Hellraiser is a 1987 horror classic spawned many sequels and is commonly categorized as one of the most beloved horror movies of all time, says KAYLEIGH MARIE EDWARDS. Here are 10 fun facts you probably didn’t know about this cult British terror tale….
- Hellraiser was novelist Clive Barker’s directorial debut. He also wrote the screenplay, since it was based on his novella, The Hellbound Heart.
- Have you ever heard of a maggot wrangler? Well they exist and that is actually a job title. A maggot wrangler was needed on set, particularly for the scene in which maggots cascade out of the mouth of a corpse and pour down Kirsty’s (Ashley Laurence) top.
- Doug Bradley played the lead cenobite, Pinhead, from the 1987 original movie and reprised his role in every sequel until Hellraiser: Revelations in 2011. At a horror convention in Sheffield in 2016, Bradley told the crowd that he refused the role in 2011 because he took offence to the contract, which included a confidentiality agreement that he was required to sign. This had never been asked of him before and he took exception to the suggestion that he was not trusted after decades of loyalty to the series and the studio.
- There’s a scene in which skinless Frank is smoking, which was included in the movie because Barker was amused by actor Oliver Smith, who sat around in his skinned suit and smoked between takes.
- Some of the movie’s most famous and quotable lines were improvised. Frank’s “enough of this cat and mouse shit” line was ad-libbed, and he also changed his final line from the original scripted “fuck off” to “Jesus wept!”
- 6.) The movie received an ‘R’ rating in America, despite several explicit scenes and shots being cut from the finished movie (though the movie is typically uncut now). These scenes include: a close-up of a hammer lodged in someone’s head; a naked murder scene and a close-up of a hand delving into Frank’s stomach and his exposed intestine. The movie was completely banned in Ontario until these cuts were made. Who says you can’t censor art?
- To prepare for his first stab at directing, Barker tried to check a book on directing out of his local library. However, there were only two books on directing and both of them were checked out at the time. Despite his inexperience (and financial restrictions), Barker succeeded in debuting not only one of the most popular British horror movies of all time, but he launched one of the most successful horror movie franchises.
- Two of the four cenobites, The Chatterer and Butterball, originally had dialogue. However, the prosthetics used for their costumes made it almost impossible for the actors to speak audibly. Their lines were given to Deep Throat (who was later renamed as ‘Female Cenobite’ because ‘Deep Throat’ was deemed too sexual), and Pinhead. The extra lines fleshed out Pinhead as a character, transforming him from a mere monster, and set him apart as the leader of the cenobites.
- The movie was originally named The Hellbound Heart (after the novella). However, the studio didn’t care for this name, believing that it implied romance. Before landing on Hellraiser, several other names were suggested, including Sadomasochists from Beyond the Grave and What a Woman will do for a Good Fuck.
- The aesthetic design of the cenobites was inspired by S&M, punk rock, and most famously, the Catholic Church. Costume designer Jane Wildgoose wasn’t given specific design instructions but instead prompts, such as ‘repulsive glamour’. She encapsulated the three main costume themes perfectly in Pinhead, who was originally named The Priest (the audience applied the name ‘Pinhead’ to Bradley’s character, a name that irritated Barker profusely).
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Reading this Hellraiser article makes me want to go and watch it again.
First time I ever watched it was doubly scary as some of the skinned imagery matched dreams I’d had as a young child.