One of the biggest mistakes that I could make in regards to the series is having preconceived notions. Someone comes along and claims a topic and you immediately form an idea of which way you think the piece will go. Sometimes, you are right. Usually, you aren’t.
Then, every so often, something comes along that catches you completely off-guard. You have this idea of what will await you in the words lying ahead, but by the time you finish, you realize that the trip you took is not the one that you thought you’d be taking.
The following piece is from debuting Halloween Horrors contributor Anthony Pantazis. It’s very much a case of what I described above. Never would I have expected to have my soul touched by a piece about a character that is best known for ripping them apart.
I think I must have been around 10-years-old the first time that I saw the Dark Priest of Hell. I had stayed the night over at my best friend’s house, and we had taken some video tapes from his older sister’s room to watch in-between heated sessions of Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt. Ever since then, my fascination with Pinhead and the works of Clive Barker soared.
His physical appearance is frightening and symbolic of pain and suffering. His clothing is woven into his flesh and his head is studded with nails. The tools that you would commonly find in an abattoir hang at his waist. The fingers not covered by leather are stained red from the blood of his countless victims. What makes him even more frightening is that he usually isn’t alone when called upon. He is almost always accompanied by other gruesome members of his order, each disfigured in some way by the desire that sent them to their ends.
When it comes to other monsters and killers, they usually chop you up and that’s it. With Pinhead, it’s a whole different level. He finds ways to make you suffer, and punishes you in ways you never dreamed possible. He can make you go through it for an eternity until you start to enjoy the pain you are receiving.
What I love most about him is his silver tongue. He can speak elegantly at times and hide motives in his words, or at other times speak very directly to the point. Either way, his words are deliberate.
He doesn’t just show up randomly and start killing unsuspecting victims. On the contrary, he has to be summoned by desire. Once he’s summoned and the crescendo of bells tolling in the distance has reached their peak, it’s too late to turn back.
This brings me to how I sort of identify with Pinhead and the Hellraiser movies. This is kind of a stretch, so please bear with me. I think why I relate a lot with this story and it’s characters is because Pinhead offers an escape from your normal life. Heaven or Hell is what he says he offers, but really, it’s both. You just won’t know until it’s too late.
There was a time in my life when everything was falling apart. Nothing was exciting or meaningful, and life in general was boring and didn’t seen worth living. I desperately wanted a change. Something, anything. I didn’t care as long as it meant that I wasn’t feeling the same.
Drugs seemed like a good choice at the time. They offered the change that I was looking for. They offered adventure, excitement, and pleasure. The things I desired hinted to be fulfilled by these neat little packages. At first, they did what they promised. Then they abruptly stopped and it was too late to walk away. The hooks of addiction had set themselves deep in me. What started out as pleasure soon turned into pain, a nightmare. Not the flesh being pulled from me kind of pain, but still very real nonetheless.
It took facing and fighting my inner demons to escape the Hell that I had created for myself. I would have rather had a creepy back-stabbing uncle that I could have used to barter my way through.
Like I said, I know it seems like a stretch, but to me… it fits. Maybe it might fit for someone you know as well.
I actually have a friend that swears that the story of Pinhead and Hellraiser are symbolic of dating and marriage. Every thing is all fine and great playing with the box (dating), and then BAM!! The chains come out (wedding rings) and you find yourself in your own personal Hell. It’s actually not that far-fetched if you’ve ever met my buddy’s wife. You would probably agree too.
So, that’s it! That’s why I love and will always love Pinhead. He started out scarring the crap out of me at a young age, and then became a sort of “life-lesson coach” in my old age. Yes, that’s right! Pinhead is the Mr. Rogers of my life.
Thank you for reading and have a Happy Halloween!