How To Survive An Iconic Slasher Like Pinhead

Gothic Bite Magazine is officially relaunched this week! To kickstart our new beginning, we decided to do a week on how to survive an iconic slasher killer.

Avoid Being a Victim of the Hell Priest

WARNING: Sadomasochism | Torture | Gore | PTSD.

The slasher horror film hall of fame contains such heavy hitters. Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, Jigsaw, Ghostface, and Michael Myers, just to name a few. But few can hold a candle to the sheer terror the one and only Pinhead instilled in me as a kid.

Of course, in retrospect, watching Hellraiser at the age of ten may not have been the best idea.


One of the few slasher franchises adapted from a book, The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker, the Hellraiser franchise follows the story of the Cenobites. This group of interdimensional demons is a budding group of sadomasochists one can summon by completing a puzzle box such as the Lament Configuration depicted in the movie.

Depending on which story you follow: book, movie, or comics, you will meet various race members. However, I am focusing on the most iconic for this survival guide: Pinhead, aka the Hell Priest.

The Code

I’ll be the first to admit that I love me a good villain with a questionable back story that runs by his own code. I find they have more depth and draw me into the story compared to a villain who just kills everything that comes in their path.

While Pinhead will undoubtedly kill you without remorse, he tends to stick to punishing those who deserve it while sparing those who don’t. Those who are pawns of evil are allowed to live, but the manipulators are punished.


But the Cenobite is not ruled by the desire to punish alone. Pinhead explains to one character that he is driven to explore the “further regions of experience” and “enlightenment.” Of course, he means sadomasochism.

*For those who don’t know, sadomasochism: is the act of giving or receiving pleasure with the infliction of pain or humiliation.

So, it’s not all about punishing the wicked violently. That’s a comfort, right?

What You’ll Face

Pinhead is a powerful supernatural force. Not only can he summon things from thin air, but he can also manipulate the senses and teleport. He has the power to convert willing humans to the Cenobite race. Although to do so, the person must die first.

However, the most iconic power of The Hell Priest is to summon lethal meat hooks attached to long chains. These sharp instruments of destruction rip into his victim’s flesh and tear them apart. He’ll lynch his victims with these chains and drag them to Hell, or a variation of it, where he can torture them longer if he wishes.

Add all this to the fact he is immune to bullets, energy beams and most mundane weapons, and Pinhead poses a formidable opponent.

Surviving Hell

So, all this begs the question, how does one survive a visit from Pinhead?

The best way and this seems like a “duh” point to make, but: DO NOT PLAY WITH THE DAMN PUZZLE BOXES!

MJ Vieira on Pinhead

I mean, pretty easy to survive if you don’t invite a Cenobite into your life. See a demonic-looking contraption? Leave it alone…duh.


However, if one is determined to meet Pinhead, I would advise doing your homework first. You’ll need to know who he was prior to being a Cenobite to get him there. If you’re following the book cannon, Captain Elliot Spencer, that is. The only way the Hell Priest is vulnerable is in his human form.

This British Forces veteran drowned his soul in hedonistic actives to drive out the effects of PTSD. In later movies and comics, one finds out that Spencer was not only a military man but also a pedophile who fantasied about partaking in incest. Nice guy, huh?

My Last Advice

Another option is to play to Pinhead’s vanity. Stroking any male’s ego tends to help in these situations, right? Well, maybe; this isn’t a foolproof plan either. It depends on your motivation for summoning the demon. Again, it comes down to purity vs evil.

If you don’t have the time to appeal to his humanity or superiority, you could attempt to learn some spells that would limit his power when he comes to Earth. In most cannons, he can only come here if summoned by the puzzle box. Laying down wards would stop him from accessing his full powers and nasty hooks.

The fact is, there isn’t much you can do to avoid punishment if you are foolish enough to use the Lament Configuration. If Pinhead wants you, he’ll get you.

MJ Vieira

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