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Pinhead, the legendary horror-movie villain from the 1980s, is a grotesque ghoul that lives for the thrill of pain. Pinhead the Twitter emoji is sinfully cute.
On Twitter, David Bruckner, director of the upcoming “Hellraiser” (which premieres Friday on Hulu), was the first to inform star Jamie Clayton – the newest Hell Priest – about her cartoon counterpart. “I was like, ‘What?!'” says Clayton, who then used the hashtag #Hellraiser to alert her followers about the little creature conjured up. “Pay attention. If you do this, it will be the sweetest thing ever, ever, ever.”
Clayton’s Pinhead is far more frightening. She seizes her spooky side to take on a new form of the twisted monster. She is a trans actor best known for her work in Netflix’s “Sense8.” (Doug Bradley portrayed Pinhead in eight “Hellraiser” films, including Clive Barker’s initial feature in 1987.) Bruckner’s remake revolves around a desperate addict (Odessa A’zion) who acquires an antique puzzle box and summons the vicious Cenobites and their eerily tranquil, torturing queen Priest.
According to 44-year-old Clayton, who found playing Pinhead to be extremely exhausting both physically and mentally, “I was quite afraid to enter into this role but also up for the task.” In addition to enduring “very hot and constricting” prosthetics, she also drew on the “well of my life and all of the wonderful and awful things that I’ve gone through, putting that all into a pot and casting a spell and praying that it succeeded.”
Clayton, who was raised in San Diego, avoided horror films as a child because she was “a total scaredy-cat,” so, until the night before she recorded her audition, she had never seen the first “Hellraiser.” Clayton, who studied Barker and his novella “The Hellbound Heart” (which served as the inspiration for “Hellraiser”), claims, “I had no idea how erotic it was. He wrote that based on his experiences going to BDSM clubs in New York.”
Bruckner had always envisioned a female Pinhead, and after seeing Clayton’s first read, he remarked, “She really terrified the hell out of me, “says the director of “The Night House,” which will be released in 2020. When production began and Clayton showed up on the “Hellraiser” set in Serbia, “you would often sense a quiet fall over the crew and you knew you were in the presence of royalty,” Clayton recalled. Working with Jamie while she is fully dressed in Pinhead design may be extremely daunting.
Clayton explains that Bruckner helped her comprehend the Priest’s posture, “the immobility of the head,” as well as what the Priest may be feeling: “The sensuality, the hunger perhaps, or the disappointment.”
However, being Pinhead wasn’t simple. In her wicked attire, Clayton recalls “the crying, the laughing, the screaming, the panic attacks (and) the little sips of water,” and she would stay in it for a long time because it was “a profound place to go to.” “I cut off communication with the cast and the rest of the group. I would simply face a wall and sort of meditating if they were moving the camera or changing a bulb or battery.
She was able to daily enter the Pinhead mindset by listening to music, including everything from The Sisters of Mercy to Nine Inch Nails to Prince. Darker stuff blended with seductive, enjoyable things, such as Personal Jesus by Depeche Mode.
Why not, after all? Clayton declares, “It’s perfect. It was harder, though, to recover from it. “Learning to leave it at the theatre is the hardest acting lesson I’ve ever had to learn. When I first started acting, it was really difficult for me to do emotionally charged situations and then have those scenes not stick with me for days or weeks.
She continued to see a therapist while in Serbia. Additionally helpful were bath bombs, Schweppes Bitter Lemons, Aperol spritzers, and Jaffa Cakes. Clayton, who has also starred in “The Neon Demon,” “Designated Survivor,” and “The L Word: Generation Q,” says, “It’s about giving yourself the treats that you need.”
It feels “very amazing,” according to Clayton, to play the next iteration of a terrifying-movie institution like Pinhead. Clayton notes that while the horror genre is rife with final girls, there aren’t many iconic female villains.
I’m transgender “I simply have the misconception that there are some games I can’t play or am not permitted to play, claims Clayton. In “Hellraiser,” I experienced “simply one of those amazing moments (with) something I never thought I’d be able to accomplish, but they opened the door and they let me in, and I was able to do what I do.” She continues, laughing, “And it was good.
Just having the chance to prove to myself that I am capable of doing this means the world to me. I’ll then pretend to be a space lawyer next. I’m not sure, but I’m up to the task!