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A Femme Pinhead in ‘Hellraiser’ Is More Accurate to Original Books


Sorry haters, Jamie Clayton in Hulu's upcoming version is perfect.

No misogynist tears please, it's a waste of good suffering.

While some fans (mostly cis, straight, men) have been complaining about the casting for iconic priest of hell, Pinhead, in Hulu's upcoming Hellraiser remake, it turns out that casting a female actress could actually be more accurate to the book than even the original movie.

This time around, Pinhead, the legendary torture-and-BDSM-loving Cenobite, will be played by none other than The L Word: Generation Q's Jamie Clayton. And while the original movies had Doug Bradley bring the character to life, it seems Clayton's portrayal may be more accurate to Clive Barker's original vision.

In the book The Hellbound Heart, which the Hellraiser movies are based on, Barker describes the Cenobites as a group of androgynous demons without any apparent human genders. In one passage, Barker describes Pinhead's voice, which is distinctly unlike Bradley's deep male voice.

"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." That sounds like a femme queen if I've ever seen one!

Additionally, Barker, who is gay and often incorporates LGBTQ+ characters, themes, and plots into his stories, described the lead Cenobite, who was replaced by Pinhead for the movie, as a completely gender ambiguous character.

"Frank had difficulty guessing the speaker's gender with any certainty," Barker wrote when the book's main character comes face to face with the Cenobite leader. "Its clothes, some of which were sewn to and through its skin, hid its private parts, and there was nothing in the dregs of its voice, or in its willfully disfigured features that offered the least clue. When it spoke, the hooks that transfixed the flaps of its eyes and were wed, by an intricate system of chains passed through flesh and bone alike, to similar hooks through the lower lip, were teased by the motion, exposing the glistening meat beneath."

Now, don't get us wrong, Bradley's performance is one of the most iconic in horror history. But it'll be fun to see a more book-accurate version of the character. And it will definitely be fun to see a trans actor portray this type of character, especially when so much mainstream media is dedicated to making sure LGBTQ+ representation is "positive representation."

It's about time we get some good trans and nonbinary demons. We've been waiting far too long.

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Mey Rude

Mey Rude is a journalist and cultural critic who has been covering queer news for a decade. The transgender, Latina lesbian lives in Los Angeles with her fiancée.

Mey Rude is a journalist and cultural critic who has been covering queer news for a decade. The transgender, Latina lesbian lives in Los Angeles with her fiancée.