Hellraiser, an adaptation of director Clive Barker’s body horror novella The Hellbound Heart, is a franchise that remains influential to the horror genre today.
Although the feature film adaptations have been continuing for nearly three decades, the first four installments are the most important to the franchise. Hellraiser and Hellbound: Hellraiser II are generally considered the series' best, though both Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth and Hellraiser: Bloodline have their fans.
These are the most fascinating behind-the-scenes stories of the Hellraiser series' first four films. We have such sights to show you!
Clive Barker Has Always Hated The Name 'Pinhead'Photo: Hellraiser / Entertainment Film Distributors
Though Doug Bradley's “Pinhead” first appears in Hellraiser, he is never actually referred to by this name. Even in the credits for Hellraiser, he is simply called "Lead Cenobite." In early drafts of the script and even the source novella for the movie, he is referred to as Priest. Pinhead was simply a nickname picked up on set. And, much to Barker’s dismay (he felt it was rather undignified), it quickly caught on.
In the 2011 Hellraiser comic series, Barker restored the name Priest in favor of Pinhead, and has said that Priest does in fact have a real Cenobite name, one which he plans to reveal later down the line.
'Hellraiser' Wasn’t The Original Title
Having been adapted from Clive Barker’s novella, The Hellbound Heart, Barker wished for the film adaptation to have the same name. Unfortunately, due to the studio fearing this would make it sound like a romance movie, the title was vetoed.
Barker then suggested the more apt (though possibly tongue-in-cheek) title Sadomasochists From Beyond the Grave. When that title was inevitably turned down, one of the older crew members took everyone by surprise when she threw in her two cents for a title suggestion. “One of the very English, very proper ladies working on the set said it should be called What A Woman Will Do For A Good F***," Barker claims.
Although the studio wasn’t wild about it, they eventually settled on the title Hellraiser.
Although 1986’s Clive Barker had a bunch of experience directing theater, he had little to none where film was concerned. But he was adamant that he’d be directing his next project himself - after being very unhappy with his stories that were adapted to the screen by other directors (Underworld and Rawhead Rex).
It was at this point that Barker bumped into his future collaborative partner, Chris Figg, who always wanted to produce movies. Barker mentioned to Figg that he’d always wanted to direct movies, and thus began their partnership. As Barker himself said, “Two inexperienced people is always more interesting as a combination than one inexperienced person.”
Barker and Figg put together a Hellraiser package that consisted mainly of the script, half a dozen drawings, and some log lines for what the two were trying to accomplish. As luck would have it, when the two flew out to the states, the first studio they pitched, New World International, agreed to give them a shot.
Thankfully, not only was Barker allowed to direct, but he was also lucky enough to work with a cast and crew that was completely on board with helping him achieve his vision. Pinhead actor Doug Bradley said, “I knew with Clive at the helm it was going to look good and the dark side of it would be absolutely to the fore.”
Clive Barker And Doug Bradley Went To School Together
Clive Barker and Doug Bradley went to school together in Liverpool, England. Their first encounter with each other was at a rehearsal for a school play. It was at this stage in Barker’s life that he was writing, directing, and starring in his own plays, which is where the two hooked up and Bradley started starring in original plays by Barker himself.
It was around 1985 when Barker first mentioned the concept for Hellraiser to Bradley, who by this stage had already read the manuscript for The Hellbound Heart novella. A year later, they began filming Hellraiser.