By Joseph Walter
It's oddly intimate story, unique take on the "haunted house" trope, the otherworldly nature of the adversaries and the utterly jaw-dropping effects cement it as a fantastic film for its genre. Unfortunately, the sequel, Hellbound, doesn't quite live up to the first, with its disjointed plot, slashed budget, and pun-tastic villain.
Where both films unquestioningly succeed, however, are their incredible scores by Christopher Young. I was first turned on to his work in a "Directing the Composer" course in college, and I couldn't believe Young's orchestrally-charged and serious take on horror film compositions, especially considering the genre's penchant for simple-but-effective themes or straight up atmospheric noise.
This haunting sequence soon gives way to bombastic and ghastly horns, representing the twisted, mutated, heinous amalgamations of what awaits those who are able to solve the puzzle of the infernal box.
Young brilliantly uses this theme throughout the film in many variations, giving major credence to each and every horrifying moment.
For the main title, Young decided to remix his efforts of Hellraiser, creating a far more (forgive me) epic rendition for the larger-scope of Hellbound.
The once subtle and eerie opening notes are now replaced with with an anguished chorus, and where the strings once stood their ground, brutal and even-more ghastly horns take their place, only to be accompanied by the chorus before the entire orchestra kicks in with a cacophony of full, violent sound. One particular oddity about this theme is a recurring instance of triumphant series of notes, perhaps representing heroine Kirsty who plays a much larger role in the film.
Once again, Young carries the concepts of the main title through the film's score, crafting excellent motifs that even transcend the first's superb quality. Of particular note is the sequence where Pinhead and his Cenobites make their first appearance. Here, they're not treated musically as horrific, otherworldly villains, but tremendously bad-ass harbingers of doom instead. It's a treat for the ears for sure.
If you're really going to put yourself through Hellbound, do it for the score that it doesn't deserve, and not the horrific puns.