10 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Hellraiser

Would you believe Pinhead was meant to wisecracking, whimsical jokester?

Hellraiser Pinhead
New World Pictures

In 1986, playwright and novelist, Clive Barker, wrote a horror story called The Hellbound Heart. The novella revolves around a horde of demons called Cenobites who lure humans to their hellish dimension with an enigmatic puzzle box.

Unlike most slasher novels at the time, Barker's work emphasised sadomasochistic violence, cerebral gore, and visceral mutilation, allowing it to stand out leagues ahead of its competition. The novella was such a hit, it was adapted to the big screen only one year later under the title, Hellraiser.

The film was a success, launching sequels, books, and comics. The main antagonist, Pinhead, became so synonymous with the franchise, he was immediately recognised as one of the most iconic villains in horror.

Despite its legacy, Hellraiser could've turned out so differently. Although it's impossible to picture anyone portraying Pinhead as well as Doug Bradley, he originally didn't want to play the character. At one point, the needle-faced demon wasn't meant to be the story's big bad. Also, the origin of the character goes back far, far earlier than you would imagine.

Read on to learn ten facts about Hellraiser that are bound to tear your soul apart.

10. Clive Barker HATES The Name "Pinhead"

Hellraiser Pinhead

Before he was known as Pinhead, he was a WWI British soldier called Elliot Spencer. After unlocking a Hell-opening device called the Lament Configuration, he was transformed into a Cenobite - a creature incapable of differentiating pain from pleasure. For decades (centuries if you include the dreadful sequels), this wicked demon has intended to bring Hell on Earth, allowing him to control the world.

Despite being the main villain of the film, he is never named (although he is credited as Lead Cenobite). But because he has needles poking out of his face, it wasn't long before viewers called him "Pinhead". It started off as an unflattering nickname at first but it became so popular, he was credited under that moniker in Hellraiser III, making "Pinhead" is official name.

Sadly, the series' creator, Clive Barker, absolutely hated the name, claiming it made him sound undignified. Although the character is unnamed in the original novel, he's called Hell Priest, Priest, and The Cold Man in other adaptations sanctioned by Barker. Despite the fact Barker claims Pinhead has a "true Cenobite name", it hasn't been revealed in any of his work.


James Egan has written 80 books including 1000 Facts about Superheroes Vol. 1-3 1000 Facts about Supervillains Vol. 1-3 1000 Facts about The Greatest Films Ever Made Vol. 1-3 1000 Facts about Video Games Vol. 1-3 1000 Facts about TV Shows Vol. 1-3 Twitter - @jameswzegan85