Archived Photo Hints At The Genesis Of Hellraiser’s Pinhead


Here’s one fresh from the horror archives.

Doug Bradley, an actor whose career spans no less than eight appearances as the icy, all-powerful Pinhead, has shared a black-and-white photo alluding to the genesis of Hellraiser‘s lead cenobite.

As reported by, Bradley took to Facebook to reveal the peculiar origins of Pinhead. And it all started in the long, hot summer of 1976 in Liverpool, England, when “the sun blazed from a cloudless sky” and he Cliver Barker were busy throwing around ideas as to how The Hellbound Heart novella could leap onto the big-screen.

It proved to be a labor of love for the creative duo. But as for Pinhead, in particular, Barker began drawing up his villain’s strange, nightmare-inducing anatomy upon noticing a grid-like pattern of nails protruding into the frame.

Which brings me to the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it element. Look closely at the lower left-hand edge of the frame just across from my arm, and you’ll see a bunch of nails protruding into frame. Some of you will have heard me talk about this before. Clive had taken a block of wood, painted it white and (if I’m remembering this right) added a black grid-iron pattern. At each intersection, he’d hammered a 6” nail into the block. The idea was to film it with a light swinging backward and forwards in front of it. In negative, this now appeared as a black background with a white grid-iron and white shadows from the nails swinging to and fro.

How’s that for a slice of horror trivia? Bradley continued:

Nails in a grid-iron pattern hovering next to me Waiting, waiting..Little did I know. Entirely typical of Clive’s genius that he would come up with this idea and ten years later, first in The Hellbound Heart and then in Hellraiser, want to anthropomorphize and animate that image. And the rest is history.

Hellraiser: Judgment, meanwhile, is now available on Blu-ray and DVD (buy your copy here), allowing you to bow before Pinhead, a demi-god who some consider to be horror’s greatest icon. Be that as it may, it’s fair to say Doug Bradley’s transdimensional entity came from humble beginnings.