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.