When Clive Barker unleashed his directorial debut into the world in 1987 it was unlike most anything else in the horror genre. Based on his own novella, “The Hellbound Heart,” Hellraiser mixed murder, demons, S&M, infidelity, and some incestuous shenanigans for good measure. The film didn’t exactly blow up the box-office, but the character of Pinhead (Doug Bradley) found a success all his own turning him into a franchise star. This was especially impressive as he only had a few minutes of screen time in the first film.
There have been eight sequels so far, most of them direct to DVD (and most of them pretty terrible), but talk of a big screen reboot has been in the air for years. Possible writers and directors have come and gone over the years including the various talents behind Inside, Martyrs, The Collector, and My Bloody Valentine 3D, until the idea seemed to die a quiet death. But now there seems to be good news on the horizon.
According to Barker’s Facebook page (h/t Fangoria), he recently had a meeting with Bob Weinstein of Dimension Pictures where he pitched a remake of his own, and now he’s been officially hired to write the screenplay.
This is fantastically exciting news for obvious reasons, but it comes with some caveats.
This is not the first time Barker’s been attached to a remake. He was invited by Dimension and Bob Weinstein back in 2006 to do the very same thing. His treatment was signed off on by Miramax, and Barker seemed excited by the direction things were headed, but within a year Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury were attached to both direct and write the script. From there it passed through several hands before coming full circle back to Barker again.
Second, Barker is a procrastinator of hellish proportions. His “works in progress” reads like a list of missing persons and includes several familiar faces and highly anticipated follow-ups. As early as the mid-nineties he was working on a seventh Books of Blood collection that would feature a new Pinhead story (the first to feature him by name). It grew into a story called “The Scarlet Gospels” that included Harry D’Amour, himself a frequent character from Barker’s fiction, and eventually became a novel of its own… that has yet to be released. So much time has passed that Barker has moved that title to a completely different project. (That also has yet to be released.)
The list goes on to include the final book in the Art trilogy (after The Great and Secret Show and Everville) which has been in progress for over twenty years. The new short story collection was reportedly completed more than three years ago, but while it’s gained and lost two book titles so far it has yet to see publication. Barker announced two sequels to Cabal (the basis for Nightbreed) in the early nineties that remain AWOL along with follow-ups to both Galilee and The Thief of Always. Check out Barker’s official site for up to date details on his work, both published and unpublished.
But even with all that, this remains some exciting news. Barker hasn’t had a script produced since 1995’s Lord of Illusions, and regardless of your thoughts on the final film it remains a flawed but fun mix of horror, noir, and general goofiness. He’s an incredibly creative writer, and it would be great to see him return to the dark, grisly, twisted creation that first made his name. It’s unclear as to whether he would direct the new film, but first things first. Let’s see him finish the script first… then we’ll worry about who gets to direct.
Check out Barker’s full Facebook post below.
HOT FROM HELL! My friends,I have some news which may be of interest to you. A few weeks ago I had a very productive meeting with Bob Weinstein of Dimension Pictures,in the course of which I pitched a remake of the first HELLRAISER film. The idea of my coming back to the original film and telling the story with a fresh intensity-honoring the structure and the designs from the first incarnation but hopefully creating an even darker and richer film-was attractive to Dimension. Today I have officially been invited to write the script based upon that pitch.What can I tell you about it?Well, it will not be a film awash with CGI. I remain as passionate about the power of practical make-up effects as I was when I wrote and directed the first HELLRAISER. Of course the best make-up in the world loses force if not inhabited by a first-rate actor. I told the Dimension team that in my opinion there could never be a Pinhead without Doug Bradley,and much to my delight Bob Weinstein agreed. So once the papers are signed , I will open a Lemarchand Configuration,dip my quill in its contents and start writing . I promise that there will be nowhere on the Internet where the news of my progress will be more reliable than here ,because the only author of these reports will be Your Infernal Corespondent ,me. My very best wishes to you all,my friends.