Hellraiser TV Show Will Reportedly Explore The Cenobites’ Backstory

Pinhead, villain of the Hellraiser franchise
Image via New World Pictures

It’s been a good few days for Hellraiser fans, with Hulu announcing they’ve secured the rights to the long-delayed remake of the original movie. On top of this news, we’re hearing more and more about the Hellraiser series set up at HBO Max, which appears to be a separate endeavour without a direct link to the new film. And according to The Illuminerdi, the program will also go into a different direction than perhaps expected with its story.

While things seem to be at an early stage when it comes to plot details, and episodes are unlikely to air before 2022, the outlet hints that the focus will be on the backstory of the Cenobites. This might mean, then, that Clive Barker chooses to adapt elements of The Scarlet Gospels, his 2015 follow-up to The Hellbound Heart, the novella that started everything off for Pinhead and company.

Of course, there’ve been various efforts to expand on the history of Hell, individual characters and the workings of the Lament Configuration, many of which may be considered non-canon, given that Barker will be closely involved as an executive producer. This angle could also tie in well with talk that the production team want a gender-swapped Pinhead/Priest, with one name linked to the part being Elizabeth Debicki, who recently appeared in Tenet.

With this switch in mind, there’s a chance that we’ll see the actress fill the leadership role taken by Pinhead, but in an alternative era than has been shown so far. Again, things are very preliminary right now, and it would be a surprise if we don’t get at least some contemporary action to offset the mythology. The presence of Halloween director David Gordon Green could provide a similar clue as to what Hellraiser on HBO will go for as well in that the narrative will both continue events from the initial 1987 picture, and possibly its first two sequels, and tell an origin tale of sorts.

Considering that the Hulu take on Hellraiser may involve a back-to-basics approach to the story, the latest reports on the television series imply, then, that we’ll be getting a more in-depth attempt to develop Barker’s universe. Most importantly, though, it’s looking like we’ll be finally receive a proper version of the source material after the purgatory of the endless direct-to-DVD movies made since the 2000s.