After quite a long drought of Hellraiser news, we finally got a big glut of news regarding the Hulu reboot of the classic horror movie. Not only did we learn that Clive Barker is back to produce the film, and has high praise for it, but we know who’s playing Pinhead. Now the immortal Doug Bradley handled the role in most of the Hellraiser films, excluding some subpar direct-to-DVD films. He is not playing the character in this upcoming reboot, Jamie Clayton is playing Pinhead. Who exactly is Jamie Clayton?
Clayton is an actress known for her role on the show The L Word: Generation Q and Sense8. It’s safe to say that the horror community rallied behind Clayton’s casting as the famous horror character. Clayton is a trans woman, so the more unsavory members of the horror community were unhappy with the choice for being a woman. But wait, let’s go back to the original novel, The Hellbound Heart, and check the description of Pinhead (not named that until later in the film series).
Its voice, unlike that of its companion, was light and breathy–the voice of an excited girl. Every inch of its head had been tattooed with an intricate grid, and at every intersection of horizontal and vertical axes a jeweled pin driven through to the bone. Its tongue was similarly decorated.The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker
The Absolute Smash, Perfect Choice For Pinhead
That sounds about as vague as it gets on gender of a character. So for them to cast a trans woman in the role is magnificent. Just because Doug Bradley kicked ass as Pinhead through a majority of the Hellraiser series, doesn’t mean that Clayton cannot. This description of the character is gender fluid. It’s even more telling that Clive Barker is back for this reboot as a producer. He wouldn’t put his name on something he wasn’t sure of, especially with Hellraiser.
For the naysayers out there, one, the movie is not out yet, we don’t have images of Clayton in costume for the role yet, we have no footage to look at. So attacking her for “not being experienced enough” or that Pinhead is a man just because Doug Bradley and other men have played the character, holds no water. After all, Doug Bradley had two film roles from much earlier in his life to his name when he got Pinhead. It’s because of his excellent performance as the character in Hellraiser and Hellbound that he’s held to such a high regard.
But we are entering the era of horror where our once youthful performers are reaching elder age. Like Robert Englund and Freddy Krueger, we can’t keep going back to that well. Horror is built on innovation and creativity. This casting choice checks both of those boxes. It’s about damn time that we get more female and LGBTQ+ representation as villains and in general.
A New Hopeful Era For Horror And Fans
This casting hopefully is one in a long line of new monsters, villains, and characters for horror. It was long a genre that was simultaneously progressive and regressive with its treatment of women. Movies like Freaky and others are going a long way to make inclusivity a thing in the genre. This casting of Jamie Clayton as Pinhead is one that brings the genre forward into a new era that celebrates inclusion and people of all kinds. It’s worth praise for the filmmakers and producers of the film for doing so instead of just rehashing the same old, same old.
For people that complain about horror reboots and remakes being the same thing over and over again, this casting goes a long way to breaking that stream of thought. The movie already has praise from Clive Barker about the scope and vision of it.
Having seen some of the designs from David Bruckner’s new Hellraiser film, they pay homage to what the first film created, but then take it to places it’s never been before,” he stated. “This is a Hellraiser on a scale that I simply didn’t expect. David and his team are steeped in the story’s mythology, but what excites me is their desire to honour the original even as they revolutionize it for a new generation.
I have no doubt in my mind that this version of Pinhead and Jamie Clayton will give their all to be awesome. Looks like we’ll have to wait a bit until this one releases on Hulu sometime in 2022.
Hellraiser fans have a lot to look forward to with the new movie and the HBO series from David Gordon Green coming as well.
For more on horror, check out Fright-A-Thon, the month-plus long Halloween marathon, or stay tuned to That Hashtag Show.