- "Who are you?"
"Explorers in the further regions of experience. Demons to some, angels to others."
- ― Kirsty Cotton and Pinhead [src]Pinhead is the main character and villain of the Hellraiser franchise. As a human, he was Elliot Spencer, a captain in World War I. But then, ever since he solved the Lament Configuration, he was sucked into Hell and transformed into a Cenobite. Several decades later, he rose out of Hell for the first time.
- "To us God fell at Flanders too."
- ― Captain Elliot Spencer [src]
Pinhead was originally the English-born Elliot Spencer, who was a captain in the military and participant in World War I. During the war, Elliot would witness and experience many atrocities, which would cause him to lose faith in humanity and God. Traveling to India after the war in 1921, Elliot purchased the Lament Configuration, a puzzle box and gateway to Hell created in the 18th century by a Frenchman named Phillip Lemarchand. Solving the box, Elliot had his flesh pierced by hooked chains that shot out of it and was dragged to Hell. In a chamber in the Labyrinth Hell, Elliot had a grid-like pattern carved into his head with nails subsequently being driven into intersections of the grid. At first pained by these mutilations, Elliot grows to relish in them. Losing the memories of his past life, Elliot was transformed into a Cenobite, one of a group of beings which serve the Hell god, Leviathan.
Several decades after his transformation, Pinhead and his Cenobite colleagues - Chatterer, Cut-Throat and Butterball - are summoned by the hedonistic Frank Cotton, a man who had bought the Lament Configuration believing he had experienced all the world had to offer. Shortly after being summoned, Pinhead tears Frank apart with his hooked chains. With Frank now in Hell, Pinhead uses the Lament Configuration to close the gateway made to Earth. Pinhead is brought back to Earth sometime after taking Frank by the man's niece Kirsty Cotton, who had stumbled upon the puzzle box and solved it. Stating his purpose and intent to take her to Hell, Pinhead is intrigued when Kirsty mentions Frank had escaped him and decides to give the young woman a chance to prove her claims, accepting her deal to take Frank to Hell in her place.
Following Kirsty to her parent's house, Pinhead and his fellow Cenobites tear Frank, who had taken the skin of his brother, Larry, apart when he reveals his identity to them. With Frank back in Hell, Pinhead goes back on his deal and sets his sights on Kirsty, but is forcibly sent back to Hell with his minions when Kirsty uses the Lament Configuration against them.
Hours after his encounter with Kirsty, Pinhead and his Cenobite troops are brought to Earth when a young girl named Tiffany is manipulated by her doctor Phillip Channard into solving the Lament Configuration. As his minions eagerly prepare to take Tiffany, Pinhead senses the girl did not knowingly solve the puzzle and stops his comrades before returning to Hell with them. While in Hell, Pinhead appear before Tiffany and Kirsty, who had followed them into Hell several times, taunting the two and changing the Lament Configuration into a diamond form, a miniature replica of Leviathan.
Pinhead later appears before Kirsty and Tiffany while the two are fleeing from Doctor Channard, who had been changed into a Cenobite. As he prepares to kill them, Pinhead is shown a picture of his mortal form Kirsty had found among Channard's possessions. Remembering that he was once human, Pinhead turns against Hell and attacks the Channard Cenobite when he appears to kill Kirsty and Tiffany. When the Channard Cenobite effortlessly shrugs off his hooked chains and kills his allies, Pinhead is forcibly regressed back to his human form. Despite his loss of power, Pinhead stands his ground against the Channard Cenobite and distracts him long enough for Tiffany and Kirsty to escape. While the girls flee, Pinhead has his throat slit by one of the Channard Cenobite's bladed tentacles.
Pinhead's death results in him being separated into two halves, one good and the other evil and unbound by the laws of Hell. While his good half, embodied by Elliot Spencer, is placed in a realm of dreams, Pinhead's evil half is trapped within the Pillar of Souls, which rises from a bloody mattress in the Channard Institute, where Pinhead attacks and kills a bewildered moving man.
- "Unbearable, isn't it? The suffering of strangers, the agony of friends. There is a secret song at the center of the world, Joey, and its sound is like razors through flesh. Oh come, you can hear its faint echo right now. I'm here to turn up the volume. To press the stinking face of humanity into the dark blood of its own secret heart."
- ― Pinhead [src]
While in the Pillar of Souls, the inert Pinhead is taken to New York, where he is sold at the Pyramid Gallery shop to the wealthy J.P. Monroe, who places the Pillar of Souls on display in his nightclub The Boiler Room. While in J.P.'s possession, Pinhead is awakened from his slumber when J.P., after being bitten by a rat which was inside the pillar, splashes some of his own blood on Pinhead's face. Killing a woman J.P. had had sex with in his private room, Pinhead begins manipulating J.P., promising him great power in exchange for his help in becoming free from inside the pillar.
When J.P. fails in feeding his former girlfriend Terri to him, Pinhead convinces the young woman into sacrificing J.P. to him. Driving a pair of pistons through the club owner's skull, Pinhead breaks free of the Pillar of Souls and transforms both J.P. and Terri into Cenobites before going on a rampage in The Boiler Room, killing all of the patrons and employees inside.
While Pinhead had been enacting his resurrection, Captain Elliot Spencer had contacted news reporter, Joey Summerskill, who had been investigating the Lament Configuration and its history. His good half tells Joey that this "Pinhead" is a separate half than the one encountered by Kirsty; so, without Spencer's humanity to act as a balancing influence, this Pinhead is competely evil & he has no sense of order what so ever. Rather than abide by the laws of the Cenobite realm, he will wreak havoc among Earth for his own pleasure unless he can be stopped. In order to defeat him, Joey must bind Spencer's spirit with Pinhead. After hearing this, Pinhead lures the reporter to The Boiler Room, where he attempts to take the Lament Configuration from her, only to be repelled by the puzzle, which Pinhead can only obtain by having it willingly given to him. Chasing Joey through the streets of New York and a church with his recently created Cenobite minions, Pinhead confronts the young woman in a construction site, where Joey attempts to use the Lament Configuration against him. While the puzzle banishes his minions, Pinhead resists it and enters Joey's mind, where he appears in a Heaven-like setting under the guise of Joey's dead father. Obtaining the box from Joey, Pinhead prepares to change her into a Cenobite when he is confronted by Captain Spencer. Attempting to convince his counterpart that they should join forces, Pinhead is forcibly merged back together with Elliot. Now whole again, Pinhead has Joey send him to Hell, which Joey does by stabbing Pinhead in the chest with the Lament Configuration when it assumes it's diamond form.
In 1996, Pinhead is summoned by the demon, Angelique, who retrieves the Lament Configuration from the basement of a building Joey had placed the puzzle in the foundation of. Told that the building they are in was created by a descendent of Phillip Lemarchand, who can either permanently open or close a gateway from Hell to Earth, Pinhead at first goes along with Angelique’s plan to tempt John Merchant into opening the portal, but soon grows restless. Explaining to Angelique that pain will motivate John more than seduction, Pinhead, after transforming a pair of security guards working for John into Cenobites, kidnaps John's wife, Bobbi, and her young son, Jack, before confronting John.
When the Merchant family attempts to escape him, Pinhead and Angelique recapture Jack and John, forcing the latter to activate the prototype of his portal. At first the portal appears functional, but soon overloads completely. Enraged by the failure of the portal, Pinhead decapitates John with a bladed chain before being sent back to Hell with Angelique by Bobbi and the Lament Configuration.
- "Welcome to Hell."
- ― Pinhead [src]
When a detective named Joseph Thorne acquires the Lament Configuration from a crime scene and solves it, Pinhead appears and rips Joseph's face off in a dream the detective has. Later Pinhead appears to Joseph, who had been tracking a supernatural serial killer called The Engineer, who had abducted a young child and been taunting Joseph, killing his friends & family and leaving one of the child's fingers at each crime scene. Claiming he is not The Engineer, Pinhead instructs Joseph to go to his childhood home, where Joseph is attacked by undead versions of The Engineer's victims. When Joseph fights his way through his dead loved ones and enters a black void, Pinhead, alongside the embodiments of Joseph's innocence (the abducted child) and his carnal desires (The Engineer) reveals to the detective that he has been in Hell ever since he solved the Lament Configuration. Skewering Joseph with hooked chains, Pinhead tears the detective apart after telling the him that his sinful life has damned him to repeat the same sequence of events for all eternity.
When Kirsty Cotton solves the Lament Configuration after receiving it as an anniversary gift from her husband Trevor Gooden, who planned to use the puzzle to kill Kirsty to gain her inheritance, Pinhead appears. As he prepares to take Kirsty to Hell, Pinhead is offered a bargain by Kirsty - five souls in exchange for her own. Agreeing to Kirsty's bargain, Pinhead claims the souls of everyone she kills, three of Trevor's mistresses, Trevor's best friend and Trevor himself, the latter of whom Pinhead takes particular delight in tormenting. Eventually, Pinhead reveals to the amnesiac Trevor that Kirsty had killed him and sent him to his own personal Hell.
In Bucharest, Romania, Pinhead appears before a newspaper reporter named Amy Klein when she solves the Lament Configuration, which Amy had discovered while investigating a cult known as the Deaders. Informing Amy that she is in more danger than she can imagine during this first encounter, Pinhead later tells Amy that the Deaders' leader, Winter, plans to use as her as his tool to solve the Lament Configuration, which neither Winter nor his followers can do.
When Winter tries to coerce Amy into killing herself so he can revive her as an unquestioning minion, Amy refuses the cult leader's command & takes the Lament Configuration and throws it aside, which solves it. Summoned alongside several other Cenobites by the puzzle, Pinhead reveals that Winter is descended from Phillip Lemarchand. As Winter claims he owns the Lament Configuration and that the Cenobites cannot harm him, Pinhead refutes his claims by stating that they are owned by the box before tearing Winter apart with hooked chains. With Winter dead, Pinhead turns his attention to the assembled Deaders and tells them that he will finish the journey Winter started them on. Summoning two hooked chains, Pinhead telekinetically flings them at the Deaders with enough force to punch holes through the chests of all eight of the cultists. With only Amy remaining, Pinhead prepares to kill her too, taunting her by saying her sexually abusive father is waiting for her in Hell. Rather than have Pinhead take her, Amy kills herself with a knife, which causes the Lament Configuration to unleash a wave of energy, which sends Pinhead and the Cenobites back to Hell before completely destroying Winter's lair.
During a party being held at Leviathan House for fans of the online computer game Hellworld, a game based around stories of the Cenobites, Pinhead stalks a young woman named Chelsea Murdock and her friends. Ultimately, it is revealed that this Pinhead was merely a hallucination caused when Chelsea and her friends were drugged & buried alive by the host of the Hellworld party, whose son, Adam, had committed suicide due to his obsession with Hellworld; the host blamed Chelsea and her friends for Adam's death as they were the ones who introduced him to Hellworld.
After Chelsea and her surviving friend, Jake, are found & dug up by the police, the host goes on the run. While in a motel, the host solves a replica of the Lament Configuration his son had made and summons Pinhead. Telling the host that he should have come for him a long time ago, Pinhead, as the host, believing himself to be dreaming, starts desperately trying to wake himself up, as the Chatterer slices the man into pieces.
The last toymaker
- "Welcome to oblivion."
- ― Doctor Paul Merchant and Pinhead [src]
In the year 2127, Pinhead is summoned onto the space station Minos by Doctor Paul Merchant, the last descendant of Phillip Lemarchand, who uses a robot to solve the Lament Configuration. While Paul is detained by soldiers for hijacking his own space station, Pinhead tricks one of the soldiers into releasing him from the chamber Paul summoned him and his fellow Cenobites into. Sending his cohorts off to dispose of everyone on board the Minos, Pinhead stalks Paul through the station and corners him. When he tries to kill Paul, however, Pinhead is surprised to discover a hologram in the scientist's place. On a nearby television screen, Paul and the sole remaining soldier Rimmer, who are safe on a shuttle, taunt Pinhead before the Minos transforms into the Elysium Configuration, a massive puzzle box. Trapped inside the Elysium Configuration, Pinhead begins quickly decaying and is obliterated along with the other Cenobites when the Elysium Configuration implodes, completely sealing Hell off from the Earth.
- In 8 of the 9 Hellraiser movies, Pinhead was played by Doug Bradley. In Hellraiser: Revelations however he was replaced by Stephan Smith Collins and voiced by Fred Tatascriore.
- In the orginal novel, the Hellbound Heart, Pinhead's appearance was quite different. The grid on his head were tattoos instead of cuts and the needles were jewel pins. His voice was also very different, described to be that of a joyful little girl.
- In the original novel, he was also not the one in command, more the second in command. The lead cenobite was Butterbal.
In other media
- Pinhead appeared in an episode of Family Guy, Meet The Quagmires, in a random flashback scene, unscrewing a salt shaker.
- Pinhead also appeared in some Robot Chicken episodes. In one, he gets a mohawk with the pins on his head. In another, That Hurts Me, he is on the Big Brother show alongside Freddy Krueger Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers, Ghostface, and Leatherface. Michael was pulling pins out of Pinhead's head as a practical joke, hurting his feelings.
- Pinhead appears in the spoof movie Stan Helsing as an antagonist. His appearance is changed, with a Matrix style robe, and the pins in his head changed to needles (some of them are syringes), and his name appropriately changed to Needlehead. He is the second to be defeated; Stan squeezes the pins on his head, disintegrating him.
- Pinhead was parodied in the Cartoon Network's, The Grim Adventure of Billy and Mandy episode The Show That Dare Not Speak Its Name. The villain of the episode is a demon named Pinface who is to be summoned by solving a mystical Rubik Cube. Instead of needles puncturing his head, he has bowling pins covering his head and face. He is eventually beaten by Billy's dad who solved the Rubik Cube again by removing the colors and paste them back in the way it should be.