It just a matter of time now. Regardless of “how,” genre purists will witness yet another much loved classic go under the reboot knife. Hellraiser is arguably one of the more arduous franchises to reboot, hence its long periods languishing in development hell. In my opinion, the factor behind this stems from a single piece of the development puzzle – reimagining the black pope of hell himself, Pinhead.
Doug Bradley first donned the makeup on Clive Barker’s set way back in 1987, jarring a horror audience from a slumber induced by a long stagnant line of faceless slasher villains. This was a monster that was both beautiful and fearsome to behold, played by a thespian to boot.
Recently appearing in Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines and redubbing his role in newly edited Nightbreed: The Cabal Cut, Doug was good enough to sit down with ShockTillYouDrop.com for a brief chat about the role that cemented his horror icon status – how would he feel about one last gig behind the latex and plastic?
Shock: Do you still enjoy the role of Pinhead?
Doug Bradley: Well, its ten years now since I last had the latex and glue on so I can’t really answer it in the present tense. All I can say is that up until the point when I last played the character, Yes, I was still enjoying it. I’m not closed to the possibility of playing the role again. Tomorrow seems like a bit of a rush…if it was gonna be tomorrow then that pre-supposes that you sent me a screenplay which has fired my imagination about the character again and has made me want to get up and get in the saddle again. So, if that was the case, if everything else was right, that I was excited about, then yes, maybe we could continue this interview on set tomorrow morning!
Shock: Pinhead seems to change alot over the course of the films.
Bradley: Yes, he’s different; he’s very different in the third film from the first two films because everything has changed…Pinhead is always very contained and controlled, as well as controlling character. He’s completely controlled in the first two films by the box, by the rules of the box; he doesn’t operate outside of that. I’ve always said the pint about pinhead is that he’s not a bogeyman. He’s not hiding in the cupboard or under the bed or waiting around the corner with a stiletto blade. There’s a very, very specific MO going on with Pinhead. You have to know about the box, find the box and manage to open the box before you’re ever going to encounter Pinhead. All of that had gone by the third film. He was released from the control of the box and out on the streets as some sort of lone wolf in some sort of way.
Shock: Did you ever decide to take a different approach to the character for Bloodlines?
Bradley: That’s how the character was written for the movie. I obeyed the character outline that Pete Atkins gave me. For the fourth film, I’d say I tried to take him back to his original beat. Certainly was the case in the later films like Hellseeker, I attempted to do the same thing. I may have failed abysmally but I certainly did try.
Shock: Is there anything new to be done with the character in your opinion? Would you like to try something new?
Bradley: I wouldn’t do that for the sake of doing it. I wouldn’t approach to deliberately say ‘let’s do something different with the character. If the screenplay was pushing the character in a different direction, approaching the character in a different way, giving different beats to the character then I would approach it in the same way. I had a conversation with Clive about the proposed remake and he told me that he had a conversation with Bob Weinstein…Clive was under the opinion, he said to Bob that if he went ahead with this movie he would use Doug, but you have to understand that I am twenty six years older now since we shot the first film. Twenty six years has done to my face what twenty six years…does. I probably don’t wear the makeup quite as easily as I did then. What Clive was saying to them was – don’t fight it, use it! He was suggesting that this might an older, darker, perhaps glib Pinhead. A tired, bitter, harder, harsher version of himself. I think that’s a brilliant idea. I will bet my bottom dollar that if the remake were to go ahead that it’s not wise advice that anybody at Dimension films will take on board. If, it’s an enormous if, it’s been ages now since I caught wind of the proposed remake. As far as I now they’re no closer to it now than they were then, but if I was approached and that was the intention behind it then sure, that would definitely get my juices flowing, sure.
Shock: Finally, I’ve got to ask your feelings about Hellraiser: Revelations.
Bradley: The trailer backed up my feelings about the screenplay. It convinced me that this was a movie that I didn’t want to be involved in. The trailer kind of made me think ‘yeah, ok, that’s pretty much what I thought it would be’. It just seemed to me to be a very confused screenplay. It wasn’t making great sense when I was reading it and that’s always a flag to you as an actor. If you’re not engaged when you’re reading the screenplay, then…I’ll get to see it one day then I’ll report back to you then!