Only in horror could a scene I love also be a scene I hate. Excuse me while I watch through my fingers at Julia's resurrection scene in Hellbound: Hellraiser II. Somebody tell me when it's over, please. I can't look.

I love Frank's resurrection in the first Hellraiser. I love its goopy low-fi effects, and I love how it produces some of the most beautiful shots in the film, including the terrifying moment when Frank crawls across the floor in a low-angle scurry or when Frank's dessicated face, half-covered in shadow, begs Julia not to look at him. I'd never describe Clive Barker as understated, but, when viewed against his entire body of film work, these moments are more subtle, more classically creepy than visceral and violent.

And then there's Hellraiser II. Hoo, boy. I'm not even sure how director Tony Randel ever assumed that Julia's resurrection would fly with an R-rating. It's a horrifying, noisy, blood-drenched scene that goes on and on and on, forever. Dr. Channard takes a psychotic patient, convinced that his body is covered in bugs and worms (which are shown to the audience as actual bugs and worms, instead of keeping it all in the patient's head), plants him on the mattress where Julia met her demise in the first film, and hands the raving maniac a straight razor so he can scrape himself of the offending critters. And he does. And it's messy. Really messy.

Out of this dirty mattress, now soaked through with blood, lunges a wild-eyed, skinless, undead Julia. She promptly, and violently, sucks the lifeforce from the mental patient and demands more flesh from Channard so that she can skin her glistening, exposed muscles. it's awful. The scene is so loud and over-the-top and repulsive that it really does bother me, every single time I see it. That's the point, I guess. Yes, sometimes less is more, but don't ever forget that more is more as well. Randel throws all subtlety completely out the window, creating one of the most memorable, most gruesome, awful scenes in any mainstream horror sequel.
categories Horror