David Bruckner‘s Hellraiser breathes new life into a long-standing franchise with terrifyingly unsettling visuals and spine-tingling body horror. Starring Odessa A’zion, Jamie Clayton, Adam Faison, Drew Starkey and Goran Visnjic, this latest installment took Hulu by storm in time for Spooky Season.
Recently, I had the privilege of chatting with Adam Faison for Hulu’s Huluween virtual press junket about preparing to play Colin in Hellraiser, working with the Cenobites onset, filming that painful wire scene and more.
This interview is condensed for length and clarity.
Melody McCune: Were you familiar with the original films before getting cast?
Adam Faison: I’d seen them when I was younger, probably too young. I revisited all of them when we were going into this movie. I didn’t need to, but I wanted to get into the world and see what the others had to offer and how they could inform what we did on this one. I had never read The Hellbound Heart. Hearing Clive Barker narrate the source material was cool. There was one [Cenobite] whose tears were pus. They created a Cenobite around that, which I thought was so cool. They mined these nuggets and created newer, cooler Cenobites. It was ingenious how they worked with that.
MM: What was it like getting to interact with the Cenobites onset?
AF: It was fun in the sense that it was terrifying. We (actors) have to be acrobats of the imagination, but it’s like they were there for us. Having them there was a different experience than I had ever gotten. You can tell they spent money on the Cenobites. They put money into the renderings, costumes, prosthetics and everything.
MM: That scene where the wires are hoisting you made my skin crawl. It was so uncomfortable to watch. What was it like getting to film that?
AF: It was grueling, I got to be honest. It was hard. But if you’re not feeling it, you ain’t doing it. Just know those screams were real. I had to make sure I was on my breath. Singing training supported my vocals. After a while, even though it may be a few scenes, if you’re using your voice wrong, you can damage your vocal cords, and then you’ve got no more scream left. It was important to say fortified that way and play the marathon and not the sprint game.
MM: This is such a high-stakes, adrenaline-pumping film. How do you prepare for something like that as an actor?
AF: I got excited when I dove into the research and world. That gets me tapped in. Then, once you’re in it, everything’s there for you. The world is built. A lot of the adrenaline comes from being [onset] every day. We’re flying by the seat of our pants. We’re in this car, and it’s moving quickly. Drew [Starkey] is driving it. So, getting to drive through this Serbian forest and be immersed in it required no acting. It was pretty valuable to have all of that there with us.
MM: Colin is the voice of reason in the film. Do you think if Riley had just stayed in the house, none of this would’ve happened?
AF: He does say, “I told you not to leave,” which was an f’d up thing to say, but it’s true. I love that Bruckner put that in there. It’s a very realistic scene. That scene is what is missing from a lot of horror movies. Some of the best ones have those scenes where it’s realistically what we would be saying. Colin’s a harbinger, saying, “Dude, I don’t think this is a good idea.”
Sometimes, that’s missing. So, you suspend disbelief and go into something. Sometimes, that’s fun. But Bruckner did play with what a person in this scenario would say and do. What would be the natural progression as opposed to buying into it? I think it’s nice because it also invites new people who have never been to this world or seen any of the movies to come in and be like, “Oh yeah, I might be a little skeptical of what this box does.”
MM: Adam, thank you so much for chatting with me today!
AF: Thank you, Melody!
Hellraiser is now streaming on Hulu.