While Clive Barker eventually killed off Pinhead in print, the director of Hellraiser: Judgment beat him to it with the short film No More Souls. For more than 30 years, the Hellraiser franchise, and its mascot villain Pinhead, have been tearing souls apart in front of movie fans, and at the behest of book readers. Sure, more of the Hellraiser movies have been mediocre or bad at this point than good, but the universe and characters Barker created are so appealing that fans still haven’t given up hope that things will turn around.
Currently, Hellraiser is plotting a big return to screens, with both a reboot movie and HBO TV series in the works, the latter of which has Barker onboard as a producer. After decades spent in direct to video purgatory, Hellraiser is finally looking ready to make a comeback. While Pinhead is set to be part of both projects in some capacity, Barker actually killed the character off for good in his 2015 novel The Scarlet Gospels.
Long before that though, noted special effects artist and filmmaker Gary J. Tunnicliffe – who had worked on a few of the sequels and would go on to direct 2018’s Hellraiser: Judgment – took it upon himself to depict Pinhead’s demise in an intriguing 2004 short film titled No More Souls: One Last Slice of Sensation. It’s fairly obscure, but well worth checking out for franchise fans.
Clearly made on a small budget, as it’s set within a single room, No More Souls could be considered a Hellraiser fan film, as its events certainly aren’t part of the official canon. However, most fan films don’t have Hollywood professionals with actual experience with the real franchise working on them. Gary J. Tunnicliffe wrote, directed, and produced No More Souls, after having done make-up effects for every entry since 1992’s Hellraiser 3: Hell on Earth, so he was well-acquainted with the material by 2004.
No More Souls: One Last Slice of Sensation features a much older Pinhead, one who’s lost his will to go on. After a nuclear war instantly wiped out mankind, every human soul was subsequently dispersed into Heaven or Hell to receive their final reward or punishment. However, it’s been 1000 years since then, and now there’s no more souls left to harvest, and no new pleasures of the flesh left to experience. Pinhead has lost his own desire to live, and is also fearful that his restless Cenobite followers will soon turn on him. With that in mind, the Hell Priest opens the Lament Configuration himself, experiencing the flesh-ripping fusion of pleasure and pain that he had inflicted on so many others before.
No More Souls only runs six minutes in length, but it’s very well-written, and the actor playing Pinhead does a decent impression of Doug Bradley. As one might expect, the gore effects and make-up on the Cenobites looks terrific, even if the budget prevents things from getting too crazy with Pinhead’s death. Tunnicliffe clearly impressed Hellraiser‘s producers, as he would later get the nod to write Hellraiser: Revelations and write/direct Hellraiser: Judgment. No More Souls was also included as an extra on Hellraiser: Deader‘s DVD release. While Revelations was, to put it bluntly, pretty terrible overall, perhaps it would’ve been better had Tunnicliffe directed, as Judgment was a marked improvement. Sadly, its intriguing ending cliffhanger likely won’t ever be resolved.