10 Best Hellraiser References In Non-Hellraiser Movies & Shows


The new reboot of Hellraiser is releasing on Hulu for new and old generations of horror fans alike, continuing the legacy of the franchise that has been referenced across media over the decades. Since 1987, Clive Barker’s signature property has been Hellraiser due to its twisted and disturbing lore and graphic gore.

Despite having a mixed reception with critics, Hellraiser would become a success that spawned nine sequels and a reboot. Even though the sequels would continue to be less and less-loved by fans, the fame of Hellraiser would result in other movies and television shows referencing or adding Easter Eggs to Clive Barker’s series.



Event Horizon (1997)

Clive Barker inspired a lot of rising filmmakers, including Paul W.S. Anderson, who delivered a cult-classic sci-fi horror film known as Event Horizon. The movie has even gained the nickname of “Hellraiser In Space” due to its content. The ship that the movie is named after traveled to another dimension, a hell-like world where pain and pleasure are intermixed much like the Labyrinth from Hellraiser.

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Viewers are only given small flashes of the torturous fates of the characters but the barbed wires, hooks, and graphic gore are uncannily similar to Hellraiser. An argument can be made that the dimension that the Event Horizon traveled to could have been the Labyrinth. Even the evil being that Sam Neill’s Dr. Weir is transformed into is not that dissimilar from Cenobites from Hellraiser.

Pumpkinhead: Ashes To Ashes (2006)

Most fans will agree that there is very little to enjoy about this third chapter of the Pumpkinhead series. However, there is a cute reference to the Hellraiser movies featuring the movie’s villain Doc Fraser, portrayed by Doug Bradley, who famously played the ever-quotable Pinhead in the first eight Hellraiser movies.

In Fraser’s office, there is a pile of blocks in the corner and when looked at closely, they are actually a pile of replicas of the Lament Configuration. The Lament Configuration is the famous puzzle box from the Hellraiser franchise that would summon the Pinhead and the Cenobites.

Cursed (2005)

Even though Cursed was not the movie that Wes Craven originally made, even the reshot version has unique touches such as a location that is one big collection of Easter Eggs. One of the signature sets in Cursed is the horror-themed museum/nightclub Tinsel, which has dioramas and exhibits dedicated to everything from the classic Universal monsters to Jason Voorhees to even Wes Craven’s own Scream.

Well, at the entrance of the nightclub, Jesse Eisenberg’s Jimmy eyes a Pinhead statue as he calls his sister. Sadly, it’s only seen on screen once, and it is the only reference to the Hellraiser franchise in the entire museum.

Bride Of Chucky (1998)

As the Child’s Play franchise went on, it embraced cheeky humor alongside its supernatural slasher roots. Bride Of Chucky went full-on horror-comedy, with the titular Chucky delivering puns with each kill. But one of his murders ended up being a nod to Hellraiser.

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He and Tiffany use a trap to send a collection of nails into a police officer’s face creating a visage very reminiscent of Pinhead. It could have been a coincidence until Chucky asks, “Why does that seem so familiar?” Essentially breaking the fourth wall and referencing the classic horror villain.

Cabin In The Woods (2012)

This horror-comedy acts as a love letter to all the horror movies of the past by honoring them and poking fun at them at the same time. There are homages to The Evil Dead, Stephen King’s IT, and, of course, Hellraiser in The Cabin In The Woods.

One of the most prominent and scariest monsters on display in the mysterious Facility is Fornicus, The Lord Of Bondage And Pain. With his bald appearance featuring saw blades coming out of his head and face while holding a puzzle orb, it’s clear that this is meant to be this world’s version of the Hell Priest from Hellraiser.

TV Shows

The Simpsons (1989 – )

For such a family-friendly show, The Simpsons actually references the Hellraiser movies more often than expected. In the fifth episode of the Treehouse Of Terror specials, Pinhead is one of many ghosts and monsters working with Moe in the parody of The Shining.

Pinhead returns in Season 18, Episode 20 as a figure in Bart’s nightmare then returns yet again Season 23, Episode 1, which is an episode told by Jeff the Comic Book Guy, to fight Wayne Slater. These are all small cameos, but they go a lot way, showing a love for the character that became the face of the Hellraiser movies.

Extreme Ghostbusters (1997)

From the stretched and/or twisted skin to even the BDSM gear, the Cenobites are faithfully adapted into the Extreme Ghostbusters, which was a sequel to The Real Ghostbusters animated series. One of the Cenobites is actually a nearly perfect mix of the Chatterer and Butterball Cenobites, two of the most iconic creatures from the Hellraiser movies.

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The fifth episode of the short-lived series titled Deadliners was about these Cenobite analogs who kidnap people and mutilate them into monsters like themselves, and they are creatures that come from the mind of a famous horror author. So, the entire episode is essentially one big nod to Clive Barker, and it’s well done if not a bit much for kids.

The Grim Adventures Of Billy & Mandy (2001 – 2007)

This one should come as no surprise since this animated show made for kids and adults alike was filled to the brim with horror tropes and characters. At one point in The Grim Adventures Of Billy & Mandy, the characters meet a purple-skinned creature with bowling pins all over his head aptly named Pinface.

He still has the regal gown, the scars, and even the modulated voice similar to what they gave to Doug Bradley in the Hellraiser movies; Billy even awakens Pinface using a puzzle box. It’s a fun parody of Pinhead even though the joke likely went over a lot of children’s heads growing up.

Scooby-Doo: Mystery Incorporated (2010 – 2013)

There have been a lot of Scooby-Doo shows over the years, but easily the darkest version was Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, and that dark side earned it a lot of praise. However, even with its darker tone, nobody expected the Lament Configuration to make an appearance in Scooby-Doo.

In Season 2, Episode 5 of the series, Sherriff Bronson Stone has many items in his collection, including the puzzle box which he accidentally solves and summons Pinhead as a result. Though Pinhead is never shown, when Bronson opens a door, the bright light and heavy wind of the Cenobites’ power are shown, and the viewer can hear the Hell Priest say, “Oh such sights!” Before Stone slams the door shut nonchalantly.

Rick And Morty (2013 – )

Season 5, Episode 5 of Rick And Morty showcased its own collection of Cenobites when Rick and Jerry use a cursed Rubik’s cube to summon them. They are more sci-fi in design and this time Pinhead is actually Penhead with webbed skin between the ink pens, almost resembling the Creeper from Jeepers Creepers.

Rick And Morty has become famous for its parodies of famous movies and television shows and never holding back on poking fun at them. At the same time, examples such as the Hellraiser parody also show how much the creators Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon do respect the properties they mock because the whole episode is filled to the brim with Hellraiser references that even hardcore fans might even miss.

NEXT: 20 Cartoons To Watch If You Like Rick And Morty


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