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The Bride of Pinhead
"She has such sights to show you..."

Hellraiser the Bride of Pinhead

Let’s face it, Pinhead needs no introduction. If you have just returned from a fifty-year round trip to Mars and have missed out on all the pop culture icons from the world of horror, then here’s a very brief potted history. Pinhead (played by Doug Bradley) is a character from Clive Barker’s Hellraiser movies, appearing in the 1987 original and most of the sequels since. He first appeared in Clive Barker’s novel The Hellbound Heart (the story on which Hellraiser is based) and was named Hell Priest. Pinhead isn’t his official character name but a nickname given to him by the film crew which has just stuck with him. Pinhead is a Cenobite, an extra-dimensional being that was once human but became a demonic creature that can be summoned by a puzzle box (the Lament Configuration) to collect human souls and subject them to endless torment and suffering. Cenobites vary in appearance, displaying creative wounds and decorative tortures on their bodies.

There have been a lot of Hellraiser movies, novels, comics, and other media which has introduced fans to all manner of weird and wonderful Cenobites. A very appealing aspect of Cenobites is that they do inspire highly creative designs. Some have been truly extreme in their appearance, such as Spike, who has a huge spike through his head; Bound, a female who’s face is strapped in tight leather secured by wires; and Angelique, a beautiful female with the skin of her head peeled back and attached to hooks in her shoulders.

Bride of Pinhead Bride of Pinhead
Bride of Pinhead Bride of Pinhead

I love the Bride of Frankenstein, and I thought it would be interesting to create a bride for Pinhead. Although this is thematically out of sorts with the narrative of the Hellraiser series, as Pinhead would never fall in love or express tender emotions (he only wants to cause pain and torment), nonetheless I wanted to create this theme just because I figured it might look pretty cool. I didn’t want the Bride to be just another Cenobite but a very specific “love interest” for Pinhead. As such, she would have to satisfy this role visually. The first obvious choice was to make her nude. Why? Hell isn’t about love, it’s more about lust and sin, and so the sexual element seemed appropriate for the bride of a demon. Secondly, she would need to wear pins in order to be visually attached to Pinhead. My first instinctive idea was to apply the famous Pinhead grid and pins all over her entire body. Then I thought about this and realised it was an insane idea that would require many hours of labour, hundreds of pins, and was probably a ridiculous task to complete. So I thought about it some more and tried to come up with a more sensible idea.

The problem was, I loved this ludicrous idea so much that I couldn’t escape it. I knew I just had to do this! So I spent many evenings making wearable pins, planning the makeup, and finding a model willing to go through what would be a long, arduous process. Oh, and I was going to need a Mr. Pinhead too, just to make a difficult shoot even more tricky.

Bride of Pinhead Bride of Pinhead
Bride of Pinhead Bride of Pinhead

Loads of people have asked how the pins were done but, I’m sorry to say, I don’t want to reveal too many secrets. What I can say is that the Bride’s makeup took around ten hours to complete. She was fully body-painted, fitted with a rubber bald cap, and then her body was drawn over with a grid which was extremely difficult to work out. It was all calculated with rulers and tape measures and hand drawn, and also had to allow her to pose properly once the pins were in. I used my 30 years as a graphic designer to my full advantage on this job. A lot of thought was given to the size of the grids too, so that she had plenty of pins but not so many that the task was impossible. Once the body art was done, every single pin was placed by hand, which in itself was a long and tiring job and took three of us to complete. It was the weirdest thing to see, myself and my wife Claire, being helped by Mike in full Pinhead makeup sticking pins into a nude model.

Mike’s Pinhead makeup was considerably easier as I only had to create his head and hands. He had a great costume which we made use of and his bald head meant the process was pretty simple.

Bride of Pinhead Bride of Pinhead
Bride of Pinhead Bride of Pinhead

So, after ten hours of rather hard work, we finally started to shoot. I put up the new “grunge” backdrop that I recently made and placed atmospheric blue lights around the studio. One of the unusual things about Clive Barker’s vision of Hell is that it doesn’t follow the traditional image of fire and brimstone, but rather a cold, blue-hued dungeon with hanging chains and a more desolate ambiance. I shot a comprehensive series of solo portraits and poses with both models and then a set of romantic embrace shots between the two. Obviously these shots were done with great care because her pins were like a force field, preventing anything getting too close.

The reaction to these photos has been absolutely phenomenal. They’ve even been commented on and shared by some of the actors from the Hellraiser film, including Nicholas Vince and Imogen Boorman. But the most rewarding moment from this shoot - in fact from ANY shoot I have ever done - was when the Bride of Pinhead was described as being “glorious” by the boss himself, Clive Barker. For a life-long horror fan who has always regarded Clive Barker as a force of inspiration and genius, to get any sort of approval from him was a truly golden moment. Worth all those long hours!


Design / Makeup / Photography - Rick Jones (HORRIFY ME)
Creative Assistant - Claire Jones
Bride of Pinhead Model - Lottii Rose
Pinhead Model - Mike Butler

Bride of Pinhead Bride of Pinhead Bride of Pinhead

See the whole Hellraiser galleries here.

Thanks for reading folks. Keep loving horror :)

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