HOLLYWOOD — Disney has poured itself a “Bloody Mary” from producer Clive Barker and scribe Silvio Horta.
Pitch, valued at mid-six against high-six figures, is based on former Miami New Times staff reporter Lynda Edwards’ feature “Myths Over Miami.” Her 8,000-word piece on the folkloric horror stories told and retold in the homeless shelters of South Florida caught the attention of Barker, who with Horta pitched Disney on the idea.
Pitch focuses on one myth in particular, a bogeyman figure called Bloody Mary who resides in the Everglades and steals children in the night.
Storyline of the psychological thriller centers on a young man forced to do community service at a homeless shelter in Miami. There he befriends a group of children whose visions of demons seeping up from hell may or may not be real.
“Fantasy works best when it’s working on a lot of levels, (when) something has you really wondering, ‘Is it real, or isn’t it?” said Barker, reached in New York. “These homeless kids are living in a world that’s on that borderline, because they are living through the reality of social evils and abuse. What I wanted to do was to use the conventions of urban myth to express our anxieties about the real world.”
Barker, who made a name for himself writing suspenseful but often quite violent motion picture horror franchises like “Hellraiser” and “Candyman” is quick to distance “Bloody Mary” from those gorier offspring.
“This is not going to be a ‘Hellraiser’ or a ‘Candyman,'” stressed Barker, “As a 48-year-old man, I just don’t make those kinds of pictures anymore. That sort of in-your-face gore is a young man’s game.”
Asked if that change of heart had anything to do with the current hostility towards the Hollywood creative community embodied in the latest FTC report on movie marketing, Barker responded:
“We’re not responding to the pressure coming out of Washington. This is going to be suspenseful and scary, but it’s an aesthetic decision that it not be violent and gory.”
Development of the project will by supervised by Mark Vahradian, exec veepee of the Buena Vista Motion Picture Group and creative exec Michael Haynes. Pic will be exec produced by Joe Daley and Renee Rosen at Barker’s Seraphim Films.
Horta, who penned Phoenix Pictures’ “Urban Legend,” also has his sci-fi laffer skein “News From the Edge,” set up at the Peacock web, where it is skedded as a mid-season replacement series.
Barker was repped in the deal by ICM’s Ben Smith; Horta was co-repped in the deal by ICM’s Smith and Patty Detroit, and is managed by Gina Mathews at Roundtable Ink. Rights to Edwards article’s were repped by ICM’s Jeanne Williams.