…Pinhead’s identity (Hellraiser)?

01_Harry DAmour vs Pinhead

Given Clive Barker’s revelation that his sequel to The Hellbound Heart, his full-length 2015 novel, The Scarlet Gospels, would not be following the continuity established in the Hellraiser sequel films…

02_Captain Elliot Spencer

…this got me to wondering if he intends to select a historically significant identity for the lead Cenobite, one much more significant than that ascribed to the Hell Priest in Hellraiser II: Hellbound!?

03_Hellbound_Hellraiser II

So where to look for clues?

Well I’m not sure why, but my mind recalled not Barker’s original novella but rather the final moments of the first movie when Andrew Robinson, playing antagonist Frank Cotton wearing the skin of his brother Larry, manages a sardonic quote from the Bible: “Jesus wept,” as his body is stretched out by hundreds of hooks cutting through his flesh.

04_Jesus wept

Clive Barker claims the “Jesus wept” line was improvised because the actor, Robinson, had been strapped to a board with hooks attached to him for 10 hours.

However, given the story is about a man who is resurrected by creatures that are “angels to some, demons to others”…

05_Angels to some

…I’d argue that when a story directed by Barker employs the famous line from the Biblical account of Lazarus rising from the grave, it is more than an “ad-libbed” comment but is instead extremely well calculated, Clive – having repeatedly revealed in interviews over the years how well-versed he is in the Bible – planning it in advance and intending a deeper purpose behind it; moreso when one considers the original working draft of his sequel to The Hellbound Heart/ Hellraiser, titled The Scarlet Gospels, was the Lazarus Requiem.

06_Jesus pleura by James Tissot

Given the Biblical connections Barker intends The Scarlet Gospels to touch upon, one could suggest he intends to reveal the lead Cenobite as the resurrected Lazarus.

However, I have a much more wickedly sinister theory for the identity of the “angel of suffering” along the lines of the black, anti-clerical humour Barker’s writings are similarly steeped in.  For instance, in his novel Weaveworld the main villain, Immacolata, is a reference to an epithet of the Virgin Mary in association to the Immaculate Conception, a central belief of the Roman Catholic Church; Barker describing the characters as a perverse version of the Virgin Mary.

07_Immacolata, the Black Madonna from Weaveworld

So, that identity!?

In the epilogue of the Gospel of John – yes the same gospel providing the earlier account of Lazarus’s resurrection – Jesus hints at the death by which Saint Peter would glorify God, in chapter 21, verses 18-19, saying “…when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and take you where you do not want to go.”

St. Peter is said to have later laboured in Rome during the last portion of his life, where his life ended in martyrdom, his being crucified upside-down at his own request, as told by early Christian theologian Origen of Alexandria.

08_Crucifixion of St. Peter by Caravaggio

Now, while upright crucifixion would result in the less painful death of positional asphyxiation, upside-down crucifixion would not result in such death.  That and by being upside down there’d be continued blood flow to the brain making the victim most unblissfully aware of their pain and their injuries.

So St. Peter’s requesting this as his method of death would seem to suggest sadomasochistic tendencies, perhaps akin to Frank Cotton’s own compulsion to pursue fleshly pleasures beyond those he could experience in our world!


So when Jesus hints that Peter will be taken “where you do not want to go” was he suggesting that, like Frank, the saint would be taken to Hell where he would learn the true meaning of pain, and graduate from his ordeal to become the lead Cenobite?

What makes this even more tenable is that rather than Satan, Clive’s “Hell” is ruled by Leviathan, a prince of the fallen angels known for tempting men into committing sacrilege, and the primary opponent of Saint Peter. But recall too that Saint Peter committed sacrilege when he denied Christ three times.  Does Clive intend to use this kernel to reveal Peter was by this time a follower of Leviathan and for his sins gets sent to Hell where he was inducted into the Order of the Gash to become his previous enemy’s most devoted disciple!?

Now don’t you think the lead Cenobite being revealed as Saint Peter would totally satisfy Clive’s anti-papism sensibilities?!