Barker has a keen interest in movie production, although his films have received mixed receptions. He wrote the screenplays for Underworld (aka Transmutations – 1985) and Rawhead Rex (1986), both directed by George Pavlou. Displeased by how his material was handled, he moved to directing with Hellraiser (1987), based on his novella The Hellbound Heart. His early movies, the shorts The Forbidden and Salome, are experimental art movies with surrealist elements, which have been re-released together to moderate critical acclaim. After his film Nightbreed (Cabal), which was widely considered to be a flop, Barker returned to write and direct Lord of Illusions. Barker was an executive producer of the film Gods and Monsters, which received major critical acclaim. He had been working on a series of movie adaptations of his The Abarat Quintet books under Disney's management, but has admitted that because of creative differences, this project will not go ahead. He is developing a film based on his Tortured Souls line of toys from McFarlane Toys.
In October 2006, Barker announced through his official website that he will be writing the script to a forthcoming remake of the original Hellraiser movie.
A short story titled "The Forbidden", from Barker's Books of Blood, provided the basis for the film Candyman and its two sequels.