I Don’t Think Straight Men Ever Had a Lock on “Hellraiser”

The 2022 reboot turns the franchise’s queer subtext into text, and shows the power of claiming your monster.

Jude Ellison S. Doyle
7 min readOct 12, 2022

Someone in fishnets and a black miniskirt. Their wrists are bound with cuffs and there’s a chain or leash leading down between them.
Oh, no, chains and black leather outfits. Surely, a sex demon is at work. Photo by Artem Labunsky on Unsplash

Every day, traditional masculinity becomes more endangered. This week, we lost one of its last great icons: Pinhead from Hellraiser.

Pinhead is a Cenobite, which is to say, a sex demon. He lives in a parallel dimension that can be accessed through a magic puzzle box. If you solve his magic puzzle box, he pops out and tortures you sexually. The torture is sexual for him, by the way, not you: You’re mostly getting mutilated and having your limbs pulled off. Most of the people to whom this happens seem pretty unhappy about it. As a dom, Pinhead’s ability to establish consent and respect his partners’ boundaries needs work, but you cannot deny that he’s super into mutilation, sexually. All Cenobites are.

Yes, it was important for red-blooded American boys to have Pinhead as a role model. In him, all the manly virtues (torture; mutilation; sexual gratification through both torture and mutilation) were expressed. Sadly, in the 2022 reboot, the character is played by a woman — Sense8 actress Jamie Clayton — and so Hellraiser has become one more example of soft, feminized woke culture. Specifically, an instance of soft, feminized woke culture where fetishists shove meathooks through a lady’s torso for fun.

OK, fine, I’ll drop the bit now. It would have been a lot of effort to make fun of one bad tweet , anyway — not that bad tweets about horror are in short supply. Look, here’s one about how ridiculous it would be if the movie Alien (an explicit rape and forced birth allegory) were about trauma:

Jude Ellison S. Doyle

Author of “Trainwreck” (Melville House, ‘16) and “Dead Blondes and Bad Mothers” (Melville House, ‘19). Columns published far and wide across the Internet.