Every cenobite in Hellraiser is unique, and the pleasure-seeking super-butchers are why the franchise has remained so beloved since Pinhead and co. were introduced in Clive Barker’s original 1987 Hellraiser. From the original onwards, the Hellraiser franchise delves further and further into the world of the Labyrinth and Leviathan, giving viewers a look at just how disturbing they can be. Every Hellraiser cenobite would make for a terrifying horror movie antagonist in their own right. Dozens of cenobites appear across the 11 Hellraiser movies, however, and each of them is different, with many more grotesque to behold even than the iconic Pinhead themselves.
The sheer variety and abundance of cenobites in Hellraiser have rightly allowed the franchise to endure from Doug Bradley’s Pinhead arrived in 1987 until Jamie Clayton portrayed the female cenobite leader decades later in the 2022 Hellraiser remake. In the Hellraiser franchise, the cenobites showcase the alien beauty of the demons in Barker’s chilling, carefully-crafted world, featuring interesting designs that intertwine flesh, leather, and metal to personify the combination of pain and pleasure that they represent. Throughout the plethora of Hellraiser sequels and reboots, along with countless comics, the cenobites in Hellraiser have evolved from the original four seen in the 1987 movie. Here is every cenobite in the Hellraiser movies, including the 2022 reboot.
What Hellraiser’s Cenobites Are, Explained
In essence, cenobites are extradimensional beings hailing from a wholly different realm, although they have access to Earth’s reality via a schism in space-time. These portals can be opened with the aid of unearthly artifacts, such as the Lament Configuration, which was translated into the big screen in Barker’s original Hellraiser film. In terms of appearances, all cenobites sport horrific mutilations and body piercings and wear fetishistic black leather clothing that is supposed to resemble butcher uniforms and religious vestments.
While Pinhead, along with the other cenobites can be deemed as “demons” from hell, they do not necessarily identify as either angelic or demonic, as that perception is completely dependent on the individual human experience. Barker introduced this fascinating, yet gnarly concept in the Hellraiser novels such as The Hellbound Heart and The Scarlet Gospels. Moreover, the philosophical outlook of cenobites has undergone several changes, as they initially started out as devotees to pleasure-infused pain, while later iterations painted them as increasingly nihilistic in terms of their view of human existence.
Across every cenobite in Hellraiser there’s only one that appears in every single Hellraiser film — Pinhead, the unspoken leader of the cenobites. Four actors have played Pinhead so far, with the most recent being Jamie Clayton’s female Pinhead in the 2022 remake. Her version was also known as the “Hell Priest.” In the first film, Pinhead is simply referred to as “Lead Cenobite,” and in the 2022 remake as the Hell Priest, but with the adoration of the audiences and increased role in the rest of the series, the set nickname “Pinhead” stuck and eventually became canon to the Hellraiser world.
All versions of Pinhead following the 1987 original build upon the lead cenobite audiences gave the nickname to. This gave rise to the creation of a thrilling origin story for Pinhead, which was unfolded in great detail in Hellbound: Hellraiser 2. A long-time friend of Clive Barker, Doug Bradley brings the iconic Pinhead to life, giving a chilling performance that would make him beloved by Hellraiser audiences. Bradley plays the terrifying head of the cenobites in the first eight films, being replaced in the Hellraiser films only because of his own retirement.
Female Cenobite (aka Deepthroat)
While most of the other cenobites are credited with nicknames, this particular figure is known only as “Female Cenobite,” though many fans refer to her as “Deepthroat” because of her iconic throat and larynx mutilation. She is portrayed by Grace Kirby in Hellraiser and then by Barbie Wilde in Hellbound: Hellraiser II, in which she is given more screen time, more lines, and a less monstrous appearance. As per her backstory, the Female Cenobite was a sin-obsessed nun as a human, whose fate quickly turned around after she happened to solve the Lament Configuration.
The third of the original four cenobites, Butterball appears in both Hellraiser and Hellbound: Hellraiser II. He is an obese figure with eyes that have been sewn shut – he wears sunglasses through much of his screen appearance to hide them. Butterball is portrayed by Simon Bamford in both films he is featured in. The infamous line given by Female Cenobite to Kirsty in the first film, “perhaps we prefer you,” was originally supposed to be given to Bamford, but because of the intensity of the appliances on his face, he was unable to speak through the makeup and the line was handed off.
The fourth of the iconic cenobite quadrant, Chatterer features a grotesquely drawn-back mouth so disfigured that he has almost no other discernible facial features. He gets his name from both his prominent mouth and the constant chattering of teeth that he performs rather than having any lines. Chatterer appears in both the first and second Hellraiser, and is portrayed by Nicholas Vince in both films. He serves as the muscle of Pinhead’s group, appearing first when Kirsty solves the puzzle box or Lament Configuration, restraining her as she makes a deal with Pinhead to trade herself for Frank.
Of all the cenobites in Hellraiser, the Doctor is the first of the cenobites that viewers get to experience both as a human and as a cenobite, and is also the first time audiences get to witness the cenobite transformation process. He serves as the main villain throughout Hellraiser 2 and leads the main characters into the homeworld of the cenobites, The Labyrinth. Canonically, he is known to be a willing servant of Leviathan, the lord of Hell.
Originally serving as a bartender at the Boiler Room nightclub, Richard “Rick” Bloodstone becomes a pseudo-cenobite when Pinhead escapes from the Pillar of Souls, kills him, and then transforms him into his own servant in Hellraiser III. In his cenobite form, Barbie has barbed wire wrapped around his body and face. He carries a glass and cocktail shaker filled with gasoline, harkening back to his occupation as a bartender, and can breathe fire, allowing him to easily ignite his Molotov cocktails.
The second of the pseudo-cenobites in Hellraiser III, Camerahead was a cameraman for a local news station who came to try and help Joey, the main female protagonist of the film, but ultimately just ended up another one of Pinhead’s many casualties. Daniel “Doc” Fisher becomes one of the first pseudo-cenobites to appear in the film. His camera features a hydraulic mechanism that allows him to impale people with it, and he is the only known cenobite to have facial hair or hair of any kind.
Previously a DJ at the Boiler Room nightclub, Jimmy Hammerstein was the second pseudo-cenobite to be created after Pinhead escaped from the Pillar of Souls in Hellraiser III. His face features five discs lodged at various angles, causing him to be mute and blind, only making electronic whirring sounds when he moves, reminiscent of a CD player. His chest features a CD drive that spits out discs which he uses to throw like shurikens; he is widely considered to be the worst cenobite design in the entirety of the Hellraiser franchise.
The Dreamer pseudo-cenobite appears in Hellraiser III as a woman named Terri who was unable to dream and was driven crazy by the Lament Configuration. Her boyfriend, J.P., tried to sacrifice her to Pinhead as the final soul he needed to be resurrected, but she got the upper hand. Ultimately, Pinhead, being the leader of the cenobites, offered her the ability to dream and she still became a cenobite, but on her terms instead. Her design is highly similar to Female Cenobite, but instead features several tiny hooks of drawn-back skin on her head and a cigarette sticking out of her larynx which she uses to burn people.
The final pseudo-cenobite in Hellraiser III, Pistonhead is what becomes of the main antagonist of the film, J.P. Monroe. In life, J.P. is the sex-obsessed owner of the Boiler Room nightclub. It is strongly implied that he killed his parents in order to gain the club and their fortune. He is also a collector of dark and strange artwork, which is how he comes to own the Pillar of Souls where Pinhead is trapped. Pinhead gives Terri the gift of dreams in exchange for offering him J.P. as a sacrifice, and he becomes the Pistonhead pseudo-cenobite with two constantly-thrusting pistons shoved through his skull.
Perhaps the main cenobite in the majorly divisive Hellraiser: Bloodlines, Angelique is the demon daughter of Leviathan and the only cenobite who was never human. She gains a human body by possessing the corpse of a young peasant girl when she is summoned from the Lament Configuration for the first time. Angelique calls on Pinhead for help to hunt down the LeMarchand bloodline but finds Hell to be different than she remembers. Pinhead turns her into a cenobite as the two work together to stop the LeMarchands, although the alliance between the two is hinged upon mistrust and unease.
Also appearing in Hellraiser: Bloodlines, the Siamese Twin cenobites were originally two identical twins, Mark and Michael Norrington. The Siamese Twins cenobites are twisted and joined by Pinhead when they accidentally walk in on a conversation he is having with Angelique. Inseparable in life as identical twins, they became even more inseparable as cenobites, and are actually played by a set of identical twins, Michael and Mark Polish.
The first of two cenobite pets included in the series, the Chatterer Beast appears in Hellraiser: Bloodlines as a monstrous hound used to hunt down the wife of John Merchant. He is made entirely from the twisted flesh of tortured humans, molded into the visage of the Chatterer. It later meets its ultimate demise on the Elysium Configuration when John Merchant causes it to self-destruct in space.
Known as Leviathan’s sisters of tormented pleasures, the Wire Twins are played by Lynn Speier and Patricia Kara, and appear only in Hellraiser: Inferno. They were turned into cenobites when they accidentally stumbled into the Labyrinth, one of them a model in her former life and the other her jealous sister. The Wire Twins have a particularly sexual design with revealing clothes and long, black serpentine tongues used to pleasure and torture their victims.
One of the many cenobites created in the image of the original Chatterer, Chatterer Torso appears as the pet of the Wire Twins in Hellraiser: Inferno and was crafted by Chatterer himself before his demise. After the apparent death of Chatterer, Chatterer Torso roamed the halls of Labyrinth looking for his master and then joined Pinhead along with the Wire Twins. As his name suggests, he is missing the entire lower half of his body and a small stump of spine protrudes from his abdomen where it once connected.
An example of the designs among every cenobite in Hellraiser that uses simplicity to inspire dread, Stitch is a female cenobite whose flesh has been removed on her head and face and then folded over and twisted back onto her face, over the eyes. In terms of appearance as a cenobite, her eyes and mouth are sewn shut, and she wears a belt made out of her own intestines that holds several bloody knives. She first appears in Hellraiser: Hellseeker and then again in Hellraiser: Deader.
Deacon Vrainian was once a skilled surgeon with an exceptional reputation until he accidentally killed his wife during a surgical procedure. Her death signaled his decline as he lost his reputation, his job, and his sanity when he found the Lament Configuration which offered him a way to forget. He accepted immediately and became the Surgeon cenobite in Hellraiser: Hellseeker. The Surgeon includes a variety of metal clamps and closures on his head and face, and his eyes are permanently closed, making him one of many cenobites who are blinded.
Playing an extremely minor role in the series, the cenobine known simply as Bound appears alongside Pinhead in Hellraiser: Hellseeker to help reap five souls that series protagonist Kirsty Cotton will exchange for her own. She is a cenobite with two leather straps covering her eyes and mouth. Her head is wrapped in metal wires, and she has a ring of nails at the top of her head similar to a crown. She is replaced by her male counterpart in Hellraiser: Deader.
Introduced in the Hellraiser sequel Hellraiser: Deader is the male counterpart to the original Bound cenobite. Much like the female Bound, Bound II features two leather straps digging into his face and neck, blinding and choking him, while metal wires wrap around his head. Very little is known about Bound II outside of what we see in the film.
The only totally new cenobite introduced in Hellraiser: Deader, not much is known about Little Sister. It is believed that she was spoiled in life, getting everything she wanted but still coveting more, which led her to the Lament Configuration. She is played by Laura Paraschiv and features a fairly sleek and simple design with no nose and two sets of wires feeding from the top of her head down through her eyelids and onto a bar that rests on either of her cheeks, mimicking the look of eyelashes.
Female Cenobite II (Chatterer IV)
The second Hellraiser character to be awarded the title of Female Cenobite, this character is also sometimes referred to as Chatterer IV or Female Chatterer, as the face is drawn back in the same manner of Chatterer’s traditional look with no features other than the teeth and gums revealed by pulled-back skin. The addition to this version of the Chatterer design is a ponytail of wires drawn back at the top of her head. She appears only in Hellraiser: Revelations, alongside a new Pinhead.
Appearing as a devoted apprentice to the original Pinhead in Hellraiser: Revelations, Pseudo-Pinhead was created from Steven Craven after he was betrayed and skinned alive by his friend Nico Bradley. He appears as a more primitive form of Pinhead, with blockier pieces of skin on his face being held on by larger nails. The Hellraiser movies capture the grotesqueness of humanity as well as the alien creatures known as the cenobites with a human-focused plot that places a spotlight on emotions and motivation. Since 1987 with the release of Clive Barker’s original film, the Hellraiser franchise has grown into a massive series including 11 films, a series of books, comic books, and a variety of additional merchandise and fan-made stories. This growth is thanks, in large part, to the unique designs and captivating portrayal of the cenobites.
The 2022 Hellraiser cenobite The Gasp is truly a sight to behold. As Pinhead’s new right-hand woman, she looks like a combination of both Deep Throat and Angelique. Appearing nearly every time the new Pinhead does, The Gasp has the ability to control wires, similar to Pinhead’s ability to conjure up chains with which to bind their victims. The Gasp has the same piercing as Deep Throat does, though with new additions to her cheeks. In addition, her throat has been pulled open and pinned, making it difficult for her to breathe (hence, the name “The Gasp”). Her scalp is also stretched down and forward, connecting to her throat, making for a particularly gruesome new Hellraiser cenobite.
Though The Weeper doesn’t appear as much as Pinhead or The Gasp, the cenobite remains integral to the plot of the Hellraiser reboot. The cenobite known as the Weep can split her arms open to create a second pair held by surgical pins. The Weeper is one of the most chilling new Hellraiser cenobites, as she cries black tears and can consistently be heard moaning in pain. Parts of her flesh have been removed, along with part of her chin and bottom lip. She also features deep blue skin, a contrast to the other cenobites’ stark white complexions.
The Hellraiser reboot cenobite The Asphyx is truly a disgusting sight to behold. The Asphyx’s face is covered by its own flayed skin, and its chest lays open and exposed, causing further issues with breathing. Most of its skin has been entirely stripped from the muscle and held with surgical pins, similar to the other cenobites. What gives The Asphyx its religious symbology is its perpetual praying hands, which are bound together by barbed wire. However, the Hellraiser reboot has proven that it’s better if The Asphyx’s hands remain bound, as it’s a truly dangerous cenobite.
It’s easy to understand how the Hellraiser reboot cenobite The Masque got his name. Reminiscent of surgical drawings of old, The Masque’s face is separated from the muscle, but pulled back by a surgical wire that goes around his head. Parts of the flesh on his chest have been completely removed, and he has various structures on his arms and legs. While this cenobite boasts no special powers, he does have two ribbons of flesh that have been marked with religious text, really hitting home the ancient religious themes the Hellraiser reboot touts.
This Hellraiser cenobite is only seen briefly in the reboot, but it doesn’t make The Mother’s appearance any less shocking. What stands out at first glance is that the skin around her stomach has been removed to show that she is heavily pregnant. She has been nearly completely dissected, and stands veiled like a religious icon. Aside from her blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearance, a drawing of The Mother can be seen in Roland Voight’s office, along with that of The Weeper and The Gasp. Like a twisted image of the Virgin Mary, it’s unclear if The Mother will have a bigger role in a Hellraiser sequel, if one is to happen.
As of now, Roland Voight is one of the few Hellraiser cenobites that has been given a proper backstory, as the events of the Hellraiser reboot are what lead to his eventual transformation. Mirroring The Chatterer, his mouth is split open into a permanent grimace, and piercings can be seen throughout his neck, shoulders, and arms. As well, his chest is flayed open, exposing bare meat and muscle. After Roland Voight opens the Lament Configuration, he is offered the power of the cenobites, which by the end of the film, he accepts. In the Hellraiser reboot’s final scene, Roland Voight is literally torn apart to the sounds of an angelic choir, playing on the heavy themes of religion found in David Bruckner’s version of Hellraiser.