Hellraiser Movies Ranked, From Pain To Pleasure


Released barely a year after the first film, “Hellbound: Hellraiser II” is a direct sequel that keeps Kirsty as the hero as she’s forced to battle an evil stepmother, a ruthless asylum doctor, and, of course, the gates of Hell itself. Stuck in a mental hospital following the events of “Hellraiser”, Kirsty is haunted by visions of her tortured father in the underworld. Meanwhile, an ambitious psychiatrist searches for the puzzle box and brings back Julia Cotton, Kirsty’s late stepmother, from the dead to aid her in her hunt for pure pleasure. Needless to say, it’s not going well.

“Hellbound” is a natural extension of the first film but also a chance for Clive Barker (who didn’t direct this time around, but wrote the story) to flex his creative muscles. He may be best known as a horror writer, but his greatest ambitions come to light in his high fantasy work (check out “Weaveworld” or “Imajica” for proof.) Here we see the labyrinthine depths of Hell, which looks like a gothic version of an Escher painting. It’s easily the most visually lavish in the franchise.

Pinhead’s origin story is presented here in a shocking flashback that reveals the amazing sacrifices required to be a cenobite, but the real villain of the film is Julia. Played by the underrated Claire Higgins, Julia is the most dastardly and sexual version of the fairy tale stepmother, with an 80s flair and a level of cunning that makes her much scarier than those with pins in the face. Initially, the franchise was to center on her as the primary villain. She tapped after that movie, which is a shame, but her arc remains one of the most satisfying parts of everyone’s “Hellraiser.”

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