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Italo film org scares up horror pic package

Isituto Luce tries to revive slasher genre

ROME — Looking to revive the Italian slasher genre dear to Quentin Tarantino, state film entity Istituto Luce will co-produce and release locally an ultraviolent pic package including new works by cult vets Lamberto Bava, Umberto Lenzi and Sergio Martino.

Unveiled to journos in Rome’s skull-filled wax museum, the four-pic Masters of Italian Horror package is co-produced by Luce with Luciano Martino’s Dania Film and the Turin Film Commission. Luce is seeking an international sales company for the slashers, which are to be completed by June 2007.

Though inspired by Showtime’s Masters of Horror series, new Italo slasher slate has no links with the Showtime web. Package instead marks a rare case of Italo product for which financing from local broadcasters has purposely not been sought.

Low-budget pics will be shot digitally in Piedmont, at the foot of the Italo Alps.

“For once we won’t be slaves to the sugar-coated tastes of TV audiences,” said Lenzi.

Lenzi’s credits include 1969 thriller “Orgasmo” (aka “Paranoia”) featured in Venice fest retrospective “The Secret History of Italian Cinema.” The 2004 retro, tubthumped by Tarantino — who often credits Italo B-movies as inspiration — has been instrumental in drawing attention to the Italo slasher genre, which was highly lucrative in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, before Silvio Berlusconi’s Mediaset ushered in Italo commercial TV.

Package will include the following:

  • Lenzi’s “Horror Baby,” about a 15-year-old paraplegic girl who becomes a serial killer after viewing sex from her window.

  • Lamberto Bava’s “Murder House,” set in a musician’s villa where multiple murders occur. Bava, son of the late horror maestro Mario Bava, is the helmer of Dario Argento-produced “Demons,” among many other pics.

  • Sergio Martino’s “The Corners of the Night,” tale of a young woman who moves into her deceased grandmother’s house where nocturnal mayhem ensues. Martino’s more than 60 helming credits include recently restored Barbara Bach starrer “Screamers,” a cult title set on a mad Caribbean island.

  • Young Italo helmer Nicola Rondolino will helm “Brotherhood,” in which three Romanian boys abducted by a child sex ring take revenge as ghosts.

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