Fourteen years later, Doug Bradley just stepped back into the role of Pinhead.
On the weekend of May 19th, horror icon Doug Bradley took part in a special event at Mad Monster Arizona that was fittingly dubbed “The Pinhead Experience.“ For the first time ever, Bradley wore the full Pinhead makeup and costume for two special meet and greet sessions with fans, which took place on that Friday and Saturday night. Fans met up with the real Pinhead in a Hellish environment, and candid photos were taken to commemorate the memories they’ll carry with them forever.
We’ve seen many of those photos and heard about several of those experiences on social media, but what was it like for Doug Bradley himself to be back in the Pinhead costume for the first time since 2005’s Hellraiser: Hellworld? We sat down with Bradley for a chat that you’ll find only here on Bloody Disgusting!
Though Hellworld was released 12 years ago, it had actually been 14 years since Doug Bradley played the character of Pinhead, and he described the experience to us as being “both odd and very familiar at the same time.”
“To be honest, with so much else to plan and think about, I was the one element that I didn’t give much thought to,” Bradley told us. “I had a basic scenario and choreography in my head, and rehearsed it to myself, but didn’t get to walk through it in make-up and costume until we were in Arizona; and not a full rehearsal until an hour before the first ticket holder was due to arrive. I think a kind of ‘muscle-memory’ kicked in – the physical, mental and vocal combination of playing Pinhead all returned in a reassuring rush. It felt very gratifying and ‘right’ to be back in the slap and the frock, like revisiting a favourite place and finding it largely unchanged.”
Bradley continued, relaying some of his favorite memories from the experience…
“Feeling the whole set come together as we played with black-outs and blue light rising through slatted holes in the walls of the set, adding the spinning pillar and chains, our illuminating Lament Configuration and adding Chris Young’s always inspiring music – suddenly we had re-created Hellraiser in a hotel ballroom and it felt very magical.”
“Many [memorable] moments with the fans. One who bowed in supplication when I entered the set. One who asked ‘Do you promise?’ when I told her I’d tear her soul apart. Another who said ‘I don’t want to leave’. How can I not feel perversely proud that one fan did have a bladder control issue, or that another later admitted to an attack of nervous farts? Seeing all the photos coming to my table late on Saturday and during Sunday was also very gratifying.”
If you missed out on the first ever “Pinhead Experience,” you may be wondering if you’ll ever get another chance. Thankfully, Bradley told us that he hopes it was merely the first of many.
“We kept a lid on that in the run-up to Arizona – we had to see if it worked first!” he explained. “But it was always the plan to make it available across the convention map. No firm plans yet, but that will come in due course.”
We’ll keep you updated as we learn more about future plans!
Kyle Roberts and Steve Tolin of Tolin FX handled the makeup for the event. Tom Savini was a consultant, while Allison and Sean Boyle recreated the full leather costume.