Why it's better?
Similar to, say, Empire Strikes Back or Kill Bill 2 -- Hellbound is a much needed, logical, well thought-out continuation of the first. Not too many changes in tone & subject matter, but it's not a simple do-over like MIB2 or Ghostbusters II. Hellbound provides one of the greatest surprises that (too few) sequels has to offer: it provides answers to questions we didn't know existed, & gives backstory to layers we hadn't noticed. Instead of forcing out a sequel in yet another horror franchise in an attempt to push the narrative forward, it remains rooted and merely unfolds elegantly.

Why it's worse?
Hellraiser III: Hell On Earth is my favorite. But that's a whole other thing.
The rules of this particular game is how they live up to the original (and, once in a while, the other sequels). The thing about Hellbound is: yes, it's a bit better than the first. But! could not be as good without the first. Both films on their own are incomplete, yes, but the first is incomplete is a sorta mystifying kinda way; it's a bizarre tale, & the foundation of that bizarreness may or may not come from the fact that it's a bit of an unfinished thought.
So, really, it could go either way: Hellraiser, on its own, can either be a perplexing ragbag of violence and eroticism that leaves the viewer in blissful wonderment...
or, one disjointed half of a two-parter.
Whichever it is, the second film obviously can't fall back on that 'standalone' quality. Though, again like Empire Strikes Back; if these two films were one long movie, Hellbound would be the best part.


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