Monster Sketch Monday – Pinhead from ‘Hellraiser’

“Your suffering will be legendary. Even in Hell.”

The film Hellraiser was released in September 1987 and I felt the urge to draw my favorite Cenobite today. For a couple of years I was a huge Clive Barker fan, devouring everything I could find by the man. The Books of Blood, The Damnation Game, Weaveworld and Cabal in particular were favorites. About the time Coldheart Canyon came out I had moved on, however, and while I still occasionally dip into his work – I think I finally read Imajica recently – he’s no longer an obsession like he was.(I don’t THINK the time I met him had anything to do with it, but it wasn’t the best experience.) Oddly, I never did read The Hellbound Heart, the novella on which the film Hellraiser is based. I should get around to that.

I remember enjoying the hell (pardon the pun) out of Hellraiser when it was first released. A heady mix of sex and violence, transgressive ideas and astounding imagery. I was impressed as well that this was the first film by a novice director. My other favorite horror writer of the time, Stephen King, had directed his first film – Maximum Overdrive – the previous year and hadn’t done nearly so well (sorry Uncle Stevie). Yeah, there are elements of the film that don’t work and some extremely low-budget effects (that lightning at the end was apparently draw on the film BY HAND by Barker himself), but it’s a very effective and interesting film for a man who admits that his knowledge of filmmaking was so poor that he thinks someone could have told him a plate of spaghetti was a 35mm lens and he’d have believed them.

ANYWAY. To get to the subject of today’s sketch – Pinhead – the character very much stood out to me from the beginning, even though the focus of the original film is primarily on Kirsty, Frank and Julia. Barker actually planned for Julia to be the focus of the Hellraiser series, and the main monster moving forward, but Doug Bradley’s cold, imposing creating caught fans attention and in the end it was this “priest of hell” that became the continuing element.

I actually agree with Barker, by the way. Julia should totally have at least become one of the Cenobites. She sure has hell (sorry) earned her damnation more than Doctor Channard in the second film.

Pinhead himself (a knickname that Barker hates and that Pinhead himself canonically detests as well) has undergone a level of humanizing over the series of films, something I’m not really a fan of. (Not that I’ve seen all 10 of the films.) I liked his original appearance and distance, the feeling that surviving his appearance and regard was something more due to his following an arcane code than any human emotions.

Hulu has announced a new Hellraiser reboot – though I’m not clear on whether that will be a TV series of a film – and that Pinhead will be a part of the production. While Doug Bradley has always been best Pinhead I’m looking forward to a new take on the Pope of Hell – and his fellow seekers of sensation.

What’s your pleasure, sir?

Author: Bob Cram

Would like to be mysterious but is instead, at best, slightly ambiguous.