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Kevin J. O'Connor,
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Doctor Channard is sent a new patient, a girl warning of the terrible creatures that have destroyed her family, Cenobites who offer the most intense sensations of pleasure and pain. But Channard has been searching for the doorway to Hell for years, and Kirsty must follow him to save her father and witness the power struggles among the newly damned.Written by
David Carroll <email@example.com>
One of the best things about this film is its continuation from the first. Dr Channard (Cranham) takes an interest in Kirsty (Laurence) after she's institutionalised after her family's slaughter. However, Dr Channard has darker ulterior motives as he also has an interest in the L'Merchant Configuration. Taking possession of the mattress where Julia (Higgins) was murdered, he begins to bring her back from her torture in hell. He also has a genius puzzle solver in his asylum... a mute girl called Tiffany...
This is a horror film that verges on a dark fantasy, which is especially evident in the scene where Tiffany is opening the box. What with the musical score and the atmospheric colours pulsing, it gave the film a much different feel to other horror flicks of the time. There's more than a feel of Argento here. I think it's this reason we didn't really enjoy or appreciate it at the time. However, watching it again has been very enjoyable. There's a lot to like about this film. It's packed full of atmosphere, though it's not always horror or fear. There are lots of iconic shots, such as a newly reborn and skinless Julia in her white suit, smeared with blood... Dr Channard undergoing his transformation... and the labyrinth itself. Even the acting is stronger this time around, as Laurence, Higgins, and Chapman who resume their roles from the original film, appear more comfortable in their roles. Then there's Cranham, who is a wonderful actor, he can do nothing but add strength to the cast. Of course, there's Bradley who is Pinhead - there can be only one. He was the strongest actor in the original, and thanks to his delivery of the best lines in the script and his skill to be ominous and scary... just by being there, he still stands out in the sequel.
There are some things that just don't work. One of which is the guardian of the labyrinth, the Leviathan. Which is just a revolving piece of metal that casts out a dark light over its dominion? We then learn that the end transformation of the L'Merchant cube is a miniature Leviathan... This may have worked better had the mini-L been able to create dark thoughts in peoples minds... or to create hellish scenes. But this and the subsequent ending is a little weak. It was nice though that they decided to reduce the number of light effects in this film, which made it a little stronger. I didn't even mind the energy bolts shooting through the labyrinth at the end. However, the stop-motion animation does look a little dated today, but what else were they supposed to do(?) The new Cenobite has some special skills and there was no CGI at that time which would do it justice.
This is a big film with big ideas. Unfortunately, at that time they were really restricted by budget, means, and running time. This film should have been at least another half an hour longer... maybe an hour... to do the story justice and to help build up a couple of characters a little more, like Tiffany and Kyle (Hope), and to stretch out the ending as it feels rushed to fit the 90minute runtime, which most horror flicks of the '80's & '90's rigidly stuck too.
That said, this is a superior horror flick to the majority of the fodder being created today. This kicks arse in imagination, story concept, scale, direction, and acting. So if you are wanting a classic horror to watch then the Hellraiser movies are worth a viewing or three.
I would recommend this to all lovers of the dark and nasty.
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