By David T. Valentin
Image taken from Jamie Clayton's Twitter
As the newest latest adaptation of the Chucky franchise in TV show format confirms the fan-favorite horror doll Chucky as somewhat of an LGBTQ+ ally, taking the internet by storm in hilarious ways but refreshingly supportive ways, so too does the news of a transwoman being cast as Pinhead in the next installment of the Hellraiser series.
And not just any up-and-coming actor, but none other than Jamie Clayton herself. For those who aren’t familiar with Clayton’s work, she is best-known for her roles as the brilliant Nome Marks from the Netflix hit Sci-Fi series, Sense8, and her role as Tess Van De Berg in the sequel series of The L Word, The L Word: Generation Q.
It is not known whether the newest installment of the Hellraiser series will explore themes of Transgender identity, nonbinary, and genderfluidity, but the casting is revolutionary regardless of the script.
What many fans of the Hellraiser series might not know is that the Hellraiser films themselves are complimented as being a queer classic. Clive Barker, the original writer of the Hellraiser novels which the first movie is based on, is a gay man.
In a 2017 essay written for The Guardian, Barker explained how Pinhead and the rest of the hell priests are based off S&M clubs.
“There was an underground club called Cellblock 28 in New York that had a very hard S&M night. No drink, no drugs, they played it very straight. It was the first time I ever saw people pierced for fun. It was the first time I saw blood spilt. The austere atmosphere definitely informed Pinhead.”
As much of the horror genre in media is dominated by slasher films--simple cat and mouse serial killer and final girl chases--it’s refreshing to see Queer coded and explicitly queer stories again the horror genre.
Afterall, the greatest fun of horror is taking a deep, hidden fear that sometimes we don’t know is there and bringing it to life in the form of a physical monster. So, what better way to explore what we fear than to give the symbol of the closet for queer people a face and a name, with a haunting personality?
It’s fitting in fact, considering the mother of modern horror and sci-fi, Mary Shelley herself, whether inexplicitly or explicitly, laced her classical horror novel Frankenstein with Queer themes from cover to cover. I mean, what else screams Queer other than a man who flees to school for two years after his mother makes him promise to marry his adopted sister, Elizabeth, to create a perfect man, only to create a monster, and only finds any solace in his best friend, Henry, whose death Victor Frankenstein seems more distraught over than his wife Elizabeth’s death?
Barker himself, although not the writer of the upcoming Hellraiser film, is a producer on the movie.
“Having seen some of the designs from David Bruckner’s new Hellraiser film, they pay homage to what the first film created, but then take it to places it’s never been before,” Barker said “This is a Hellraiser on a scale that I simply didn’t expect. David and his team are steeped in the story’s mythology, but what excites me is their desire to honor the original even as they revolutionize it for a new generation.”
The film featuring Jamie Clayton as the infamous Pinhead is slated to come out in 2022 and we can’t wait to see what it has to offer.