Hellraiser creator Clive Barker's unmade remake screenplay would have reimagined series villain Pinhead. Hellraiser became an instant horror classic when it first arrived in 1987. The movie was based on Barker’s novella The Hellbound Heart and found a man escape from Hell after opening a mysterious puzzle box. His lover - who happens to be his brother’s wife - feeds him bodies so he can regenerate himself, but soon the demons who tormented him come looking to pull him back.
Barker’s graphic, blood-soaked vision was startling to audiences and introduced Pinhead (Doug Bradley) to the horror villain hall of fame. Pinhead isn’t even named in the movie and is instead credited as Lead Cenobite, but his unforgettable look soon saw him become the mascot of the series. His part became bigger in each subsequent sequel, but after the lackluster box office of 1996’s Hellraiser: Bloodlines, the series then went straight to video. Pinhead himself made little more than cameos in most of these DTV outings, with Bradley departing the role following 2005’s Hellraiser: Hellworld. The most recent entry was 2018’s Hellraiser: Judgment.
Despite Hellraiser being a famous property, the rights owners have struggled with bringing it back, since its themes of sadomasochism, kinky sex and explicit gore are a harder sell to mainstream audiences than something like Halloween. Numerous failed attempts have been made over the years to remake the movie, with Barker himself penning a rejected script in 2014. Now Mr H Reviews has released a new video, breaking down how this screenplay revised the character of Pinhead.
The second movie Hellbound: Hellraiser II revealed Pinhead was once Elliott Spencer, a disillusioned World War I soldier who opened the Lament Configuration puzzle box and was damned for it. Barker’s script instead revealed the new Pinhead was Philip L’Merchant, who created the box. The opening scene shows the toymaker being forced to build the box by a brutal prison warden, who then kills him and feeds his blood to the box upon completion. L’Merchant is then remade as the Hell Priest and kills the warden in revenge.
The script for the Hellraiser remake would have played close to the events of the original, but Pinhead would have been even darker. He would have worn white priestly robes, and instead of hooked chains, he would have summoned vines. To display just how evil he can be, one scene would have shown him kill an entire maternity ward using a mist he conjures; he can also create more cenobites with this mist.
Tying Pinhead to the creation of the puzzle box is a very interesting idea, and it sounds like Barker wanted to bring back his most famous creation in a big way. L’Merchant is actually one of the lead characters in prequel/sequel Hellraiser: Bloodlines, where he’s shown as a good-hearted toymaker who is tricked into creating the Lament Configuration and accidentally damning his entire bloodline.
There are currently no plans for a Hellraiser sequel or remake, but given the revival of Halloween and plans for a Friday The 13th remake, it’s almost a given one will be put into development over the next couple of years. Whether or not Barker or his unused Hellraiser screenplay will be involved is another question entirely.
Source: Mr H Reviews