Horror Icons: Doug Bradley

We all know Doug Bradley, right?  If not, you know who the character Pinhead from Hellraiser, even without seeing the films.  Well, if I am wrong, then here we go, Doug Bradley is a horror icon you need to know about.

Most people don’t think about the actor behind the monster, but seeing a Hellraiser film without Doug Bradley as “lead Cenobite” or Pinhead really shows me how much he brings.

As I said Doug Bradley is known best for his role as the Lead Cenobite, Pinhead in the Hellraiser films.  He played the character in 8 films from 1987-2005.  I don’t know for sure if he won the role being a close friend of the creator of Hellraiser, Clive Barker.  He would get to be a part of two other Barker films, Nightbreed and Book of Blood.  The have been friends for many years and met in, secondary school and have worked together on many projects since the 1970s.

Throughout the years, mostly following Hellraiser, Bradley has been in many different horror movies.  Most of the movies are lesser known or sequels in bigger franchises.  He will always be known for playing Pinhead in the first eight Hellraiser films.

I do want to share a story I read over a year ago about the pre-production of Hellraiser Judgement.  The director wanted Doug Bradley to comeback to play Pinhead.  In the previous Hellraiser movie, which was really bad, Hellraiser Revelations, Pinhead was played by Steven Smith Collins and voiced by Fred Tatasciore.


Here is what he said about being re-cast for Revelations:

I know that many of you will have caught up with the sudden burst of Internet chatter about a new Hellraiser film going into production, and will be keen to know whether I’ve been approached to play Pinhead again, so here’s the deal…I have been approached just in this last week (w/b 16 August) regarding a proposed new Hellraiser film. This is not the ‘remake’ which has been endlessly discussed for the last three years: with the working title Hellraiser: Revelations, it will be the ninth film in the series. I would stress that I have had no contact from, or negotiations with, anyone from Dimension Films: rather these contacts have been by way of private discussion with individuals involved with this project… Following these discussions, and after reading the script and giving it due consideration, I have decided not to participate. The ink is barely dry on the script, and it is scheduled to be in front of the cameras in two weeks time and in the can by the middle of next month (September 2010). The minuscule shooting schedule is more than matched by the budget…Whether or not this means that somebody else will be stepping up to play Pinhead, I have no idea. I guess we can watch this space together…One way or another, this does not seem to me to represent a serious attempt to revive the Hellraiser franchise. However, I wish everyone who will be directly involved in the making of this film, good luck with it.

With that said, the movie was bad and casting of Pinhead was terrible. Facing expiration of their rights, The Weinstein Company, while still apparently working on the long announced remake of the original film, decided to rush an eighth sequel into production. The film was released March 18, 2011, of course without Doug Bradley and I believe it to be the worst Hellraiser movie.

I love that he addresses everything when he is not cast, here is what he said about Hellraiser: Judgement:

“Ladies, Gentlemen and Others,
I gather word is beginning to spread about the new Hellraiser movie which is, apparently, already shooting.
First, a point of clarification. This is the first time I have said anything about this. Anything else you have heard me say about any proposed Hellraiser film refers to the constantly rumored remake. And, for the record, I still know nothing about that.
First I heard about this new film was around Christmas in a phone call from Gary Tunnicliffe, who was my make-up artist on Bloodline through Hellworld. Gary, you may recall, also wrote the screenplay for Revelations. He has written and is directing this new effort. I can also assert, contrary to some rumours I’ve already seen, that Clive Barker is not involved with this in any way, shape or form.
Gary said he would send me a copy of the script when he had completed a second draft, but before I could be allowed to set eyes on the precious document, I was required to sign a gagging order. This was a three page document preventing me from talking about the script ‘in restrooms’, ‘on elevators’, ‘in restaurants’ or ‘in cellular telephone conversations which may be overheard’. There was also dark reference to ‘people talking out of turn at conventions’. I read this thing in disbelief, and informed Gary I would not be signing it.
And that’s that. Clearly, I am deemed too much of a security risk to be allowed to read a Hellraiser script. People are starving to death in Syria and they’re worried about me talking about a Hellraiser movie? Get a fucking grip. Can you say ‘sense of proportion’?
Anyway, story short: a new movie is happening and I have nothing do with it. I was unable to make a decision about it because I was not allowed to read the script, unlike Revelations where I made a conscious decision not to do the movie based on the motives for making it and the poor quality of the script.

And that’s everything.”

Peace and Pain

You have got to love and respect the way the man handles business. He understands and knows Hellraiser Judgement is a movie, just a movie.  I don’t understand where this make-up artist turned writer, turned director gets off having the man who brought Pinhead to life, to sign a gag order for a movie that will more than likely be inferior.  I mean, after Hellraiser every movie has been progressively worse and the movie without Bradley was terrible.  This movie is just another roadblock to keep Clive Barker from remaking his movie.

I have nothing but respect for Doug Bradley, rather than taking any kind of money to be Pinhead again, he did the right thing.  It is things like this, that makes an icon.  Of course, playing an iconic role for nearly 20 years and being the only one to successfully play the character helps as well.  Eight movies as Pinhead over 18 years.  Wow.

You can follow Doug Bradley on Facebook or on his personal website DougBradley.com

This video below is awesome, brings together all of Pinhead’s best quotes.  Enjoy!

Horror History

Hellraiser (1987)

Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988)

Nightbreed (1990)

Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth (1992)

Hellraiser IV: Bloodline (1996)

Hellraiser Inferno (2000)

Hellraiser: Hellseeker (2002)

The Prophecy: Uprising (2005)

Hellraiser: Deader (2005)

Hellraiser: Hellworld (2005)

Pumpkinhead: Ashes to Ashes (2006)

Book of Blood (2009)

A Vampire’s Tale (2009)

Exorcismus (2010)

The Reverend (2011)

Star Wars: The Old Republis (v0ice) (2011, 2014)

Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines (2012)

Shame the Devil (2013)

About Ray Marek III 252 Articles
I am a lifelong horror fan. I have written for a few web sites, Kung-Fu Comrades, Nightfall Unlimited and Rage of Rayzor. Freddy's Revenge was the first Horror Film I watched, I was 5. When my mom found out I liked horror films, she began challenging me. Soon to follow were the likes of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Dawn of the Dead. Horror is in my blood, I want to share that with you...my blood...horror. I write unpublished comics. Lifelong dream is to write comics for a major comic book publisher or build my own comic book company.