Great horror narratives start with great Monster Design. More than just scary imagery, a great ‘monster’ should be a metaphor, a representation of a high concept idea as well as the demon inside the protagonist - a shadow-self, embodying their transgressions and their worst imaginable fears tailor-made for them.
Clive Barker’s Cenobites from HELLRAISER are a superb horror creation and this article breaks down the evolution of Pinhead as a horror concept and character. It includes exploration of the mythology and imagery that went into the design of Pinhead and his fellow Cenobites and the horror writing process of Barker himself.
“One image I remember very strongly from The Forbidden was that Clive had built what he called his ‘nail-board’ which was basically a block of wood which he’d squared off and then he’d banged six-inch nails in at the intersections of the squares. He spent endless hours playing with what happened if a light was swung around in front of it to see the way that the shadows of the nails moved and what happened if it was top lit and so forth. Of course, when I saw the first illustrations for this gentleman, it rang a bell with me that here was actually Clive putting the ideas that he’d been playing around with with the nail-board in The Forbidden, now 10, 15 years later or whatever here he’d now put the image all over a human being’s face. Which is typical of the way that he will work with ideas, you’ll find little bits of ideas that he would play around with that ten, fifteen years later when apparently it’s all forgotten with, that idea is suddenly brought up again and dealt with in a much bigger way.”