This Hellraiser picks up where the first film left off, and features much of the same cast (although Ashley Laurence's boyfriend character from the first movie is suddenly, strangely absent).
Laurence's character is taken to an asylum after the events of Part 1. Meanwhile, Higgins' evil stepmother character is resurrected by a sadistic Dr. Channard (played by Kenneth Cranham) who's looking for the doorway to hell and knows about the Lamont Configuration (the Rubik's cube style puzzle featured in all the movies). After she's brought back, she (like her ex-lover from Part 1) has no skin. He wraps her up in bandages so she looks like a mummy. Heck, he even has sex with her.
The evil doctor uses a mute girl who happens to be an expert at puzzles as a guinea pig and gives her the Lamont Configuration to solve. When the Cenobites show up, they opt against going after the girl, instead focusing on the man who really wanted them to come: the doctor. After he explores hell with Higgens, he's betrayed and turns into a bad-ass Cenobite (a demon, that is) and is finally able to satisfy his deepest desire: torturing and killing his former patients.
After "Hellraiser" was a worldwide success, New World Pictures was quick to crank out a sequel. Barker didn't direct this one, but his fingerprints are all over it. One thing this film does have over the first is its sense of humor and a bigger budget. We get to see hell -- which looks like a giant maze -- and the make-up effects were amazing. Channard's final transformation into a Cenobite is particularly disturbing and amazing. One aspect of the first two films often overlooked is the music. Christopher Young's score for this film is even better than what he produced for Part 1. He's sort of the horror genre's John Williams, playing haunting, symphonic music ideal for a Barker-style fear flick.
The ultimate verdict: Part 2 is not a classic, but a damn fine film, this is must-viewing, particularly after catching viewing Part 1. Too bad Laurence didn't show up for Part 3, an even better movie.