Clive Barker is widely acknowledged as one of the true masters of modern horror. The writer, artist and director is best known for the Hellraiser series, about a mysterious puzzle box that opens the door to the Cenobite realm, populated by twisted creatures hungry for human souls to use in terrifying experiments.
Barker wrote and directed the first (and best) movie in the franchise back in 1987, which introduced audiences to the iconic Pinhead and his pals. But there’s a wrinkle, as he signed away the story and characters to the production company, having not anticipated that it would become a hugely successful property. This has meant that, save for a co-writer credit on Hellbound: Hellraiser II, he’s had little involvement in the nine sequels (which, to be charitable, have been of varying quality).
But things could be looking up for the series now, as Barker has just won his legal battle to regain the U.S. franchise rights from Park Avenue Entertainment. This is a victory over producer Larry Kuppin, who had argued that Barker’s case should be dismissed as the original contract was made under UK law. Kuppin’s legal point has failed, though, as the parties have just announced a settlement and that Barker will have the domestic rights to Hellraiser from December 21st, 2021.
His triumph is a result of the termination provisions of the Copyright Act of 1976, which states that authors may recapture rights from publishers after time has passed. Horror fans will be particularly familiar with this as it’s at the core of Victor Miller and Sean Cunningham’s battle for Friday the 13th, which continues to rumble on through the appeals process.
So, what’s next for Hellraiser? Well, Barker is working as executive producer on a new HBO show, with Halloween‘s David Gordon Green signed up to direct several episodes. There’s also a remake of the original in the pipeline from V/H/S and The Ritual‘s David Bruckner. But with Barker set to have complete control from late next year, there’s a chance that his own long-teased remake might come to screens instead.