Barker pairs with Walden for Poe thrills


Horror master Clive Barker is partnering with Walden Media to create an original young adult thriller centered on the ghost of Edgar Allan Poe.

Barker is set to develop the story and produce the project, with Barker's Seraphim Films' Anthony DiBlasi and Joseph Daley executive producing.

The film will revolve around a group of teenagers who attempt to uncover what happened during the last two weeks of Poe's life. They inadvertently trigger a curse that unlocks Poe's nightmares from which they must escape.

"This project is an opportunity for us to reimagine a genre that is generally associated with an older audience," Walden Media executive vp production Alex Schwartz said. "By focusing on mood and atmosphere rather than blood and guts, Clive Barker brings a smart, literate take on the horror genre that will expose young audiences to its great literary underpinnings. It is only appropriate that the grandfather of modern horror fiction, Edgar Allan Poe, provides the fulcrum for the story."

The Poe project marks the first pairing of Barker and Walden Media. Barker ventured into the children's world with the book "The Thief of Always," published in 1992 and in development at 20th Century Fox. Most recently, the multihyphenate talent published the first two of four novels from his children's fantasy series "The Books of Abarat."

"I think we might have a chance with this project to bring the character of Poe alive for a new audience and weave his shadowy existence into the dark enchantments of his stories so that for our protagonist, and for our audience, it will be difficult to be sure where one finishes and the other takes flight," Barker said.

Barker will be writing and producing a remake of his film "Hellraiser" for Dimension Films. He and his Midnight Picture Show horror label are developing and packaging several of his short stories from his horror collection "The Books of Blood."

Barker is represented by ICM. Schwartz, director of development Evan Turner and creative executive Jared Mass will oversee the project for Walden Media. Tommy Finkelstein negotiated the deal on Walden Media's behalf, and attorney David Colden at Colden, McKuin & Frankel negotiated the deal on Barker's behalf.