Saturday, September 15, 2012

Recommended Double Feature: HELLRAISER II and PHANTASM II

Not just two sequels but two sequels that wildly expand the mythologies created by the originals. They may lack the atmosphere of the originals but damn they’re a lot of fun. They leave you wanting more, more that the subsequent sequels never truly delivered on.
As per IMDB the plot of HELLRAISER II “Kirsty is brought to an institution after the death of her family, where the occult-obsessive head resurrects Julia and unleashes the Cenobites once again.”
And here is the trailer. One of my favorite horror film trailers really.
Thoughts: This is, if you’ll pardon the pun, one Hell of a ride. It has a sense of dark wonder to it, it more than anything else inspired the HELLRAISER comics and several sessions of my WORLD OF DARKNESS role playing game. Cenobites vs Vampires? Damn right I went there.
The returning cast do a terrific job with their roles, Kirsty is hardened and desperate by her experiences, Julia has become a monster in her own right, Pinhead owns every scene he’s until his admittedly disappointing demise. I mean come on, he’s down in one shot. One shot! We see the Hell of the Cenobites and their Lord Leviathan, interestingly on the surface it is all very geometric until you reach the point where you can see each character’s personalized Hell.
I always found it a particularly chilling moment when Pinhead says of Kirsty’s father “But he is in his own Hell, child...” Think about that for a moment, what did poor luckless Larry do to deserve damnation? The world of HELLRAISER II is as hopeless as it is magical. What was it Julia said?
“They’ve changed the rules of the fairy tale...”
Indeed.


As per IMDB the plot of PHANTASM II “Mike, now released from a psychiatric hospital, continues his journey to stop the evil Tall Man from his grim work.”

And here is the trailer.

Thoughts: None of the installments of the PHANTASM truly disappoints, (at least not on the epic level of suckage the HELLRAISER series did) but none of the other PHANTASM movies would ever approach the scope of this one. The whole movie has a post-apocalyptic feel to it, Mike’s and Reggie’s families are mercilessly killed and from then on our heroes are chasing after the Tall Man through an increasingly desolate landscape, there are emptied cities and empty graves. As far as this film is concerned the bad guys have won.
The new guy playing Mike does a great job and Reggie gets to unleash his inner action hero. (See? Us baldies can be badass!) The new characters are fun, if typical survival horror archetypes. The new villains/minions are a fun bunch of creations but the Tall Man and his balls are the real stars of the show. This is a real movie villain and one of my favorites. And unlike Pinhead he doesn’t get humiliated in his final moments. I haven’t watched this movie as many times as the original but I’ve definitely seen it more times than ROBOT NINJA or THE ENGLISH PATIENT.



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