On this month's Special Page:

Mitchell Walter Maknis gives The Horror Zine an interview with Hellraiser's Nicholas Vince


Elizabeth Massie
Joe R. Lansdale
Christopher Golden
Mort Castle
Josh Malerman
Ellen Datlow

About Nicholas Vince

1 3

Photo credit: Julie Edwards Photography

Nicholas Vince is best known for his roles as The Chatterer Cenobite in Clive Barker's Hellraiser & Hellbound: Hellraiser II and Kinski in Barker's Nightbreed. In 2016 he was awarded the London Horror Society Award for Outstanding Contribution to UK Independent Horror and in 2018 a Lifetime of Torment Award at Texas Frightmare, plus a Dedication to Horror award from the Liverpool Horror Club.

He stars in the independent feature films, Hollower (dir. MJ Dixon) and The Offer (dir. Chris Griffiths & Gary Smart), with others from the Hellraiser films; and features in The Black Gloves (dir. Lawrie Brewster), Book of Monsters (dir. Stewart Sparke), Fuck You Immortality (dir. Federico Scargiali), Heckle (dir. Martyn Pick) and Paintball Massacre (dir. Darren Berry). He's worked on numerous short films including the award winning Mindless (dir. Katie Bonham).

Nicholas has also written and directed three short films; The Night Whispered, Your Appraisal and Necessary Evils. His two collections of short stories, What Monsters Do and Other People's Darkness are both available on amazon sites; and his short story 'Prayers of Desire', a new origin story for The Chatterer was recently published as part of Hellraiser: Anthology - Volume 2 published by Seraphim Inc.

About Mitchell Walter Maknis


Photo credit: Tracey Maknis

Mitchell Walter Maknis is an Eagle Scout who holds a first-degree Black Belt in the Cheezic Tang Soo Do Federation, an Advanced Scuba Diver and a member of the ocean conservation organization Crew 3000. His involvement with the non-profit organization lead to his admittance at The Sound School. Originally setting out to pursue a career in marine biology, it was during his time at the aquaculture-based institute that he learned that he was terrible at science and shifted his focus to writing.

His affinity for writing materialized upon matriculating to Naugatuck Valley Community College where he met his mentors Prof. William H. Foster III and YA novelist Steve Parlato (who were crucial in his development as a writer).While attending college Mitchellbecame an editor and wrote monthly articlesfor the school’s newspaper The Tamarack. During this time, Mitchell also contributed to the speculative fiction blog The Qwillery and interviewed multiple artists and actors.Since graduating NVCC in 2020, Mitchell has continued writingas well as becoming involved in the film industry. As horror is a passion, he was happy to work with New England producers in the upcoming genre franchise Burial Ground Massacre 2 (2022). Mitchell has also worked with director Erik Bloomquist on the upcoming holiday film, Christmas on the Carousel (2021) and most recently helped finish the documentary CREDIBLEwhich follows the life and career of former WWE wrestler Justin Credible.

Mitchell has also been busy writing his own fiction. His first comic script The Seven Deadly Seasons is currently in development by award-winning artist Scott Jackson.Currently, Mitchell is collaborating with illustrator Jeff Zornow to spearhead his own original horror graphic novelette, A Matter of Perception.

Keep up to date with Mitchell on Twitter or Instagram @Filmtagonist or check out his IMDB. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for his upcoming comic @AMOP_Comic



A Look-See into the Chattering Mind of Nicholas Vince
Written by: Mitchell Walter Maknis


It’s been over 34 years since Hellraiser premiered in cinemas. Those familiar with the franchise’s legacy will recall The Chatterer chillingly portrayed by Nicholas Vince. It was the only Cenobite who physically attacked people by shoving its fingers down its victim’s throats.

“When I was first fitted in the Cenobite’s prosthetic suit, I couldn’t hear, see or speak,” recollects Vince on his portrayal of the iconic character. “So, because of those restrictions The Chatterer became very still and powerful.” He continued, “No artist is given all the time or money in the world, therefore what you’re left with is your talent and practice. That’s what makes great art.”

In the end the question remains, what must one go through in life to find their truth? Nicholas Vince discusses his life, career, and the crux of his work.

Referring to himself as a “natural showoff,” he took a precocious interest in the performing arts. At the early age of six Vince began booking roles in school nativity plays and later became a fixture within the amateur drama societies in West Sussex County.

Vince stated, “When I was a teenager, not a lot of young men were interested in acting, so I was invited to other companies to work with them, so I carried on.” Engrossed by the craft Vince was determined to pursue a formal education in the acting field. However, due to a misalignment in his jawbones, he had to go through a major operation.

Vince confided, “It was a challenging three years for me. I was in and out of hospitals for various reasons. It was also around this time that I had worked out I was gay. I was eighteen and in the 1970s, it wasn’t legal to be gay under the age of twenty-one. You could be imprisoned if you did anything about it. So, I didn’t.”

Vince found comfort in these trying times writing and reading. After enduring these hardships Vince was finally admitted to the Mountview Theater Academy where he was able to effectively study his passion. The ardently social Vince immersed himself in his studies and would spend his leisure time attending parties where he first rubbed elbows with a likeminded artist named Clive Barker.

“Clive asked me to model for him,” recounts Vince. “I ended up modeling for him for years. A notable example can be found featured in the UK hardback of Barker’s Books of Blood. It’s a portrait of me holding a photograph of Clive with a knife stuck in my head.”

Barker and Vince became huge friends and constantly supported each other’s work. “Clive encouraged me to continue writing and get my work published.” Vince reminisced, “I remember going to see his plays The Secret Life of Cartoons (1982) and Frankenstein in Love (1982).”

It wasn’t long until their artistic aspirations began to dovetail, and Vince was subsequently approached by Barker with an offer to work on a movie he was developing at the time called Hellraiser (1987). Vince accepted and began working alongside Simon Branford and Doug Bradley in roles that would make horror history.

Nicholas Vince: “Clive had to fight with the film’s producers to keep [Bradley, Branford, and I] cast in the movie. Clive wanted to cast actors, rather than extras, in Simon’s and my roles.”

The issue was resolved, enabling Vince and company to focus their energies creating the Cenobites mystique. Vince’s lessons from Mountview echoed throughout this process.

“In drama school, I underwent mime training where I had to concentrate reacting and emoting with only a singular body part and let that do the performance.” He revealed, “I also had to utilize a barren cardboard box and without any cosmetic enhancements I had to animate it into a character.”
All of these facets shaped into The Chatterer’s portrayal. Being a man of letters, Vince took the opportunity to explore The Chatterer’s mind by writing in tandem with the films production and crafting an original backstory. He gave The Chatterer a literary voice culminating in his short prose piece, Look, See (1988) published in Fear Magazine which accompanied the release of Hellraiser II: Hellbound (1988).

It wasn’t long before Vince’s writing talents caught the eye of other publications, prominently Skeleton Crew Magazine. They commissioned Vince to spearhead his own original column; appropriately titled The Luggage in the Crypt. Taking inspiration from ancient Egyptian beliefs, Vince would ask his celebrity guests which one of their worldly possessions would they take with them into the afterlife.

Vince expressed, “You’re able to learn a lot of interesting things about a person when you know what kind art or piece of furniture they like.” Vince was able to employ this line of questioning on celebrities such as Neil Gaiman, Joe Lansdale, Dave McKean, and Clive Barker.


NV: “After I interviewed Neil Gaiman, he told me that our interview for The Luggage in the Crypt was one of his favorites. It made him think what was really important in his life. It was Gaiman actually who suggested I should start writing for comics.”

MWM: After your departure from Skeleton Crew Magazine, you then began writing for Marvel’s Epic Comics. Through this outlet, you were able to revisit the Hellraiser and Nightbreed franchises. Having played The Chatterer and Kinski respectfully, what was it like working on these properties again from a writer’s perspective?

NV: “Both were different. Hellraiser; obviously I’ve seen the films and it was very clear as to what I was writing about. For Nightbreed I was able to look into Clive’s book The Nightbreed Chronicles which gave detailed descriptions of all the characters in the film, which Clive generously allowed me to play with.”

MWM: During your time in the comics industry you also wrote for Marvel UK’s Warheads and later even your own original character Mortigan for the Marvel Frontier imprint.

NV: Yes, Mortigan Goth Immortalis. When I created the mini-series, I was given permission to choose a Marvel superhero to weave into the story, I chose Dr. Strange. I enjoyed doing that.

(After “two years” writing comics Vince resigned from that industry and has since published two collections of short stories, What Monsters Do and Other People’s Darkness. Vince’s return to prose, possessed Vince to reacquaint himself with what made The Chatterer tick. Unlike his original effort Look, See which Vince described “had a very weird backstory, depicting The Chatterer as a comedian.” This reimagining devoutly perused the implication “that The Chatterer was a boy who grew up in hell.” Creatively breathing new life into its origins in his short story Prayers of Desire (2018).

MWM: What scares you when you’re writing?

NV: “There are many layers to that question. When I write fiction, I have to inhabit the lives of my characters or they don’t live and breathe. If I have a character who fears something, then I am scared in that moment.

"But whenever I write, I always have an innate fear of failure and of being misunderstood. We have no control over how people are going to react to our work. When my first book of short stories came out, people looked at me differently. They thought I had a terrible upbringing, but that’s far from the truth, my family is wonderful.

"So, what scares me when I’m writing and creating is that I want to be understood, I want to scare, entertain, and inspire people. An artist can only tell their own truth because our perspective of the world is unique to us. Everything we’ve learned, our hopes, our fears, and our personal vulnerabilities; that’s what we owe our audience. That’s all you can really ask for as an artist. Sorry, I never give short answers.”

MWM: All the better to write about. Out of all the stories you’ve written, which ones have had the most profound effect on you?

NV: “Interesting question. I believe the stories that impact you the most are the ones that you still think about and feel the most alive in that sense. My short stories Family Tree and Prayers of Desire come to mind. I’m actually in the process of converting Family Tree into a script for a feature film and I’m looking to get Prayers of Desire republished.”

MWM: How do you think your work has evolved?

NV: “When I first started writing in those hospital days, it was a therapeutic way for me to work out my feelings. It’s funny, I was just talking to Clive about this, but I feel that my writing has become more personal. When I was writing comics, I was approaching my work more intellectually because that format is a very structured place. Now that I’ve been writing for myself in prose, I believe the work becomes more powerful and even philosophical. Work just keeps evolving because you keep on growing and stories change until you find the truth.”

“You asked me earlier which one of my stories had the most profound effect on me, well one of the stories I believe to have had the most profound effect on somebody else was one of my Hellraiser comics.”

MWM: Could you elaborate?

NV: “Just when I thought I would never write again, I received a letter from a fan telling me they recognized themselves in my work. The story centered around the idea that human beings crave certainty, and people will give up so much for someone who will give them the assurance they ask for. I was moved by this letter, which explained how my story inspired them and this person’s letter inspired me to keep going. That’s another answer to a question you didn’t quite ask.”

MWM: Why the fascination with monsters?

NV: “I’ve read a lot of books and plays; it helps block out my chattering mind when I’m trying to sleep. Many of the books I read were about Greek Mythology. I was always fascinated by monsters because to me, they were the interesting ones. The heroes were just people with swords going around killing these fascinating creatures. As far as I was concerned, the monsters were the cool guys.”

(Until 2019, Vince ritualistically attended twenty to thirty performances a year at the London Horror Festival (the UK’s oldest and largest festival of live horror performance). After watching so many “amazing shows” it caused him to realize that he too “had a story to tell.” Originally intending his one-man stage production, I Am Monsters to be a survey regarding monsters in literature, Vince realized how that idea “had already been done” and became determined to understand the truth of the title.)

NV: “I Am Monsters is more than just about my involvement in Hellraiser. It’s about my life experiences. It’s what I went through in those hospital days. How I was made to feel like I was a monster for being gay and legislated against because it. The end truth is that the only story I absolutely know is my own, and that’s something I can offer to the world.”

(While all future performances for his one-man show have been indefinitely postponed, Vince has been fastidious in his work. He is currently in the process of writing and compiling his third collection of short stories as well as honing his skill with oil and pastels. Also, in collaboration with Chris Roe Management, Vince has relaunched his acclaimed YouTube series The Chattering Hour. Reverently reviving his interview format from Skeleton Crew Magazine, he has conversed with famed entertainers such as Malcolm McDowell, Amanda Wyss, Dee Wallace, John Kassir, and others.)

MWM: You’ve asked countless artists about their proverbial Luggage in the Crypt. Now, if I may ask what article of furniture would you take into the afterlife?

NV: [with a smile on his face] “I knew you were going to ask me that. It would be a bookcase. My first ever bookcase that was crafted for me by my father. It was only a couple of feet tall and two and a half feet wide. It only had three shelves and I quickly ran out of space. I had to look for other places in my house to put my books. I’m looking at my study now and I have the exact same problem.”

Stay up to date with Nicholas Vince and his upcoming projects by following him on his social media outlets and check out his newly updated website www.nicholasvince.com to purchase autographed merchandise or arrange a virtual convention experience with the artist himself.