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SYFY WIRE Hellraiser

'Hellraiser' actor Adam Faison on hanging out with Cenobites and screaming for 10 hours

Adam Faison on what it was like acting against Cenobites and what those 10-hour days of screaming non-stop were like. 

By Vanessa Armstrong
Adam Faison in Hellraiser (2022)

The new Hellraiser movie is almost here, and if the trailer is any indication (and it is), it looks like the new film from director David Bruckner is a disturbing and bloody reboot that gives the franchise an upgrade while staying true to the first few films. 

It's not a spoiler to say that in Hellraiser, more than one character has a run-in with the Hell Priest and other Cenobites — entities from another dimension who bring mere mortals beyond the sensations of pleasure and pain by disfiguring and flaying their bodies into objects of grotesque beauty and/or horror.

Adam Faison’s character, Colin, is one of those “lucky” individuals who gets entangled with the Cenobites. Faison talked with SYFY WIRE about his experiences making the film as well as what viewers can expect when the new movie unleashes itself on Hulu.

Read on for that discussion, and be warned: while we don’t delve into major spoiler territory, we do touch on the fact that some characters will generally find themselves on tenterhooks at some point, as characters in Hellraiser movies are wont to do. 

This interview has been condensed and lightly edited for clarity. 

Hellraiser (2022)

Can you talk about what it was like when you were literally strung up on chains? How did that shooting day go for you?

I'm going to be honest, I was up there for pretty much all day. [Director David Bruckner] very much wanted to use stunt guys as minimally as possible because he wanted to register everything about the actors, especially in the wides and the close-ups. He was like, “I don't want to do the thing where we cut to your legs or whatever, I want to be on you — I want to feel that.”  And I felt it, baby — it was truly torturous, because even just keeping your arms up for longer than two minutes is just the craziest shoulder workout ever. 

And then on top of that, just keeping the posture right — I mean, the screams felt real because I was just channeling that pain into the screams. Luckily my vocal training came in handy because a lot of it I was having to use my diaphragm, because when you're screaming, there's a wrong way to scream and then you lose your voice after a few takes. So shout out to my voice teacher when I was a kid for training my diaphragm because I really wanted to sustain myself throughout those 10 hours that I was up there.

When you got the part had you watched any of the old Hellraiser movies? How did you prep for the role?

I had already seen the first couple when I was younger on AMC on their FearFest David told me I actually didn't need to, but I watched all 11 — I just wanted to and I was so excited about the film and we had the time, so I was like, why not? Some of them make you wonder like, “Wow, who came up with these?” 

And then I was talking to David, and he was like, "If you really want to go to the source, it's the novella that Clive Barker wrote." And so I listened to Clive Barker narrate it, and he does all of the Cenobites voices, and it’s cool to see how it not only influenced the brand back then but also how it influences [Jamie Clayton, who plays the Hell Priest, pictured above] in this movie — she nails that monotonous tone and has this creepy, disconnected voice that’s very, very unsettling.

What was it like when you were on set and you saw your first Cenobite in real life for the first time?

You almost don't know whether to look at them or not, because they're pretty much just naked. It’s not real, obviously, but it looks so real that you're almost like, “Should I be looking at this?” 

David told us in the original meetings for the film that he was fascinated how, especially in Western culture, there’s this stigma of being naked in public and how you don't know whether to look or look away, and I think he really played into that. And the prosthetic work was just next level.

What do you hope that people who watch Hellraiser take away from it, besides the nightmares of course? 

I hope they take away a renewed sense of excitement for the franchise. I know it's been a second since we had another iteration. And I know a lot of fans have a lot of different opinions on the world, but I hope that this reinvigorates their excitement for the franchise, and even gets some some new people who maybe aren't as familiar with the franchise on board too. 

Hellraiser premieres on Hulu on Friday, Oct. 7. 

Looking for something spooky to watch? Check out Season 1 of SYFY's Chucky on Peacock, and Season 2 is airing Wednesdays on SYFY.