Sam Raimi's Ghost House eyes home entertainment

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The booming horror genre on DVD is getting a boost with the launch of Ghost House Underground, a new film acquisitions company that will extend the Ghost House brand to home entertainment.

The venture will release 12-20 films a year, mostly through Lionsgate, the feisty mini-major that has established itself as a force in the horror field through its "Saw" franchise and "After Dark" DVD series.

Ghost House Underground teams Ghost House Pictures -- a horror genre company led by Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert and Mandate Pictures president Nathan Kahane -- with Grindstone, a major distributor of direct-to-video films.

The brand officially launches in October, with a focus on films by cutting-edge young talent. Among the initial slate of eight films will be "Dark Floors," from Eurovision Award-winning rock group Lordi. Helmed by Pete Riski, the film -- about a father and daughter trapped inside a hospital and fighting evil forces from a dark world -- had its international premiere in February at the European Film Market in Berlin.

"We believe the next great horror film is going to come from fresh, bold voices working outside the system," Tapert said. "We aim to find these films and share them with genre fans everywhere."

Also in the pipeline for the fall are director Martin Barnewitz's "Room 205," director Ole Bornedal's "The Substitute," director Igor Shavlak's "Trackman," writer-director Gabriele Albanesi's "Last House in the Woods" and writer-directors Michael Roesch and Peter Scheerer's "Brotherhood of Blood."

Ghost House Pictures is behind the boxoffice hit "The Grudge," which grossed more than $110 million in 2004, as well as the more moderate theatrical successes "30 Days of Night," "The Grudge 2," "The Messengers" and "Boogeyman."

Through the home entertainment medium, Ghost House Underground "will give life to terrifying films that the fans would otherwise never have an opportunity to see," Raimi said.

Ron Schwartz, executive vp and GM of Lionsgate's home entertainment division, praised Ghost House for its "phenomenal track record of success at the boxoffice" and said he looks forward to working with the company to "extend their brand into the home entertainment market."

He said Grindstone "has been an important partner of Lionsgate for a number of years."

Ghost House Underground will support its releases online at GhostHousePictures.com, providing fans with exclusive interaction with the filmmakers and cast, video blogs and webisodes.
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