Top 10 Hellraiser Parodies
VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
"Hellraiser" is a prominent Horror franchise, so it's naturally been parodied quite a lot. For this list, we're looking at the funniest and most notable send-ups of Pinhead and the gang in various movies and TV shows. Our countdown includes Needlehead from“Stan Helsing” (2009), Fornicus from “The Cabin in the Woods” (2011), Toaster Face from “The Venture Bros.” (2004-18), and more!
Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 “Hellraiser” Parodies. For this list, we’re looking at the funniest and most notable send-ups of Pinhead and the gang in various movies and TV shows. Were there any we missed? Tear our souls apart in the comments.
#10: Crainiac, Corpuscle & Gristle
“Extreme Ghostbusters” (1997)
One would be forgiven for forgetting this single-season animated series even exists, but it certainly did not forget “Hellraiser” when searching for inspiration. Rather than “Hellraiser” creator Clive Barker, this episode features the creations of J. N. Kline, a play on “Goosebumps” author R. L. Stine. When Kline’s writing enhances the abilities of interdimensional entities, it’s up to the Extreme Ghostbusters to save the day. Though the designs are not nearly as grotesque, it’s clear these pseudo Cenobites took a direct page out of Barker’s stories and were made palatable for younger audiences. However, we have a feeling they induced more than a few nightmares anyway.
“The Simpsons” (1989-)
We’re gonna get into a few adult-skewing cartoons, so where better to start than with “The Simpsons?” Pinhead’s first appearance comes in the episode, “Stop, or My Dog Will Shoot!,” wherein Bart has a fantasy of a RoboCop-esque Santa’s Little Helper fighting crime. And by crime, we mean Pinhead, Jason Voorhees and a textbook. It’s brief, but a crossover we definitely would want to see in real life. Next in the episode “The Wayz We Were,” Moe is fearful of being alone, so what better way to visualize this fear than with a singing melange of villains? Alongside a Pinhead Moe is one of the Joker, Phantom of the Opera and even the Devil. Come to think of it, can we get this for real, too?
“Stan Helsing” (2009)
Coming out in the era of a swath of subpar parody movies, 2009’s “Stan Helsing” is not much different, but if you ever wanted to see a Suicide Squad of ‘80s slasher villains, it’s definitely got you covered. Joining the likes of Leatherface and Michael Myers - or should we say Pleatherface and Michael Cryers - Needlehead is definitely a more corny version of our favorite Cenobite, as instead of pins, his head is adorned with things like throwing darts and syringes. He’s honestly not much of a threat. In fact, none of the killers are. But we do get some good group karaoke out of it. Or should we say scaryoke? Okay, we’ll leave now.
#7: Sheriff Stone’s Puzzle Box
“Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated” (2010-13)
Mystery Inc. has handled numerous baddies dressed up in spooky costumes, but they should thank their stars that they narrowly missed having to deal with a much deadlier threat. In the episode, “The Hodag of Horror,” the recurring character of Sheriff Bronson Stone seems to not understand the difference between “evidence” and “personal belongings.” He takes out a “puzzle box” from a previous case, and as expected it mysteriously solves itself and summons a far greater threat. It’s a pretty random reference, but a much appreciated one for older audiences. Interestingly, it’s not the first time “Scooby-Doo” referenced “Hellraiser,” as it’s been said the Daemon Ritus from the first live-action film also drew inspiration from the puzzle box.
#6: Toaster Face
“The Venture Bros.” (2004-18)
Obviously, the clear move to make when parodying Pinhead is just to swap out the first syllable of his name (Tinhead, Chinhead, Violinhead…) but Toaster Face is definitely something even we wouldn’t have thought of. In this “Venture Bros.” Halloween special, Dr. Orpheus hosts the Brimstone Assembly. At his gathering, the Outrider and Tatyana perform a magic trick that gets a little too kinky for some of the guests’ tastes. While a suspended Outrider tries to solve a Rubik’s Cube, a Cenobite named Toaster Face waxes poetic about the pleasures of, well, toast. It’s a weird parody, to be sure, but one that is definitely on-brand for “The Venture Bros.” Anybody else weirdly craving toast?
#5: Low-Stakes Hellraiser
“Family Guy” (1999-2003; 2005-)
“Family Guy” is no stranger to parodying everything from people, to fictional characters, to horror movie villains. Heck, it even has Jason Voorhees as a long-standing resident of Quahog. Still, we think our good pal Pinhead could use some more representation on the show, as his sole cutaway comes in the Season 5 finale “Meet the Quagmires.” But what a cutaway it is. The episode features Peter being sent back to his eighteen-year-old body in 1984, where he promptly “Back to the Futures” things up. Beforehand, an interaction with Cleveland has him feeling excited to raise some hell. You can see where he’s going with this. Ruining a perfectly good steak definitely sounds like Hell to us.
“The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy” (2001-07)
Again, we’re not too sure kids understood the reference here, but it’s one adult viewers can definitely get behind. About six years before the “Venture Bros” special, “The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy” also had the idea to summon Pinhead out of a Rubik’s Cube, or should we say Pinface. Rather than a series of nails, the pins here describe those of the bowling variety, and it works marvelously well for the Cartoon Network show. The interplay between Pinface and Billy, not to mention his old acquaintance Grim, never ceases to bring a smile to our face. But the pièce de résistance has to be when Pinface’s friends are more concerned with partying than their usual pleasures.
“The Cabin in the Woods” (2011)
Full name Fornicus, Lord of Bondage and Pain, this Pinhead sendup is just one of the many monsters our band of college kids could’ve summoned in the titular cabin. Though Curt doesn’t activate the puzzle orb, we see Fornicus in all his glory when Dana and Marty descend into the facility in the glass elevator. Rather than needles, toasters or bowling pins though, Fornicus has circular saw blades going through his head. Thankfully, Fornicus does get time to play with the rest of the monsters during the code black, seen about to torture an unlucky soul. We’d love to see an alternate version of this movie where Fornicus gets picked. Or maybe even in a “Cabin in the Woods” TV series. Hey, Lionsgate? You listening?
“Robot Chicken” (2005-)
With the ability to show numerous short sketches and its long lifespan, you had better believe “Robot Chicken” has spoofed “Hellraiser” once or twice during its fifteen-plus year history. In fact, the series has been referenced or outright depicted a whopping seven times as of this publication. The most popular of these sketches also pokes fun at the “Big Brother” franchise, where Pinhead rooms with other slasher icons like Freddy Krueger and Ghostface. Speaking of which, it seems the “Robot Chicken” writers room suspects Pinhead is something of a momma’s boy, as also evidenced by this sketch. And if you needed another inappropriate IP crossover, there’s also the Cenobites infiltrating “Girls Gone Wild.”
#1: Hell Demons
“Rick and Morty” (2013-)
With all respect to these other parodies, no one nails “Hellraiser” quite like “Rick and Morty.” Much like the Cenobites see pain as pleasure, the ones depicted in the episode “Amortycan Grickfitti” see anything bad as good. As such, they love hanging out with Jerry and reveling in his delicious brand of cringe. When Jerry gets wise to the irony of the situation, his bummer attitude forces the demons to create their own kind of fun. The “Addams Family”-esque levels of oppositeness prove endlessly entertaining, as the demons are constantly contradicting themselves and their situations. When it comes right down to it, this episode is good, and that doesn’t make it bad.