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RKO to remake horror titles

8 classic films will be remade by Roseblood Co.

Days after signing an interim agreement with the Writers Guild, RKO has launched Roseblood Movie Co., a subsidiary that RKO topper Ted Hartley said will remake eight classic horror films churned out by Val Lewton when he headed RKO’s low-budget horror unit in the 1940s.

The slate includes “Lady Scarface,” which will be written by Tony Puryear; “While the City Sleeps,” which will be scripted by Shin Shimosawa and Jim Morris; “The Monkey’s Paw,” which will be scripted by Todd Farmer; and “The Seventh Victim,” which doesn’t yet have a writer.

The other films on the initial slate are “Bedlam,” “Body Snatcher,” “Five Came Back” and “I Walked With a Zombie,” titles identified last year (Daily Variety, June 15) when RKO made a co-financing deal on the quartet with Twisted Pictures, the makers of the “Saw” films.

“The launching of the Roseblood Movie Co. was the motivating force behind our making an agreement with the Writers Guild,” Hartley said. “We’ve got other projects at RKO, but we needed to get going on this. The most successful ROI in the movie business comes from scary movies that get wide release and cost under $10 million. We’ve studied it extensively for our stockholders and investors and we saw the opportunity to take the rich Val Lewton library of scary thrillers and create a unique company out of it.”

The moniker is a play on words from the reveal of “Citizen Kane,” the biggest title in the RKO library for which Hartley owns remake rights. He said RKO will put some money in the films and is arranging other financing. Hartley said the program of films will be made over 24 months, and the first one will begin production in the fall. No distribution has yet been set.

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