ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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Hellbound: Hellraiser 2 (1988)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Tony Randel

Starring:
Ashley Laurence/ Kirsty
Imogen Boorman/Tiffany
Kenneth Cranham/Channard
Doug Bradley/Pinhead
PLOT-CRUNCH
Starts off where the first one left off. Kirsty is in the hospital and with her luck her Doc (Channard) is a loony of a man. Kirsty makes a new friend "Tiffany" (a mute puzzle solver no-less) and they all wind up in hell, Kirsty searching for her dad, Channard searching for answers, Tiffany searching for her past and the audience searching for a story. Julia and Frank show up to liven the party…
THE LOWDOWN
I enjoyed this razzle-dazzle sequel. It takes what the first one established and cranks it a step further. For me this flick feels more like a grim fairy tale than a straight up horror movie. Don’t get me wrong we get our buckets of blood but there’s a vibe going on (specially with the presence of Tiffany) that screams "Alice In Wonderland". The film gives us two hells to visit. The psycho ward hell with its screams and nut case patients and the real hell with its maze, spooky imagery, Leviathan and of course the Cenobites. This flick is almost like a tourist brochure…if you ever want to checkout hell this film gives you a good overlook of where to go for your vacationing spot.

Now for the bad stuff: I’ll start with the story…it’s thin and sometime feels trivial. If you think about it the events happen because Frank was horny and wanted Kirsty's booty…kind of a weak jumpstart point. Why does Kirsty lick the blood off her fingers after touching the message left from hell on the wall (is she that horny too?)? How can Julia kill Frank in hell when he’s already dead and is…well…in hell! When Julia gets her new skin and the bandages are removed, why the hell is she wearing makeup/nail polish? I didn’t know new skin came with a "Revlon" makeover. Learning more about the Cenobites past is fine and dandy (Pin Head’s birth is stomach churning) but did they really have to pull a "Darth Vader" and become good for a split second? And again…how can they die when they are already in hell…diminishes the punch of it all.

For all the gnarly stuff that happens here the story can almost be summed up by 3 words: Running through hallways. The script needed more padding. That doesn’t mean this one-note dish isn’t tasty. I loved every second of the Channard Cenobite, floating around, hooked to a phallic symbol, spitting out medical related lines. Good fun! I loved the mental ward massacre and the hellish visions (Tiffany’s hell is not pleasant). The film moves fast, looks great, has lots of gore, lots of kool effects (loved the Cenobite making machine) and a wonderful score. But what is all the noise about again? Why are these people even in hell? They should’ve stayed home and played with themselves instead of demonic puzzle boxes. Let's get hooked!!!
GORE
I saw the un-rated version. Its a blood fest, The highlight is the dude that thinks he has bugs all over him and tries to get them off with a razor…juicy…
ACTING
Ashley Laurence (Kirsty) has a better grasp on her performance than in the first one. She handles all the emotional levels perfectly. Imogen Boorman (Tiffany) has the look for the part and is quite pretty. I loved her first line…lol…Claire Higgins (Julia) is fun to see again but this time her character is kind of boring. Deborah Joel plays skinless Julia and gets all the fun scenes. William Hope (Channard) is very convincing as the twisted Doc and his low key British demeanor works. Those scary Brits! William Hope (Kyle) is lost here, he keeps thinking out loud and comes across as a moron. Doug Bradley gets to stretch and he works both as Pin Head and the officer he once was. Sean Chapman (Frank) shows up briefly and yes he’s still that hairy bastard we all love. NOTE: Special commendation to Barbie Wilde who plays the female cenobite. We see her without makeup for a second and boy is she hot. She can torture me any day.
T & A
Skinless woman???
DIRECTING
Randel does fine here. We get lots of graceful camera movements, crazy close ups, upside down shots and lots of bluish/off white lighting. I also loved the gloomy flashbacks and the twisted imagery. Randel knows how to capture moments and emphasize they’re wonder. My main problem with this flick is that it has no tension whatsoever. A little bit of that would have been nice.
SOUNDTRACK
A similar score to the first one but even more gothic and grand. Powerful.
DVD FEATURES
Distributor: Anchor Bay Entertainment

IMAGE: Here we have the option to view the film in Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1 or in Full Screen (Standard) - 1.33:1. I say watch it in Widescreen, of course. The image is pretty clean with only the occasional grain. The red blood leaps out of the screen!

SOUND: You got three options here. Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Surround 2.0 or, get ready for this...THX. Guess which one is the best? The THX sound rocks the house! Every time a hook would lunge out in the film, I would flinch and the sumptuous score never sounded better. Great sound!

EXTRAS: Hook yourselves onto these extras!

"Lost In The Labyrinth" Featurette: Clive Barker opens and closes this over 20-minute documentary on "Hellraiser 2" and almost everybody that's anybody comes in to spill their two cents. Bob Keen (effects), Tony Randell (director), Peter Atkins (writer), Doug Bradley (PinHead), Ashley Lawrence (Kirsty) and more! This featurette is slickly produced and gives us a lot of background info on the film. My only disappointment was the absence of Claire Higgins (Julia). I love her and would have loved her insight.

Commentary: The commentary track by Tony Randel, Ashley Lawrence and Peter Atkins covers pretty much everything: from trivia, to the scenes that were cut to funny set stories. All three do the commentary at the same time and although we do have the occasional dead time, it makes for a pleasant listen.

Theatrical Trailer: This is the kool trailer for the film. I particularly enjoyed the narrator's overdone "spooky" voice. Funny shite!

Still Gallery: We get on-set pictures, stills from the movie and pics of the actors. Groovy.

I was disappointed that the famous cut scene of the Cenobites "playing doctor" wasn't reinstated into the film, but apart from that, this is another solid horror DVD by Anchor Bay. I'm starting to love these guys!
BOTTOM LINE
This sequel sometimes feels like A Nightmare On Elm Street. Kirsty gets that "Nancy" vibe going, Channard gets that "Freddy" thang going and hell does look like a bad dream. But Hellbound goes further than Krueger….we get an eyeful of un-pleasantness that "Nightmare" never dared enter. The story line is thin but the visuals make it happen. I will say that the whole Hellraiser series doesn’t make much sense to me…why does everybody want to be ripped by hooks or visit hell??? Don’t they get laid in the real world??? The cravings Channard has for example could’ve been satisfied by a twenty bucks an hour dominatrix…Not much sense but it sure is fun…
BULL'S EYE
When the Cenobites appear in Dr. Channard's office, the curtains are ripped away from the window, and you can see the string that rips them away.
Strikeback
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1:39AM on 10/23/2006
In my opinion, this is one of the best modern horror sequels I've ever seen. It keeps the spirit of the original alive, and it steps everything up a few notches. I think that Christopher Young deserves to be commended for his musical score, using morse-code in the music was sheer genius. I also loved the surreal imagery in Hell.
My only problems with this movie are A) that there isn't much tension here (which Arrow articulated, but that doesn't mean this movie isn't scary, it just didn't
In my opinion, this is one of the best modern horror sequels I've ever seen. It keeps the spirit of the original alive, and it steps everything up a few notches. I think that Christopher Young deserves to be commended for his musical score, using morse-code in the music was sheer genius. I also loved the surreal imagery in Hell.
My only problems with this movie are A) that there isn't much tension here (which Arrow articulated, but that doesn't mean this movie isn't scary, it just didn't have me biting my nails or anything so extreme) and B) Dr. Channard felt sort of like a second-rate Freddy. While his one-liners were amusing, I thought his antics were out of step with the overall vibe the film has. It's still a great sequel though, and I really enjoy it.
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9:47PM on 10/11/2006
Ashley Laruence is the only pleasure I got out of this movie. Did the movie actually make me sick to my stomach for once in a movie experience, yeah, but could I gone with it had the movie been so much more alive. It was like a great movie without the music, I didn't feel engaded in anything, it was boring.
Ashley Laruence is the only pleasure I got out of this movie. Did the movie actually make me sick to my stomach for once in a movie experience, yeah, but could I gone with it had the movie been so much more alive. It was like a great movie without the music, I didn't feel engaded in anything, it was boring.
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