The film takes place a few hours after the first movie left off (despite being released four years later). Kirsty is trapped in a mental hospital because she won’t stop raving about burning the mattress Julia died on. The evil head psychiatrist there, Dr. Channard (Kenneth Cranham), is making obsessive puzzle-solver Tiffany (Imogen Boorman) open the Lemarchand box. In addition, the doctor is killing patients to bring Julia back from the dead. Kirsty and Tiffany team up to send Julia, Pinhead, and the whole pasty bunch back where they came from.
Unlike the first, this one’s not directed by Clive Barker, but he’s at least an executive producer and has writing credit. Returning cast from the original includes Ashley Laurence as Kirsty, Claire Higgins as Julia, Doug Bradley as Pinhead, Nicholas Vince as the Chattering Cenobite, and Sean Chapman as Uncle Frank. So two of my cardinal rules for sequels (has something to do with the previous movie and has people who worked on the original) are met.
My only gripe (besides a few one-liners) is that the rules of Hellraiser are disregarded (another of my cardinal rules for sequels is that the logic of the previous films must be upheld); the cenobites come when Tiffany opens their box, but Pinhead decides to leave her alone, claiming, “It is not hands that call us. It is desire.” If that were the case, why did they chase Kirsty around in the first movie, and continue to pester her in this one? Also, why does Kirsty’s boyfriend Steve get to leave, and why does he never come back? Otherwise the acting continues to be stellar and the special effects passable for the ‘80s.
As per usual in the series, it’s not for the weak of stomach. But it does have the interesting theme that the human mind is like a labyrinth. Check it out if you’re in the mood for an intelligent and well-spoken iconic baddie and some kick-ass female characters.