Jane had started helping with costumes [for the Dog Co.] on Dog and Nightlives. The range of her interests, always with an eye to the outrageous and a gleeful leaning towards the morbid, made her a natural part of the Company and an obvious choice to design the Cenobites' costumes for Hellraiser five or six years down the line.

Sacred Monsters: Behind the Mask of the Horror Actor, Doug Bradley, Titan, 1996, p191


Being familiar with Jane's work from the Dog Company, I knew enough to expect something extraordinary, but the designs she came up with for all four Cenobites, working in close consultation with Clive, were simply stunning.

Clive's initial suggestion had been that the costume should be based on abattoir clothing: 'Something between a butcher's outfit and a monk's habit,' he told her. Jane had been introduced to the delights of Piercing Fans International Quarterly [PFIQ], which helped to focus her thoughts:

'The idea evolved that if the Cenobites were self-mutilating seekers of extreme pain and pleasure, they would be exercising an extreme form of narcissism ... and my aim was to produce costumes that reflected their obsession with pain and mutilation, but which would also be perversely stylish.

'It seemed appropriate to look at anatomy for inspiration for the form of the costumes. Using the anatomical drawings of Vesalius as a model, and having agreed with Clive that leather -'distressed' leather of the kind usually used for making old-look avaiator jackets - was an appropriate material, a series of drawings was made…I wanted to make a statement which was a development rather than a pastiche of the general sado-masochist look.' [Jane Wildgoose, letter to Doug Bradley, 1993].

These first drawings included one devastating image for the female Cenobite. She was to wear the framework of a Victorian bustle, like a cage on her lower back, in which she carried the mummified body of her baby, Brilliant, And vetoed by the producers.

Further prompted by PFIQ and details of the Cenobites in The Hellbound Heart, Jane decided that

'…the costumes should somehow appear integral with the body, the boundary between where the costume began and the body ended being indistinct. This led to the idea of making the costumes attach to the body with fish-hooks, and incorporating wounds into the design of the costume so that the wounds were revealed and worn as display.' [Jane Wildgoose letter, as above].

Hence the always-bloody wounds on Pinhead's chest, with the flaps of flesh interwoven with the leather of the costume, the high collar attached to the skull with hooks (a detail rarely seen on film) and the rope that holds the weapons being strung through the exposed belly. The shoulder and arms being based on Vesalius' drawings of exposed musculature also blurred the notion of this being a 'costume' in any conventional sense. For the silver 'breastplate' overlaying the chest, Jane took her cue from the patterns being designed at Image [Image Animation special effects studio] for the faces of the Lament Configuration, [Chinese puzzle box that summons the Cenobites in Hellraiser] and the handles of Pinhead's weapons were filled with images of people in the throes of torment - detail never so much as glimpsed on film.

And then there was the skirt. I think it was as late as the second movie that I consciously thought, 'My God, he's wearing a frock!', so natural and integral a part of the image did it seem. It would not, I think, be helpful to consider Pinhead in the context of transvestism, but it is fundamentally important. It softens the line as the eye travels to the ground and undercuts the 'macho' images of muscle, leather and metal in the upper part of the body. Try imagining Pinhead with legs. Doesn't work, does it? It also helped me with the physicalisation of the character, trying to find a slow, graceful walk that would convey the feeling of him almost floating along the ground. Some people have said they thought I was being moved on wheels,…I've also often been asked if I wore lifts in my shoes, because Pinhead seems so tall. On the contrary, I've usually worn flat Chinese shoes. I attribute this sense of height to the clean visual line which the skirt helps to create. And he is known as the Pope of Hell, after all, and popes have always favoured a nice line in ball-gowns.

Over the skirt went the apron: black cotton silk-screened by Jane, with raised silver dots to achieve a metallic appearance, and then broken down with spray paints to give it a rusted, bloodied look. This was Clive's butcher's apron, obviously, but I also found echoes of the outfit of Samurai warriors, another association I found useful in considering Pinhead's unhurried stillness coupled with brief outbursts of blood and fury.

Jane's costume was as magnificent as I had expected. Comfortable it wasn't, but it all worked in my favour. The tight, restricting leather jacket with the high, unyielding collar forced me to stand in exactly the stiff, regal posture I wanted. Movement had to be slow and deliberate.

Sacred Monsters: Behind the Mask of the Horror Actor, Doug Bradley, Titan, 1996, p230


Copyright Jane Wildgoose and The Wildgoose Memorial Library