Scariest Clive Barker horror icon: Candyman or Pinhead? | The Tylt
Scariest Clive Barker horror icon: Candyman or Pinhead?
We're pitting eight heavyweight champions of horror against each other all month long, and you decide who wins the grand prize! Don't forget to cast your vote in these other exciting head-to-head brawls:
When "Candyman" dropped in 1992, it was at a time when racial tensions had completely boiled over. TV cameras and Rodney King brought issues of systemic racism into our living rooms. Los Angeles was burning. Unlike most genre fare set in the suburbs or backwater towns, this Clive Barker adaptation was set against the backdrop of the decomposing projects in Chicago. It depicted a deeply sexual interracial romance. 15 years ago, this was pretty heavy stuff.
And that's what makes "Candyman" so memorable. Not only does it have a terrifying and charismatic villain brilliantly portrayed by Tony Todd, but surreal imagery and romantic music haunts both the film and moviegoers—like a beautiful fever dream. The movie made audiences confront racial tensions when people were looking for escapism. And it turned the horror genre on its head. You can't deny how awesome Candyman is.
You want to talk about surreal? Try "Hellraiser." This was Clive Barker's debut as both screenwriter and filmmaker, and the horror auteur made the jump from literature to celluloid effortlessly. While horror films had grown stale with derivative slashers in the late '80s, Pinhead was exactly the fresh and reinvigorating invention the genre desperately needed. It was a difficult feat to pull off, and with practically no budget to boot.
Led by the terrifying Pinhead, Barker's sadomasochistic group of Cenobites terrified audiences with a surreal mix of horror and fantasy—along with professional make-up work that still makes us cringe. Like most of Barker's characters, Pinhead often blurs the line between sensuality and pain, and the uncomfortable pairing can make you squirm. And while Candyman might have all the charm, Pinhead has all the good lines: "Your suffering will be legendary, even in hell!"
While Candyman didn't exactly set the box-office on fire, the franchise grossed nearly $40 million across two theatrical films. The character also appeared a direct-to-DVD sequel. Including three films, Candyman has a modest body count of 22 victims—but as an urban legend, he may have many more unsubstantiated victims.
Candyman has a wide-arrange of powers that make him tough to beat, disregarding the fact that he's basically immortal. He has superhuman strength, the ability to levitate, teleportation powers, and can control an army of bees that live inside him. Who wants to mess with that?
This is where Pinhead has Candyman beat. The "Hellraiser" franchise spans nine movies and has grossed over $50 million on four theatrical releases. Pinhead is the king of straight-to-DVD and midnight matinee horror. And while Pinhead has only killed 35 people or so across 9 movies, he has to share his victims with the rest of the Cenobites. This doesn't even include totals from all the ancillary media Pinhead is in.
Pinhead is a practitioner of dark magic, and has the ability to levitate, teleport, create objects from thin air, and turn people into Cenobites. His signature move is using mind-control to attack victims with hooks and chains (to gruesome effect). Actor Doug Bradley has said that Pinhead is more powerful than either Michael Myers or Jason Voorhees. The downside is that Pinhead can only be summoned by a box called the Lament Configuration, which is a pretty specific ask.