Why the Hellraiser Reboot Never Called Jamie Clayton’s Character ‘Pinhead’

Hell Priest (1)

Hellraiser star Jamie Clayton discusses her character never actually being referred to as “Pinhead” in the 2022 horror reboot film.

Hulu’s recent Hellraiser reboot made it a point not to refer to its iconic main antagonist (played by Jamie Clayton) as “Pinhead,” a moniker franchise creator and producer Clive Barker never particularly cared for.

As noted by Empire Magazine, the leader of the Cenobites (played by Doug Bradley) wasn’t actually called Pinhead in Barker’s original Hellraiser film from 1987 — which was based on Barker’s own 1986 novella, The Hellbound Heart. Rather, the pin-headed horror villain was simply credited as “Lead Cenobite.” However, “Pinhead” understandably became the character’s nickname, with the moniker even being adopted by Hellraiser‘s many sequels.

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Despite the Hellraiser franchise’s villainous mascot becoming widely known as Pinhead, the name never won Barker over. In fact, when Barker brought the character back in his 2015 follow-up novel The Scarlet Gospels, he finally gave him an official name: the Hell Priest. At one point, the Hell Priest even voices his disdain for the Pinhead moniker. As such, the 2022 Hellraiser reboot film refers to the re-imagined villain as “Priest,” not Pinhead. “During the whole audition process, during filming, no-one ever referred to me as that,” Clayton said. “I refer to the character as The Priest.”

Who You Callin’ Pinhead?

Written and directed by Hellbound Heart author Barker, the first Hellraiser film originally released in theaters in September 1987. A sequel, Hellbound: Hellraiser II, followed suit in 1988, directed by Tony Randel from a script by Peter Atkins and a story treatment by Barker. Barker also executive produced Hellraiser II, as well as its 1992 successor, Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth, though he was largely uninvolved in the production of the latter. 1996’s Hellraiser: Bloodline was the last film in the series to have any major official involvement from Barker up until the 2022 reboot. Bloodline was also the final Hellraiser film to release in theaters.

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Nevertheless, the series continued via a number of direct-to-video/DVD sequels. Hellraiser: Inferno (directed by future Doctor Strange helmer Scott Derrickson) released in 2000, followed by Hellraiser: Hellseeker in 2002. Up until 2022, Hellseeker was the final Hellraiser film to feature any involvement from Barker, with the author having made cursory (and uncredited) contributions to the film’s story. Hellraiser: Deader then released in 2005, followed by Hellraiser: Hellworld that very same year, Hellraiser: Revelations in 2011 and Hellraiser: Judgment in 2018.

October 2022 saw the release of the long-gestating Hellraiser reboot, which re-imagined the Hell Priest as a female villain and premiered exclusively on Hulu. The film was directed by David Bruckner from a screenplay by Ben Collins and Luke Piotrowski, with Barker making his return to the franchise as a producer. 2022’s Hellraiser is the best-reviewed film in the franchise since the 1987 original, currently holding a “Fresh” rating of 65 percent on Rotten Tomatoes (1987’s Hellraiser holds a 70 percent approval rating at the time of writing). “A gift for long-suffering fans after numerous subpar sequels, David Bruckner’s Hellraiser unlocks the puzzle box for getting this franchise back on the right track,” the critics’ consensus reads.

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Hellraiser (2022) is currently streaming on Hulu.

Source: Empire Magazine


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