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HBO's Hellraiser Series Release Date, Cast And Plot

Rejoice, fans of old-school horror! According to The Hollywood Reporter, HBO has struck a deal for a series based on one of the most iconic scary movie franchises out there, Hellraiser. The original movie series is based on horror master Clive Barker's novella, The Hellbound Heart, as well as the 1987 movie version that he directed. It centers on a group of gruesome, extradimensional, demon-like beings called Cenobites, led by the extremely accurately named Pinhead (Doug Bradley). They manifest when a person solves special puzzle boxes, such as the "Lament Configuration," and tend to be extremely bad, painful news for everyone involved. 

Like many other horror franchises with entries reaching the double digits, the Hellraiser series has seen its share of highlights and low-budget sequels. However, the upcoming TV project has a truly amazing team of talent behind it. As Deadline reports, the pilot (and likely other episodes) for HBO's Hellraiser will be directed by David Gordon Green of Halloween (2018) fame, with genre vets Michael Dougherty and Mark Verheiden heading up writing duties. Green's frequent collaborator Danny McBride will be involved as an executive producer, among others. 

With HBO in the mix, it certainly seems that this series could go a long way toward restoring the franchise to its finest leather-and-chains glory. But how will the showrunners go about it? Let's see what we know about HBO's Hellraiser series, from the release date to the cast to the plot.

Who's in the cast of the new HBO Hellraiser series?

While no firm casting for HBO's Hellraiser series has been announced yet, we do have a few clues to go by. The involvement of David Gordon Green and Danny McBride's Rough House means that the show's developed by the same people who brought you series like Eastbount & Down, The Righteous Gemstones, and Vice Principals. As such, it wouldn't be a terrible shock to see McBride involved in some capacity that goes beyond his reported executive producer credentials.  

Apart from that piece of informed speculation, the franchise is only truly dependent on one character: Pinhead, the prickly-faced Cenobite leader. He has worn a lot of (presumably pretty high-riding) hats during his time on screen, moving from a nameless demon to a pain-seeking Victorian soldier who caught a really weird break, a "priest of hell," and even a version of the Aztec god Xipe Totec. Most importantly, he's usually been portrayed by actor Doug Bradley, under a truly astounding amount of make-up. Bradley's Pinhead is the definitive version of the character, even though Paul T. Taylor played the role in the latest installment of the movie series, Hellraiser: Judgment. Interestingly, Spyglass Entertainment is currently developing a Hellraiser project that's not affiliated with the HBO series. It remains to be seen whether one of these projects will take the iconic route by casting Bradley, or if they both reach for new Pinhead horizons.

As for the casting of the other Cenobites and the humans they're out to torture, it will doubtlessly provide endless, delicious possibilities, seeing as small-screen horror is fully capable of attracting name talent. Just ask Academy Award winner Kathy Bates and her many seasons of American Horror Story or pretty much every major player on Penny Dreadful.

What is the plot of the new HBO Hellraiser series?

While it's far too early to say for sure just what sorts of painful plot twists HBO has in store for Hellraiser, we do know that its makers have absolutely no intention of rebooting the franchise. Instead, the reported plan is that the series will consider the events of the movies pretty much canon, and tells an original story that builds on the robust existing mythology of the Cenobites and the awfulness that surrounds them. 

Considering the parties involved, this actually makes perfect sense, and has the makings of something truly extraordinary. David Gordon Green's 2018 installment in the Halloween movie franchise took a similar route, offering up a direct sequel to John Carpenter's 1978 original. As for HBO, their Watchmen series did a magnificent job at building on an existing universe and using it to tell a completely original story. Now that these talented re-imaginers have joined forces, who knows what the Cenobites have in store for us? 

Does the new HBO Hellraiser series have a release date?

The series' announcement in April of 2020 did not offer a firm release date. However, since HBO has greenlit the pilot and several other episodes — and because there are some pretty heavy-duty names attached — it's fairly reasonable to believe that it's not a question of "if," it's a question of "when." Of course, we're still in the way, way early stages of production. Though it looks like the pitching and wheeling-n'-dealing stages have been brought to completion, there's still the matter of writing, casting, and shooting the show... not to mention gluing several hundred pins on whoever gets to play Pinhead on a daily basis. 

So, going by the basic realities of the passage of time, and taking into account the fact that David Gordon Green's still attached to the Halloween franchise (he's topping off his trilogy with the back-to-back Halloween Kills and Halloween Ends), you probably shouldn't bet on anything earlier than the latter half of 2021, at best. A Halloween release would seem deliciously appropriate, but who knows? Maybe the Cenobites will catch you off guard, as they are wont to do, and somehow find a way to arrive in time to haunt your summer.