Hellbound: Hellraiser II introduces the origin story of Pinhead. We see that he was once a World War I soldier who opened that lament configuration and became the leader of Hell’s Cenobites. Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth would give his human incarnation a name and further story. At a Screamfest Q&A for Hellbound: Hellraiser II, Doug Bradley said he already knew Pinhead was human in the first Hellraiser, even though it was not revealed.
“In Hellraiser, I knew that Pinhead had once been human,” Bradley said.
“I didn’t know who and I didn’t know when. I’d not discussed any specific details of the backstory with Clive [Barker] for Hellraiser, but I knew that he had been human. I used that to hang two things on. One, that among many things I felt about Pinhead looking in the mirror was melancholy, and the sense of loss. I attached that to his sense of a loss of humanity that he couldn’t remember. I decided that he couldn’t remember who he’d been but he had an awareness of having been human which also to me made sense of his endless fascination with human beings and the dark, dirty corners of their minds and souls.”
There may have been a little more of Bradley sans makeup in Hellraiser II. Two establishing scenes were either unfilmed or cut out of the film. In one, he purchases the lament box.
“In the Indian bazaar to establish that he’s in India,” Bradley said. “The only indication we have that he’s in India is the guy speaking Indian on the radio and the fact that he’s in a tropical uniform.”
Bradley also put to rest a rumor that he almost chose a minor role of the mattress delivery man instead of the iconic Pinhead in the original Hellraiser. He confirmed that he was always up for Pinhead.
“As far as I know and as far as I remember, I was going to play Pinhead,” Bradley said.
“When [producer] Chris Figg called me to say, ‘We need to finalize this,’ I’d already been talking to Clive about Pinhead and who he was and blah blah blah. Chris said, ‘There is one other role available.’ That was the mattress delivery guy. What I said in this interview was there was a moment when I thought, ‘Maybe it would be to my benefit to be seen as me on screen. So if I go to subsequent auditions, he’ll say, ‘Have I seen you in anything recently?’ I can mention, ‘Oh you may have seen me as the mattress delivery guy.’ That went across my mind very briefly, but there was always something about this mysterious guy with pins in his head. There was never any doubt in my mind and I didn’t audition. I never auditioned. I mentioned this once in an interview way back when. If I could take anything back, it would be that moment.”
Sequels could have taken Pinhead in different directions. Instead, we got his Hellraiser III and Bloodline backstories. Hellbound writer Peter Atkins referred to “some Godfather Hellraiser movie” and Bradley recalled another version of Pinhead’s resurrection post-Hellbound.
“Pinhead being resurrected out of an altar in a church and the building was the lament configuration,” Bradley said.
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