Leonard Cohen: Bird on a Wire
Palmer's film is that rare concert doc that isn't for established fans only.
Generally speaking, there are two kinds of nightmares: the kind that you actually have, and the kind they make into movies. Real nightmares usually involve frustration or public embarrassment. In the frustrating ones, a loved one is trying to tell you something and you can't understand them, or they're in danger and you can't help them. In the embarrassing ones, it's the day of the final exam and you forgot to attend the classes, or you're in front of a crowd and can't think of anything to say, or you wandered into the hotel lobby without any clothes on and nobody has noticed you yet - but they're about to.
Those are scary nightmares, all right, and sometimes they turn up in the movies. But "Hellbound: Hellraiser II" contains the kinds of nightmares that occur only in movies, because our real dreams have low budgets and we can't afford expensive special effects. The movie begins a few hours after the original "Hellbound" ended. A young girl named Kirsty has been placed in a hospital after a night in which she was tortured by the flayed corpses of her parents, who were under the supervision of the demons of hell. What this girl needs is a lot of rest and a set of those positive-thinking cassettes they advertise late at night on cable TV.
But no such luck. The hospital is simply another manifestation of the underworld, hell is all around us, we are powerless in its grip, and before long Kristy and a newfound friend named Tiffany are hurtling down the corridors of the damned. Give or take a detail or two, that's the story. "Hellbound: Hellraiser II" is like some kind of avant-garde film strip in which there is no beginning, no middle, no end, but simply a series of gruesome images that can be watched in any order.
The images have been constructed with a certain amount of care and craftsmanship; the technical credits on this movie run to four single-spaced pages. We see lots of bodies that have been skinned alive, so that the blood still glistens on the exposed muscles. We see creatures who have been burned and mutilated and twisted into grotesque shapes and condemned for eternity to unspeakable and hopeless tortures.