Before too many straight-to-video sequels diluted its power, the "Hellraiser" franchise was, for a brief time, a reliable and respected one. Anchor Bay has helped to restore that luster with a pair of re-releases that remind us at how good the first couple of films really were. Clive Barker's original got the 20th anniversary treatment a year ago, and now it's the immediate sequel's turn.
"Hellbound" begins where its big brother left off, even incorporating a few scenes as sort of a "greatest hits" reel to catch you up to speed. To make a long story short: People got their flesh ripped off by hooks.
Now, Kirsty (Ashley Laurence), the surviving daughter of ill-fated parents is in a loony bin, having considerable trouble convincing doctors that the very messy scene at her house is not her doing, but that of the Cenobites " those toothsome, gruesome creatures who emerge from another dimension whenever someone toys with that infernal puzzle box.
Kirsty has more reason to worry: Her skinned-clean stepmother (Clare Higgins) is raised from the dead to wreak more mischief, and Pinhead (Doug Bradley) isn't far behind. What follows is bloody good " and bloody. Its scenes of brain surgery and maggot attacks aren't for the faint of heart " especially in this unrated, uncut version " and the part where the scheming doctor makes out with a fleshless woman is geared to gross out.
The disc includes a slew of documentaries old and new to this release, plus a commentary with director Tony Randel, who's never been better.