Hey guys, just going to write an entry of my experiences at London Film & Comic Con on 10th July where I was fortunate to be able to meet 5 members of the cast of the original Hellraiser, plus the director and writer himself, Clive Barker.
As it was at a meet and greet convention, I managed to spend about 5 minutes with each guest and shall now describe what I managed to ask them and their responses.
Firstly I met the legend that is Clive Barker; the author of many a classic horror tale including The Hellbound Heart on which Hellraiser was based, produced classic horror films such as Candyman (1992) and more recently Dread (2009) and The Midnight Meat Train (2008), other than of course directing himself Hellraiser (1987) and Nightbreed (1990). He did not look too well health-wise and struggled to use his right side of his body which was concerning. His PR said that it was merely a trapped nerve yet this was not entirely convincing but I shall wait until official news is released before saying anything further.
However, he still seemed in good cheer when meeting his fans despite his obvious discomfort and pain and took time to speak to us all individually. I asked him if he was happy with how the Hellraiser series progressed (his involvement stopped after Hellraiser III (1992)) and he responded initially that he had not seen any of the sequels! However he said that he was joking but did not particularly enjoy the sequels. He said whilst he had nothing against how they were made, as of course he gave his permission for use of the characters, it was of Clive’s opinion that the films began to contradict themselves and any viewer can notice a switch in style of the films to more of a straight up slasher film, Hellraiser III being the clearest example of this. If it was left to him to make the rest of the series also, he said that he would go down a similar line to the comic books and graphic novels that have been released since the first film; which has a ‘darker’ storyline and basis as he put it. I can only thank Clive for persevering with his signing despite his condition, as I’m sure he made other Hellraiser fans’ days, as he did mine.
The other cast members in attendance were actors (and one actress) from the film. Firstly out of these I met Doug Bradley; who of course played Pinhead in all 8 of the Hellraiser films that have been released to date. I had met him once before at Collectormania London in 2009 where I had asked him if he had any further details about a remake or sequel and he said they were at the time discussing a remake in 3D, yet when I asked again last Sunday it had not progressed from this ‘talks’ stage. When I asked about his makeup, he commented how he often had to sit in make-up for up to 9 hours before filming began, and sitting ‘dead’ still, whilst the make-up department completed his iconic Pinhead costume; and this was longer than the other cenobites who had not got the ‘pins’ in their heads which created quite a delicate mask. Another true gentleman to meet and all-time horror legend.
I then met Ashley Laurence, who played Kirsty Cotton in Hellraiser I, II (1988), and 6 (2002) and have to say I was a little struck after seeing her! She is one beautiful lady! Once I picked my jaw up off of the floor and woke from my daze, I proceeded to talk to her and she is a lovely, charming and intelligent lady; which of course did not help with my rapidly developing feelings! I had noticed her PR strictly abiding by a ‘no photos’ sign behind her desk where she was sitting and I began by asking her why this was the case. It turns out that she had an accident whilst appearing in a commercial which involved using a welder (you’re guess is as good as mine!) and the safety crew gave her the wrong glasses and it had damaged her eyesight and now she is in pain where there are bright lights; especially camera flashes. Again this did not put her off meeting her fans and we then began to talk about her roles in the Hellraiser series. She was pretty certain that she enjoyed her appearance in Hellraiser I far more than the other films which could of course be down to Clive’s direction and the family atmosphere he created on set which I shall get onto later. Again she seemed just delighted to be there and have these fans who obviously adore her to talk to, unlike some guests which I have met in the past who almost see it as a chore.
The next guest that I met was Nicholas Vince who played the ‘Chatterer’ cenobite in Hellraiser I and II and also made an appearance in Nightbreed. He again seemed delighted to be there to meet the fans, and said that the general cast members do meet up 3 or so times a year; and so he was there genuinely for the fans. I asked him whether he chose to audition for the Chatterer in particular (who is my favourite cenobite!) and he replied how he didn’t audition at all. Him and Simon Bamford (who I met next) were in the same drama school and Clive Barker went to watch them and asked them afterwards if they wished to be in his film, to which they both responded yes and took whatever parts Clive gave them! I then asked him what he thought about his character getting iconic status because of his constantly ‘chattering teeth’. To this he responded that he was pleased to get this recognition and that many fans often say to him how the chattering teeth is one of the creepiest things that they have seen in a horror film; and to be honest, I feel exactly the same!
Nicholas Vince signing my poster
Nicholas Vince (showing his teeth) and me
Simon Bamford had been a long-time friend of Nicholas, and played what has been called ‘Butterball’ cenobite in Hellraiser I and II, and also appears in Nightbreed and the Clive Barker written ‘Book of Blood’ (2008). I firstly commented how he was thinner than I had expected (if you see the butterball cenobite below you shall understand this) and he replied “that’s the Atkin diet for you!”. Anyway when asking about his experiences working on set he said he loved every minute, mainly as he already knew the majority of the cast beforehand and it was just a group of friends working on a project instead of the stress of having a dictator-like director barking orders at a group of actors who are just there for the money. I think that the perfect evidence of such a relationship between the cast members is that they do still to this day meet up and enjoy meeting up 3 times a year.
Simon Bamford signing my poster
Me and Simon Bamford
The final Hellraiser guest that I met was Oliver Smith who played Frank the monster in Hellraiser I and II. He seemed older than the other cast members and said that this was the first time he had actually met up with the cast members there on that day for 25 years since filming on the first film ceased! Of course he seemed therefore to be loving every minute; as he said he had done on set also. He claimed to have had the most fun out of any cast member whilst working on Hellraiser as he woke up each day, put on his skinless costume, and then got covered in bucket after bucket of fake blood; which of course I can imagine could only be great fun!
Frank the Monster
Oliver Smith signing my poster
Me and Oliver Smith
These were all of the Hellraiser cast in attendance at this particular convention, yet I hope one day to meet Andrew Robinson, Clare Higgins and Sean Chapman amongst others and shall be adding to this blog entry if one day I do so! I would also be adding those autographs to my Hellrasier poster which can be seen below.
I shall be back with my first set of reviews after returning from my holiday; and of course I shall begin by reviewing the Hellraiser series! In the meantime, stay scared.