Amber Entertainment, Haxan Films prep horror feature

Amber Entertainment and Haxan Films — the banner behind “The Blair Witch Project” — are scaring up “The Possession” as part of a multipicture deal.

Amber and Haxan plan to start shooting in Maryland in October with “Blair Witch” director Eduardo Sanchez helming from a script he co-wrote with Jamie Nash.

“The Possession,” which explores the thin line between demonic possession and psychosis, starts off as a simple horror film about things that go bump in the night but slowly turns into a thriller about the evil power that exists inside one troubled young woman.

Robin Cowie and Gregg Hale are producing for Haxan and Mark Ordesky and Jane Fleming are producing for Amber, the venture formed last year by the fomer New Line execs along with Ileen Maisel and Brit documentarian Lawrence Elman. Bob Eick and Andy Jenkins are exec producing “The Possession.”

The Blair Witch Project” took in more than $140 million domestically in 1999 as an indie horror sensation, thanks to a variety of viral marketing campaigns. Worldwide the film grossed $250 million and the sequel did $48 million.

Since then, Haxan has produced two features — “Altered,” released by Rogue Pictures in 2006, and “Seventh Moon,” released by Lionsgate in 2008 — and two TV series. Over the past 10 years, the principals in Haxan have also been involved with various Internet companies creating “transmedia” marketing campaigns and e-commerce Web solutions.

Amber recently announced plans for a remake of “South Pacific” produced with the holders of the Rodgers & Hammerstein rights. Amber also has also acquired feature rights to Rebecca Stead’s sci-fi novel “When You Reach Me” and is working on a feature based on the Lucky Santangelo character in Jackie Collins’ “Vendetta — Lucky’s Revenge.”

The banner also inked three deals with bestselling authors Karin Slaughter, Judy Blume and Collins to produce direct-to-DVD features that will be sold exclusively first at British retailer Tesco.

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