Hellraiser 2022: Pinhead & 9 Other Horror Movie Villains That Come From Books – Screen Rant

Many great horror icons, including Clive Barker’s Cenobites, were scaring readers long before they were brought to the big screen.
Hulu's Hellraiser adaptation premieres on October 7th, 2022, and with it comes a new take on the Hell Priest. Known as Pinhead to horror fans, the character tore through the silver screen for the first time in 1987, but he existed long before the script was put to paper. In 1986, the "Lead Cenobite" debuted on the pages of Clive Barker's The Hellbound Heart.
Some of cinema's scariest entities have their origins not on film reels but on the pages of a novel. Fans of the genre might not know about the origins of some of these horror villains and others soon forget that their favorite faces of fear have been with them longer than they know.
Judging from the trailer, it appears that the Hellraiser remake will be a loose adaptation of the book. That said, one thing it does get right that even Clive Barker's own adaptation changed is the appearance and portrayal of the Hell Priest. While Doug Bradley fans might be a bit up in arms about the change, the original Lead Cenobite from The Hellbound Heart was, in fact, a woman.
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In the book, the Lead Cenobite is described as feminine with a "girlish" voice and jewels adorning the nails embedded in its skull. Pinhead's gender was swapped in the film adaptation to contend with the primarily male-dominated realm of slasher villains. Looking back, it would have still been an interesting choice to see a feminine Hell Priest as the film's featured antagonist, especially with villains like Julia Cotton and Angelique appearing later in the series.
Pinhead isn't Clive Barker's only contribution to horror cinema, but the film adaptation of Candyman was certainly a different variation than the one that appeared in his short story "The Forbidden." As far as the plot is concerned, the movie and the short story don't differ too much, save for the setting and the story's hook-handed slasher.
Tony Todd will always be remembered as the tall, gothic, imposing figure from the original movie, but the version presented in the book was not so elegant and refined. The original Candyman is much more outlandish, hairier, and monstrous, making him exactly the kind of thing a reader would expect from an urban legend.
Although American Psycho is ultimately a different experience in both the book and the movie, Bret Easton Ellis best described Patrick Bateman as "the ultimate stereotype of yuppie greed: wealthy, conceited, and addicted to sex, drugs, and conspicuous consumption." To a point, Christian Bale delivered exactly that in the film adaptation, as did Matt Smith in the stage version.
Patrick Bateman is like a chocolate truffle laced with arsenic, a rich and intoxicating individual on the outside but a cold killer on the inside. Bateman isn't just a slasher obsessed with '80s excess, but a living persona of the toxic culture that consumed the decade in this graphic '80s period piece: he's all about satisfaction and gratification, no concern for those beneath him.
Lestat is the rose and the serpent beneath it, and he is exactly what modern vampires in the genre should strive to be. Beautiful and beastly, Anne Rice brought readers the best of both worlds with her variations on the vampire mythos in her iconic book series that became Interview With The Vampire in 1994.
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In both literary and nonliterary adaptations, Lestat remains essentially the same. He's blonde, pale, handsome, and possesses a sort of feline quality as described in the text. However, he truly shows what a monster he is once the fangs come out. Similar to Patrick Bateman, he's all about consumption. His drug of choice just happens to be blood.
Any reader will know that the book and movie variations of The Shining are two totally different animals, but they deal with the same horrors. It's how the demons of addiction and alcoholism rip and tear through the character's psyche where the two Jacks differ the most, not just character portrayals.
Kubrick's adaptation saw Jack as a man already on the brink of insanity, although Jack Nicholson's portrayal might have been more than responsible, King's was far more repentant and sympathetic. Jack doesn't want to be the monster he becomes, but the forces of the hotel and his own demons are too great to deal with, making him all the more tragic by the last page of the novel.
Whether it's Tim Curry or Bill Skarsgard, Pennywise is the dream haunting monster that made clowns into the horror movie regulars they are. Stephen King's killer clown is a much more versatile horror villain in the book, and he's only seen as the clown a handful of times, choosing to take multiple forms across the chapters.
Both film versions take different elements of the same character, but they still maintain the same level of uncomfortably creepy made famous by one of King's scariest tales. Either way, readers and viewers certainly won't be looking at balloons the same way ever again.
While most horror buffs will immediately call Silence of the Lambs to mind when thinking of the notorious Hannibal Lecter, he actually made his debut in Thomas Harris' second novel, Red Dragon, in 1981. Anthony Hopkins undoubtedly immortalized the character with his Oscar-winning portrayal, his version slightly differs from the cannibal locked on the pages of the book.
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In the book, Lecter was a smaller man with sleek, slicked back, black hair in a widow's peak, with "pinpoints of red" in his eyes. Both movie and book versions have that same aristocratic sensibility and appetite for flesh, but it might be the version seen in Manhunter that truly sticks to the text.
There have been multiple adaptations of The Phantom of the Opera and multiple portrayals ranging from Lon Chaney to Ben Crawford, but it was something of a pulp horror novel at the time of its publication. Gaston Leroux first published his tale of the Opera ghost in 1909, and it wasn't exactly considered movie or musical worthy when it was first released.
The Phantom has been stalking the stage for decades now, and there have been many variations of the character, but the most accurate just might be Lon Chaney's in the silent version with Robert Englund's slasher adaptation as a shockingly close second. The musical might be the most successful version, but fans of the Phantom shouldn't forget his literary origins.
When most people hear the name "Dracula," images of Bela Lugosi and his hypnotic stare are the ones that first come to mind. However, well-read horror fans know that Bram Stoker's legendary vampire looks almost nothing like Universal's variation, despite how iconic the portrayal has become.
Dracula is perhaps one of the most reimagined characters in all fiction, and there is arguably a count for every occasion. That being said, Gary Oldman's incredibly versatile portrayal in Bram Stoker's Dracula is perhaps one of the most accurate put to screen, right down to the facial hair.
To be fair, with such iconic adaptations created by both Walt Disney and Tim Burton, it can be very easy to miss out on reading the original work by Washington Irving. However, it was Irving's short story that not only brought the world Ichabod Crane and his infamous ride with the Headless Horseman, but practically gave birth to the American ghost story as readers know it.
Easily one of the most retold ghost stories in literature, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow featured a pumpkin-headed specter that has become a symbol of Halloween for centuries. A headless rider, a flaming pumpkin, and a cold night in Sleepy Hollow are all the basics needed for an iconic tale of terror.
NEXT: 10 Horror Movie Villains, Ranked By How Many Times They've "Died"
Zach Gass is a writer from East Tennessee with a love for all things Disney, Star Wars, and Marvel. When not writing for Screen Rant, Zach is an active member of his community theatre, enjoys a variety of authors including Neil Gaiman, C.S. Lewis, and J.R.R. Tolkein, and is a proud and active retro-gamer.

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