HELLRAISER Interview: Jamie Clayton And Director David Bruckner Tease The Terrifying New Pinhead (Exclusive)

Hellraiser star Jamie Clayton (The Priest) is joined by director David Bruckner to discuss the movie's terrifying new interpretation of Pinhead and the acting challenges that transformation presented...

Interviews Opinion

Hellraiser is a reimagining of Clive Barker’s 1987 horror classic from director David Bruckner that will debut in the U.S. exclusively on Hulu on October 7 as part of the streamer’s annual "Huluween" celebration of fright-filled content.

In the all-new take on the classic horror franchise, a young woman struggling with addiction comes into possession of an ancient puzzle box, unaware that its purpose is to summon the Cenobites, a group of sadistic supernatural beings from another dimension. Jamie Clayton plays The Priest in the reboot, and absolutely steals the show as this new take on Pinhead.

Recently, we spoke to Jamie and Hellraiser director David Bruckner about Pinhead's long-awaited return to the screen, with the former revealing new details about her transformation into The Priest and what the biggest challenges were being decked out in those incredible prosthetics. 

David, meanwhile, talks about how the movie fits into the wider Hellraiser canon and explains his approach to telling this story without being beholden to what's come before. He also teases hidden details that will only be seen on repeat viewings!

Watch our conversation below and be sure to also subscribe to my YouTube channel by clicking here to hear more from the Hellraiser cast.

Jamie, there’s such an aura of menace that surrounds Pinhead whenever she’s on-screen; how tough is it to get into the mind of a character like this?

Jamie: It was quite tough. Thank goodness I had David as a director to help me. We had many, many, many conversations around the idea and intention of what The Priest was doing and why she was doing what she was doing. We had many conversations about the posture and the voice and how all of those things would look. As I was doing it, I didn’t even know if any of it was happening. I was like, ‘Am I doing anything that we talked about?’ When something would click, I remember he would come up to me after we would cut and say, ‘When you just did X or Z, let’s do that again. That’s what’s working.’ Those moments were really fun. It was tough. I stayed in therapy the whole time we were filming [Laughs]. The time difference was tough, but I was in therapy! [Laughs]

David, this is a franchise that’s expanded in so many ways over the years, was it challenging to approach this movie with fresh eyes and not need to find ways to very obviously link this movie up with past instalments like other horror franchises?

David: I’m glad you asked. Hellraiser is complicated, you know, and one of the tough things in script development to avoid is long, exploratory passages that try to explain everything away that you’re seeing so it can be easily understandable. We spent a lot of time trying to communicate as much as we could through the imagery and what’s so much fun is that there is so much incredible imagery to pull from in Hellraiser. You start trying to find ways to create an intuitive relationship with what the audience is seeing and what’s happening in the story.

Yeah, the density of it is a bug for crafting it at times, but it’s also a feature for the experience. My experience with Hellraiser is that, especially with that first film, is that it’s so layered. It just hit me different every time I saw it over the years. We wanted to just allow ourselves to find parallels that were fascinating to us and interesting dimensions to it and run with them. A lot of it is probably there on a first watch and I hope people will find things in it during future watches that they didn’t notice the first time.

I’m sure you’ll be asked a lot about the work that went into your transformation, Jamie, but in terms of when you were made up as Pinhead, what about that presented the biggest challenge in terms of still being able to get your performance across?

Jamie: Oh, I love that question! The biggest challenge I think was not being able to move really [Laughs]. I mean, literally, I could barely move my face. My vision was obstructed by the contacts. We figured out a really good routine with the contacts where, if they were going to be setting up a new scene and had more than thirty or forty minutes, I could pop them out. You couldn’t pop them out and put them back in more than three times in a day, so we had to choose moments when I could take the contacts out. 

The neck…once the neck went on, again, forget about it! The neck thing, even if we had two minutes when they were doing something, I was like, ‘Take the neck off, take it off!’ [Laughs] I just had to get it off. It was very challenging. You can’t expand in the suit and I couldn’t take full breaths. It’s moulded silicone and a latex suit that’s painted with muscle and then another suit that’s put on top. It’s very heavy and constricting. I felt very bound the entire time!

Hellraiser premieres exclusively on Hulu on October 7.


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