Transmission Films and Paramount to launch horror brand

Transmission Films – the local distributor which specialises in arthouse and local flicks – has changed direction after partnering with Paramount to bring “new, cutting-edge” horror to Australian audiences.

The new brand, After Dark Originals: A New Brand Of Fear, will be brought to the Australian market next month. All eight horror features, produced by After Dark Films (which is the US' largest producer and distributor of horror product), have been acquired. Seven will be launched on DVD in October and November, while Re-Kill – starring 24’s Roger Cross – will be theatrically released next year before being available on DVD.

Co-founder and chief executive of After Dark Films, Courtney Solomon, will tour Australia next month to promote the launch.

It’s an interesting move from the local distributor, founded by managing directors Andrew Mackie and Richard Payten, when the home entertainment sector is struggling due to the increase of digital piracy.

"Piracy is piracy, we co-exist with it. We obviously don’t condone it but fortunately there’s a market out there that like to own these films," Mackie told IF.

"The objective has to be to make these films as equally accessible as possible."

Mackie says the change of direction will be "an experiment" and a chance to "add some variety to the mix".

"It’s a fun genre to play in…we’re not known for these kind of movies but we’re giving it a go – we’re going to have some fun."

Transmission, along with Paramount, has also slated the first five original action/thrillers produced by Action Fest (also through Solomon), for DVD releases next year.

Payten said they were delighted to be in business with Solomon. Negotiations had been ongoing for about a year.

"When you consider Courtney’s achievements across ‘After Dark’, ‘Horrorfest’ and ‘Action Fest’, there is no doubt he is an extremely talented, motivated and successful filmmaker and we look forward to a long and successful partnership with him," he said in a statement.

Promotional initiatives from Paramount before the DVD launch include a special screening of two of the After Dark films – Seconds Apart and Husk (starring former Home and Away actress Tammin Sursok) – on October 29 at Sydney’s Chauvel Cinema.

Meanwhile, low-budget horror flick Needle, distributed by Filmscope Entertainment, will have a major home entertainment release across North America through Lionsgate in late-November, encompassing DVD, video-on-demand and digital download.

“Lionsgate are the masters of horror film distribution in North America and for a small West Australian film to secure such a release through them is very exciting and a credit to the team and vision of the director, John V. Soto,” producer Deidre Kitcher said in a statement.

The film, about a college student who must unmask a killer who is harnessing the deadly powers of a sinister 18th century machine to target his friends, has now sold to more than 70 countries.