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Horror hammered together

Duo to deliver 'highly commercial, low-budget' fare

GOLD COAST, Queensland — Blighty’s rejuvenated horror film shingle Hammer Films and Oz’s Pictures in Paradise announced today plans to develop and produce up to six low-budget scary films over the next five years.

All will be co-productions taking advantage of tax incentives and subsidies in both countries, and the majority will be shot Down Under, according to PIP’s Chris Brown, who was a fervent fan of Hammer’s horror films growing up.

“We have been developing a couple of (potential) projects, but we’re starting with a clean slate,” added Brown, who is attending the Australian Intl. Movie Convention on the Gold Coast, not far from his offices here.

The two entities will share development costs, with Pictures in Paradise overseeing production and Hammer arranging funding and distribution.

“Working with Hammer Films is the realization of an ambition I’ve had since my earliest days in the business,” he said. “Hammer is one of the truly great influences in gothic cinema and without doubt the world’s leading horror brand.”

He’s known Hammer chief exec Terry Ilott, one of the principals who bought the venerable British firm several years ago, since they met in London 20 years ago, when Brown was managing director of Palace and Ilott was a trade journo.

“This deal gives us a terrific opportunity to deliver highly commercial, low-budget English-language horror films for a worldwide teen audience,” Ilott said.

Founded in 1999, Pictures in Paradise produced horror pics “Cubbyhouse” and “The Locals” as well as teen pic “Blurred” and “Under the Radar,” which Hoyts will release in Oz early next year.

Brown and his producer partner Chris Fitchett unveiled their next projects: “Class,” a thriller set in a Brisbane boys’ school, which will have a young U.S. male in the lead, to be directed by John Ruane; and “Seconds Out,” helmed by Evan Clarry, about an ex-pugilist who runs a traveling tent show for boxers.