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The Hell Priest (or Pinhead) is a minor antagonist in The Hellbound Heart, and the main antagonist of its sequel The Scarlet Gospels.
The Hellbound Heart
Pinhead's portrayal within the novella is greatly different from his movie counterpart, appearing as a nameless follower of The Engineer alongside three others who in the movie would become Chatterer, Butterball and Female/Deep Throat. While retaining his signature grid with iron pins jabbed at the intersections, in the novella the grid is described as being tattooed rather then sliced on. Likewise, Pinhead's tongue is similarly decorated. Probably the most significant change is the fact that while in the movie series Pinhead is male, in the novella he is a gender ambiguous being, the clothing covering up his sexual organs. Also of note is the fact that while Pinhead bares a deep and eloquent masculine voice in the movies the novella's version has a breathy light voice, compared to that of a little girl.
Pinhead makes an appearance within the first chapter along side three other cenobites. They offer Frank Cotton their perverse form of pleasure before departing the room, taking with them the offerings he had laid for them on a shrine and amplifying his senses to maddening levels, leaving him in a state of shock and confusion before taking him to their world.
All four Cenobites appear during the novella's last chapter where they tear Frank Cotton apart using hook chains. Afterwards they disappear, taking Frank away and respecting their agreement with Kristy, leaving the girl to run away. During the earlier hospital scene in which Kirsty Cotton solves the puzzle box, she is confronted by The Lead Cenobite, whose lines would be used by Pinhead in Hellraiser, most notably: "No tears, please! It's a waste of good suffering!" as well as a variation of "We will tear your soul apart!".
The Scarlet Gospels
In the 2015 sequel The Scarlet Gospels, Pinhead returns as the main antagonist and seeks to destroy all magicians in the world, absorbing their power and leaving some alive to be his broken slaves. He is referred to as the "Hell Priest". He goes against Harry D'Amour, another iconic character within Barker's novels.
The Hell Priest's intentions are exposed once Joseph Ragowski, one of the magicians he killed, is resurrected via the N'guize Working and reveals his plans. Ragowski's resurrectors are led by Elizabeth Kottlove, and include Lili Saffro, Yashar Heyadat, Arnold Poltash and Theodore Felixson. They try to figure out a way to stop the Hell Priest, however he finds them. He kills Poltash with his hooks and chains for trying to escape, rapes Elizabeth and kills Heyadat for trying to reason with him, in the same way he killed Poltash. Lili dies from the trauma of seeing Heyadat get killed. The Hell Priest shows anger over being called "Pinhead" by Joseph, and kills him a second time for having done so, by infecting his head with worms that end up eating him. Elizabeth dies from the baby resulted in the Hell Priest's's rape tearing her apart from the inside, and the Hell Priest feeds the remains of the dead magicians to it. He takes Felixson to become his slave and turns him into a monster.
The Hell Priest uses the magic from the magicians to kill Hell's ruling classes, betrays and murders the Order of Gash, and attempts to do the same to Lucifer himself. He strips Lucifer's body of his armor and becomes the new Lord of Hell. However, Lucifer's body reconstructs itself and disembowels the Hell Priest who unfortunately lives long enough to blind Harry and rape his medium Norma Paine to death.
- Clive Barker hated the nickname "Pinhead" that was given to his most iconic character. Therefore, he changed the name to the "Hell Priest" in The Scarlet Gospels.