desire.

When Tiffany finally opens the puzzle box and the cenobites come, they ready themselves to rip apart a new soul. That is, until Pinhead says NO NO NO NO. He tells them they will not be ripping Tiffany's soul apart because, "It is not hands that call us. It is desire".

Hmmmmm interesting. I don't remember Kirsty having a deep desire to see what Hell was like and yet, you were pretty dead set on ripping her soul apart when she accidentally summoned you. Hypocrites.

Also, aren't you demons of the underworld? You honestly can't locate Channard in your own hell to go rip his soul apart? It's not like he's that far away, he just left like 2 seconds ago, you can catch him Pinhead!

Queen of the Underworld?

Apparently between the time of her death and her descent into Hell, Julia became the queen of the underworld? Can anyone tell me why? Why the hell does she get to be queen of the underworld? She had no interest in hell, was killed on a technicality and it just doesn't make any sense.

In fact this whole journey into hell doesn't make any sense. Apparently according to people that study this movie and pay attention--Julia was sent on a mission to get Dr. Channard down there so he could become a cenobite too. Oh ok, so it was all planned? Interesting. From here on out, the entire concept of hell and its layout completely loses me. I guess hell isn't really scary at all because it's just a giant labyrinth with empty hallways.

Meanwhile the cenobites turn into wimpy losers that can be killed (?) by the Channard cenobite.

This is perhaps where I am always the most confused. First of all why are you killing Pinhead?

Second of all, how is that even possible? As much as I generally enjoy Hellraiser II this part always frustrates me. I don't like this sudden humanization of Pinhead. Sure, it's interesting to know about his origins but do we really have to have him almost protect the well being of Kirsty?

Can't we just leave him alone? And Channard, can't you just get along with the other demons? Jeesh.

I mean, I could go on for hours about my confusion revolving around this film. Like, I don't understand how there are different divisions of hell and how Frank has his own little lair. Is he even suffering in there? Doesn't look like it to me. Isn't he suppose to be having his soul ripped to shreds? Why is he still in one piece? Questions, questions, questions.

Alright look, I realize it may seem like I don't love Hellraiser II. But I do. It for a very long time was the only horror movie sequel that I had ever seen. I enjoy it for its imagery mostly--there are things in this, that at times seem out of place. Like if I did a screen grab contest and used a few of these, you would be very confused. But then there's also imagery that is just so fitting. As confusing and nonsensical as hell is, it most certainly feels like some kind of hell and perhaps that is what I enjoy the most.

Yes there are plenty of grey areas but who cares as long we can still somewhat enjoy it. And I'll admit that in most of these cases, it's just me being an idiot. I can't help it if I always get confused about whether or not they are actually out of hell towards the end there. I also can't help it if none of it actually makes sense. It's not Hellraiser right?

Ooh Hellraiser II. There may in fact just be too much going on, but we love you anyways. I think. Who really knows? Not me obviously.


HH said...

wow. You have addressed every single one of my hellraiser II concerns in this.

I do have to say that I enjoy part II better than part I. Don't hit me! There's something about labyrinthine tunnels in the netherworld that really 'get' me.

M. Hufstader said...

I've never seen Hellraiser I or II, but now I feel like I have thanks to this review. Great review! I'm convinced that I have to check it out for the cracktastic nightmarishness of it all.

lazlo azavaar said...

This made me laugh so hard! You hit every point out of the ballpark! Still, I do love this flick more than any other in the series, even the first. The freaky and fantastic imagery, the M.C.Escher-esque Labyrinth, the Bosch-like Channard Cenobite, the paper-mache halls of Hell... What's not to love?

savinoboy said...

Don't you see? Hellraiser 2 is like the puzzle box! It must be solved by smart people. It is not the hands that solve it, though, it is the desire!

Me? I threw mine out the window and just passed out blah blah blah.

Great post!

CashBailey said...

It's been a while since I saw it but I generally remember this being a fairly strong sequel.

It's also the last film in the series that Clive Barker had any actual creative input in.

Fred [The Wolf] said...

Ha! Wow, you actually made some excellent points about this sequel. It's definitely full of plotholes and issues that really don't make sense in terms of the first film. But I still enjoy this film anyway and I feel it's stronger than the original. If you think this sequel is confusing, I can't imagine how you'd feel about the other sequels. From the ones I've seen, they'll give you nothing but headaches.

Great post!

deadlydolls said...





That's what I generally think of when I think HHII. LIke you, I still love it but yeah...it ain't exactly Citizen Kane in plotting and execution.

Oh, and you know what? I would never be able to open a puzzle box. I can barely open up a tea bag without the leaves spilling everywhere and in the past, I've had trouble with Pez.

Andre Dumas said...

Heidi- I won't hit you! Because secretly I think I may feel the same way. The second film was the first I ever saw and I just think it's pretty neat--once one stops trying to understand things of course.

M.Hufstader- You really should watch both films. They are both on Netflix Instant. Super gory, and super exquisite...at least in my mind.

Lazlo- Thanks! I agree the 2nd film has its charms. Even though I don't understand it I still love it.

SB- You are so right about that. That actually DOES make sense.

Cash- It is decently strong I admit, I guess I just didn't realize how much it didn't make sense. This is what happens when you watch it immediately after the first one.

Fred- Oh god, that will be a whole new can of worms I'm sure, I can't wait to expose myself to the others.

Emily- You so could open the puzzle box because it does most of the work by itself. I have faith in you, I do!! And who doesn't have trouble with pez? I've lost more than a few sleeves of the strawberry flavored... sigh.

spazmo said...

You are so right. Julia's earthly hairdo was an abomination.

And you'd expect somebody resurrected from a mattress to be afflicted with at least a marginal case of bed-head, but no - only gloriously woofed-out tresses will do for Leviathan's minions.

deaner said...

I loved this movie when it came out even though it made no sense. I always found part I kind of boring, but this one isn't.

Supposedly heavily edited by the studio, I'd love to see a director's cut of this one (along with Nightbreed which suffered the same fate).

matango said...

I could never figure out if Channard's umbilical thing was supposed to be hooked up somewhere.

I think you've got it; this movie is all imagery, and is enjoyable for that.

Maybe the director went to the Lucio Fulci school of filmmaking?

Thomas Duke said...

I saw this originally as a midnight double feature with the first one on TV (I think it was the cable premiere, so I was probably 9 or 10). It really worked and made sense that way, as a purely nightmarish addendum to the original. I know it's usually a cop out to say a horror movie is "like a nightmare", but I think HELLBOUND qualifies.

My word verification is CAKIESS, which sounds like an ancient Roman baker.

Guilherme Calixto said...

my doubt is: didnt the house burn in the first movies end? why is it ok and with the bodies in the second?

The Cheshire Cat said...

Nice review. Quite thorough. Personally, I kinda love and hate the whole Hellraiser series. All of them seem to be lacking in story/plot, but it is really hard to be that upset when they deliver such awesome gore. All of them, this film included, manage to make my skin crawl.

I got the chance to review of couple others in the series on my blog. They are short reviews but cover most the series. Check it out if you get the chance.


Anonymous said...

Love your review! Saw both Hellraiser and Hellbound at the theater in the 80's. I like the original film better. It has some flaws too, but it stays more focused than the sequel. I think Hellbound has some great scenes though, like you've said. Pinhead's origin scene was such a shocking delight at the time :)

Neal said...

I just got done watching Hellraiser II, and I typed "Why Doesn't Hellraiser 2 make any sense?" You're post makes me feel so much better, its good to know I'm not the only one who had these concerns. But I have three qualms to add to yours. There might be more but I can't think of all of them, there are so many?

1. Why did Julia rip Frank's heart out? For what purpose did she do this? I thought they were lovers. It wasn't like she needed flesh to regenerate hers, she was already whole!

2. How in the hell did Kirstie manage to don Julia's skin as her own? Where did she get it? and how did she put it on herself?

3. Why did Pinhead turn Kirsties puzzle box into another puzzle box? If he really wanted to prevent her escape, he should have destroyed the box or just kept it. Instead he turns it into another puzzle box that has the potential to be solves?

Christen said...

I'm laughing so hard. I had to comment after I read the last post that talked about googling after watching the film. I used to see Hellraiser 3 on tv all the time (for some reason?? Only that one?) I'm watching through the series on Netflix now just to enjoy some good ol fashioned horror flicks while I work on other projects.

My first thought after watching Hellraiser was "There is no way the sex was THAT good Julia. Come on."

My first thought after watching Hellraiser II was "What? Why did that happen? Wtf? Why? Anything?" So I immediately googled "Hellraiser II what the hell happened."

And up popped your blog! It was a pretty fantastic way to cap off the evening. I love 80's movies because they can literally make no sense and get away with so much.

And I have to agree that getting rid of Kirsty's old boyfriend (does he count as a boyfriend? They made out in a nasty subway staircase and... saw each other like twice?) the way they did was one of the best worst character exits I've ever seen. That alone made my day. Anyway, cheers on the fun blog. Looking forward to the rest of the series and fully expecting things to go downhill from here.

Unknown said...

What's your pleasure? Lol all the answers love this article

Risk said...

My issue is that Julia is brought back to life with blood being soaked into the mattress when she was actually killed on the stairs when Frank drank her blood. So why then is she brought back to life when it wasnt the cenobites that killed her for opening the box?

Risk said...

Julia was killed by Frank on the stairs when he stabbed her and drank her blood. Why then was she able to be brought back by soaked blood on the mattress when her death had nothing to do with opening the box and being killed by cenobites? So there! You actually missed probably the biggest question of all.