Clive Barker Recaptures Hellraiser Franchise Rights In U.S. With Lawsuit Settlement

A major copyright case has been settled today as THR brings word that esteemed horror writer Clive Barker has gained the US rights back to the Hellraiser series. Barker leveraged his rights under the Copyright Act of 1976 which allows for authors to reclaim the rights to their works from publishers (or in this case, movie producers) after a wait of 30+ years. This same copyright law is what currently has the entire Friday the 13th franchise on hold. Luckily this has resulted in a not-as-complicated ruling for Pinhead over Jason, and will pave the way for new Hellraiser content in the near future.

What this means is Barker has regained the rights back to his novella "The Hellbound Heart" and the rights to the screenplay for the original Hellraiser movie, officially reclaiming them on December 19, 2021 and at that time forcing any new version of the material that is to be made would need to go through Barker and have his involvement. Considering that Barker has already signed on to executive produce a Hellraiser TV series for HBO and his termination suit has been settled with Park Avenue Entertainment it seems like the big screen plans for the series will move along unimpeded.

For reference, Friday the 13th has found itself in a similar situation with regard to the Copyright Act of 1976 but has its own unique wrinkles. In that case, original screenwriter Victor Miller successfully gained the rights back to his screenplay after filing his own suit, but series producer Sean S. Cunningham has appealed the decision, arguing that Miller was a work for hire writer and has no claim to terminate the copyright. To make it even more complicated, many of the elements that fans associate with Friday the 13th such as an adult, undead, hockey mask wearing Jason Voorhees, were not introduced until the sequels. As a result, the courts will need to decide who owns what before a new movie can be made.


Hellraiser on the other hand already has a new move in the works with director David Bruckner and writers Ben Collins and Luke Piotrowski attached to the project. The TV series also remains a go with Halloween director David Gordon Green set to helm the pilot and other episodes in the first season. The series will be written by Mark Verheiden (Battlestar Gallactica, Daredevil, Heroes) and Michael Dougherty (X-Men United, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Trick r' Treat). It's unclear what the time frame is on these projects' release.