Hulu’s annual Huluween celebration is always a treat for horror fans, and this year’s lineup includes some truly terrifying films. One of the titles that was most anticipated was “Hellraiser,” which stars trans actress Jamie Clayton as the iconic Hell Priest. Clayton delivers a chilling performance praised as the stuff of nightmares. This brand-new take on the classic horror story is sure to send chills down your spine, and it’s not one to miss. So if you’re looking for a good scare this Halloween, be sure to check out “Hellraiser.”
Hellraiser is one of the most popular horror franchises of all time. It has been entertaining horror fans for over 30 years since the original film was released in 1987.
Based on Clive Barker's novella, The Hellbound Heart, the franchise revolves around the Lament Configuration, a mysterious ancient puzzle box that is said to open a portal to a hellish dimension where there is no difference between pleasure and pain. Some people willingly open the box, eager to experience the Cenobites’ unique brand of torture. Others are trapped by mistake, and their eternal suffering leads them to view the Cenobites as demons. In both cases, the end result is always the same: the Cenobites are unique creatures that can only be summoned by their victims, making each tortured soul partially responsible for the horrible fate they face.
When the original film was released in 1987, it was a game-changer for the horror genre. However, in the years since, the franchise has been through some ups and downs. Some sequels, like 1988’s “Hellbound: Hellraiser II,” have captured the magic of the original. Others, like 2011’s “Hellraiser: Revelations,” have strayed so far from what made the franchise successful that they barely feel like Hellraiser films at all.
With such a long and uneven history, it’s not surprising that many fans were concerned when it was announced that director Clive Barker would be passing the baton to David Bruckner for a “reboot” of sorts. But thankfully, Bruckner’s version is a return to form for the franchise and a welcome breath of fresh air for horror fans.
Early reviews of the rebooted film have been full of praise for its gory approach and stylish direction, even suggesting that this reboot would be better than the original.
The latest installment of “Hellraiser” is a modern reimagining of Clive Barker’s classic story of a group of people who inadvertently open a door to another dimension and are then tortured by demonic creatures called Cenobites.
The film directed by David Bruckner (pictured above) and written by Ben Collins and Luke Piotrowski takes the basic premise of the original and applies it to the letter, delivering a film full of gore and breathtaking suspense. The visuals are first-rate, and the kills are creative and brutal.
However, one of the most interesting aspects of this brand-new film is its cast.
When it was first announced that Pinhead would be played by a woman in the newest Hellraiser film, some fans were skeptical. After all, the role had always been played by a man, like Doug Bradley, in previous incarnations of the franchise. Would a woman be able to do the role justice?
According to Bruckner, this revised version of the character is more sensual, graceful, and beautiful than ever before.
“This film’s version of the Priest is now a woman, which takes the burden off the audience of trying to compare the performance to Doug Bradley’s iconic portrayal of this character, lovingly known by the fans as Pinhead. There’s a sensuality to her. There’s a grace. There’s a beauty. And a hunger and a desire.”
As it turns out, Jamie Clayton (Sense8, The L Word: Generation Q) was more than up to the task. Clayton brought a new level of depth to the character. Her performance helped to further break down barriers in the horror genre and showed that women can, indeed, excel in traditionally male roles.
Since the release, fan reaction to Clayton’s portrayal of Pinhead has been overwhelmingly positive. It’s clear that she was the right choice for the role and that she was more than capable of living up to the legacy set by previous actors.
Jamie Clayton had to undergo a major transformation to play the role of Hell Priest. Besides spending hours in the makeup chair, she had to wear an extremely uncomfortable costume that made moving around the set difficult.
The makeup process could take anywhere from four and a half to six hours. Then it would take another 30 minutes to an hour to get it all off.
Clayton explained she had to be incredibly patient during the shoot, and taking off the costume at the end of each day was always an immense relief.
“The makeup process was intense. I’ve never done prosthetics before, but I was in such good hands with the Russells and their entire team. Sierra Russell was my key. She would [transform] me every single day, and Josh was always there… you know, gluing all the pins on individually to the face piece while the head was coming on. But the process, depending on the day—depending on how many other Cenobites were working that day, or how many practical effects were happening—the makeup could take anywhere from four and a half to six hours.”
Clayton continues, “I had to be incredibly patient. I had to find a thing in myself that I didn’t know existed. I had to just learn to sort of meditate and relax and let this incredible team of people practice their craft on me every day. Once I was in it, once the neckpiece went on, I was in it for the duration of that filming day.
“And then, to take it all off, was another 30 minutes to an hour. Taking off the hands, the face, the whole thing. Stripping that suit off at the end of the day was always a huge relief.”
Watch Clayton’s interview in full in the video below:
In addition to Clayton, the cast of the Hellraiser reboot includes some well-known names such as:
This year, be sure to check out “Hellraiser” on Hulu. If you’re looking for a good scare, this is the movie for you. Here’s the link to Hulu: hulu.com/movie/hellraiser.
“Hellraiser” is a gore-filled delight that will leave horror fans thirsting for more. The trailer below teasingly teases the mayhem to come, so be sure to check it out if you’re looking for a bloody good time.
If you’re a horror movie fan, then you’ll want to see the new Hellraiser. Based on early reviews, it looks like this long-awaited reboot is a real treat, a return to form for the franchise, with plenty of gore and style. It could even become one of the best horror movies out there. So set aside some time to see Jamie Clayton reprise the iconic role of Pinhead - you won’t be disappointed.
If you're interested in watching the original film, you can find it on Amazon Prime Video or on AppleTV+.