Wednesday, October 17, 2012

P Is For Pinhead

Because I motored on past H for Hellraiser and C and B for Clive Barker.

I know. I suck.

Horror author, Clive Barker, has been one of my favourites since I read the story The Hellbound Heart when I was a little girl. For those of you who do not know, the Hellbound Heart was turned into a little film called Hellraiser and, like the story, it revolved around a mysterious puzzle box and the terrible things it does to those who encounter it. When you open the box, the Cenobites come, and they have such sights to show you.

Are you sitting there wondering what a Cenobite is?

Well, they are extra-dimensional beings that take the form of ritually mutilated creatures that have just enough human characteristics so we can identify with them. Sort of. I mean, I can relate to them. They only come here, to Earth, through time and space, which is where the puzzle box comes into play because it acts as a portal. The Cenobites are basically harbingers of pain (and pleasure). It's kind of like their job to torture people. And you thought your work was painful!

The design for these otherworldly creatures came from a few different sources. Mr. Barker drew from punk, Catholicism and the SM clubs he visited in New York and Amsterdam to perfect the Cenobites look and feel. The four main Cenobite in the Hellbound Heart  were all featured in the film Hellraiser. Interestingly enough, Clive was so dissatisfied with how his past works had turned out in film, that he took on the role as director for Hellraiser. In the end, he crafted some seriously awesome looking creatures, but I've always wonder if their clothing was made out of leather or pleather. It's so hard to tell with today's synthetic materials.

While Butterball, Chatterer and the Female all have a certain je ne sais quoi about them, it is Pinhead that truly tickles my fancy. But when I say this, I am talking about Hellraiser, the movie, because though Pinhead was in The Hellbound Heart, he was portrayed as a sexually ambiguous follower and was describe to have a breathy voice, almost that of a little girl. Not quite the commanding denizen of hell that we know and love. Even more, he actually only appeared in the first part of the novella whereas in the films he was the main focus and viewed as the leader of the Cenobites. Overtime, Pinhead has become one of the most memorable, and witty, villains of the beloved horror genre.

Oh, the word on the street is that Clive Barker didn't like the name Pinhead and, in the first film, Doug Bradley (the dude under the pins) was actually credited simply as 'lead cenobite'. No, it's true. Just watch the credits.

Anyway, what makes Pinhead so great?

Not too sure, to be honest. There's something about Mr. Bradley, (who happens to be a school chum of Clive Barker) his voice and movements, that commandeers the viewers attention. I can't think of a better person to have played this role. His emotionless eyes. The glint off the pins driven into his skull. Or the matter-of-fact way in which he speaks. To Pinhead, everything is so simple. And, unlike a lot of the other 1980s horror antagonists, Pinhead was depicted as intelligent and articulate. Not to mention reasonable. Well, at least I thought so.

The thing is, Pinhead doesn't seek out people to kill or hurt. He has to be summoned! Of course, once the silly puzzle solver, or hedonist, opens the Lament Configuration, Pinhead does enjoy the torture that follows. But it's all in the territory. It's the sadomasochist in him. He tortures with the intention of inflicting both pain and pleasure. That sort of puts him in a whole other twisted category.

And man, did that dude have some awesome lines.

Your suffering will be legendary. Even in Hell.

On that note, see you tomorrow!

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