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Helmer haunts Rogue’s house

Craven hires Maddalena to run Midnight Pictures

Wes Craven has made a deal with Rogue Pictures to write and direct his first horror project in 12 years. He’s also formed Midnight Pictures, a Rogue-based shingle that will scare up fright films with budgets under $15 million.

Craven has hired Marianne Maddalena, who’s produced many of Craven’s films, to run Midnight Pictures. Plans call for the duo to produce Midnight Pictures fare and to also make films separately, with Maddalena developing her own slate.

He made both deals after pitching the project to Rogue’s Andrew Rona, who as Dimension co-president worked on many of Craven’s films when the director had an overall Miramax pact.

“It is rooted in the supernatural with a 16-year old central character, but it’s more ‘Sixth Sense’ than a slasher film,” Craven said. “It’s appalling to me that you have to go back to 1994 to find an original that I wrote and directed, so this is very important to me.”

New project will be released by Rogue, but not under the Midnight Pictures banner. Craven hopes to shoot next spring.

The first film under the Midnight Pictures banner will be the remake of his 1972 debut “The Last House on the Left,” which Rogue co-presidents Andrew Karpen and Rona bought last month (Daily Variety, Aug. 17).

Rogue, the genre division of Universal-based Focus Features, is also eyeing Craven-directed fright titles “Shocker” and “People Under the Stairs” for possible remakes Craven would oversee with the new company. Both films are U-owned library titles.

Craven’s genre landmarks include the “Scream” trilogy and “Nightmare on Elm Street” series. “New Nightmare,” his last Freddy Krueger pic, was the last original he wrote and directed. His last directing foray was on “Red Eye.”

Remakes of Craven’s films have become an increasingly big part of his operation. Craven teamed with son Jonathan to write “The Hills Have Eyes 2,” the sequel to the hit remake of his 1977 original. That film, directed by Martin Weisz, is in production, and Fox Atomic is planning a March release. Craven produced with Maddalena and Peter Locke.

Craven said the mission of Midnight Pictures is to find new voices, and the banner is actively looking for one to direct “Last House on the Left,” which will begin production early next year.

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