Sacred Femininity as seen in Hellraiser

In the horror genre in the 70’s and 80’s we have a rise in the ‘Slasher’ genre. A male antagonist murders a small group of less than a dozen people, to be defeated by a virginal woman wielding a phallic object. For example, Ginny in Friday the 13th Part II “kills” Jason with a machete, in Friday the 13th part III it’s Chris with an axe, in Friday the 13th: the Final Chapter Trish deals the first strike, while Tommy, her brother, finally kills Jason. Or in Halloween where Laurie “kills” him with a knife. This is because masculinity is seen as the destructive and active force. It is the receptive female which must shed her own femininity to do battle with the wicked masculinity, and in doing so be scarred for life, forever shattered in her soul.

This pattern is inverted, however, in Hellraiser. The Cenobites, beings from another dimension, are the ultimate hedonists in a sense. They are masters of pleasure, which is why Frank looks for them. In the book The Hellbound Heart, which was written by the same person who wrote Hellraiser, Clive Barker, Pinhead is actually a woman, but in making the adaption to the screen Barker changed aspects to appeal to the 80’s horror crowd. For example, the scene when Frank opens the box and is hooked to the chains, in the book, it describes all his senses as being overloaded, it’s an extremely pleasurable experience for him, so pleasurable actually that he masturbates during the experience before being taken with them to their dimension.

At the end, skipping some very important plot points, Kirsty, the virginal heroine of this film, defeats the Cenobites not with a phallic tool, but with a much more yonic tool, the puzzle box. It is in realizing her own feminine power that she is able to destroy the enemy. In doing so, Clive Barker appeals to the genre of the 80’s while subverting it with a violent sacred femininity. A destructive force as much as masculinity can be. In the book, Kirsty does not go mad with despair and horror, instead she remains full of hope of the future, a hope that she may one day find Larry (who is not her Father in the book, but is in the movie). Because she has not had to shed her sexuality, instead, her sexuality has been affirmed as an active and powerful force.

Do you have any visual evidence depicting the fact Pinhead is a woman? Im just wondering, brcause it has always been a man as far as I have seen. We all come from female so are already a woman, but in the mutated sense so are a guy. Even if you didnt have thr evidence I already understand what you may be trying to do but that is ok. Fiction is backed up usually with non-fiction for that technique.

One of the best explanations and discussions of the sacred feminine and the divine male, and their energies that I have found was in the book “Prescient Visions” by Eric Peppin. While it is a strict RHP book, the discussions about conciousness and differing forms of energy make it worth reading for LHP and RHP practitioners alike. The divine male energy is an inherently dominating energy, hence why many of the horror genres depict it as violent or aggressive. While some may think that the feminine is submissive, this isn’t the case, in fact it’s more like an absorbing nature. The divine masculine energy is hard wired to dominate everything, while the sacred female is wired to absorb and harness it (arguably using it to create offspring organically, but that’s another matter).

Again, this just comes down to polarity energy. Male is positive and outgoing, the female is negative and absorbing. Note that negative is not a derogatory term, just a means of classifying the difference. During intercourse, the male dominates, and the female absorbs the outburst of energy and uses it to create a reaction and create a child. It gets really interesting when he starts talking about same sex intercourse lol, that requires a thread all on its own. Worth a read

If you reread a little more carefully, you’ll notice that I said in Barker’s book version of Hellraiser, which was titled 'The Hellbound Heart", that Pinhead is depicted as a woman there. He changed the gender of Pinhead to appeal to the genre.

Originally Julia was intended to be the primary antagonist of the hellraiser series bu the idea was scrapped after the second movie.

Never read the book, but just wanted to say that movie 3 was one of my more favorite ones. Hellraiser 3: Hell on Earth. I found the cenobite with the cigerrete in her throat kind of weird, but I could just not stop looking at it lol. The initial Club Scene played a pretty good thumping techno track (sex music).

Then of course there was some descent depiction of the use of the Cube. If I recall someone posted something about the Catholic Church having a cube in their heart. Anyway the cube is symbolic and I could see it being used both ways.

Fascinating post, thanks! I’ll keep a look out for the original Clive Barker book when we go trawling the markets this weekend, I think we had a copy but I don’t remember it that well.

The original title for Hellraiser was “Sadomasochists From Beyond the Grave”, which is just too much of a mouthful for me personally. It was scrapped for the current title.

Check out the unreleased themes from Hellraiser. Coil I do feel was the most refined magicians making music group.