The judge has ruled, the gavel has struck and Clive Barker has won.
Barker this week regained the U.S. rights to his landmark 1987 Hellraiser film, setting up the filmmaker to control the destiny of the franchise, according to The Hollywood Reporter. This court decision–which only applies to domestic, not foreign, rights–will kick in Dec. 19, 2021.
Barker reportedly “has successfully leveraged copyright law to recapture the American rights to the franchise.” Barker’s legal team has filed papers in California federal court that confirm a settlement with Park Avenue Entertainment, the production company that currently holds rights to the horror classic.
The decision, as explained, only applies to the original Hellraiser, not the subsequent slew of sequels. But all future projects will have Barker on board. What that means for the upcoming reboot–being directed by David Bruckner–is unclear at this time. Barker is, however, an executive producer on the planned HBO TV series based on the film.
The legal maneuvering that helped Barker win this case involved the Copyright Act of 1976, which allowed him to regain control of Hellraiser and Pinhead. This act allows authors to recapture rights from publishers after waiting a certain period of time.
The original Hellraiser–written and directed by Barker (in his directorial debut) and based on his novella The Hellbound Heart–deals with a puzzle box which summons the dreaded Cenobites, “a murderous group from another dimension who cannot differentiate between pain and pleasure.” This cheery band is led by, of course, the infamous Pinhead (played by Doug Bradley).
The movie–which received mixed reviews (ranging from glowing praise to downright pans)–led to nine sequels and grossed $14.6 million worldwide on a $1-million budget.
Keep reading Horror News Network for the next update on the fate of the Hellraiser franchise–now back in the hands of creator Clive Barker.