Barker wrote and directed the 1987 horror classic and has been in a lengthy legal battle to regain the rights to his work. This will put Barker in control of the future of the franchise, at least in the U.S., and that has to be a huge win for the writer and director. According to the new report, Barker “has successfully leveraged copyright law to recapture the Amerian rights to the franchise.”
Barker’s attorney filed papers in California federal court that confirm a settlement with Park Avenue Entertainment has been reached. This is the production company that is currently in possession of the rights to the original Hellraiser and now those rights are to revert to Barker on December 19, 2021. It should be noted that this only extends to the original Hellraiser and not the sequels. The subsequent films that have been produced over the years are not owned by Barker but any future projects will need to have him on board. David Bruckner is set to direct a reboot of Hellraiser and there is a possibility that these matters could grow complicated now that the rights are reverting back to Barker. HBO is also working on a TV series based on the Cenobites and David Gordon Green is attached to direct. In the case of the show, Barker has already been on board as an executive producer.
Hellraiser is based on Clive Barker’s novella, “The Hellbound Heart” and using the Copyright Act of 1976, specifically, termination provisions of the law, allowed Barker to regain control of his creation. The law allows authors to recapture rights from publishers after waiting a certain amount of time, usually around 35 years. This is done by sending a notice within a five-year window and that’s exactly what Barker did. Producer Larry Kuppin put up a fight to prevent this from happening and it only got more complicated when foreign rights were factored in because this only pertains to copyright law in the U.S. The fact that Barker prevailed here makes this a landmark decision that could be one to study when it comes to putting the rights of franchises back in the hands of the creators.
In the 1987 film, a woman discovers the newly resurrected, partially formed, body of her brother-in-law. Soon she begins killing for him to revitalize his body so he can escape the demonic beings that are pursuing him after he escaped their sadistic underworld. The movie stars Andrew Robinson, Clare Higgins, Ashley Laurence, Sean Chapman, Oliver Smith, and Doug Bradley.
Are YOU happy to hear that Clive Barker will once again have the rights to Hellraiser?