It’s safe to say that any pushback that HBO received during the last Game of Thrones season has been overcome with their post-Thrones lineup. Not only did the premium cable channel keep favorites like Succession and Barry going strong over the past year, but they also deftly handled the Watchmen reinvention along with adapting Stephen King’s The Outsider in a more than respectable manner. Now, horror is on the menu again, and the project’s landed a director who’s successfully reinvigorated another horror franchise and has plenty of HBO time on his side as well.
David Gordon Green, who helmed 2018’s Halloween (and has two followups, Halloween Kills and Halloween Ends in the cards) and also executive produced Vice Principals and The Righteous Gemstones, will put a new-ish face on pain to resurrect the iconic Pinhead in a Hellraiser TV series. Interestingly enough, this isn’t the only Hellraiser project in the works, given that there’s an entirely separate film coming from Spyglass Media Group (and Sundance-acclaimed director David Bruckner of The Night House) in what’s being characterized (via EW) as “a loyal, yet evolved reimagining.”
Meanwhile, Hollywood Reporter characterizes the HBO project as “a continuation and expansion — not a reboot” of the film franchise’s already established mythology (which spawned nine official films, not counting the upcoming Spyglass project) that revolves around Pinhead, who heads up the Cenobite creatures from Hell. As such, Gordon and writers Mark Verheiden (Daredevil, Heroes) and Michael Dougherty (X-Men United, Godzilla: King of the Monsters) will likely adhere to the spirit of Clive Barker’s inception of the film franchise with his novella, The Hellbound Heart. Barker also penned a book series with five full-on novels, although he’s not currently involved with the HBO series.
It feels somewhat important to note that Barker’s not vocally opposed to the project either, unlike how Alan Moore (and his alleged “magical curse”) has historically been with any efforts to adapt Watchmen. Of course, Barker’s already well accustomed to having other writers and directors handle the various Pinhead-centered movies, and they’re an entirely different beast than Moore’s work. That is to say, the grotesesque, often campy stories about the leader of ritualistic, torture-happy extra-dimensional creatures — who are pretty straight-up in their motivations — from the bowels of Hell begs for a different handling than the expansive, layered story of Watchmen. But you never know! Maybe David Gordon Green will toss in a few extra few dimensions for Pinhead, rather than a simple continuation of the bloodthirsty character. Since it’s coming from HBO, the odds are that it will be handled in a faithful but still inventive way.