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This review appears direct to the web courtesy of THE CINEMA LASER.


HELLBOUND: HELLRAISER II ($50) is the superior sequel to the Clive Barker film about the puzzle box which can open a doorway to hell. HELLBOUND: HELLRAISER II features most of the original cast, and picks up only hours after the story of the first film ended. Ashley Laurence returns to the role of Kirsty, the young woman whose life is turned into a living nightmare after her uncle Frank opens the doorway to hell and is ripped apart by demons known as Cenobites. Throughout the course of HELLRAISER, Frank manages to reconstitute himself in our world with the flesh and blood of the living. By the end of HELLRAISER, uncle Frank meets his comeuppance at the hands of the Cenobites. Julia, Frank’s accomplice and Kirsty‘s wicked stepmother, also meets a gruesome fate thanks to the Cenobites. As HELLBOUND: HELLRAISER II opens, Kirsty finds herself in a mental institution for observation due to the events of the preceding film. Unfortunately for Kirsty, the mental institution is run by a doctor Channard, whose own personal obsession is the puzzle box and the limitless pleasure and pain that the Cenobites can inflict. The good doctor retrieves the mattress upon which Julia was killed, and manages to resurrect her in the film’s most overtly gruesome sequence. This sets into motion a chain of events that leads all of the participants into the labyrinth of hell for a final showdown with the Cenobites. The cast of HELLBOUND: HELLRAISER II features Clare Higgins in a marvelously evil performance as Julia, Ken Cranham as Dr. Channard, Imogen Boorman as the mental patient who can solve any puzzle and Doug Bradley as the Cenobite Pinhead (the icon of the film series).

Lumivision has given HELLBOUND: HELLRAISER II a terrific looking Letterboxed transfer which restores the film to its proper 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The transfer has excellent color and detail. Unfortunately, the Polygram pressing from England suffers from video noise which severs to diminish the look of a great transfer. Perhaps this English manufacturer does better work on PAL Laserdiscs. I hope they perfect their NTSC mastering process before they attempt any more discs for this market. Other than the video noise, the pressing had few defects.

The digitally encoded Dolby Surround soundtrack had a pleasing mix for a low budget film, which served to enhance the foreboding nature of this film. As supplement, Lumivision has included an audio commentary with director Tony Randel, and screen writer Peter Atkins. I found the commentary to be interesting as well as entertaining, it will certainly give fans a greater appreciation for the film. Theatrical trailers as well as TV spots have been included as supplement. Finally, Lumivision fills out the package with a Clive Barker interview, a director and cast interview, plus a make-up and effects montage.


Laserdisc reviews are Copyright 1997 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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