Hellraiser, Boogeymen: The Killer Compilation
Chatterer, Female Cenobite, Kirsty Cotton, Pinhead, Julia
Butterball Cenobite - Hellraiser Explained
Butterball is a character from Clive Barker's Hellraiser franchise. He is a Cenobite, one of a group of extradimensional beings who experiment in forms of extreme sadomasochism as part of a religious devotion to hedonism. He is also one of the first Cenobites introduced in the franchise, appearing both in the initial novella, The Hellbound Heart, as well as the films Hellraiser and Hellbound: Hellraiser II. Butterball also made an appearance in Clive Barker's comic book sequel to Hellbound, the Hellraiser comic book series published by BOOM! comics in 2011. Despite appearing to be the second-in-command of the Cenobites in The Hellbound Heart, in the film and comics he primarily functions as a member of Pinhead's entourage.
Butterball is a member of the Cenobites, formerly human monsters dedicated to exploring the limits of human sensation; these "explorations" take the form of extreme sadomasochism, to the point that it is considered torture by most of those whom they encounter. He lives with his fellow Cenobites in an extradimensional realm called The Labyrinth, a gigantic maze accessible only via a puzzle box called The Lament Configuration, which opens a dimensional fissure. While those who possess unique qualities conducive to the Cenobite agenda are transformed into Cenobites upon opening the box, others are subjected to the Cenobites' "experiments". Like his fellow Cenobites, Butterball has lost all memory of his life as a human before he became a Cenobite. No further information has been given on his life before he became a Cenobite, although various non-canonical sources have offered speculation, including ad copy for a Butterball action figure.
Like the other Cenobites, Butterball has undergone extreme body modification and ritual scarification; other than his massive size and obesity, Butterball's other distinguishing feature is a series of stitches through his eyelids, which he usually keeps hidden by a pair of round sunglasses. Although he is apparently a high-ranking member of the Cenobites in the novella, and has the most dialogue in the book, in the films he is the most removed of Pinhead's entourage. Whereas Chatterer communicates with his fellow Cenobites by clicking his teeth, and physically restrains victims, and the Female Cenobite consults with Pinhead about the group's actions, Butterball is completely stationary and silent, occasionally licking his lips with a bloated tongue. He only becomes physically aggressive during climactic battles, attacking Kirsty at the end of the original Hellraiser, Channard at the end of Hellbound, and Kirsty again in the seventh issue of Barker's BOOM! Hellraiser series.
Actor Simon Bamford met Clive Barker through a friend who was doing prop work for Barker's plays. Bamford and Barker became friends, and Bamford joined his theater company. After the company disbanded, Bamford contacted Barker to see what he was doing, and Barker invited him to join his latest project, Hellraiser. Bamford wore a fatsuit and foam latex mask. He was designed to look as if it would be impossible for him to eat anything else. His torn-open stomach was meant to give the impression that he could directly interact with his organs at will.
Butterball is first introduced in the novella The Hellbound Heart, in which he is the first of the Cenobites to appear, and their apparent second-in-command behind the Engineer, whose presence is only summoned in special circumstances:
"...the hooks that transfixed the flaps of its eyes...
were wed by an intricate system of chains passed through flesh and bone alike..."
Along with the other Cenobites, Butterball takes antagonist Frank Cotton back to the Cenobite realm after Cotton opens the Lament Configuration, expecting to find a hedonistic paradise that will cure his sensual nihilism. Despite being warned that what he finds may not be what he is expecting, Frank willingly goes along with the Cenobites, only to find that—past an initial euphoria—the experiences to which the Cenobites subject him are so intense as to be torturous. Butterball is later part of the Cenobite contingent that makes a deal with Frank's brother's daughter, Kirsty, to return Frank to them in exchange for her own freedom, after she unwittingly makes a deal to return to the Cenobite realm by opening the box.
Butterball would later appear — and receive a name — in the closing credits of the film adaptation of The Hellbound Heart, Hellraiser. Unlike the other Cenobites, who are sent back by Kirsty (here presented as Frank's niece) to the Cenobite realm during the film's climax, Butterball is seemingly "killed" when a section of roof collapses on him as the schism opened by the puzzle box causes a series of tremors to shake Frank's house.
Butterball reappears in Hellbound: Hellraiser II, with no explanation given as to his revival. Like Pinhead, he is reminded of his humanity by Kirsty, after which he fights to protect her against the newly created Cenobite, Dr. Channard. He is killed by Channard after a brief fight, after which he reverts to a non-mutilated human form. This is his last cinematic appearance, though he was revived in the comics.
Like Chatterer and The Female, Butterball reappears in Clive Barker's comic book series for BOOM! comics, which act as a sequel to Hellbound that ignores the subsequent films. Butterball appears in the fifth issue as Pinhead's "secret weapon", ambushing and restraining Kirsty when she finally confronts Pinhead. The confrontation turns out to be a trap arranged by Pinhead to betray his fellow Cenobites, and Pinhead slips Kirsty one of his knives, which she uses to kill Butterball.
Butterball reappears yet again in The Scarlet Gospels, once again being betrayed by Pinhead. This time, Pinhead kills him with a spell that liquefies Butterball's innards, causing him to vomit up his internal organs in a geyser of blood. In a final show of contempt, Butterball restrains Pinhead as he dies, so that the projectile of blood strikes Pinhead in the face.
Shock Till You Drop ranked him number seven in their list of the ten best Cenobites, calling him "infamously creepy and mysterious".