Interview by Lewis Mainwaring
Clive Barker‘s horror classic Hellraiser turned 28 over the weekend!! We caught up with Nicholas Vince who played the iconic cenobite Chatterer. He also appeared in Clive Barker’s 1990 film Nightbreed among numerous other roles in-front of an behind the camera.
Nicholas also contributed stories to the Hellraiser and Nightbreed comics published by Marvel and wrote for the Marvel UK comics Warheads and Mortigan Goth: Immortalis.
“I’m a notorious scaredy cat”
What inspired you to become an actor?
As a teenager, my drama teacher said, “You have real stage presence. You are more at home on the stage than real life”.
I had to admit he was right. So, I don’t think I was inspired to act, as such. It’s just the way I am.
You portrayed the ‘Chatterer’ Cenobite in the original Hellraiser and its sequel Hellbound – how would you describe this experience?
Tough, mostly. But also tremendous fun. The process of doing lifecasts, not being able to hear, speak or see in the makeup – that’s all hard work. But, I met some really wonderful people, particularly the guys from Image Animation who were so young and fun. Some of who have gone on to win Oscars for special FX makeup.
As I type this, I’m on a train back from acting in a short film and the FX makeup was done by someone who worked on ‘Nightbreed’. He was saying Image Animation was unique in those days in terms of atmosphere in the workshop where so many practical jokes were played. Considering some of those included things like ‘debagging’ people, i.e. pulling their trousers down; I guess these days people would be sued for sexual harassment.
Did you ever anticipate the cult following for the film and the Cenobites?
Not really. I didn’t really understand how important the film and the Cenobites were to people until we attended the 10th Anniversary convention in Boston. That’s the first convention I attended in the USA and it was all very strange, although the people organising it and asking for autographs were all lovely.
What was it like working with Horror icon Clive Barker?
Great fun. There was always a lot of laughter on set. Everyone who worked on the movie I think really liked Clive and were simply inspired by him to give our best. Of course, at the time, he wasn’t yet an icon.
Just this intelligent, funny, caring and slightly warped guy.
Have you seen any of the Hellraiser sequels post Hellbound?
A couple of them. I share the frustration of many of the fans that some of the scripts were pre-existing and Pinhead was dropped in, just to get them made.
Are you a fan of horror films?
Yes, but not all. I’m a notorious scaredy cat, so what I really love are ‘intelligent horror’ films. Things like ‘Cabin in the Woods’ and The Soska Sister’s ‘American Mary’. Actually, I love all the Soska Sister’s movies.
How do you find directing/producing compared to acting?
Every aspect of making a movie has it’s own challenges. I’ve yet to direct behind the camera yet, but I’m working on doing so before the end of the year. The pre-production stuff has been really interesting.
I’m fortunate enough to work with some talented independent film makers and working on their movies and producing my own, has given me a real insight and respect for what it takes to actually get a movie in the can. I think it’s a great exercise for any actor to go through the production process, so they can learn just how tough it is.
What is your favourite movie of all time?
Roger Corman’s ‘The Masque of the Red Death’. The earliest horror movies I saw, in the 1970’s, were the Corman/Poe/Price films and the original Universal monster movies such as Frankenstein and Dracula.
Do you have any upcoming projects?
I recently acted in two short films and some other roles later in the year.
I’ve also just finished animating a pop video for the group EXGF, using the iPad and Mac app ‘ShotPro’. This is an amazing pre-vis app for film directors in which you set up lights, cameras, sets and actors and animate shots using keyframes for actors and objects. I edited it in iMovie on the Mac.
You can check out this and other projects and my website http://www.nicholasvince.com/video/.
Please take the time to check out our other Horror content & interviews!