Clive Barker’s remake of Hellraiser would have seen a change in the villainous Pinhead. Originally debuting in 1987, it was an instant classic. Based on Barker’s novella, The Hellhound Heart, it follows a man who has escaped from hell after opening a mysterious puzzle box. His love, who also happens to be his brother’s wife, feeds bodies to him so he can regenerate. The demons who tormented him find their way to him and drag him back.
Barker’s gory and very graphic vision was shocking to audiences. They were introduced to Pinhead (Doug Bradley), and though his role was minimal enough in the first film that Pinhead was better known as Lead Cenobite, he gradually took on more importance in the films that came after.
Hellraiser: Bloodlines, which released in 1996, didn’t fare well in the box office and subsequent Hellraiser films just went straight to DVD. In these sequels, Pinhead also isn’t the main focus, and after Hellraiser: Hellworld, Bradley left his role as Pinhead. The most recent release was 2018’s Hellraiser: Judgment.
Even though Hellraiser is such a classic and still an original idea, the rights owners have been unable to bring interest to new releases. This is mostly due to the sadomasochistic themes, kinky sex and level of blood and gore. Other horror franchises, like Halloween have not had these issues because they don’t go as dark as Hellraiser.
Attempts have been made over the years to revive the franchise, with Barker himself writing a script in 2014 that was ultimately rejected. Mr H Reviews has released a new video on this particular script, describing the differences and changes in Pinhead.
In Hellbound: Hellraiser II, it is revealed that Pinhead is actually Elliot Spencer, a World War I soldier who was unlucky enough to open the Lament Configuration puzzle box. In Barker’s 2014 script, he changed his real identity to Philip L’Merchant, the creator of the box. Philip is forced to create the box by a cruel prison warden, who kills him and feeds his blood to the box once it is complete. Philip them comes back as the Hell Priest and kills the warden in revenge.
Though much of the script would have stayed close to the events of the original, Pinhead would have been even darker. He would have adorned priestly robes and been able to summon vines instead of hooked chains. One truly sinister weapon of his is a mist he used to kill and entire maternity ward and which also creates more cenobites.
There are no plans in the works at the moment to bring back Hellraiser, however, it is being talked about with the revival of Halloween and plans for a remake of Friday the 13th. Maybe we’ll see a Hellraiser remake soon or not is uncertain, but maybe we’ll see Barker’s vision come to life if it happens.