Carnifex author claims new movie and game were produced without rights

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Freelance writer Matthew J. Barbeler has alleged the upcoming film Carnifexwhich is also being adapted into a video game by South Australian developer Mighty Kingdom, is an unlicensed work that draws directly from its original property – a horror novel also titled Carnifexreleased in 2016.

barber Carnifex is a horror story set in outback Australia, described as jurassic park meets wolf creek. In the novel, a team of five tourists set off to explore the bush, only to stumble upon “the hunting grounds of a predator long considered extinct”.

The film’s plot reads somewhat similarly: “A budding documentary filmmaker and two conservationists who venture into the backcountry to record animals displaced by bushfires…discover a terrifying new species .”

Both horror tales follow a wandering group in outback Australia, only to discover a terrifying creature that forces them to fight for their survival.

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‘I did NOT sell the rights to my Australian horror novel Carnifex,’ Matthew J. Barbeler announced on Twitterin response to the South Australian Film Corporation launch of the first trailer of the film. “The IMDb page for the movie literally mentions my book. That means someone had to know about the link and have IMDb approve the entry… There’s way too much in common for it to be a coincidence.

As Barbeler points out, there is a direct link to his novel in the film’s IMDb page, which mentions that the book is “unrelated”, but has similar themes.

Game developer Mighty Kingdom has announced a major narrative adaptation of the game Carnifex film in February 2023. The game is expected to be a rare Australian horror game and is currently expected to launch during the FY23 window – before June 2023. It is unclear whether recent layoffs at the company, or allegations of breach of copyright, will have an impact on this version.

According to Barbeler, he has an appointment with an intellectual property lawyer in the future, who will probably advise him on the next steps and if the next Carnifex the film is similar enough to his original project to warrant further investigation. Stay tuned for more on these claims.

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