In 1987, Hellraiser introduced audiences to what would become one of the most iconic villains in horror movie history with the Cenobite nicknamed "Pinhead." The character was played by Doug Bradley in the first eight installments of the series, with Paul T. Taylor taking on the role for Hellraiser: Judgment. In order to portray the demonic character, Taylor tapped into some deeply personal and traumatic life experiences.
"I had hepatitis C for many years, and I was finally cured for it after suffering for a long time and being very alone in a very dark house, depressed, thinking I was going to kill myself. I had stuff to draw on," Taylor shared with ComicBook.com. "I had pain in my life to draw on. I went there. I had to go there. I had to go to scary places. I had to make myself feel fear, and then make that fear just say, 'No, fear. You're not going to ... ' But still be in the same fearful places."
The character was originally a human, yet he was transformed into a horrific demon whose role is to punish the sinful and harvest their souls. Understandably, conveying that agony is no easy feat.
Not only did previous physical and mental trauma inspire his role, but also environments in which he resided.
"I lived in sort of a sketchy neighborhood that's pretty scary at night. You hear gunshots. I would leave my dark house and I would walk in the neighborhood smoking cigarettes and just, 'I'm going to walk a couple blocks in the dark where I could be mugged,'" Taylor revealed. "Maybe that's stupid, but for me, it was what I had to do to get there. Meanwhile, I would just sit on my porch and say my lines as I was memorizing them. I'd just say them in the dark, smoking. That's basically what I did. It just crept in and it just found its way into me so that it was based on my experience, rather than watching somebody else play a role, because you cannot be a good actor if you're trying to impersonate somebody else. You have to bring yourself to it or nobody's going to believe you."
With Bradley helping define the character's on-screen interpretation, Taylor looked to those films for inspiration, while also limiting his observations so he wasn't merely replicating another actor.
"There came a time that [writer/director] Gary [Tunnifcliffe] and I agreed that it was time to stop watching Hellraiser films. It was time to stop doing Doug Bradley research," Taylor confessed. "It was time to just concentrate on my Pinhead because this is a different Pinhead in the script. There's a different costume change and everything. It's a different time. Pinhead has changed. Maybe it's not the same Pinhead. Maybe it's not the same human who was Pinhead. Who knows?"
Hellraiser: Judgment hits Blu-ray and DVD February 13.0comments