20 Spiky Facts About The Original Hellraiser Film

Hellraiser is the directorial debut of British horror writer Clive Barker. Though it was shot on a low budget very quickly, it has become one of the most famous horror films of all time. Many remember it for its strong visuals, subversive storyline and feelings of terror that most viewers experience when watching it.

Fittingly for such a unique and unusual film, Hellraiser has generated a wide range of interesting facts, stories and trivia. Here are some of the things that you might not have known about Hellraiser:

  1. The film is based on writer Clive Barker’s 1986 horror novella The Hellbound Heart. The film’s studio made Barker change the title, as they thought it sounded too romantic for a horror movie.
  2. Barker’s first suggestion for renaming the movie was Sadomasochists from Beyond the Grave. A suggestion from a crew member was What Woman Will do for a Good Fuck. Barker also suggested Hellbound, which was used for the first sequel.
  3. Though she stars in the film, Clare Higgins has never seen the whole of Hellraiser, as she hates horror films.
  4. In the book, Pinhead is called the “Hell Priest.” The reason he’s called Pinhead in the film is because a special effects guy gave him the nickname and it stuck. Director Clive Barker hated the name.
  5. Barker wanted to hire “real actors” for the film, including British theater actor Doug Bradley, who played Pinhead. However, Bradley almost played one of the movie’s mattress movers. He hadn’t appeared in a film before, and thought that his face should be visible.
  6. At the shoot’s wrap party, Doug Bradley was upset when most of the members of Hellraiser’s cast and crew ignored him. However, he realized that none of the crew had seen him without his make-up on and subsequently re-introduced himself.
  7. The makeup that Doug Bradley wore to be Pinhead took two hours to apply every day.
  8. Additionally, the contact lenses that Bradley wore severely restricted his vision during shooting.
  9. Barker instructed costume designer Jane Wildgoose to create “repulsive glamour,” so the design for the Cenobites pulled from many inspirations, including punk, Catholicism, and S&M clubs in New York and Amsterdam.
  10. In 2017, Composite Effects turned Pinhead’s face into a commercially available mask.
  11. Barker actually saw the film as a love story, since the character of Julia commits heinous acts in the name of her love for Frank.
  12. In England, there was a law in which cockroaches of both sexes weren’t allowed on set in case they mated and caused an infestation, so a cockroach wrangler was hired to make sure the insects were all male.
  13. An alternative soundtrack to the film exists. Originally, Barker hired the industrial band Coil. However, the studio objected and had the score recomposed.
  14. The original cut of the movie was heavily censored by the MPAA before it could be released.
  15. The film released in the US was banned in Ontario, Canada until Barker made even more cuts to the movie.
  16. There was almost a Nintendo adaptation of the game. However, this was scrapped due to technological restrictions.
  17. Most of the characters in the movie have their voices dubbed, as it was originally set in England, but the studio decided to change it to America in post production.
  18. Just before shooting, Barker and Bradley discussed Pinhead’s backstory and decided that he was human once.
  19. To date, 8 sequels of Hellraiser have been released. A ninth one has completed filming but has not yet been made available.
  20. Renowned film critic Roger Ebert hated Hellraiser, calling it “without wit, style or reason, and the true horror is that actors were made to portray, and technicians to realize, its bankruptcy of imagination.”