It’s been a surprisingly busy year for Hellraiser news (perhaps because we’re all trapped in hell). There’s a Hellraiser TV series in the works at HBO, with Halloween director David Gordon Green at the helm. And then there’s a Hellraiser reboot from filmmaker David Bruckner (The Night House). And now here’s perhaps the biggest Hellraiser news of all: the American rights to the franchise are now back in the hands of original creator Clive Barker.
Clive Barker has had next to nothing to do with the Hellraiser franchise since Hellbound: Hellraiser II in 1988, but that’s about to change. Per THR, a lawsuit settlement has resulted in the U.S. franchise rights to Hellraiser to revert back to Barker on December 19, 2021. As THR reports:
Under the termination provisions of the Copyright Act of 1976, authors may recapture rights from publishers after waiting a prescribed period (usually 35 years for newer works) and sending a notice within a five-year window. Baker did so, but met resistance from Larry Kuppin, the producer who had once purchased New World Pictures from Roger Corman… but the parties have come to a deal. The judge has now been presented with a proposed consent judgment that states that Barker will recapture U.S. rights on December 19, 2021.
That means that after December 19, 2021, anyone who wants to make yet another sequel to Hellraiser will need to get Barker’s approval. This is fairly big news since there has been an endless supply of subpar direct-to-video Hellraiser sequels over the years. That’s not to say there won’t still be mediocre Hellraiser sequels, but at the very least, they’ll have Barker’s blessing.
This news comes on the heels of two other developments regarding Hellraiser. There’s a Hellraiser TV series being developed for HBO, and it was recently announced that Barker had come aboard as an executive producer on that project, with Barker saying he was “delighted the Hellraiser mythology is seeing a new life. It’s time the stories went back to their roots. I’m eager to bring to a new audience the most powerful and ancient elements of horror: the darkest evil invading our human lives and how we must find in ourselves the power to resist it.”
Then there’s a Hellraiser reboot. David Bruckner is directing a script from Ben Collins and Luke Piotrowski. It’s unclear where that project stands at the moment – Barker wasn’t listed as attached to the reboot in any capacity before, and if the film isn’t made by December of next year, he’s going to need to sign off on it. Hopefully, we’ll learn more about that soon.
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