02/12/2013 08:45 GMT | Updated 29/01/2014 05:59 GMT

Memories of a Hellraiser - A Chat with Chatterer

September 1987, and the face of horror changed forever. Hellraiser, Clive Barker's debut movie, turned out to be one of the most visionary and influential films of the decade.

September 1987, and the face of horror changed forever.

Hellraiser, Clive Barker's debut movie, turned out to be one of the most visionary and influential films of the decade.

A low budget, blood-soaked chiller, it starred Dirty Harry'sAndrew Robinson and Clare Higgins (Dr Who short, The Night of the Doctor).

It was a welcome shot in the arm for the tired horror genre, not least because it gave the world something other than just vampires and werewolves: scarred, demonic pain merchants, the Cenobites.

With Nicholas Vince, aka Chatterer the Cenobite, in Barnsley shooting pending horror movie The Day After Dark, I wondered what his memories were of the original Hellraiser.


Nicholas Vince; Photo: Claire Grogan

Making Hellraiser must have been unforgettable

It was an absolutely fascinating thing to work on. Obviously at the time we didn't have a clue how big it was going to be.

The first inkling I got that something bigger was going on was when they told us they were going to put more money into the effects shots, and that was the resurrection of Frank.

I remember going to the Thames Studios in London and watching them film the reanimation of Frank coming up through the floorboards and so on. In terms of what it was we were filming I didn't know.

How did you get on with the other Cenobites?

There was a lot of laughter. We got to know each other very quickly the four Cenobites because we were left alone in the green room a lot, and there was the classic thing of I couldn't see or hear, speak or see when I was in the make-up.

When they originally discussed the make-up, they said 'We'll put in gauze or something (over the eyes),' but it was just too obvious, so they just gave me a tiny little hole so I could see onto the floor with my left eye. I was literally led by hand everywhere onto set, and because of the make-up over my ears, I couldn't hear what was going on so I had to time it for what I was doing or supposed to do.


Chatterer - Hellraiser; photo c/o Nicholas Vince

What was the most memorable thing about working with Doug Bradley, aka Pinhead?

I remember when we did the original make-up for Pinhead, the pins didn't 'read' because they were literally pins, so they then put stuff over the pins to make them look like nails and 'read' on screen.

For most of us it was our first ever acting job. Obviously not for Andy Robinson. It was Ashley Laurence's first lead; I think it was Clare Higgins' first big film, and you had that kind of excitement; a real magic about doing movies; kind of what I'm enjoying doing at the moment, so you knew you were doing something interesting.

It helped that Clive Barker's literary works were doing so well

There was a lot of buzz around Clive at the time because The Books of Blood had come out and we knew it was different.

The line I use is 'No teenagers were harmed in the making of this movie,' which was what made it stand out from everything at the time from the Freddys and all that which was the stalk and slashing of teenagers. That's what made it really stand out.


Chatterer - Hellraiser; photo c/o Nicholas Vince

Do you get a lot of fan mail?

I've got a lot of fans in America. Obviously a lot of fan mail comes through Facebook. A lot of fans in Europe. A lot in Brazil. Quite a lot in England as well.

Like all Hellraiser fans I was desperate to see Clive Barker's follow up Nightbreed. What are your memories of playing Kinski in that?

It was much nicer for me because I could speak and see (laughs).

It was the classic thing as well, early in the shoot when I was on the set dressed up as Kinski, the sound man came up and introduced himself and then the cameraman, and I said 'We have done two movies already together.'


Kinski - Nightbreed; photo c/o Nicholas Vince

They'd never seen me out of Chatterer because they were on set all the time. Then we were always paraded out once we'd got into make up because we were in much earlier than the crew with the make-up crew, so there was that bizarre thing of saying hello to people who I'd seen around backstage etc, but I'd never really spoken to out of make-up."

Thanks to Sarah Collier and Nicholas Vince for help with this article