Pinhead is a fictional character from the Hellraiser series, mostly serving as the main antagonist. His name is derived from a sobriquet given to him by the crew of the first Hellraiser film. Nearly thirty years later, Clive Barker gave him the proper designation Hell Priest in his sequel to The Hellbound Heart, The Scarlet Gospels.

Pinhead is one of the leaders of the Cenobites, formerly humans but transformed into creatures which reside in a extradimensional realm who travel to Earth through a puzzle box called the Lament Configuration in order to harvest human souls. His origins and the nature of the Cenobites vary depending upon the medium: while the character began as an amoral entity blindly devoted to the practice of experimental sadomasochism, later depictions have portrayed him as explicitly evil and even demonic in origin.

The character's appearance in 1987's Hellraiser marked a significant departure from the standard 1980s depiction of horror movie villains, who tended to either be completely mute, or provide glib commentary while killing their victims. Rather, Pinhead was depicted as quiet yet articulate and intelligent, drawing influence from classical cinematic depictions of Count Dracula.

Design

Barker drew inspiration for the cenobite designs from punk fashion, Catholicism and by the visits he took to S & M clubs in New York and Amsterdam. For Pinhead specifically, Barker drew inspiration from African fetish sculptures. Initially, Barker intended Pinhead to have a navel piercing implying that the character had genital piercings.

After securing funding in early 1986, Barker and his producer Chris Figg assembled a team to design the cenobites. Among the team was Bob Keen and Geoff Portass at Image Animation and Jane Wildgoose, a costume designer who was requested to make a series of costumes for 4-5 'super-butchers' while refining the scarification designs with Image Animation. In terms of lighting, Pinhead was designed so that shadows would swirl round his head. By July 1986, the shooting script positively identified the single pinheaded Cenobite from the earlier draft as clearly the leader.