Hellraiser star Jamie Clayton recently spoke with the press about her new take on Pinhead in the Hulu original movie, which is available to stream on October 7, 2022.
Hellraiser (2022) is a new entry in a beloved horror franchise created by legendary master of fright, Clive Barker. Clive Barker started the series with a 1986 Novella, The Hellbound Heart. That story was adapted into the 1987 film, Hellraiser, and the franchise continued to grow from there. Almost a dozen films later, with comic books and further novels continuing the story as well, Director David Bruckner’s new film, also titled Hellraiser, lies just over the horizon.
Hellraiser is notorious for its extremely graphic explorations of sex, violence, pain, pleasure, and the intersectionality of those concepts. The most well-known element of the Hellraiser franchise is the primary antagonist, Pinhead. Pinhead is an interdimensional sadomasochistic demon. Also known as the Hell-Priest, Pinhead is the leader of a group of nightmarish fiends known as the Cenobites. Jamie Clayton plays Pinhead in the upcoming Hellraiser reboot, and she has some exciting words for Pinhead fanatics.
“I mean, the Priest is everything that I am and everything that I am not. She’s amazing and she is going to tear your fucking souls apart.” -Jamie Clayton
Jamie Clayton is best known for her work on The L Word: Generation Q, Sense8, and Designated Survivor. While the transgender actor has impressed television audiences for years, Hellraiser is perhaps Clayton’s most high-profile film role to date. Based on her comments above, which were the first thing she said at the Hellraiser (2022) press conference, Clayton understands the brutal nature of Pinhead well.
Clayton went on to explain how she helped to influence the creation of this new Pinhead, and what separates her version from Hell-Priests of the past.
HELLRAISER (2022): JAMIE CLAYTON’S PINHEAD IS A WHOLE NEW THING
“I really tried to do something uniquely my own. [David Bruckner] and I had so many discussions about how the body would look, how the head would be, and the stillness that would be incorporated. All of those conversations with David about what this character would be, and me bringing my bits and bolts to it…I hope it’s something incredible and unique. I didn’t want to be compared, didn’t want people to think, “she nicked that from him, she just did what he did”. This is a whole new thing. [Doug Bradley] is amazing, and no one could ever ever ever do what he did.” -Jamie Clayton
Jamie Clayton acknowledges that she is the latest in a line of Pinhead variations, but it sounds like she worked with Director David Bruckner in order to use that to their advantage. Based on the trailer, and the revamped character design seen on the poster and in official imagery, Clayton’s version of Pinhead is something we have never seen before, something that could stand the test of time. Fans will ultimately have to decide how this new Pinhead compares to other iterations themselves this October when Hellraiser (2022) finally releases on Hulu.
Doug Bradley portrayed Pinhead for the first eight Hellraiser movies, before leaving the latex and leather behind for good. Actors like Fred Tatasciore, Paul T. Taylor and Stephan Smith Collins have helped bring the character to life in the absence of Bradley. Even characters like Kirsty Cotton and Harry D’Amour have become unique versions of Pinhead in the Boom Studios comic book timeline. That being said, all but the most hardcore Hellraiser fans consider these alternate Pinhead stories to be ancillary at best, and forgettable at worst.
But according to one of Clayton’s costars, Goran Visnjic, the first time he saw Pinhead was truly unforgettable. Hopefully, new Hellraiser fans will have a similar experience when introduced to her Pinhead.
HELLRAISER (2022): ONE COSTAR’S NIGHTMARISH INTRODUCTION TO PINHEAD
“I saw [Jamie Clayton] for the first time, and I saw her beforehand. I saw her in the process of getting her costume on. Later, she walks on set, and I start laughing. Not because it was funny, but because I didn’t know what to do…She looked so out of this world, almost mystical, unusual, surreal. You know this is an actor, but with all the details, from the pins, to the skin, to the steadiness in her voice, it feels like, “Is that really you?”. I still feel kind of unusual about that…I still need to process it.” -Goran Visnjic
Goran Visnjic plays the mysterious “Voight” in the upcoming Hellraiser movie, and he probably saw a lot of horrible, disturbing things on set. But at the press conference, the actor chose to single out this one, unforgettable moment, where he saw Jamie Clayton as Pinhead for the first time. Most can only imagine what a hauntingly beautiful, one-of-a-kind moment that first encounter with Hell was like, but Visnjic lived through it.
With any luck, Hellraiser (2022) will transport us to Hell for a few hours, force us to face our fears, and teach us a thing or two about ourselves along the way. Though the quality in the Hellraiser franchise varies from story to story, the original works are rooted in a complex, layered exploration of sadomasochism, sexuality, and addiction.
Jamie Clayton eloquently explained the origins of the franchise and what makes it so special at the Hellraiser press conference.
HELLRAISER HAS A HISTORY LIKE NO OTHER HORROR FRANCHISE
“[Clive Barker] is gay, that’s the thing. He has just a really honest, unique, again very sexy approach. Write what you know, right? He wrote The Hellbound Heart after his experiences going to BDSM clubs in New York in the 1970s. That’s what makes it different. He is not afraid, it’s not just slash’em up to slash’em up. There are all these layers to dig into, and either you catch them or you don’t, but they are there, and that’s what makes Clive’s ideas really special and unique. There is a sensualness to what he writes with Hellraiser that, in my opinion, doesn’t exist with other horror franchises.” -Jamie Clayton
Queer people and stories have always had a strong influence on works within the horror genre. Hellraiser is an important part of LGBTQ+ film history, and it is wonderful and essential that the new movie will prominently feature a transgender actor and queer characters. Authentic representation is the name of the game in Hollywood these days, and that new standard is only going to become more important over time. Audiences want to see themselves reflected accurately on screen, in horror movies and beyond.
Clive Barker worked as a producer on this new story, which has been described as a new adaptation of The Hellbound Heart, as opposed to a continuation of the original films. That being said, he is not the screenwriter, and the degree of influence the original creator had over the storyline in Hellraiser (2022) is unknown to the public.
Hopefully, this new movie can capture the magic of the original book and films while crafting a tale of hell and horror for a new generation.
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