Pinhead Wizard

Not your average Pinhead

"Yes. I think I'm right in saying that Pinhead's being on the poster was the second call." The first choice was another character, a bloody man with no skin, but the studio eighty-sixed this as too gruesome.

"So they settled for a guy with a lot of nails driven into his head," says Bradley, laughing.

"The fan thing didn't really catch up with me until the second movie, when I went to a convention in Los Angeles. In retrospect, though, I can't imagine that we didn't realize all along that this is an extraordinary image. It's not a riff on anything that's gone before. It's a received image, if you will; the nails are going into his head."

Doug Bradley
Doug Bradley

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His personality is similarly magnetic rather than aggressive. "He's not waiting in the shadows to kill you with a knife or something. And the language!" Bradley smiles happily as he intones, "'I've got all eternity to know your flesh.'"

There's a downside to cult celebrity, of course -- the ghetto of horror-movie typecasting. Though he's appeared occasionally in mainstream movies such as An Ideal Husband and onstage in a recent London production of Inherit the Wind, most of Bradley's credits have been in the creep shows. But, says the actor, "I think this is universal for actors. . . . The ghetto-izing doesn't go on in our heads. I don't consider myself a 'horror actor.' It's in the minds of producers, in the minds of casting directors, it's in the minds of fans, to some extent, and it's in the minds of critics, I must say. There's a kind of snobbishness, as well, that I run into at times, you know, 'Oh, that's all very well, but it's not really acting. It's not ahhhhh-cting.' It's absolutely rubbish. . . . You can see that absence of ghetto-izing in Shakespeare, that's what makes him great. The whole of the world, the whole of life, and everything in it is his palette."

Sure, but speaking of Shakespeare, doesn't Bradley aspire to say, "To be or not to be"? He grins.

"Instead, I get to say, 'I'll tear your soul apart!' Which is pretty good."

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