In the first 2 Hellraiser movies it is pretty specific about not taking hands but rather desire when the cenobites appear. Pinhead says "...It is not hands that call us, it is desire!" after being called by the box. When someone calls the cenobites with the box they are drawn to hell. Sometimes they are made cenobites, but they spend a lot of time researching the box and it's secrets first, not just someone that solved it for some random reason.

In Hellraiser 3 the cenobites ransack an entire town and turn random people into cenobites. I never figured out how they reconciled the rule of only taking "Desire" since almost none of the people in the club would have known about the box. Was this explained in #3 or any of the following movies in a way that stays in sync with the first 2 movies?

3 Answers 3


It's been a while since I saw Hellraiser: Hell on Earth, but I'm pretty sure that there is a scene (a dream sequence where Joanne talks with Elliot Spencer - the chap that became the original Pinhead) explaining that the way the second movie ended left Pinhead without any restriction or controls - and the cenobites are created by the resurrected Pinhead, and similarly are not restricted by they rules of Hell.


Having watched it recently (and listening to the excellent podcast "We Have Such Films to Show You," a detailed revisiting of all nine (!!) Hellraiser movies), HorusKol has it, but in more detail...

At the end of II, Spencer is forcibly separated from Pinhead when he recollects his humanity at the behest of Kirsty as she escapes from the Doctor (a new Cenobite) in Hell. Embracing his humanity, he fights the Doctor and loses in short order; as an unseen result of the battle, he (Pinhead) is trapped in a torture column and Spencer's soul is unaccounted for.

In III, the Pinhead that is released from the column is entirely free of Spencer's influence. He's a rogue agent. It's an interesting bit of cosmology for the series, as it suggests that Cenobites are created by some sort of human/entity bonding, and in this case the Pinhead entity has become "unbonded" from Spencer and now exists without any of his human sense of order or honour. Spencer was a military man, and Pinhead was very regimented in Hellraiser I and II.

It's arguably less about the rules of Hell and more about Spencer's influence: without it, Pinhead is a loose cannon but also kind of a doofus, making knock-off Cenobites, running around shouting and blowing things up, invading dreams, etc.

If you're looking for a canon reason for the precipitous decline in quality of the Hellraiser movies, it's arguable that Pinhead and Spencer never quite rebonded right in III, leading to Pinhead becoming more and more erratic and weird as the series continues.


Pinhead, whose true name is believed to be Xipe Totec was originally an entity by himself until he got attached to Elliot Spencer by way of the lament configuration. And being as Kirsty freed the rational part of the two they became seperate entities, the law abiding Elliot and his other half. Without the rational Elliot to control pinhead, pinhead was free to do as he pleased. This did not bode well with leviathan who "punished" pinhead in a torture pillar at the end of the second film. By the third film, pinhead was pissed off and being as he was freed from Elliot, he could do as he pleased.

  • Hello & welcome to Science Fiction Stack Exchange. Your answer seems to have a lot of content, but it does not directly address the OP's question, which is as to why the Cenobites start a spree of sorts. Please modify the content to reflect more about the question.
    – Stark07
    Oct 20, 2014 at 2:12

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