- "Who are you?"
-"Explorers in the further regions of experience. Demons to some, angels to others."
- — Kirsty Cotton and Pinhead, upon their first meeting.
Pinhead, also known as The Hell Priest, is a Cenobite in the Order of the Gash and the main antagonist of the Hellraiser metaseries.
Pinhead's role has varied with each Hellraiser installment. In the script for the original film, Barker describes Pinhead and the other cenobites as "demons" in his notes; the character himself, however, upon capturing Kirsty Cotton, identifies himself as neither explicitly angelic or demonic, stating that he and his fellow entourage are "Explorers in the further regions of experience. Demons to some. Angels to others." The second film expounds on the idea of the Cenobites as demons by depicting them as denizens of a realm called Hell, a maze-like dimension ruled over by an entity known as Leviathan, where they subject their quarry to emotional and psychological torture.
The third film radically altered the original concept, making Pinhead into a purely evil demon of chaos, explained by Pinhead losing the human, 'orderly', part of himself during the previous film. In the fourth film he is presented as a megalomaniac bent on world domination, and by the fifth he acts as a judge, punishing those who open the box for their sins by making them face their personal demons. In this film, he goes by the title of "Engineer", a name derived from the lead cenobite in Clive Barker's original novella. The seventh film reverts closer to the original film, with the Cenobites responsible for pleasure and pain, but the characters seem more demonic as in later installments.
The Cenobite known as Pinhead was once a human known as Elliot Spencer who was born in the Britain in the Victorian Era in 1887. As a young adult, he would join the British Army and later serve in France during World War I.
- "To us, God fell at Flanders too."
- — Captain Elliot Spender, from Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth (Film)
During World War I, Elliott Spencer served as a Captain in the British Expeditionary Force. He was a charismatic and eloquent man, who could feel great empathy and compassion for those around him, however after participating in one of the Battles of Flanders, he loses his faith in humanity after witnessing the inhumanity enacted upon one another. He also loses his faith in God, whom he believed failed mankind. Captain Spencer did not believe he had the right to live after watching many of his comrades perish in such horrific circumstance. Suffering from the severe effects of post traumatic stress disorder, the disillusioned and jaded Spencer wandered the Earth indulging in a hedonistic lifestyle, turning to the baser methods of gratification for satisfaction and pleasure, until finding the Lament Configuration in British India and finally understanding the true pleasures of pain and suffering.
The residents of a suburban area called Pension Veneur were all artists who had dabbled in the works of Hell. They all had a deal with the cenobites as these servants of Hell would inspire the artists through their dreams and the artist would give their most perverse work to the cenobites, sometimes the cenobites even required a sacrifice of flesh. When Pinhead, Female Cenobite, Butterball and Sloth all arrived for their latest sacrifice, MAS started to spew poetry and he successfully managed to convince Pinhead that an author and the director of the Pension Veneur named Barsac would be a much more worthy sacrifice to Hell. When Barsac was taken to Hell, MAS was made the new director of the Pension Veneur by the cenobites.
A man named George is given the Lament configuration and a man wagers he can't solve it. When George does solve it he is taken to Hell by Pinhead while George's wife Alma hides the box.
When a man named Davis Feldwebel finds and opens the box, Pinhead and The Female cenobite come to greet him. They help him in his quest to become a better artist by showing him the pleasures of deception. Together they sucessfully transform many people into pieces of art through manipulation of flesh. Feldwebel thanks Pinhead and the Female Cenobite only to be turned into a painting himself when the cenobites make their leave.
- Main article: Clive Barker's Pinhead (Comic)
Sometime before both the Devil's Brigade and Jihad series Pinhead attended a meeting in Hell organized by Doomsayer that struck doubt into the lives of numerous cenobites (Alastor's Gash) after noting Leviathan's lack of protection towards the cenobites, only afterwards Atkins killed Doomsdayer. Later Pinhead fell into his past incarnations' lives. The first one was named Scarred Hide finding himself leading a group of older cenobites, Fan Dancer, Dixie, Snake Oil and Hangman, in the Western Age of Colorado in 1879. Together they fought those who were against Hell's order, much like present day Hell's cenobites, until the very end. Snake Oil and Dixie died together after Snake Oil's chemicals fell on them. Hangman managed to die after getting dragged for miles under a wagon he was riding, and Scarred Hide was eliminated as well, all deaths were caused by a man known as Aggregate. After Scarred Hide was eliminated this sent Pinhead into another Past Incarnation. This left Fandancer as the only cenobite from the Sufferer's Guild to survive. After this Pinhead fell into four other past incarnations all of which were followed closely by close friends of the cenobite such as Face, Balberith, Gehenna and Atkins.
When the Puzzle Guardian Winehead threw a horse trainer named Cassidy into Hell he was greeted by Pinhead, the Female cenobite and Butterball. Pinhead was ordered by Leviathan to make Cassidy a cenobite, so Pinhead summoned a creation chamber and had Butterball throw in Cassidy. The three cenobites stood outside the creation chamber to listen to his screams.
Pinhead, alongside Butterball, Chatterer and the Female cenobite, all greeted one of the best actressess of our time, Janice Baur when she opened the gateway to Hell. She had dream't about Pinhead before hand while creating The Shape of Pain. Pinhead informed her that everything she was about to experience was real. The four cenobites tortured her and a director named Sigourney put the footage of her torture in his latest film. The torturing managed to motivate her and she became very successful. she was last seen wearing a Lament Configuration Necklace showing that she is still under the influence of Hell.
When the Time Configuration commenced, Pinhead was residing in the lowest pit of Hell. He was the fifth, and last, cenobite to be called to arms by Flagellum. He knew Leviathan's frame of mind and therefore was labeled "The Favoured One". Pinhead was assigned to a woman known as Dr. Casey Gideli, his main goal was to help her discover a cure for AIDS but also to make sure she didn't release a deadlier disease.
When a doctor in the same institute as Casey named Morris solved the Lament Configuration, Pinhead arrived in his office where he quickly removed Morris's skin and sent him to Hell. Pinhead then wore Morris's skin and agreed to have dinner with Casey, his subject from the Time Configuration.
Pinhead prioritised Casey's research, so that other doctors such as Bernard were marginalised. As Dilliard he had sadomasochistic sex with Casey. He revealed himself to Bernard after he quit his job and made a deal with him. Pinhead gave Bernard AIDS so that Bernard could show Casey the human side of the disease, what Bernard didn't know is that he already had AIDS and that he was cheated out of the deal.
Still posing as Morris he accompanied an associate of the World Health Organisation, named Lorri, to The World Health Organisation Conference. When Lorri removed Casey's paper Pinhead killed her by dropping weights on her, he then took her skin, leaving behind Morris which he had been wearing for about a year. Now wearing Lorri's skin he seduced Roger, another meddlesome doctor, and they had sex together. Afterward, Pinhead removed Lorri's skin and left it in Roger's suite, thereby framing Roger for Lorri's murder. Then as Morris once again, Pinhead encouraged Casey to continue with her work even without The World Health Organisation backing her. Still as Morris, Pinhead and Casey argue on whether or not to actually use the vaccine and when conflicted Casey uses Bernard as a test subject, when he heals rapidly, they replace another AIDS vaccine for hers which is then mass produced and shipped out. Bernard dies shortly afterward as a side effect of the vaccine and Pinhead arrives just in time to watch him scream.
When Atkins started diverting from his misson, Pinhead attacked him with chains and warned Atkins to keep to his mission and to not fail Leviathan. During a riot on Earth, Pinhead appeared and dragged Atkins back to Hell via chains for failing Leviathan. He indicated for Matthew, an Assistant D. A., to remain silent about what he had seen.
Pinhead was later brought to trial in Hell by Praetur Abatur, hell's judge. When Abatur attempted to start an uprising against Hell and showing a lack of confidence in both Leviathan and Pinhead, as well as killing Griot III for showing faith in Pinhead, Abatur was killed for numerous acts of treason.
Forty one years after Alma's husband George was taken to Hell, she finds the box she had hidden and solves it. she summoned cenobites Pinhead, Butterball and Wolf-Face. Pinhead was angered by Alma when she asked if she could use them as "instruments of revenge". When Alma tried to offer the Cenobites Thomas, a homicidal maniac living next door. Pinhead told her they did not care about his sins. After Alma begged for one more year of life, Pinhead gave her a month in which to give Thomas the Lemarchand Box. Pinhead told Alma he almost envied her seeing Hell's sights for the first time as he took her to Hell. The Three cenobites then took Thomas to Hell for trying to kill one of Alma's cats.
Hellraiser & Nightbreed: JihadEdit
Even though the Nightbreed had been recently getting out of hand, Leviathan had ordered the cenobites to leave well enough alone, fearing a loss of order in Hell. Leviathan's lack of ruling sent a cenobite group into defiance. They hunted down and killed off as many of the Nightbreed as possible, against Leviathan's rule. Leviathan then ordered Pinhead and Chatterer to take control of the incident and stop the Gash from causing too much damage. Together Pinhead and Chatterer managed to contain the rebels and most were executed. It is thought that Pinhead was forced to kill his long time friend and fellow cenobite Gehenna.
Pinhead is reunited in Hell with his cenobite entourage (including Chatterer, the Female, and Butterball), where he comes to mourn the futility of his own existence. Bored by the mundanity of his existence, having solved the mysteries of the flesh, the iconic killer hatches a plan to claw his way free from Hell. Pinhead decides that he wants to permanently return to his human form and seek spiritual salvation. But first, he must find a suitable replacement and enact a damnable game of chess with the only victim who'd ever bested the Cenobites - Kirsty Cotton. With the help of his human minion, Samuel Hess, Pinhead makes the first move against Kirsty, who has, in the last three decades, commanded her own group of Hell's Harrowers. He begins sending anonymous clues to Kirsty Cotton as to the locations of artifacts that summon cenobites so she can destroy them. After Kirsty locates and opens the box, Pinhead and his fellow cenobites appear to her; but, rather than kill her, Pinhead instead betrays his fellow cenobites and he and Kirsty kill them together. Following this confrontation, Pinhead attempts to sway Kirsty with an offer she can't resist - to take his place as High Priest of Hell. Then she would be free to run Hell as she saw fit.
Kirsty calls upon her friend Tiffany, a fellow patient of the Channard Institute to discuss the matter. She informs Tiffany of her intention to become a Cenobite, but explains that by accepting the position as High Priest, she'll be able to change things in Hell for the better. Kirsty then solves the Lament Configuration and willingly enters Hell, at which point, Tiffany destroyed the puzzle box, in effect, trapping Kirsty in Hell. After accepting Pinhead's offer and sealing herself inside the Labyrinth, Kirsty begins her quest to be reunited with her loved ones. Once she enters the Labyrinth, Kirsty makes her way towards it's center, where high above is a giant lozenge suspended in air, slowly rotating with radiant with beams of blackest light emanating from it. The God of Flesh and Desire - Leviathan. As she approaches the dark master of Hell, the giant diamond shaped god slowly lowers itself and a side panel opens, allowing Kirsty access within. As she walks up the ramp, the Hell Priest is waiting at the top of ramp. As he sees Kirsty, he says, "Let us begin."
Kirsty then begins the painful transformation to become the new Pontifex of Hell. Taking a seat in a chair, Pinhead begins by grabbing a curved, sickle-like blade and proceeds to scalp Kirsty. He then informs Kirsty that it is her turn. Kirsty then proceeds to take a pair of tongs and proceeds to slowly and painfully remove all of the Hell Priest's nails from his head - the source of his power. Once completed, Kirsty and the Hell Priest strip out of their clothing, at which point, a multitude of tentacles controlled by Leviathan, manifests, and begins to transform Pinhead into a human, while painfully hammering Pinhead's nails into Kirsty's skull, transforming her into the High Priest of Hell. The now-human Elliot Spencer tells Kirsty to savor the pain, for it will be the last thing that she ever feels while in Hell. Once the transformation is completed, the two exchange a few final words. Kirsty is then reunited with her fiance Edgar and three of her Harrowers friends that had been tortured and killed by Pinhead's mortal servant. But they no longer possesses their original forms, for they had been granted new forms, transformed by the malefic power of Leviathan into monstrous Cenobites unlike any ever seen. Before Kirsty began to serve the will of Leviathan, she performed one final act of revenge upon the one who had tormented her for so long. She ordered her friends to tear Spencer's soul apart. They gladly carried out their new master's orders. The soul of Elliot Spencer was then transported to the mortal realm.
Now, while Kirsty began her reign in Hell, Pinhead was once again Captain Elliot Spencer, scouring the globe for the key to unlocking the gates of Heaven. Not long after returning to Earth, he becomes a surprising ally of Tiffany and the remaining Harrowers, and helps them on their quest to destroy the LeMarchand Boxes. In return, they agree to help Elliot seek out the key to his salvation. Their journey eventually takes them to India, and to the sight of where Elliot was originally began his long dark path towards damnation. Unable to do it himself, Tiffany took a sledge hammer and destroyed the Lament Configuration - which inadvertently caused two different effects. Kirsty was in Hell, trying to harness the power of the puzzle box, in order to find her way back to the mortal realm. But with the destruction of the puzzle box, her soul is transported into a strange realm where she meets a strange entity that offers her cryptic advice. Meanwhile, Elliot's souls is transported into a strange realm, where he meets a malevolent entity that offer's him unlimited power. Both Kirsty and Captain Spencer return from their separate Shamanic journeys to discover there are no longer any barriers between Hell and the surface world.
In the movie series storyline, Pinhead was born Elliot Spencer and opened the Lament Configuration after becoming disenchanted with human life from his service in World War I. Like the other Cenobites, he lost all memory of his human identity following the transformation and serves the deity Leviathan by abducting others who solve the Lament Configuration and torture them in a labyrinth realm called Hell.
In Hellraiser (1987), Kirsty Cotton unintentionally summons Pinhead and the Cenobites, but is spared on condition that she lead the Cenobites to her uncle, Frank Cotton, who had escaped them. After reclaiming Frank, the Cenobites turn on Kirsty, who manages to banish them back to their realm.
In Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988), Pinhead regains memories of his original self when Kirsty shows him a photograph of Spencer. Pinhead briefly leads his fellow Cenobites in a battle with the newly created Channard cenobite, but is seemingly killed after being reverted to his human form.
In Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth (1992), it is learned that Spencer's reversion to his human form caused the negative attributes of himself to manifest into an independent entity, which takes the form of Pinhead. Without human influence, Pinhead is unbound by the laws of the Cenobite Hell as he manifests on Earth after being trapped in the form of an intricately carved pillar with writhing figures and distorted faces etched into the surface. Using the nightclub owner J.P. Monroe, Pinhead feeds on enough humans to gain his freedom as he engages in an indiscriminate killing spree on Earth, transforming some of his victims into a Cenobite army. Spencer manages to escape Limbo and stops Pinhead by re-merging with him before the restored entity is banished back to the Cenobites' reality.
In Hellraiser: Bloodline (1996) Pinhead allies himself with the demon princess Angelique, in order to force John Merchant (a descendant of the inventor who built the Lament Configuration) to create an unsealable gateway to Hell. The future segments of the film reveal that Pinhead is finally destroyed in the year 2127 by Dr. Paul Merchant, another descendant, who uses a space station to complete the "Elysium Configuration", capable of closing Hell's gateway for good. Pinhead and other Cenobites are trapped inside it and are destroyed along with the box.
In Hellraiser: Inferno (2000) Pinhead appears primarily under the guise of police psychiatrist Doctor Paul Gregory, assuming his true form near the end to inform protagonist Detective Joseph Thorne that he has been in Hell for the duration of the film, and is being punished for his corruption and various misdeeds in life.
In Hellraiser: Hellseeker (2002) Pinhead serves a role similar to the one he fulfilled in Inferno. Kirsty is now married to Trevor, a corrupt insurance agent who plots to have her killed in a murder-for-money scheme, using Lemarchand's box to "cleanly" kill Kirsty without the evidence pointing to himself, his mistress, or his conspirators. Pinhead appears at the end of the film to inform Trevor, who had amnesia throughout the film, that he has actually been dead and trapped by the Cenobites for some time; Pinhead had appeared to Kirsty, pleased at the prospect of a "reunion," but Kirsty ultimately struck a deal with him: she would be left alone in exchange for killing Trevor and his conspirators, thus giving the Cenobites the victims' souls.
In Hellraiser: Deader (2004) Pinhead appears several times to reporter Amy Klein after she tinkers with the box, a central relic of a cult she is investigating. After Amy is captured by the group's leader, Winter, she learns he is a descendant of puzzle creator Phillip Lemarchand, and believes that it is his birthright to control the box and, thereby, the Cenobites. However, neither he nor any of his followers have been able to open it. Amy successfully opens the box, but rather than submit to Winter, Pinhead instead kills him and his followers for attempting to control it. Subject to being taken to the Cenobite realm for having opened the box, Amy instead chooses to commit suicide.
Pinhead appears as a fictional character in Hellraiser: Hellworld (2005). In this film the box and the Cenobites have become the basis for a successful MMORPG called Hellworld. Although the Pinhead seems to attack the guests at a Hellraiser-themed party, he is revealed to be the hallucination of five guests who have been drugged and buried alive by the party's host, who blames them for not preventing his Hellworld-addicted son's suicide. In the film's climax, the host discovers that the Hellraiser mythos is based on fact, and that his son had come into possession of a real Lemarchand box. Opening it causes the real Pinhead to appear, praising the boy's ingenuity before ordering a pair of Cenobites to kill the host.
Hellraiser: Revelations (2011) returns to the portrayal of Pinhead in the original Hellraiser. The film was produced as the cinematic equivalent of an ashcan copy to preserve Dimension Films' rights to the franchise. Due to the lack of preparation time, Bradley refused the part of Pinhead, and the role went to Stephan Smith Collins. The film was almost universally panned, and one review criticized the new 'pseudo-Pinhead', saying "Pinhead doesn't appear to be doing much with his free time but stroking bloodied chains and making sinister faces... It's a farcical twist on the Austin Powers Mini-Me."
Hellraiser: Judgement (2018): TBA
The Hellbound HeartEdit
Unlike the film version, Pinhead is not the leader of the Cenobites in the Novella, and instead he and the other Cenobites follow the Lead Cenobite. This Pinhead's gender is left entirely vague, and their mutilations are described with notable differences from the film version:
"Its voice, unlike that of its companion, was light and breathy--the voice of an excited girl. Every inch of its head had been tattooed with an intricate grid, and at every intersection of horizontal and vertical axes a jeweled pin driven through to the bone. Its tongue was similarly decorated."
The Scarlet GospelsEdit
"His flesh was virtually white, his hairless head ritualistically scarred with deep grooves that ran both horizontally and vertically, at every intersection of which a nail had been hammered through the bloodless flesh and into his bone. Perhaps, at one time, the nails had gleamed, but the years had tarnished them...As for the rest of his appearance, it was much as it had been depicted in the etchings and woodcuts of demonic listings for millennia: the black vestments, the hem of which brushed the floor; the patches of skinned flesh exposing blood-beaded muscle; and the skin tightly interwoven with the fabric of his robes...He looked like a creature that had lived too long, his eyes set in bruised pools, his gait steady but slow. But the tools that hung from his belt—an amputation saw, a trepanning drill, a small chisel, and three silver syringes—were, like the abattoir worker’s chain-mail apron he wore, wet with blood..."
- "[Pinhead] was basically Clive's design, as seen on the Hellbound T-shirts. There was a lot of discussion with Clive, then I did a few drawings. First we just had spikes coming out of his head. I wanted it to be more geometrical. Originally he had pins all over the head, but Clive and I thought it would be nice to make it look more like a mask with pins around his chin, over his ears and at the back of his head. We modelled it about six times and did loads of drawings. If you look at the first test pictures that came out of Hellraiser there are actually pins in there rather than nails and the pins got lost - you couldn't see them. So we clipped the ends of the pins off and made our own hollow brass nails that inserted over the top and they were much more visible."
- — Games Without Frontiers By Brian J. Robb, Fear, No.6, May/June 1989.
Barker drew inspiration for the cenobite designs from punk fashion, Catholicism and by the visits he took to S&M clubs in New York and Amsterdam. For Pinhead specifically, Barker drew inspiration from African fetish sculptures. Initially, Barker intended Pinhead to have a navel piercing implying that the character had genital piercings. Barker's original "Hell Priest" sketches for Pinhead were eventually adapted into an officially licensed mask by Composite Effects, to be released in limited quantity to the public on 24 March 2017. This was done in celebration of the 30th Anniversary of Hellraiser.
After securing funding in early 1986, Barker and his producer Chris Figg assembled a team to design the cenobites. Among the team was Bob Keen and Geoff Portass at Image Animation and Jane Wildgoose, a costume designer who was requested to make a series of costumes for 4–5 'super-butchers' while refining the scarification designs with Image Animation. In terms of lighting, Pinhead was designed so that shadows would swirl round his head. By July 1986, the shooting script positively identified the single pinheaded Cenobite from the earlier draft as clearly the leader.
In Hellraiser: Judgment they updated Pinhead's appearance from the previous films. As writer-director Gary J. Tunnicliffe explained, "This is a very no nonsense Pinhead. No glib one-liners, he's a little leaner and a little meaner. We especially tried to incorporate this into the make-up and costume; the cuts are deeper, the pins a little longer, his eyes are completely black and wardrobe is a little sleeker and more visceral. Someone on set described him as the 'bad ass' version of Pinhead." The flesh exposed on Pinhead's chest was redesigned as a rhombus in honour of Pinhead's master, the fictional character Leviathan.
- "Don't flee from yourself. If you have a quality, be proud of it, let it define you, whatever it is."
- "Welcome to Hell."
- "We have such sights to show you.
- "Ahh, Kirsty, so eager to play...so reluctant to admit it."
- "Your suffering will be legendary, even in Hell."
- "No tears, please. It's a waste of good suffering."
- "The box. You opened it, we came."
- "We'll tear your soul apart."
- "I AM pain."
- "Do I look like someone who cares what God thinks?"
- "Away, cunt!"
- "Unbearable, isn't it? The suffering of strangers, the agony of friends. There is a secret song at the center of the world, Joey, and its sound is like razors through flesh. Oh come, you can hear its faint echo right now. I'm here to turn up the volume. To press the stinking face of humanity into the dark blood of its own secret heart."
- In the first few films, Pinhead did not have a name, he was titled "Lead Cenobite." It was the fans who conceived the name "Pinhead," which Clive Barker disliked.
- He was however referred to as "Pinhead" in script in Hellraiser 3 by Joey Summerskill as an insult.
- Despite being the iconic villain of the franchise, Pinhead is rarely the main antagonist. He is however the main antagonist of the Scarlet Gospels.
- Initially, Barker intended Pinhead to have a navel piercing implying that the character had genital piercings
- In terms of lighting, Pinhead was designed so that shadows would swirl round his head.
- Barker, who did not like the name "Pinhead", vowed to rename the character in "The Scarlet Gospels". However, the novel simply referred to the character as "the Hell Priest", a title he held in Hell. The Scarlet Gospel featured a running gag where the character reacts violently to being called "Pinhead".
- Pinhead was featured in early drafts of "Freddy vs Jason." He would confront his fellow horror icons in hell during the closing moments of the film leaving it as a cliffhanger with the potential to eventually move forward with a sequel featuring all three characters battling. This idea was dropped early on however.