Where in the Horror are they Now? Doug Bradley!

Last Updated on August 2, 2021


THEN: We all know Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger and of course, Michael Myers. But let us not forget, there are other horror icons that have become staples in the genre. One of my personal favorites happens to be Pinhead from the wonderful mind of Clive Barker and the classic HELLRAISER, along with it’s many sequels. The demon voiced Cenobite with nails pounded into his face is an unforgettable silver screen nightmare. He is a timeless character, one that can conjure a few sleepless nights simply from his appearance. And while the quality of the many HELLRAISER films was mixed, there is no denying that the talents of the great Doug Bradley brought him to life.

Doug Bradley began his acting career as part of Clive Barker’s company of players. The long time friends had worked together from the early days, starting a theatre group called the “Dog Company.” This lead to a couple of short films written and directed by Barker entitled Salome (1973) and The Forbidden (1978). Soon however, Bradley found himself working with his friend once again in the 1987 shocker HELLRAISER. His terrifying visage on the poster tells you all you need to know about the character of Pinhead, yet it is Bradley’s performance that helped quickly create one of the most iconic movie monsters to ever haunt the cinema.

HELLRAISER was a success. And what happens when a horror film is successful? A sequel of course, and what a sequel it was. Personally, HELLBOUND: HELLRAISER II (1988) exceeded my expectations. It was a wildly entertaining and graphic display that seemed a perfect continuation to the original. Directed by Tony Randel – with the script by Peter Atkins – this is the type of film that improves with age. And once again, Bradley gave Pinhead an honest to goodness menace, yet the character started to expand to more than just a horrific beast who took great joy inflicting pain in others. There was a little humanity there, and it was a wonderful direction for the series take – even if the following films didn’t quite live up to this sequels promise.

We could easily focus on the HELLRAISER franchise – Bradley has been featured in eight films as Pinhead – yet this talented actor has appeared in a number of other scary flicks. Continuing to work with Barker, Doug was featured in NIGHTBREED in 1990.  And just for completest sake, Pinhead returned in 1992 with HELLRAISER III: HELL ON EARTH. In 1995, he found himself involved in the horror sci-fi PROTEUS, but once again, in 1996, Pinhead was back in HELLRAISER: BLOODLINE. And this genre-friendly thespian did not entirely dwell in horror – he even had a small role in the Golden Globe nominated AN IDEAL HUSBAND in 1999. However, you simply couldn’t keep him away from the acupuncture-gone-wrong horror anti-hero. In 2000, HELLRAISER: INFERNO – the first in the franchise to go direct-to-video – brought Bradley back.

You can’t help but be inspired by the actor’s dedication to his pal Clive Barker’s creation. 2002 brought us HELLRAISER: HELLSEEKER. In 2005 we had HELLRAISER: DEADER, and that same year Pinhead found himself in HELLRAISER: HELLWORLD. The actor did not appear in HELLRAISER: REVELATIONS in 2011, so no need to go there. While this series has had a ton of lows, there is something very charismatic about what Doug Bradley brings to the role. While the Liverpool born gent remained a part of the world Barker had uncovered, this was not the only franchise the actor has been a part of. He took a break from Pinhead in 2005 for THE PROPHECY: UPRISING and a year later he was featured in PUMPKINHEAD: ASHES TO ASHES. And in 2012, he took to West Virginia for the wacky, blood-splattered sequel WRONG TURN 5: BLOODLINES.

Doug Bradley loves his horror. The actor has also been featured in a slew of other genre based flicks including a brief role in THE COTTAGE in 2008, A VAMPIRE’S TALE in 2009, EXORCISMUS in 2010, THE REVEREND in 2011, THE INFLICTED, LUCIFER’S UNHOLY DESIRE, SCREAM PARK and DEER CROSSING, all in 2012. Also back in 2009, he was featured in another Clive Barker based thriller, BOOK OF BLOOD starring Jonas Armstrong, Sophie Ward and Clive Russell. This last one is a better than average flick, and Armstrong is quite good as a seriously bothered individual dealing with nasty paranormal issues.

NOW: According to IMDB, Bradley isn’t slowing down. He is credited with the “In Development” THE GATHERING also featuring the great Mr. Simon Pegg and a host of other horror icons. He will be featured in THE 4TH REICH with… you guessed it, a host of other horror icons. And then something called DEATH HOUSE, that features… apparently these guys can’t get enough of each other. He also has a comedy called NERD LOVE which revolves around conventions, YouTube and love. Sounds a bit strange, but could be entertaining.

Doug Bradley is unique in many ways. Rarely do cinematic monsters get played by the same person for as many films as he was a part of. And in 2004, he offered a glimpse of what that is like with his book entitled “Behind the Mask of the Horror Actor.”  But this talented fellow has also stepped out of Barker’s world. He even went to a galaxy far, far away to the Star Wars universe as the voice of Vitiate, the Sith Emperor in the 2014 video game Star Wars: The Old Republic – Shadow of Revan. And this year we can find him in something called Misfits: Theatre of Blood – a collection of homage videos to horror and sci-fi films for The Misfits 2015 tour.

I’ve always been a fan of Doug Bradley, and while I doubt we will ever see him as Pinhead again – even if a remake actually happens – his take on the iconic role will forever be part of our horror history. Now if you’d like to see what Doug has coming up, you can visit his official website or follow the actor on his Facebook page.

Source: AITH

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JimmyO is one of JoBlo.com’s longest-tenured writers, with him reviewing movies and interviewing celebrities since 2007 as the site’s Los Angeles correspondent.