Based off Clive Barker’s original novella The Hellbound Heart, Hellraiser took the horror world by storm in 1987 and was an immediate cult classic among the ranks of Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street and Halloween with its icons of horror. A fascinating entry into the world of terror, Hellraiser focused on the presence of human conflict and the blurred line of beauty and disgusting in its tone, only with the antagonists presented as the Cenobites as the enigmatic icing on the cake.
Showing less of the likes of Pinhead was what made the character so interesting and the real disturbances were engaged in the moments they would truly appear, short and sweet, and have us engulfed into a disturbing world of torture with the demented mixture of pleasure and pain. Sadly, the interest of mainstream audiences were muddled over what could have been a great series of films had it kept its independent niche, and with the fourth film being the last theatrical release and beaten out by Scream, many of the future sequels fell into obscurity with decreased production values and very rushed licencing conflicts. Needless to say, Hellraiser has really never been the same since.
The latest installment, Hellraiser: Judgment, marks as the 10th Hellraiser film out of a series of very mediocre sequels after the first few. With the previous one notorious for replacing Doug Bradley and executed with a lot of negative production value, there was a lot for Judgment to try and recuperate for the reputation of the series. Fortunately, the new movie is a vast improvement from many of the entries and offers a new mythos, furthered layering of the Hell Priest himself and a very good open ending that may lead to a potential new chapter of greater stories for the Cenobite. There is a real determination to make this film stand out from its predecessors and though not a perfect film, this is certainly one that was needed for a very long time.
Gary J. Tunnicliffe, working along the lines of the make-up and somewhat of an influential consultant since Hellraiser 3: Hell on Earth, has been in the series since practically the beginning. With a genuine effort to try and make authenticity and bring back the world of Barker in the limited doses he could, Tunnicliffe finally has his opportunity as director and writer of this newest installment to make some unique twists and rights over the decaying quality of the films that have been lowering the bar. His experience from the multiple films and the admiration for the world of Lament Configuration, Cenobites and beautiful terror has put a very ambitious goal to make a quality successor to a Hellraiser line. In addition to his experiences, his fan film No More Souls has shown he does have the capability to provide a projection of Barker’s stories as well as the heart to someone who has dedicated much of their life to the series. A professional in the industry and a genuine love for Hellraiser, Tunnicliffe does go into making this distinctive entry of the films a very personal love letter.
Paul T. Taylor has also been a fortunate fan to be involved as the new Hell Priest. A professional actor involved in titles such as Sin City, Super and Alternative Math, Taylor’s great challenge was to harness the void that Pinhead holds beyond his disturbingly looming presence and adds vulnerabilities that have barely been used since the original two films. In addition, he holds a new dimension to his characterization that makes its own strong presence with its performance. While no Doug Bradley to fans, there was powerful work for bringing the mad horror of Pinhead as well as the susceptibility his new interpretation holds so independently.
We at Screen Geek have taken the special opportunity to have both speak to us on the experiences of the film as well as its distinctive virtue of making the film. We also uncover more about the decision process, some interesting behind the scenes, and in our usual Screen Geek fashion, some interesting outlooks of the film worlds and digging up obscurity.
What can I say, it’s just a huge honor just to be able to talk to you guys. Hellraiser was quite a bit of an impact film for me, at least the first two. I saw the first three actually and my friends have just always been warning me for the longest time “don’t see the other ones” but then this opportunity came up and I’m like “Oh, sweet! I guess it’s time to get back on that binge!” and then….well….
Gary J. Tunnicliffe: Yeah! It was.
Paul T. Taylor: (laughs)
It was an interesting transition. I just got to say…what a breath of fresh air from you guys.
PTT: Aw, good!
It was…I really enjoyed the film! It was really something of its own and like the other ones were patched in from other scripts that were obviously trying to push [Hellraiser] in, but the way you guys did it, you treated it like an elegant Hellraiser property. In a way, I never realized that day would come again. (laughs)
GJT: Aw, thank you!
PTT: I must say, I can’t take credit for that. I didn’t write the script.
PTT: But thank you, I’m glad!
Well, he we are today with Paul T. Taylor, the new Pinhead, and Gary J. Tunnicliffe. Obviously you guys know they’re big deals because they’ve got credible middle initials in their name. That’s how you know that people are fancy.
PTT: (laughs) Well, I’m solely there to separate me just because there’s a Paul Taylor in SAG, but I don’t know. But I am fancy!
Well, you’re going to get recognized now because Pinhead is back in a way.
GJT: I always thought is it was good enough for Michael J. Fox, it was good enough for me.
PTT: (laughs) Yeah.
That’s a good way to go at it, you can’t go wrong with Michael J. Fox!
GJT: That’s what I thought!
So the new Hellraiser, Judgment. It’s actually quite an improvement from the previous films and feels like an actual Hellraiser property. I just got to say it’s a very solid film, you guys should definitely check it out for who’s listening. And here with us director/writer/The Auditor himself and big make-up man Gary J. Tunniclife and Paul T. Taylor as the new Pinhead, who’s got some nice point shoes to fill out.
GJT: Well thanks for inviting us, it’s great to be here. I only wish I could be there so I can get some Timmy Hortons.
We still got those around, don’t worry. [Martin of ScreenGeek is from Canada]
GJT: I don’t know where I am. I’m in Romania, we don’t have Timmy Hortons.
Yeah, although it’s starting to look more like a Starbucks these days.
GJT: No! We stay true to the Tim Hortons!
PTT: I’m clueless, but I’ll just remain silent until I know what you’re talking about. (laughs)
Its just Canada talk, its Canada talk.
PTT: Okay, okay!
So first question goes out to Gary. You’ve had a very long history in the Hellraiser films: many roles [with] make-up, writing with some of the films and it had that huge transitional period from the original films to the third one, afterwards the train wreck of other films that were coming prior [to Judgment], and you coming back to trying to get the film to much more of its core roots. What did you find most interesting about artistically translating the franchise back to its core roots and to a more modern audience? Aside from the budget of course.
GJT: You know, I didn’t think about it really. Hellraiser’s been such a difficult road, because I don’t think any one of the previous filmmakers has ever gone into it trying to make a bad film. All the films I was involved in, some more heavily than others, everybody went in trying to make the very best film they could. And even the splicing of other films into Hellraiser film, you have to look at it sometimes and think it’s not such a terrible idea. If you’re an executive and you got a good script, you purchase a horror film script and think it might be better as a Hellraiser, then why not? You at least got to give Dimension films props for not trying to recycle the same film plot again and again and again and again. When I wrote Revelations, and please before you start screaming at me through the computer…
I know you’ve had enough. I’m specifically staying silent. (laughs)
GJT: It’s okay! I didn’t direct it and Victor [Garcia] has taken a panning over that already and I’ve done it some, I’m not going to do it already. But that was a pure Hellraiser story. Very close to the kind of feel of the original. When I came to doing Judgment, I decided to throw caution to the wind and do something that would make me happy. I’ve kind of quoted the line of Frank N. Furter from the Rocky Horror Picture Show when I say “I didn’t make it for you, I made it for me”. And that’s what I did with the film and at the end with Judgment, I tried to weave in the old with the Cenobites, the new with the Syngian Inquisition and the Auditor and his character, then a police story which really appeased Dimension because it’s trying to hang its hat on the story and it would be lovely to do a twisted love triangle story kind of akin to the first film or filled with desire, seduction and sexuality but unfortunately the studio aren’t fans of those elements and think it will put audiences off, so we went with something more traditional.
I know people have said it’s a rip-off of “Seven” which I really kind of take offense to really because apart to the gimmick of the 10 Commandments, which is similar to the Seven Deadly Sins I suppose, everything else is completely different. I mean, John Doe’s character is completely different, his gender is completely different and it has nothing to do with anything. IT doesn’t turn out one of the detectives is John Doe in that. So when people dismiss it as a “Seven” rip-off, I kind of take offense to that. And then when people say “Oh, there’s nothing original!” or “It doesn’t add anything to the mythology of the canon”, again I’m like really? Are you watching the same film as me? Because I gave you a character called the Auditor, a character called The Assessor, a character called The Jury, a character called The Butcher and The Surgeon, the first role of many which are completely new mythology which you’ve never seen before. All I tried to do really was bring to it…when I saw the first film, I felt a lot of intrigue, I love that first couple of minutes when you first see Pinhead and you really don’t know who he is or what he’s doing or what’s going on and I tried to do that with the first 12 minutes with the Auditor so you would be unsettled but mesmerized hopefully or intrigued by what was going on, and I’m sure there are people who watched it and said “what the hell is this?” and turned it off or went to make a cup of tea. But hopefully horror fans would say “whoah, this is kind of cool and kind of weird and kind of crazy”. So that’s what I was trying to do. I didn’t go on about having a mantra, I just think as a Hellraiser fan I kind of let it…ooze out of me really.
Same thing when I did No More Souls. People have watched that and said it feels like a Hellraiser, it’s genuine, it’s authentic. Some people have said the same thing about Judgment. Some very kind critics have said it feels the most authentic since the first couple films and I think that comes from being immersed in it, being on set and looking at a frame and thinking “that doesn’t look like Hellraiser, this doesn’t feel like Hellraiser”. When we did Bloodline, for instance, there were times when we would shoot scenes and Kevin Yagher [the director] would go “could you PLEASE go and help? Could help the set dressers? Or just do something? Because I don’t think they know what Hellraiser is supposed to look like”. And I say to the production designers and set dressers “why have you done this or done that? He doesn’t look like that in the Hellraiser films!”. And they would say the line you would never want to hear from a production designer or set dresser: “Oh, I’ve never watched the Hellraiser films.”
PTT: Oh no. You can’t…it’s a franchise!
That just stings!
GJT: And I’m like “Why are you here then? Why are you working here?” It’s awful. So yeah, if you’re a painter who loved Picasso and are obsessed by him or if you were into [Francis] Bacon and [Francisco] Goya, I would hope your painting would look like Bacon and Goya. It’s funny, we were just talking about Judge Dredd, and I remember an artist in England called Chris Halls, who’s known a Chris Cunningham now, a brilliant avant-garde kind of video director like Rubber Johnny and stuff like that. But you know, when Chris would do a drawing, it would look exactly like Simon Bisley’s work, you know?
Bisley’s one of my favorite artists too!
GJT: Oh, I knew that when you mentioned Dredd, so you know. (laughs) But it was literally everything Chris would draw was like a Bisley clone, he was just a massive Bisley fan. So I think in the same way if you were to look at Chris’s work and said “wow, it’s authentically Bisley” then I think it was because he was immersed in that. The same with me and the Hellraiser world, if it feels and has an inherited quality of Hellraiser it’s because I’m immersed in the world of Hellraiser and Clive Barker for a long time.
Well, that kind of goes onto the next question actually. You’ve gone with many roles. You started with make-up, even mentioning yourself just now having to help at certain points for them to understand the world and atmosphere of Hellraiser in general and you’ve gone to writing, directing and even acting alongside your favorite Cenobite Pinhead…or I should say “The Hell Priest” or he’ll fucking kill me.
Paul, why are you looking at me like that?
But you’ve had a lot more creative responsibility for making this gritty and much more coherent Hellraiser film. But you’ve also made the fan film No More Souls.I’m a guy that really enjoys fan films and I did mention before I was even even making one myself. It’s something that feels much more pure, like you said, really immersing yourself to the world. It felt like such a pleasing return to the Hellraiser films, which kind of had this more high-brow with how it was doing it. I understand after the first two films, it went from being British-American to being more like of an American thing. They obviously tried to make Pinhead a lot more Freddy-esque in that regards when he started wreaking havoc. I was just wondering with your work in the film, did any experiences from the projects or stuff you learned help you with our preparation for Judgment?
GJT: In terms of which department? In terms of the writing, the direction, the make-up department or anything else?
Well, let’s go with directing because obviously this is your big debut to doing an official Hellraiser thing. You’ve worked with make-up and writing before.
GJT: Yeah, I’ve directed as well. I’ve directed a bunch of films. It’ just that they weren’t horror films. I’ve done children’s films, I’ve actually worked with quite a few well-known actors. In terms of the family films I did with Dakota Fanning, Christopher Lloyd and Chevy Chase, so I cut my teeth there. And second unit movies kind of teach you a lot of that.
For Hellraiser again, I just think for anybody who is going to direct I think if you watch a lot of films and you are a studier of horror cinema, then you start to frame things in a certain way and look at them a certain way. To be honest with you Martin, it’s really….the biggest problem when you’re shooting in 15 days is that you’re trying to get as much coverage as you can and make the film look good at the same time and that’s what makes it very very difficult and hard so you kind of have to pick your battles a little bit. I chose to get through most of the procedural stuff with very standard coverage, then spend a little time on the opening audit and the finale with everything and also the killing of Crystal Lanning. The preparation I had and what I learned over the years, from working on all kinds of films whether it be Gone Girl with David Fincher or Sleepy Hollow Tim Burton or low-budget schlock was not wasting time and really use my days and get as much as I possibly could. It’s a very different rhythm to a film when it’s big budget, I mean there’s a reason films like Gone Girl look a certain way, or Sleepy Hollow or Blade because you have two hours to light a set whereas on something like Judgment you have 15 minutes to light a set so it’s a lot of pressure on my DP.
GJT: I remember being on Sleepy Hollow and seeing two steady cam rigs and two cameras just sitting there idle and a scorpion rig and thinking “god, I could take some of this equipment and just go shoot my own movie, just sitting there with the crew just sitting idle”. While Emmanuel Lubezki, who is an absolute genius cinematographer would spend 2-3 hours lighting it a set, making it look gorgeous. Painting with light literally, and we don’t have time to do that so it’s very easy for people to condemn a film like Judgment and say “Oh, it looks low budget.” Well, it is low budget, you idiot, you know what I mean? This film was made…
Direct to video.
GJT: Yeah, but it was made probably made for less than the craft service budget for a couple months on The Avengers. So you have to give it certain…
GJT: I mean just give it a bit of leeway when watching it, you know? But I mean all of it and No More Souls and everything else, I personally I would make what I think looks nice for me and what I can do at the time and then try and get through it. Someone asked thinking about sequels and stuff like that. That never came into my mind, I was trying to get through the shoot and make sure we had enough to do a decent job. I knew we couldn’t come back and do reshoot or do pick-ups and all that. I had to get everything on the day. I had to get all my inserts, coverage, and the slightest thing that went wrong would have massive ripples. One of the first days we shot, my dear Hell Priest we…
PTT: Oh no. (laughs) Cough! Cough!
GJT: Yes, I’m going to unveil this to the world! Martin is going to get a nice exclusive now.
You has such sights to show me!
GJT: Can you hear him groaning already, Martin? You’re going to get an exclusive here today.
PTT: It’s brilliant. It was just…brilliant on my part.
GJT: So the first line of Pinhead when he says “Evil seeks evil”, we wanted to do a little trick where if you look in the first film when Pinhead says “I’ll tear your soul apart”, smoke comes out of Doug’s mouth. And this was done very cheaply and very easily by simply inhaling a cigarette and breathing out the smoke. Doug was, and he still is, an avid smoker and did this very easily and it’s something we did again in Bloodline when he said “I am pain.”
Oh, I love that moment!
GJT: Yeah, so for Paul’s first line we wanted him to say “evil seeks evil”. He arrived on set and I said “you smoke, right?” And he was like “Oh, oh yeah yeah.”
PTT: I did quit smoking, yes.
GJT: But, you know, he was huffing and puffing and trying to get this thing and I didn’t see enough smoke and he was inhaling more and more smoke. You haven’t smoked for a while, had you Paul?
PTT: Well, I started smoking to lower my voice, which I as it turns out was completely unnecessary, but also because we had spoken about that moment, which I was like “Yeah, I’m going to make this easy. I’ll be able to smoke” and I assured you it was going to work, that I had been smoking and that I could do it. Maybe I should have been smoking a lighter cigarette, I don’t know. (laughs)
GJT: So we kept trying and I wasn’t seeing the smoke, and all of a sudden it was like “Paul needs to step away for a second” and I was like “okay” and focused my attention on something else.
PTT: My face was green or something through the make-up.
GJT: One of my guys was like “Eh, you need to come outside and check on Paul for a second” and there’s Paul with the costume, literally opened up and he’s kind of sitting there looking at me and as soon as I looked at him, even though all the make-up and 138 pins, I was like “Oh dear, he doesn’t look so good, does he?”. And Paul, I think was in a panicked situation where he was thinking “I’m going to screw up here!”
PTT: I was devastated! I thought I ruined the whole shoot. I just all “I’m never going to work again!”
GJT: I could see the sweat pouring out of you and was like “Oh, I know that feeling is like”. When you’ve worn a lot of creatures suits and costumes and overheating in the situation so I said “no problem”. I said to my guys “just let him relax” and I went up and was “Paul, its okay, calm down. We’ll get to you in a minute.” But I had to think on my feet and run back on set and realize we couldn’t shoot without Pinhead so we had to turn around and find something else to shoot for 20-30 minutes while Paul recomposed.
You know, that’s the reason again. Somebody recently was like “Oh, the end of the film, the battle with the angel should be much bigger, you know? She’s a warrior of heaven.” and yeah! I’d love to do a big battle between an angel and Pinhead, I would! Chains bursting out the walls, battling between two supernatural forces, but on my budget? Noooooo no no no. The 10 million version? The 5 million dollar version? The one million dollar version? We could probably doing something. But I’m afraid that’s why when it came to writing the film, there was no point of writing the car chases and absiding down the Burj Khalifa. I had to do a scene that was a car chase where it was one character sitting in a chair and another character sitting in a chair. It was all dialogue.
The high-brownness came from I think…I‘ve always loved the fact Clive Barker writes such eloquent dialogue and being raised on things like Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing and those wonderful Hammer characters where they would be very eloquent which I always found that kind of fascinating. I decided to write these car chase, dialogue sequences with The Auditor and Pinhead and interrogation sequences basically because I thought we could make them interesting but at the same time they could be a level of eloquence to it. Pinhead, the Hell Priest, for me, was always fascinating because it’s like you wanted to know more, or when he spoke, find what’s going on. I tried to infuse that with the Auditor and the other characters as well so it’s like you’re intrigued. Because they talk and because they’re eloquent and they’ve a boast, they’re not just a blunt tool, they’re not a guy with a machete or a chainsaw.
Yeah, there is an elegance to that.
GJT: Yeah, and I think that’s something missing with horror characters these days. Everything is all…
Everything is a rugged psycho bad guy for the sake of being a bad guy, you know?
GJT: Yeah, and I mean I think there’s something about a grunting, hulking menace. I do, I understand it. There is something sinister about a figure that doesn’t speak, or a masked figure. But I also think there’s room for a figure that can talk. I mean obviously you’ve got to be very careful because someone like Pinhead has to be practical when he speaks. If he talks for too long, he could be like a clanging bell or a Bond villain. It’s nice to have him kind of get on with it. The Auditor you could afford a little leeway because he’s got a job to do. Plus he’s grotesque looking, and you realize he could be dangerous. He could also talk, because he is interviewing essentially. And that’s where he maybe has that bit of high-brow. I wasn’t trying to be arrogant or anything, I was, like I said just trying to fill in time. (laughs)
So at the same time, with limitations constraints and….honestly Pinhead should never be the center of attention really, like look at all the previous films that he did well and he was…like even at the first film, he was barely in it for past the 5-6 minute mark, I think?
GJT: 6 minutes, yeah! 6 minutes in the first film. Again, with someone like that, with a character like Pinhead, when he turns up, he needs to be proactive, and if he starts talking too much…you know, we talk about this thing in horror all the time, the law of diminishing return, which is the more you see him, the more you understand him, the more you start to look at him and go “Oh, he’s just a man…”. It starts to weaken him, I think. If we did do a sequel and Paul’s character found his way back into the Order of the Gash, it would be great to make him really nasty. I’d love to do a movie where Pinhead is just vicious, doesn’t take anyone’s business, doesn’t mess around.
PTT: Yeah, me too!
Well, Paul you’re taking center stage here.
PTT: Am I? Okay! (laughs)
Oh yeah! I was actually going through your previous interviews about you getting into the character of the Hell Priest….not Pinhead.
PTT: Right. (laughs)
And I recall you mentioned a certain times you talked a lot about studying the character in the dark or kind of relishing everything in darkness. The thing I always saw with Pinhead, like we said before. He’s kind of this looming presence with morbid curiosity and existential dread.
He’s never this center of attention, it’s the other characters that set up the situation for him instead. I really feel you replicated this coldness, this sophistication from the original really well.
PTT: Thank you, good! Good!
At the same time I noticed, especially with the ending there, about him actually going through the “suffering”, there was this vulnerability of emotion and emptiness that really hasn’t been present with Pinhead since the second film, which he ironically also turned human [if you’ve listening to this, you’ve probably already seen the film, so spoilers]. I understand this is a different Pinhead altogether, we don’t even know if this is the same kind of Pinhead that was Captain Elliot. What do you feel you brought new with this imaginative interpretation of Pinhead that made his presence so familiar yet effective?
PTT: I think where it started was with the script of course because unlike some other Hellraiser films, Pinhead actually has sort of an arc, a storyline in this. He does change and he has been different in movies from the past. From the very beginning, he’s different. He’s older, or more jaded or something. There is a difference about him from the previous other Hell Priests and I think starting from there. But as far as the vulnerability goes, just as an actor myself, I’ve been told this before and so I believe it’s true because I’ve been told by so many people, that no matter what I play, I do bring some vulnerability to it. And I think I sort of relish that because I think that’s important in actors and in characters to have that vulnerability so that they are relatable, even if you are playing a monster like Pinhead, who is obviously not only human but supernatural, so how much can we relate to that? We can’t really relate to being supernatural. But I think that’s basically where it came from. I mean, no matter what I’m playing, whether a villain or a nice guy, whatever, there is that vulnerability.
For me, it came from my own history and my own experience with all the thing Pinhead is about like suffering and existing in the dark and maybe not feeling like a monster, but just having the presence. He is a monster of sorts. I’m not saying he’s a victim at all, but I think there may be a bit of self-pity going on at this point in his existence only because he’s been doing it for this long that…bored is the right word? I think he might be a little bored, some jaded?
My own history, some people know this about me, some people don’t, I was a very self-destructive youth and at one point, and it wasn’t really that long ago, I discovered that I had Hepatitis C and I didn’t go for the cure because my doctor at the time told me it only had a 40% success rate and so to go on with my life and I was feeling okay, so go on and go on. So 7 or 8 years later I’m starting to feel it and I’m feeling like crap all the time, and I’m basically preparing to die all the time because I’m thinking…I’m suffering in this dark house, I’m isolating myself and just feeling miserable and victimized which, you know, that’s not Pinhead, he’s not victimized at all, but…I sort of had that to tap into, I had to suffer, and I mean truly suffer, know that I was suffering. Sometimes when we’re younger, I don’t think we really get that. As I said, I had something of a self-destructive youth and that came from my own sense of what I was being told who I was by other people and how I needed to change that and pretend to be something else. I took that in and it was self-hate. It’s so crazy because 7 or 8 years later, I’m offered the cure, go through a drug trial, it cures me and then 7 or 8 years from that, I get this opportunity to audition for Pinhead and it’s was just at the perfect moment in my life where I had been working with the universe, I’ve been meditating, I’ve been putting the positive out there, getting rid of all the negative self-talk, really changing my life so I can bring more abundance into my own life and more film roles, and this opportunity came up. And so I had that to draw on and had the opportunity come earlier in my life, I wouldn’t have believed that it could happen, but because of all this work I’ve been doing, I did believe it, all I had to do was switch it on in my own head and say “wait a minute…this is exactly what I’ve been asking for!”
But then I also had the history of being in a miserable place to draw on being on the pain and the darkness that I think that Pinhead…the Hell Priest in this particular script is maybe dealing with. Now that’s not all he’s dealing with of course, but I had that to go into and anytime I can sit in the dark and draw on that while I was preparing to play the part, that was valuable to me. It was also this scary neighborhood that I live in and when I first moved in, it terrified me to live here because I had too much fear of it. Taking long walks down dark alleys in this neighborhood, which is not the smartest thing to do, but that’s what I was doing and I was working on “I am Pinhead, you cannot hurt me”, you know, that’s what I was working on personally. And it’s been really different for me as far as “no fear”. It’s been a long road, but the vulnerability is always going to be there because I am, as I know many artists are, am a sensitive person, probably overly sensitive, so I absorb other people’s energy. But that can be good if you channel it the right way. The vulnerability is sort of just there, I can’t even help it. And I’m so glad you and the people are seeing that and getting that because I mean, I’m wearing black contact lenses. Nobody can see the windows of my soul, nobody can see my eyes. So the fact people are sort of seeing a vulnerability is really wonderful, I’m really proud of that and happy. And I think I’ve run out of answer now… (laughs) I have wound down.
It was such a personal story, so I just didn’t want to interrupt (laughs). I got to say, as someone who went to acting myself, one of the most important things I ever took into life was my drama teacher’s words, which was “acting isn’t about putting on a mask, but taking the one you have off”, and I think you just poetically described it with such an experience. I have to say, it’s kind of amazing you found that sort of strength to go through with this and you should be very proud of yourself.
PTT: Well thank you, thank you. I really appreciate it.
In addition to that, you mentioned yourself before you were a huge fan of Hellraiser growing up, even dubbing the Hell Priest as your favorite icon, horror icon.
You being a huge fan of the franchise yourself, I’m just wondering….the first time you saw him on screen, I was wondering if you could describe your initial reaction.
PTT: I was shocked! It was 1987, I was quite naïve back then and all I could think about, and looking at the nails in the head was the pain that the character must be in. It hadn’t even occurred to me that even though what we’re talking about is experience, the pleasure and pain, everything that Pinhead and the original Hellraiser is about, it didn’t occur to me at the time. It’s like “no, that…he’s in agony! How can anyone stand it to…”. I was so astonished by that, and the torn nipples and all the flesh that was exposed and just….but I couldn’t look away. At the same time, I thought they were sexy as fuck, I mean, Pinhead of all people…
These guys know their fashion.
PTT: Yeah! Of all the horror icons from the 80s, I mean look at Dracula as well of course: sexy, sexy, sexy. But all these horror icons from the 80s, Pinhead is the sexiest! He can’t help it! Because Clive Barker…that’s what he’s about. This was sexy to Clive Barker, so it’s sexy, you know? There’s the leather, there’s piercings, the pain. And it wasn’t until later in my life when I had a little more experience perhaps “sexually” and perhaps opened up to a little more to the possibilities with pain vs. pleasure, just a little visitation to that world that I realized “no, this guy is in ecstasy all the time!” That was fascinating to me, but that didn’t come til later, I mean the first time I saw him, all I could think about was the pain. I was very naïve back in 1987, I was living in the middle of Kansas, for god’s sake. I had a very white bread upbringing and didn’t get the exposure to that kind of thing at all. I don’t know where anyone would have found an S&M bar in Kansas, but you know? I didn’t go looking because I was freaked out a little bit! But just mesmerized, I was just mesmerized. It was much like the first time I saw the Rocky Horror Show and the lips showed up and I was like “Oh my god, what is this?” Then Frank N Furter comes on stage and it’s like “Oh, my god!” That one blew me away and that was before Hellraiser. So it was an eye-opening experience, but I never imagined that I would 30 years later, of course I didn’t care to dream that, that I could be playing that…that Hell Priest.
Yeah, you’re literally dressed up as a guy whose everyone’s worried their daughter is going to call them “daddy”.
PTT: Yeah, exactly, yeah. “Come to daddy!” (laughs)
And you even mentioned yourself during the audition process, you were even arming yourself with a little Pinhead figure.
PTT: Yeah! Because I first auditioned for The Auditor!
What a great character too!
PTT: Yeah, the first line with the audition is, what, “we have such sights to show you” and I immediately was like “Oh my god!”. They’re not calling this a Hellraiser film, but this totally a Hellraiser film, this is so exciting! I secretly, in a little shopping bag, took my NECA Pinhead action figure and my NECA puzzle box to the audtion and pulled it out once I walked into the audition room just with the casting director and then…
And then they knew!
PTT: Yeah. He said “, you know, you could hold that Lament Configuration,for your audition.” I said “No, I don’t want to, I didn’t rehearse with it, so I’m not going to do that. Let me just do what I have been doing, rehearseing, because…I’ve got to nail this and I can’t be distracted by this”.
Oh, you nailed it alright, pun intended.
PTT: No pun intended, yeah I know. But thank you. But you know, I did hold it for my slate, I believe I was holding both of them. I’m like “I’m Paul T. Taylor from Dallas, and this is my…these are my action figures” (laughs) It’s so nutty. You know what I really love? And Gary, I didn’t find this out until later. I didn’t know this! Gary was the creative consultant for the action figures!
PTT: I was reading the back of the box. Yeah! All of mine were out of the package, I didn’t have the packaging. So I got one after I got the part, I got one I haven’t had before, I don’t remember which one….but anyway, I read the box and read “Gary J. Tunnicliffe”. What?! I actually think I found that out when I went to get my head cast, because you had…I don’t remember. He might have told me. But I didn’t know when I auditioned and I always figured that’s so cool!
Yeah, the NECA ones are pretty good, now that I think about it.
PTT: Oh they’re so great! So great! The detail!
Yeah, but this is the one I recently got myself.
GJT: Which one do you have, Martin?
It’s the Mezco 12 inch, the blood version that was exclusive on their site. But someone in one of the Facebook groups I’m in mentioned he had one that was willing to ship it out. These guys are hard to find.
GJT: The only one I have is the Sideshow Premium Format but I repainted it and redid the skirt completely.
PTT: That’s awesome!
I’ve always been a big figure guy myself.
PTT: Who isn’t?
GJT: Dude, Hot Toyz is like the devil’s candy.
PTT: Absolutely. I had a friend who would go into comic book stores and we were buddies, I’d go with him to comic book stores. But I was never into comics. As a kid, I loved comics, but I wasn’t ever into comics, I never became an adult collector. But if it was a comic book store that had action figures, that’s where you’d find me. I rediscovered action figures in my 20s and was like “Oh, my god” and started collecting again.
GJT: I could make you both completely sick if you want with this.
GJT: When we did Sleepy Hollow, when we were doing all the severed heads and all the character stuff, the producer came in and said “so we had interest in some company that want kind of do figures, some action figures of our stuff. You want to deal with them?”. I was like “who is it?”. The producer said “some company called McFarley or McF…”
GJT: I was like “McFarlane? Really?”. “Yeah, do you want to deal with them?” “Yeah, I’ll deal with them. I’ll take care of them”. So they send this guy over and so I showed him all around and spent tons of time, tons of time showing him everything, taking photos, explaining what I had in mind and he said “Oh, thanks for helping us set this so much” and I say to him “Oh no problem! Also, I love your guy’s stuff. Really . I really love your guy’s stuff”. They say “really, you do? You love it?”. “Oh yeah! I love, love your stuff!”. For the next two years, every month. Boxes would show up in my workshop. Boxes!
PTT: Ooooh, god. McFarlane….
GJT: And I’m talking about boxes. Oh my god, I’d get three of everything, everything! For what it was, it was ridiculous, it was ridiculous. Everything that came out. It got to a point where…do I sell my stuff? It was crazy, they were fantastic to me.
PTT: That is fantastic, oh my god.
I am quivering at the thought of it.
GJT: Oh no, the first time I got three giant boxes turned in with three of everything, I was giving them to my crew member and stuff. And then every month they kept turning up, every month it was like “really?”. If I ever saw anything I liked, I would call them up and they were fantastic, the guys from McFarlane were fantastic. It was an exciting time because in the late 90s was…I’m sure you remember it, it was model kits, you got to assemble, paint them, put them together, it was an arduous task. Within days or months, McFarlane broke the entire mold and started doing these high-quality action figures which, if you look back in the 90s they weren’t so high quality, but now, I mean, they took it to a different level completely. It changed the entire model kit industry, completely destroyed the model kit industry.
PTT: Yeah, I was doing garage kits, there was point there for probably 5 or 6 years I was doing garage kits. You know, all that resin. I got an airbrush, I was specifically really into Tim Curry characters. I did Frank N Furter, I did Darkness from Legends, that was not a garage kit actually, I did Pennywise but it was called “Wisepenny”, because trademark.
Yeah, it was probably a licencing.
GJT: Licencing! We sculpted around kits, you know?
PTT: Yeah, and there was one more…
GJT: We actually sculpted some ram kits with a kit company with Mike Regan called Viscious Kits, we did an Angelique bust, we did several Cenobite concepts, we did Creature of the Crystal, it was a great time actually. It was then that MonsterPalooza was born actually and I ironically enough, a company called Sideshow started it off as a model kit company, and Sideshow is one of the leading premium format kit companies.
PTT: Beautiful stuff, god beautiful…and expensive!
Yeah, oddly enough it’s a very consuming hobby. This is from someone who collects Mezcos and Transformers Masterpieces and all the sorts of McFarlane toys. Oof.
PTT: Yeah, I’m really into Mezco. I have been for years. I’m trying to quit.
A lot of the figures I use for my film project are actually Mezco, if not made by hand by my friend. But oh man, have we lost track over here! Our love for action figures, sorry guys! (laughs)
So the next thing, the Auditor was a great character. I feel he’s one of the monstrosities that for once has been, you know…
GJT: Oh, hold on a second, you talking to The Auditor?
Oh, this is my next question.
GJT: But you’re talking about The Auditor.
GJT: Would you like me to go and get the Auditor?
GJT: If you’d want to talk to the Auditor, I can get him if you want. He’s here I think, he’s around.
Oh, sure! Please!
Auditor: Ah! Good evening? Yes, how are you?
How are you doing my friend?
Auditor: I am fine, thank you. Usually I am the one asking the questions, but now we will let you ask for a while.
Well, that is very honorable, Mr. Auditor sir. I just have to say, how you would describe your relationship with the Hell Priest himself? You obviously seem a lot more fleshed out than Pinhead would with his usual Cenobite crew, which would kind of be the usual yes guys around.
Auditor: Ah, I think I regard him with a certain amount of authority. He is somebody I look to for advice in the job I have to do.
And being all up and close with the Hellraiser himself, not the actor and director of course, do you think feel there was a certain transition process with helping the Hell Priest himself embody his own character?
GJT: I’ll jump in and help my friend The Auditor. Helping him in what way, you think?
Well, they actually had some moments of dialogue exchange. A lot of moments in the Hellraiser franchise is rarely any kind of interaction with Pinhead with another Cenobite, unless it’s like Angelique or The Doctor in the second one. And for once we have kind of someone who is a bit more of a monstrosity like he is and that isn’t human talking to him in a less…threatened level, someone more level headed.
GJT: Ah, I understand! I think this really goes back to what I said at the beginning, which is I kind of wrote what I wanted to see which I felt…the Cenobites, let’s face this, The Auditor is not a Cenobite. The Order of the Gash and the Cenobites are a faction that do what they need to do, very specific agenda. The Stygian Inquisition, which is more a soul-processing machine, there is an inter-office relationship between The Auditor who is running his division and Pinhead who clearly has sort of an authority over this or would be used by The Auditor to hunt down or track down candidates that got away or find out more information, or again, candidates that they feel were liable to be finders of the box. There are characters in the Stygian Inquisition that we haven’t met yet called The Sentinels, who watch the human being’s day-to-day lives, they know what we’re up to, and they know the dark characters. They would be pass the information off to Pinhead, the people they would be intercepting. You know that the way in the first film, that great mythology of the box, “it’s yours. Take it, it’s yours, it was always yours”. I think that there’s an idea that certain people are going to be drawn to the Lament Configuration or find their way to it or was already going to be given to them. I love the idea that personally a box is being made for anyone who finds it, kind of like a bullet with your name on it kind of thing. In terms of the Auditor, it was a situation I had never seen before, Pinhead having a conversation with someone equally ghastly but with no kind of menacing agenda. With Channard in the second film, it’s kind of like they’re logging head and they’re going to fight, while with Angelique she doesn’t understand him and he doesn’t understand her.
It’s more conflicting. With this one, it’s just like a guy talking to another guy.
GJT: It’s more symbiotic, yeah. It’s more of a water cooler chat kind of thing. To me, it was interesting to have that kind of dynamic explored because we’ve never seen it before. Selfishly or narcissistically, I wrote what I wanted to see, which a situation was where Pinhead would have a conversation. It’s like watching Frankenstein and his assistant have a chat, Frankenstein and Igor talk. What are they talking about, what are they chatting about. It’s a little bit more mundane, I have a fascination with horror characters, wondering what they’re doing when they’re not doing what they do. Like what does Michael [Myers] do? Does Michael eat, does Michael go to the bathroom?
Does he take a shit?
GJT: Yeah, does Freddy jerk off? What do they do when they’re not doing this? Does Jason hang up his machete? That’s what I loved about Leatherface in Texas Chainsaw Massacre. You got a backstory to those characters, you knew they were doing things. I know it’s written in the mythology of the Cenobites that they’re back in their cells and pace around, and I didn’t want to do that. So I wanted to give a more Gilliam-esque sense of hell. Had I a bigger budget, had bigger money, there’d be vast rooms of soul processing going on and you’d realize it’s all interconnected kind of like dimensionally and stuff. Really that’s where it came with The Auditor. I didn’t want to write a foil character where he battled with him, I wanted to write a degree of sympathy between them or a degree of understanding? Give you impression there was a relationship that was ongoing and an understanding. Clearly The Auditor…talking with Pinhead being bored, I think he is. I think he’s weary with everything. It’s like harm and suffering and indulging into it, how different is it every time every time with knowing someone’s flesh and knowing their experiences. If he’s doing it for a long time, maybe he is a little bored. I think The Auditor is more blue collared and is…
He’s like an accountant kind of.
GJT: He is a cleric or an accountant. I said it’s like being Itzhak Stern in Schindler’s List. He’s trying to move through hell and grease the wheels so he cans survive and keep doing what he does. Does that answer the question at all?
Yes it does. I always found it interesting with him having a much more toned conversation with Pinhead, talking like another individual with equal monstrosity instead of the others that are “oh my god, he’s going to kill me!”, “wait, I have a bargain!”
GJT: He is observant to it, I mean he’s definitely weary of him. Only at the very end he’s like “oh, I think you really fucked up there.”
GJT: And that was always the fun of that character, being like “really, you’re really want to do that?”. And the fun to me to give Paul character is in his scenes with Helena [Grace Donald] was “you don’t give a fuck about this woman”. Even though she’s an angel, you’re like “don’t try to teach me about this world.” That’s where I felt he came to life and there is an arc to his character. When you see him in the beginning, he’s a little tired or bored, there is an arrogance to his character. And then in the end, that arrogance comes out full flesh with the way he is. Again, Pinhead is manipulating the system as well.
PTT: I’d like to think that the thing with the relationship between The Auditor and Pinhead, versus the relationship between Gary and Paul, there is a delineation between them as far as Pinhead being more in charge and The Auditor, you know, they have a mutual respect in a working relationship. But by Office Space in hell, we have the boss, we have the middle management, I thought that was very cool. But you turn it around really because Gary is the director of the film and so it’s funny because when we’re doing the scenes, okay, Pinhead is in charge, but then when it’s “cut!”, no, The Auditor is in charge the whole time because he’s the director. I just think that’s kind of funny.
GJT: (laughs) No, it was funny. It is funny to play observant and be like…I have to tell you, there is a weird moment when you’re acting and I don’t want to get into the method of an actor, but I’m sure when Paul, when you’re playing the Hell Priest, you’re in character. When I’m playing The Auditor, I’m in character. There literally is, and I’ve never spoken to other directors/actors about this, but there is almost an out-of-body experience that occurs in when you’re in a scene and you’re doing a scene and when you’re delivering your dialogue, and it’s almost like the second body taps you on the shoulder and says “you have to say ‘cut’ now.” You have to go “oh yeah, fuck. I’m not really The Auditor, I’m actually a person.” So you have to step outside and tap yourself on the shoulder and go “and cut”. It’s very odd at times because it really is the class of schizophrenia or being…
PTT: Yeah, very sporadic.
GJT:It’s very strange, very strange to have to remind yourself. And at times, doing sequence scenes and you’re doing dialogue, you have that terrible moment sometimes when you start delivering dialogue and your brain starts going “I wonder if I need to do this again? Is the coverage alright on this? Fuck, concentrate on your dialogue, you idiot! You’re doing a scene, stop your brain wandering!” I would be interested to talk to other actors/directors about it but we muddled through, didn’t we?
PTT: We did muddle through! Talked to Kenneth Braunagh.
GJT: (laugh) Yes, I’ll talk to Kenneth next time in my next chat with him.
Well, if The Auditor can come back for two seconds, I do have a question for him.
Auditor: And go ahead then, yes.
Umm….What does Pinhead smell like?
Auditor: Ah…success! Leather and success!
Thank you, leather and success! You can’t get better than that, my friends. That is the scent of a Cenobite, guys!
PTT: That’s my new scent!
Auditor: If I do remember correctly, ah, smells of…what is it…
GJT: Oh, shit, I had the best line there for a second. Ah, yes!
Auditor: Let me tell you what Pinhead smells like: Sex Panther!
PTT: Oh my god…
Auditor: And it’s made from real panthers, I’ll have you know.(laughs) And it works 70% of the time.
GJT: It actually smells like pure gasoline, it really does.
That’s a huge mix of sensories coming right at me.
PTT: Gasoline is so intoxicating.
GJT: I could imagine it was Paul Rudd being asked the same question and doing the whole Ron Burgundy line. “He smells like Sex Panther”. Oh, he smells good. It’s a very strange question, Martin. I got to admit, it really caught me off guard. What does the Hell Priest smell like?
Eh, why not? I’m sure lot of people know how he is visually, and lot of people want to go with the extra senses. So why not?
GJT: He smells like Dark Wood and success.
PTT: Dark Wood. I wear English leather, actually.
GJT: Well, there you go.
PTT: Remember that? (laughs)
Auditor: All I know is he smells very good, yes. Very good.
Well, thank you for your time, Mr. Auditor.
Auditor: No problem, thank you very much. I’m sure I’ll be seeing you again sometime.
By the way Gary, can you see behind those? Without the sunglasses?
GJT: Ah, here’s an interesting point about that, a very interesting point and a painful point. The surface of the glasses are scratched up, so you can actually see they look, you know, I wanted detailed texture on it so they weren’t just clear lenses so they wouldn’t reflect the cameras, so they were scratched up. I didn’t really think about this until I put them on for the very first scene that I did. What it did unfortunately was turned the inside of the lenses into mirrors, so when I put those glasses, all I can see staring back at me are my own eyes. Which, as an actor, is really, very very difficult. Because you got two eyes looking straight back at you. And there were times when I was trying to do sequences with my eyes closed, when I’m sitting on the typewriter, but in the end I had to just push through it. But it was the first time I put them on I was like “oh my god, this is a nightmare!” because all I could see are my own eyes looking straight back at me. It was painful, yes. Can you imagine that, Paul, how that was? Did I tell you about that, Paul?
PTT: I think you did. I forgot about it, but that is bizarre. It would make me crazy!
GJT: Oh, Paul. It was a nightmare. First time I put them on I was like “oh my god” and I can’t do anything. But I just got these two reflections of my own eyes staring straight back at me, “this is bad. This is really bad.”
One thing interesting I noticed a few set photos here and there, there seems to be a tradition of the Hell Priest enjoying a pizza on set while in costume with Doug Bradley and Paul specifically as well. Any idea what Pinhead’s favorite topping of pizza would be?
PTT: I would say…nipples….foreskin and black olives with ground glass and blood sauce. That’s…foreskin tastes just like calamari and…GOD, why am I saying this?! Jesus Christ.
GJT: I do have to interject on this. Paul’s eating pizza after he’s finished. We never normally let any actor eat pizza doing shooting because it damages the make-up.
PTT: The acid in the tomato sauce would just destroy…
GJT: No, it’s the fat. Any oil at all. But the photo on the image of Doug eating pizza, which I believe was in Hellworld or Deader, Doug actually is eating during shooting. It’s a testimony to Doug’s ability really because Doug is the only person or any actor I’ve ever worked it that can actually eat food and protect the make-up. It was because he’s worn it so long he learned how to do it, and he can actually eat a slice of pizza and not get any on his lips. It’s kind of amazing. So kudos to Doug for that one. But normally, we wouldn’t let anybody. It’s a prosthetic artist’s worst nightmare to see on the menu: melon or ribs or chicken wings or pizza because they’re terribly greasy and it’s frightening and it’s happened in situations where you make-up on a stunt man person or an actor who’s not so familiar and walk off, then come back with half a lip hanging off. And it’s all “What have you done?” “Oh, I went and had a snack and the lip fell off.” “Well, what were you eating?” “I was eating a plate of ribs” And I’m like “you idiot…”
Oh god damn…
GJT: Yes, so Paul is having his make-up ripped off, and because we wouldn’t let him eat during the shooting, so he was ravenously hungry.
PTT: I was ravenous!
GJT: And when they’re pulling it off, deshedding him from his skin, he’s chunking at it with a slice of pizza. Rightly so, you know? We held him off food. But the shot of Doug, he’s actually midway through the day when he’s eating the pizza, that cheeky monkey. And I was like “what are you doing?!” and he actually..he had the ability to eat a piece of pizza without damaging the make-up, so yeah. One of Doug’s impressive skills.
PTT: Very impressive! I have to learn that. I did destroy the lip one day, I think it was the first day, it may have been your birthday. I tried to eat the meat and it didn’t work out. I didn’t destroy the lip. I remember it was your birthday, there was a cake! A Hellraiser cake!
GJT: I did! I had a birthday!
PTT: You did, yeah!
GJT: There not many birthdays you can have that are better than when you’re directing a Hellraiser movie and playing a character in make-up and its your birthday. It was a good time! I just celebrated my birthday the other day and realized it was two years ago. My wife said “did you enjoy your birthday?” and I said “No. it was okay, but trust me, the best birthday I had was two years ago when I was The Auditor on set directing a Hellraiser movie. THAT was a good birthday!
(laughs) Well, speaking of Doug specifically, the whole long-running franchise he’s always been the face of Pinhead. There were a lot of people super concerned about the whole why he backed out with the whole script thing. Has he ever gotten back with his thoughts on the film or Clive Barker? Because I know Clive Barker was kind of vocal with his tweet with the previous film, Revelations. Wondering if maybe they kind saw this as an approvable step up if you ever got word back from them.
GJT: I haven’t heard about Clive seeing Judgment yet. I’ve been in touch with several people in Clive’s organization and we were actually talking during production. But as you know, Clive’s health has been not been so good in recent years, and it’s been difficult to talk to Clive. My talking with Clive has changed but maintain relationships with people within his organization. Regarding Doug, I’m happy to say that myself and Doug recently communicated and talked about some of the issues. Things are doing better now actually.
PTT: Yay! That’s wonderful!
GJT: Yeah, it’s great. It’s very good. I’m sure everybody was aware there were some issues. It’s been wonderful to actually reconnect and talk about it. Doug feels this is Paul’s time in the sun to enjoy this character and have some fun with it.
PTT: Wow! Yay!
GJT: You know. I don’t want to say too much because we kind of agreed to keep it simple, because we both felt we’ve…if I said anything out there to offend Doug, then I apologize. And to the fans. But again people need to know…we actually received threats when Doug didn’t get this role or was passed on for the role, passed on signing the NDA and we decided to go on with another actor. I actually got a lot of nasty, very intense stuff. Some of that was why certain things were said but like I said, I never ever not said my admiration for Doug and the role he created, and my friendship for him, which I was very very sad about losing, but we made steps into moving forwards on this and it’s been nice to talk again and to discuss what’s going on and to discuss the film and…yeah. So I mean I would like to take this opportunity to extend an apology to Doug if anything I’ve said kind of offended him or the people around him. But we’re moving forward and it’s all good. He’s going to see the film at some point and has extended his best out to you, Paul and said you know…I’m sure you guys are going to meet and have a chat at some point in the future. Doug’s actually been very nice because his attitude and ability to fans, he’s said to fans that regarding not playing the character anymore, his attitude is a bit like “well, as far as I know, Sean Connery is not playing James Bond anymore but the Bond franchise seems to be doing very well, so there you go.”
PTT: Wow, that’s fantastic. That’s really fantastic!
Well, congratulations to both of you in regards to that. I actually listened to Mr. H’s talk with both of you [hi, Mr. H], I recalled there was that whole thing going on with Doug and I felt a little nervous asking this question at first with “do I really want to bring up old wounds in case something’s gone down?” but I just kind of went with the best intentions with this and I’m really glad there’s a positive answer.
GJT: Well, I think the wound’s been cleaned and a bit of antibiotic and lotion is on it and it’s got a good Band-Aid on it right now, so as no one picks with the wound, it should be healing nicely.
That’s phenomenal to hear. This question is for Gary. Paul, I’m sure you can input this as well. With Pinhead being…he feels like more of a supporting character than an antagonist with a lot of the films. Like we mentioned before when we started the call, he’s not a bad guy for just the sake of doing bad things. But there’s something that has always been scary about this kind of figure that you don’t know much about and is morally neutral and holds this black and white judgement and is able to do these horrid acts. I feel when you opened up with the politics of the Cenobites as well as the mythos, this made up a lot for the previous sequels where Pinhead was just there for no reason or had very confusing motivations or whatever the case, and I thought it was really awesome in the film. But do you feel in regards to Pinhead being this “less is more” character, do you feel putting this kind of mythos and introducing the politics of hell kind of adds less mystery to the character to the point it feels weaker?
GJT: Like I said, going back to the law of diminishing return, I think anytime a character is not doing anything productive, if he’s supposed to be a killer or supposed to be a protagonist and he’s not…”protagonizing”, as he would (laughs). If he’s not doing anything bad then what is he doing and should that weaken him? I’ve always gone with the idea in the stories, as kind of an homage to the first film, the Cenobites aren’t the bad guys. The humans are the bad guys.
The Cenobites are the heroes in the first movie, if you think about it.
GJT: Well, I don’t think they’re heroes, I’ve always had a very strong opinion on this that they’re debt collectors, and they’re the mob coming to get what’s theirs.
Well, had it not been for them, Frank would have killed her I guess.
GJT: Yeah, Frank was just trying to save his skin, literally. That’s always what he’s done, he wanted something, he’s experienced it and now he wants to get away. They’re just chasing him down. They’re just vig hunters. Sad thing was in Revelations, that’s the story I was going for there. In this, again, what I wanted to do was have Pinhead and the Cenobites be the sharp end of the spear for The Auditor. If The Auditor needed someone to go out and do his job, he could send Pinhead. I was trying to give him a slightly different task, but obviously when Dameon opened the box in the end, or has his brother and wife open the box, they are adulterers but again, Pinhead is going to do his thing and is going to have his way with the Preceptor at that point, but it’s only when the intervention with the angel that happens to change things up. Again, if I had a bigger budget, I wrote a script to the number I had. It’s literally like doing a dinner party and someone saying to you “right, we only have 25 dollars”, you’re going to be having a lot of chips and beer, that’s all you’re going to be having. If someone gives you $5000, then it’s like “oh, we’re going to cater this have a great barbeque, have a beautiful meal, we can invite everybody!” IF I had more money and a bigger budget, I would write a script that would allow Pinhead be a more proactive character, do more damage and have a different set of agendas. Like I said, it’s very difficult with these characters because kills? In order to do a kill effectively, it costs money. In order to have a Cenobites on camera, it costs money. Not only in terms of their costuming and their prosthetics and masks, but also what they’re doing. So it it’s expensive to have on set, so that’s why with the Stygian Inquisition we can do something a little cheaper, something about the accessories and easier, cheaper characters, so it had to be what he was doing that was creepy. Same with the Jury. If you can’t afford to do really nice costuming, you use nudity. And there are people all “oh, this guy is obviously just a misogynistic prick who just likes looking at naked breasts”, it’s like honestly it’s just easier to do. I didn’t have them fully nude. Some people are like “oh, you should have naked dudes on set”. Oh, okay, maybe I should have.
GJT: But it’s really my agenda with Pinhead or giving him tasks to do or having him do certain, it’s really based on budget, you know Martin? I had him do what I thought he could do, which was little. He can get into it at the end really, he changes up the game in his character, and then he changes up the angel. Had I had bigger money and budget, we could have done some other stuff in having him be practical in other ways.
I recall before Judgment was announced, the tenth Hellraiser installment was going all over the place. There was a reboot with Clive Barker going around.
GJT: Oh yeah, absolutely.
Yeah, Matyrs director Pascal Laugier…I hope I’m pronouncing that right. (he didn’t)
GJT: There were several people who were, I mean, Pascal Laugier and Todd Farmer wrote a great script, an amazing script. That was pretty far along.
And before it ended up in your own hands and the version we got now, how different was it from the vision you were originally trying to pitch to make a Hellraiser movie? Because I understand there could have been quite a few changes with scripts and budgets. How significantly different was it from the final product regarding to?
GJT: What, Judgment?
GJT: No, I wrote Judgment based…well I originally pitched an idea of Judgment, oh god, I think we were doing The Collector? I don’t remember what year that was. We were doing The Collector and they were searching for various scripts and I pitched a couple ideas and one was Judgment. This was just a three page kind of pitch. And then a couple of years later, some friends of mine, Stephen Ryans was like “Oh, you should do a Kickstarter movie”, everyone’s doing Kickstarter movies at the time. So I stripped away the Hellraiser aspect and went to have Judgment as a Kickstarter project, just as Judgment using the Stygian Inquisition and the cop story. Then I got some financing, then about 5 days in it kind of stalled. Everyone was like “Oh, you’ve got to go everyone you ever met and known and ask them for money” and I really didn’t like the idea of doing that. It just seemed a bit of tacky so I cancelled the whole thing and just let it go. So when the opportunity came to do write and direct a tenth Hellraiser film, I basically said “Oh, I have a story written to go, it was Judgment!” The only difference between the script that was written, and I didn’t write a script until the pitch, I basically did a scriptment, which was like a 10 page version of the script with lot of detail, and then I did 3 or 4 versions of that and various elements were whittled away by the studio, the original format was an audit, then an individual cop comes, then an another audit, then more Hellraiser stuff. But in the end when I knew what the budget was and then I got the greenlight to write the script, I mean, when I got the greenlight to write the script, first thing I said was “how much was the budget?” and then I wrote the script knowing what I thought we could shoot. I tried to be producer-friendly or studio-friendly, which is really important for writers. Anyone out there, it’s like when we talked about the Pascal Laugier script. He was a great scripter, him and Todd had writer. But when you read it, it was a 25 million movie. It was a big movie and it opened in Hong Kong and I’m thinking “wow, this is a big movie” and it was very exciting, but I remember reading it at the time I was like “really, is that going to make it? It’s big budget!” So I wasn’t surprised that it got nixed. But really with the script, I think started writing in the October and then we were shooting in the February so it was a pretty fast turnaround.
Speaking of that, a lot of the multiple films that were coming pretty much out after Hellraiser: Bloodlines. A lot of them were either ashcan copies or spec scripts and didn’t really integrate as much use as the original’s source material with the original films or even the novellas for that matter. Did you find any kind of influence with the Hellbound Heart or The Scarlet Gospels any way with this film or the comics? This goes to both you Gary and Paul here.
GJT: Regarding from the Hellraiser Chronicles, I took from that the idea that we could have the flavor of it. What I took from The Scarlet Gospels was the Christian mythology. We never heard anything about the Christian mythology until that point and I felt when Clive wrote that, it opened things up a little bit. It did give the Hell Priest a bit more of a kind of human character, I felt. Or made him have more human traits? But really, the Christian mythology. But if the studio came to me tomorrow and said “we’ve got 10 million dollars, what Hellraiser would you like to make?” Personally, I’d love to make a Hellraiser Chronicles movie, I’d love to see a film that had 5 stories. One that was 35 minutes long, one that was 45 minutes long, two that were 10 minutes long. Stories that were based around the box, whether they feature the Cenobites or the Lament Configuration or not. That’s why I felt, in a way, the Stygian Inquisition is something you might find in the Hellraiser comics. It wasn’t exactly all about Cenobites and just that, those characters.
Yeah, it feels more like a spin-off.
GJT: Yeah! There was something hellish about it. Personally, I might be speaking out of turn here and if Clive heard what I was saying he might saying either “thank you” or “what on earth are you talking about?”, but I tried to do something that felt true to Clive Barker. Have that kind of disgusting beauty to it what was inspired by the weird nature of [David] Cronenberg and David Lynch and also the feeling of a Goya painting or a Bacon image. So I was just trying to do something that was hideously bizarre, but really what I took from The Scarlet Gospels most importantly was the Christian mythology.
And Paul, did you get any kind of influence from the novellas because I know you watched the first few films to prepare for the role.
PTT: Yeah, but I’ve read the Hellbound Heart years before and so I reread that and because of the flavor of that and…you know, I don’t remember exactly when The Scarlet Gospels came out. Did it come out…but I remember reading it and thinking it was wonderful that at one point in the book, there’s this description of the demons being in the…or the Cenobites being, demons AND Cenobites in that book, umm being in the little cubicles and having their time and thinking it was such a wonderful connection to our script. Also what Pinhead goes through, he is a darker, more jaded, older Pinhead who just wants it to be over basically. I thought that was really cool that that was so connected to what Gary had written. Gary, what you said about Chronicles, I just think that’s such a wonderful idea, mostly because that’s…my favorite writing of Clive Barker IS the short stories, I mean the Books of Blood, etc. All these wonderful short stories that had been made, some of them into really great movies that I just love. I think that’s so cool because those are my favorites that Clive has written, so…I don’t even know if that has much to responding with you question but yeah, that’s all I can really say about that. That’s all I can think of.
Gary, in regards to the continuity of Judgment, people have seen it as a direct continuity, others see it as a soft reboot of sorts, but it seems a lot of the fans coming into Judgment are watching this out of the sake of continuity of the other films and I’m sure 10 movies of storytelling in that might have restricted from the different kinds of sequels that came in and segued from the original’s organic roots. Do you feel there was a film in the franchise that kind of did something that it shouldn’t have and it really veered the wrong way from there? Even like a least favorite film from the series.
GJT: I would like to have seen what 3 would have been like if Tony Randel had done it.
Tony Randel directed the second one, I believe.
GJT: Yeah, he was executive on the first film and he was on the second film. I’ve always maintained this that to me it’s incredible how much like the first film Hellbound is. It looks the same, feels the same, it has the same tone, and it’s just incredibly, you know, it’s like…
It feels like a genuine part 2. Of course, it would need to rely on it [Hellraiser].
GJT: Feels like back-to-back, you know what I mean? Really does, and I think Tony’s…Peter [Atkins] wrote the script for the 3 and Peter’s a great writer and Peter had written 2 and Peter and Tony had written 3 I believe. I just feel like Hell on Earth with [Anthony] Hickox behind it lead it to become bit more of an MTV kind of movie, a bit more, you know, trying to be commercial and trying to be different.
PTT: Yeah, yeah.
GJT: I‘d like to have seen what’d happen there Obviously, with [Hellraiser 5] Inferno, that was the first of the scripts that was taking an existing script and making it into something else. The only film I really…well, we made Deader and Hellworld back-to-back.
Yeah, I think it was the same year.
GJT: Oh, it was the same month.
PTT: Oh my god.
GJT: But I mean, it was shot, back-to-back. Deader in 6 weeks, had 2 weeks off and then shot Hellworld. We started in the October of 2001 and we finished on December the 23rd I believe in Romania. And there wasn’t a script for Hellworld, it wasn’t fleshed out fully. I remember vividly sitting in the business meeting room of the Marriott Hotel in Bucharest and bouncing around story ideas and trying to figure out concepts. From the very day one the concept was mentioned I was like “this sounds hideous, guys. I mean really, an internet movie? And there’s a game? Really? We’re really going to do this?” And Joel Soisson, who is a very dear friend who had written the story and I was like “really, Joel? We’re going down this? It’s like, really?” And so that one, I felt added very little to it and that was really the inspiration for me writing and doing No More Souls because when I felt we came from Hellworld, I was like “well, that felt as low as it could have gone”. I had a great time on the film and there were some great memories about it and some fun things about the shoot. I just felt that the script and the product it was more rushed than, or as rushed as, Revelations really. But I felt it was being, it wasn’t being…it wasn’t rooted…a lot of the times unfortunately the people who were involved with these scripts weren’t Hellraiser-ophiles or Clive Barker-ophiles and they were just writers who didn’t have a lot. You talk about my involvement, but from part 4 onwards it was many times when I’d be on set saying “you can’t do that, that doesn’t work in the lore of the Hellraiser universe.” Even something like Inferno, if you look at Inferno, the site of the guy’s body they find dead where they find the finger of the candle. If you look at the square of the candles, there are jars of urine, there are dove’s feathers and dove’s heads, which were all written about in the Hellbound Heart. I had gone in there and got the props people to get all of the props that were talked about in the Hellbound Heart and really tried to give it some more authenticity and those details were more missed over. But I became sort of a “Loregiver”, sometimes going “you can’t do that, why are you doing that? We can’t have this in that film! That doesn’t work within the mythos of the films!” So really, I guess Hellworld is the one I look at and go “eeek” the most. The one I had the most kind of “I wouldn’t want that” is Hellraiser 3, I just wonder what the film would have been like. I look back at Hellraiser 4 and going “oh god, you know what…”. I wish I would have directed that, because the money and the resources we had to make that film and to see it go horribly south and do all the reshoots and everything else. The final product isn’t what I thought the original script was. I thought Peter’s script was very cool and there was this wonderful kind of time-busting movie that started in 17th century France and modern day LA and then in the future, you know?
Yeah, everyone’s in space these days. Leprechaun, Jason, and now Pinhead.
GJT: Yeeeah, I mean…it does sounds awful, doesn’t it? Just hearing it say “Pinhead in space” or “Hell Priest in space”. But I mean, I saw it more as a future thing and had it been done…space is always a tricky one to do, isn’t it? There are people who do it right, you know, Alien and Ridley Scott, and then people who do it wrong, which looks cheesy and tacky. I think the right director on that project could have made it a great film, or maybe not. I don’t know. It’s so easy to look at these films in 2020 and say “Oh, they did this wrong, they did that wrong”, but I do look at Hellraiser: Bloodline and think “well, that was the last time we had a lot of money, there was some decent money on set” Again, the same way I look at all the films and have different memories, you can look at the films and have a bad taste about the film and have great memories. One of the best stories of my entire life is from Hellraiser: Bloodline (laughs). We had so many night we would stand around doing nothing, me and Doug, bored out of our brains. Bored out of our brains! They wouldn’t shoot us for hours. Doug would be sitting there in make-up, ready to go. One hour passed, two hours passed, three hours passed, four hours have passed and not using Doug and it was frustrating for me as a make-up artist and just incredibly tiring and boring for Doug.
I could imagine.
GJT: One night, we were sitting on set and I said to the ADs “Do you mind if me and Doug leave for a little while?” “Excuse me?” “Are you going to need us for a few hours?” “No”. They actually said “you could leave”. So we got in my car, Doug in full make-up…
GJT: Full make-up. We get in my car and we drove a quarter of a mile down the street to where they were shooting Lord of Illusion…
PTT: Oh my god. (laughs)
GJT: Which I was working on as well. It seemed like a great idea at the time, looking back it was the worst thing I could have possibly done. Because I walked on set with Pinhead. And I mean this was before cell cameras, this was 1994? Suddenly EVERYBODY wanted a polaroid with Pinhead and Doug and Clive. But we just went down on set and wandered on set and caused a massive…I think Clive was like “okay, that’s a wrap, I guess. Nothing’s going to happen now.” It was great fun and then we got back in my car and drove back up to the set and then a couple of hours later, they used us. But talk about just pulling up the traffic lights and there’s Pinhead seated at the passenger seat of my little car, it’s crazy! So I do look back at…even the worst of situations I look back on with fond memories of certain things. I’m going to do your job here for you Martin, I’m going to segway into this nicely into this. I can look at Hellworld and go “urugh”, I hated Hellworld, I don’t like the film, I’ll probably never watch it again in my life. But I look back at that film and it’s like…it’s another film I did with Lance Henriksen, who’s always a joy to work with because Lancey’s just an amazing raconteur who loves who spend time in the casino. I’ve sat at a craps table with Lance than I could possibly tell you about and watch Lance win and lose huge amounts of money. And then we had the wonderfully, very young and bright-faced Henry Cavill.
The new Superman, yes!
PTT: Oh yeah!
GJT: Who went on to become Superman, the Man of Steel. Katheryn Winnick, who is gorgeous and wonderful and so friendly who then went on to become the star of Vikings. Khary Payton, who was coming back from the Dracula movie we’ve just done with him. It was a great, fun film to be on and I’ve maintained those relationships. They’re not people I call every week, but I’ve got Richard, who is a great friend of mine who’s a make-up artist, do did the Man of Steel and did Justice League movie. I get a call from Richard and I said “if you’re doing Henry, give him a big hello from me!” and he went back and said “Henry says ‘hey, how you doing!’” Great fun times I look back fondly with and I always have a smile of my face whenever I think of Lance. Lance is one of those guys what when you work in a film with him, and I hope you get the opportunity to, because sitting in a bar with Lance Henriksen and having him regale you with everything from his career, which he will do and he has a fantastic memory and he story with every film. And I’m talking about everything from…EVERYTHING he’s done and he’s done so much stuff and he’ll tell you great stories and great memories. Unfortunately, great memories of filmmaking do not make great films, and unfortunately the opposite is true as well. I’ve worked on films as well where I’ve had a hideous time and been miserable, and the film has been very successful and very cool. So the two don’t go hand-in-hand, but I guess Hellworld will be the film I look at with the least amount of disdain and Hell on Earth is the film I look and go “I wonder what that would have been like had Tony Randel seen it through.”
Although with that Hellraiser [Hellworld], I was really surprised with that kind of casting for that sort of quality.
GJT:The first film?
Oh, no. I meant Hellworld.
GJT: Yeah, but these were all young [actors], again the thing about shooting in Bucharest in Romania was that our casting was done in the UK and Canada. Again, these were all young actors who haven’t done anything so you can get them. Dimension have always been really good actually about attracting young talent and new talent. I mean, if you watched Hellraiser: Bloodline, Adam Scott’s in that film. It’s strange to see this actor going into huge heights. At the time, he was a young actor that had kind of peaked their interest. Their casting department has always been very, very hot on people who were up and coming. Even on Judgment they were very helpful with that. Getting Helena [Grace Donald] as Jophiel and Alexandra Harris. They were all over casting, they really were. I know Paul had to be signed off on by Bob. They’re very good at spotting these actors who would go onto bigger and better things and there’s been a history of certain actors in the Hellraiser franchise who had gone up to do it. I mean, Dean Winters in [Hellraiser 6] Hellseeker?
PTT: The actor who was the younger…I won’t say vampire, but in the fourth film, the younger man. He’s all over this sitcom.
GJT: Adam Scott.
PTT: Yeah, yeah.
GJT: Adam, absolutely. He was Angelique’s kind of hell patsy. Jack? Absolutely.
Since we’re actually talking Henry Cavill as Superman…Paul, as Pinhead, how would you make Superman bleed?
PTT: *stretches* I mean there’s only one thing I really do and that’s, you know, make hooks and chains hurl from nowhere and catch your flesh and tear you apart. I mean, he IS the Man of Steel though, so does he bleed? Does he bleed….I don’t know, I’m not expert on Superman. I guess…
GJT: If you’re going to ask that line Paul, you’re going to have to ask it like… (puts on a Ben Affleck Batman impression)
PTT: “Does he bleed?” See, I wish I had a voice changer with me right now.
GJT: You have to ask it like in a Ben voice though, has to be “can he bleed?”
PTT: “Does he bleed?” I think I’d rip out his fingernails, it’s what I’d do….I don’t know how, man.
GJT: It’s simple, you’d need a hook made of Kryptonite, wouldn’t you? It’s simple!
PTT: Yes! Of course! These questions are so hard. Not really. Just kidding.
Because you had such a huge involvement in the Hellraiser franchise, during the 2000s with Freddy vs. Jason coming out [Gary, of course], one of the original scripted ending was in regards to the Hell Priest making an appearance at the end where Freddy and Jason end up in hell and does actually approach them with the line “gentlemen, what seems to be the problem here?”
And I believe that would have lined up a sequel of some sorts before the whole Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash idea came about from Evil Dead. I’m wondering if you happened to know anything that might have been going on the other side of Dimension Films as to why that didn’t go through or any original plans that might have lead up with it.
GJT: Umm, I know nothing about it, but I do know they had nothing to do with New Line. Pinhead and Hellraiser is a Dimension character and Freddy and Jason were New Line, you know?
Yeah, I figured it was one of those rights deals going on that they were like “yeah, we don’t want to share.”
GJT: I’m not 100% sure, I could be speaking completely in the wrong here, but I suspect there was a lot of conjecture of “what if” and “wouldn’t it be great if”. I know when we did No More Souls, I was going to do a shot of, when we did the room for No More Souls and we finished shooting the short, I was just going to do a shot of Pinhead kind of watching him, and then the camera would pan up and you’d see a character chained up, but he was masking him so you couldn’t see the figure that was chained up. All you’d see is the hands lifted up from the chains, and I was going to have Pinhead turn around and walk away and it was going to be Michael Myers chained up by Pinhead.
GJT: Because oh, you can do Michael and Pinhead because it’s owned by Dimension. But I suspect the idea…(laughs) fucking saying “gentlemen, do we have a problem here?” Seems like some random British policeman walking up, “ello, ello, elloo.”
GJT: “Wot’s goin on here?” That, or he’s going to be wearing some kind of, I’d imagine him being a…sounds like he would be the Big John of the UFC. Big John McCarthy as Pinhead. “A nice, clean please fight, gents! Good clean fight! We talked about this in the locker room!” So I think those things are definitely great post-credits sequences to get every fanboy in the room ejaculating on cue. As a writer, they really are fucking creaky. I thought they did a great job with Freddy vs. Jason, I really did.
Oh god yeah.
PTT: I loved it.
GJT: Having the two together? That’s tricky shit to do. And it was satisfying. But how you bring in from Freddy’s world and Jason’s world a sadomasochistic emissary of Hell who offers you an experience of sensuality and depravity of pain beyond the limits? I don’t really know. That’s a tricky one, isn’t it? That’s definitely one of those that you’re sitting in a writer’s room with a bunch of people looking to it going “how do we figure this one out? This is going to be a big one”.
Yeah, it’s a good idea, but I don’t figure it’ll make the biggest story.
GJT: It’s very tricky, it’s a difficult story. But I say hey, anytime you can get those kind of icons? That why I think that the Superman vs. Batman was so…you know, just to see them kind of facing off is just exciting, it’s nice to see. But again, you see the problems with the story there. I really wasn’t a fan of Man of Steel but I felt with whatever that film was, the Batman vs. Superman film, whatever that was called, Dawn of…
Dawn of Justice? Yeah.
GJT: I actually felt they got around. When I heard they were going to do that movie, I was like “how are you going to make the two fight? They’re both kind of good guys, how you do it?” I actually thought they got around the idea of them fighting pretty well. I mean, it wasn’t satisfying in the end but again, it’s always tricky with those things. The one who directed “Bye”, he always talks about movies like that where essentially what you’re talking about is a “punch-up”, like a fight between two characters. It’s always going to be kind of unsatisfying because unless a character can die, what’s going to happen? It’s like if you’re going to do, which we are going to see it in the future, a Godzilla vs. Kong, its like “really, Kong is going to die? or ”Godzilla is going to die?”
You’re always going to have one side either upset or disappointed.
GJT: Yeah, so it’s going to be a bit of a punch-up and then they go off walking off in their own way and doing their own thing? It’s like, you can’t really have one of them die. So it’s always a bit tricky and also, once it’s a fight it’s a bit kind of….okay. It’s a fight, how exciting is a big fight? Whether it’s giant big robots or something, I think Pacific Rim’s got it right, with maybe even Rim 2, with bigger is going to be better. But again, like we talked about with law of diminishing return with Pinhead and characters, if you watch Transformers, it’s like the first time you see two robots fight it’s like “yeah, it’s fantastic!” Once you see three robot fights it’s like yawn. Really? More robots fighting? How boring is this?
Michael Bay made explosions boring. (laughs)
GJT: Yeah, but it’s hard to do. I know this is an old film but you look at something like Twister, which is about tornados. They did a very clever thing in that. In each tornado it had its own character. You had the first one that was kind of small. Then you had the second one had the two twins, then finally they did the finger of God one at the end. It’s like they figured it out, that you have to change it up each time, even with one character. And it’s like that with Pinhead and the Cenobites. They have to kind of do something different. Especially when you pave them into a corner: you open the box, you’re seeking this weird, sensual depraved experience and you open the box and the Cenobites come and they give it to you and that’s it. If that’s all it is, then that’s…
PTT: Well, what’s the reason for the battle, right?
GJT: But it’s also what is there to see? It’s like we’ve seen them once, we’re going to see them again? It becomes like okay, we already know what happens when we open the box. You have to throw something into the mix to mix it up and to screw with the process. That’s the trick. So yeah, it would be very nice just to see Pinhead standing in a room with Freddy and Jason, would be a t-shirt dream come true, a t-shirt come to life, but it would be tricky as a story, I think.
PTT: You have to have a believable conflict and they’re all from three different universes, really. With different realities. What is the thing they would have in common, that they all three are after some sort of power over the other?
GJT: The only thing they have in common is box office receipts, that’s what they have in common.
PTT: That’s it! That’s the reason to do it! Okay!
GJT: But here’s the deal: if anyone’s got 15 million dollars and the rights and they want to write/direct it, then I’m in and ’m happy to try and figure it out for you!
You heard it here folks.
PTT: (laughs) I’d be first in line for a ticket.
GJT: I’d throw Hello Kitty in there if they gave me the money, trust me. (laughs)
Well, you guys kind of answered the other question I had in mind with if you would see Pinhead going into other potential crossovers, especially with how the cinematic universe is really the new big thing. Instead, I figure I’d offer this last question here to Paul.
You’ve been involved in a few comic book films like Sin City and Super with some minor roles. Is there a certain comic role you’d like to see yourself in the silver screen? Regards DC, MCU, any sort of thing like that?
PTT: Well, I think it would have to be, from my own beneficiation, a villain of some sort. A villainous character. Ummm…this has been done and its tired maybe, but I’d actually like to play The Riddler. He’s not so much a villain but he’s funny. Although, god, if I was a big guy and scary, I’d love to play Lobo, that kind of thing? That’s the kind of thing, you know? Oh! You know, no! Completely different answer now. Sinestro? Sinestro.
Sinestro would actually be pretty dang cool.
PTT: I think so! I just think that would suit me. Because it’s freaky, and kind of comical to me, a little over the top.
Yeah, he has charisma.
PTT: Exactly. Or Dr. Evil. I mean, I want to play all of them. But your question…is it about comic books or was it about…classics?
Well, we can expand it to other classics as well. I mean, I did jump to comics from horror, so by all means, go out.
PTT: You know, if there was going to be a film of Eerie from Eerie Magazine, I’d love to play Uncle Eerie, that would be fun. But again, that’s kind of comical. The Cryptkeeper, that kind of thing.
Oooh, I remember that series.
PTT: Yeah, but the comics that I remember collecting as a kid were after Famous Monsters of Filmland, because I had not discovered that but it was like Vampirella and Creepy and Eerie and that stuff. Maybe it’s just sedimental, I dunno. Yeah, I mean my answers used to have so much to do with just comedy and thenonce a while I’d come up with a villain I’d want to play, but most of them have already been played, you know? Like, I’d like to play the…oh god, what’s his name, this is stupid, I don’t know this…the villain in Flash Gordon. We know it’s been done, I forget his name. You guys know.
PTT: Ming! Ming the Merciless would be so much fun! I just think there’s this Vincent Price inside me that’s just dying to get out. I know he didn’t play the role, but this sort of Vincent Price, I want that sort of creepy but kind of…in a way, he’s not scary? You know, because he’s just so damn charming. And plus I really want to play some killer clowns. That would be fun too.
Who wouldn’t, let’s be honest.
PTT: I know.
Especially with the new Spawn movie coming out.
PTT: Oh yeah! It’s going to be exciting.
I’m very excited for that one. I was actually talking to Todd McFarlane about it back at NYCC and he had a lot of good stuff with where he was going with this. He wanted to really treat it like an actual horror film rather than a superhero film for little kids, which I’m pretty excited to see this sort of thing.
PTT: That’s awesome.
And Gary, I’ll be honest. I would imagine your practical expertise with all the horror movie stuff you’ve done to like…I’d totally see you doing any kind of make-up effects in the Spawn movies as well, if they go the way Todd McFarlane mentions them. They ought to reach out to you in regards to that.
GJT: Yeah, I’d personally, regarding make-up effects, that’s all in my past now. I don’t think I’ll ever glue anything on again or do make-up effects. I mean, I might occasionally for a friend now and again, someone like Patrick Lucier asked me to do something, I’d probably do it. And if it was a really great script. But I’d like to move on as a writer/director really, or none of the above if possible.
Of course. And you made a good impression with it with this in Judgment.
GJT: Thank you very much, that’s very kind of you. There’s I’d things I’d love to do obviously, there’s characters I’d love to reinvent. I love [The Abominable] Dr. Fibes, it’d be great to do Dr. Phibes.
PTT: Ooooh yeah.
Oooh, I’d love to see him come back somehow. He was a very damn good villain.
PTT: Oh yeah.
GJT: He’s a great villain, but ironically enough, if you think about Dr. Phibes…the funny thing about doing Dr. Phibes, if you remade the first Dr. Phibes, everyone would just turn around and say “oh, this is just a rip-off of Saw.”
GJT: Whereas when I saw the second and third Saw film, I said “these are a rip-off of Dr. Phibes”, you know? A guy’s taking vengeance back on people that wronged his wife and kids, he’s taking back his you know, he’s setting puzzles for other people to solve. But I always thought he was a great campy character and I always loved the clockwork orchestra and stuff like that. But yeah, I just honestly don’t know if the idea of gluing and doing anything on skin anymore I just did a little film with Frank Grillo and Jamie Bell for a friend of mine and that was kind of fun to jump in and do some very brutal fighting stuff, make-up effects. But I think I’ve burnt out of it I’m afraid. I’m burnt out on it. It was fun though kind of weird and tricky as well, you know, writing, directing and acting in Judgment. But as Paul will tell you, I also occasionally would grab and make-up brush and join in as well. (laughs) I’m sure it was very odd for Paul to have his make-up done by a guy with laceration all over his face.
PTT: It was awesome! I loved the pictures of it too. And I love that you came up with the idea for the grids and the blood for my final scene, that was really cool.
Yeah, I noticed that as well.
GJT: It would have been nice to do a more intense make-up for that and again, a much more elaborate sequence for that but you know.
PTT: Money, money money.
GJT: Mhm. But no, I am definitely excited to see what happens with Spawn. I think everyone felt that the Michael Jai White Spawn was a bit kind of comicbooky, and a bit kind of tepid and I think everyone would like to see the film version of the comic. Much darker and grittier and nasty. I know I would.
PTT: I would too. I’d like to see Lobo as well. There’s just something…Lobo’s not been done, right? Am I crazy?
No, he hasn’t been done.
PTT: I just think Lobo would be fun. Twisted thing, you know?
Well, that’s all the question I had for you guys, recording’s done. Just really want to say thank you so much for coming on here and answering everything and sorry if we might have just rambled off. It’s just kind of an honor to talk to two big figures in a franchise really I enjoy.
GJT: Absolute pleasure!
PTT: Yes, thank you! Yeah, absolute pleasure!
Hellraiser: Judgment is available for viewing on Blu-ray and VOD.