XBox 360 to premiere short films

Popular horror directors making comedic pics

Microsoft’s Xbox 360 will bow a series of short comedic films on the gaming console this fall. The twist is that they’re created by helmers known more for their roots in horror.

Producer and talent manager Peter Safran has enlisted James Wan (“Saw”), David Slade (“30 Days of Night”), Lucky McKee (“The Woods”), Andrew Douglas (“The Amityville Horror”), Marcus Nispel (“Texas Chainsaw Massacre”) and James Gunn (“Slither”) to direct the films that will be free to view by users of the Xbox Live downloading service.

Projects will appear under the title “Masters of Horror Take on Comedy.” The shorts, the first to be announced through the company, will be previewed Friday at Comic-Con in San Diego. Safran is also using the confab to promote the Lionsgate-distribbed spoof “Disaster Movie,” which he produced.

Gunn created the “Masters of Horror” concept with Safran, who formed Safran Digital Group in March to create programming for the Xbox 360.

Some of the projects will be live action, others animated. Each combines the horror and comedy genres.

For example, “Doggie Heaven,” from Wan and “Saw” franchise scribe Leigh Whannell, revolves around a young man who, after being shot, is sent to the wrong heaven; Gunn’s “Humanzee!” stars the director in a sitcom about his human-chimp hybrid son; and Slade’s “Meatdog” features an animated mutt made up of cold cuts who is pitted against a church of occult pigs while pursued by a carnivorous rabbit and slobbering hound.

The shorts are the latest offering from Xbox Live, which offers films, TV shows and Internet projects to download. They will represent one of the few exclusives available on the service in terms of original programming.

Xbox Live has registered some 10 million users.

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